Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture; Engineering


Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Morgan Hayes


Ventilation and air movement are important aspects of animal agriculture and is frequently neglected in equine facilities. This paper discusses three different studies that examine different components of ventilation and air movement. One is a fan orientation study which examines how fans impact the stall environment, the second is a cooling study questioning whether forced air speed across a horse increases the rate of cool out after intense exercise, and the last is a survey examining ventilation, air quality, and health concerns in indoor arenas.

The stall fan study took place over two summers with the goal of determining how the placement and orientation of different fans impacted the temperature within the stall, the air movement around the stall, and if the fans could provide fly control. Two barns with vastly different designs and natural ventilation properties were used. The barn in the first year had good natural ventilation, while the barn in the second year did not. Overall, the fans had little to no effect on reducing the temperature within the stalls, providing air movement throughout the stall, and did not produce sufficient air movement for fly control.

After intense exercise such as a running a race, cross country, or participating in an endurance race, it is necessary to cool the horses and bring their vital signs back to resting ranges. The predominant method for this is hand walking or drenching and scraping the horses until the heart rate, respiration rate, and rectal temperature have returned to an acceptable level. The cooling study sought to examine whether providing forced air speed across the horses increased their rate of cool out through placing a Bannon Tilted Belt Drive 42 in drum fan around the horses during the drenching period of their cool out process. Heart rate, respiration rate, and rectal temperature were all monitored throughout the cool out process and the rate of return to resting values of the vital signs was used to determine the effectiveness of the cooling techniques. The presence of the fan and the air speed across the horses tended to increase their rate of cool out after exercise with the fan blowing from the hindquarters towards their head provided the greatest increase.

Finally, the indoor arena study included an online survey and site visits with the purpose of gathering information regarding indoor arenas. As this is an under-researched topic, the goal of this study was to establish common characteristics, identify problems or issues within the facilities, and any health concerns for the horses and humans who use the facilities. The information gathered in this study covered a multitude of topics including arena construction and design, arena usage, footing type, maintenance practices, environmental concerns, and potential health issues within the facilities. This study will serve as the framework to build future research studies to examine and rectify issues within the facilities and, ultimately, provide design recommendations for building or retrofitting indoor arenas to mitigate or eliminate concerns.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)