Modern horse barns are designed with airflow and ventilation in mind to promote healthy lungs for the horses, control the spread of germs, and keep a well-ventilated building. A key component in stall design that promotes this is the window in the stall.
Stall windows can be simple or elaborate depending on the needs of the individual stable. A basic slider window design can be very effective – it allows for ventilation stall windows and light with large surface areas unimpeded by mullions, making them easy to clean. However, this style can be susceptible to wind and water infiltration during stormy weather and must be carefully managed to prevent drafts in cold climates and snow or rain entering a stall during wet weather.
Another option is the jalousie type window, which offers good ventilation. It also has the benefit of not protruding out from the wall, making it safe for horses. However, it is more difficult to maintain in a high location because the glass slats are easily removed and must be carefully secured when not in use. It is also less sturdy than other window designs and can pose a safety hazard to equipment, horses or people in the event of an emergency.
One of the more elaborate options is the Dutch door, which is an excellent way to increase and control ventilation in the stall. The double doors allow for full or partial opening and can be locked together if necessary to limit access by curious or aggressive horses. These can also be opened to reduce ammonia gas and odors that accumulate in the dark, moist stall area.
In addition to windows, a barn can benefit from skylights in each stall. The sunlight and fresh air help to deodorize the stall and make cleaning and mucking much easier. They can also help to lower the humidity and temperature, preventing mold and mildew and reducing dust.
Ideally, the best option for a stall is a clear span structure that does not require interior support columns. This allows for more space for stalls and aisles, which is helpful in maintaining a good flow of traffic throughout the barn. It can also be less expensive than a traditional framed barn because it does not require a costly foundation and trusses.
When designing a stall, it is important to keep in mind that the goal is not just to let in the light and air but also to provide an opportunity for observation and care of the stalled horses. To ensure this, the windows should be high in the wall (generally 5 feet or more), constructed of tempered glass and protected on the horse side with bars or a steel grate to prevent escape attempts. If these are not possible, the stall must be kept very well-lit to ensure that shadows do not obscure any parts of the stalled animal and to discourage repetitive behaviors such as weaving. A window yoke grill can be added to the Dutch windows for extra security and ease of operation.