Because riding arena surfaces are frequently watered down to help control dust and provide a compact flooring surface, arena environments are typically humid. This humid environment brings with it a number of risks to both human and horse health.
Increased humidity causes discomfort, but of even greater concern is that a humid arena environment can provide a breeding ground for pathogens. Horses, as well as people, are then at risk for breathing in microbes, molds and fungi present.
Air distribution goals
The goal of any air distribution system should be to remove moisture and excess heat while also minimizing air contaminants and avoiding drafts. Concern over moisture often serves as catalyst for improving overall riding arena ventilation.
A natural ventilation system can play a key role, but to reduce humidity and keep horses—and people—comfortable and healthy year round, you will likely want to supplement your natural system with high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans.
HVLS fan benefits
There are a number of reasons HVLS fans are being used in increasing numbers for riding arenas and other horse facilities. HVLS fans are:
- Energy efficient. While they are larger than box fans, the size and design actually allows them to move larger amounts of air much more efficiently.
- Improve air quality. Dust, gases, too much moisture and other air quality problems have negative impacts on horse health and performance. However, HVLS fans move air slowly, continually mixing fresh and stale air for a higher quality environment.
- Reversible. HVLS fans can be run in reverse during cold weather, moving and mixing the hot air near the ceiling with colder air closer to the ground. This evens out temperatures and reduces heating costs.
- Non-distracting. Since HVLS fans feature slow air movement, they are typically very quiet. One HVLS ceiling fan covers about 20,000 square feet.
While natural ventilation is ideal, the humid environment of riding arenas almost always call for supplemental ventilation. Although there are many fans on the market, HVLS fans have a number of features that make them particularly useful for horse facilities.