What’s the first thing you notice when you walk into your horse barn? If it’s stuffy with a strong stench of ammonia, you might have an air quality issue on your hands.

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if air quality was a concern or challenge in their barns. More than 470 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 475 respondents, only 76 respondents (16%) said they’re concerned about the air quality in their horses’ barns. Another 210 people (44%) said they’re not concerned about their barns’ air quality, and the remaining 189 respondents (40%) said their horses do not live in barns.

Additionally, more than 65 people commented about the air quality in their barn:

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Several respondents shared how they keep fresh air moving throughout their barn:

  • “We leave doors and windows open for air circulation.”
  • “In the older barn open windows and fans help with ventilation.”
  • “There’s no back wall on my barn, but I use Bye Bye Odor on pee spots and deep bedding drains pee away.”
  • “I don’t use a leaf blower to clean to keep dust to a minimum and we have a good breeze through barn.”
  • “I have an exhaust fan going and windows open for ventilation.”
  • “I open doors and windows first thing in the morning and spray fresh shavings.”
  • “I remove horses, open doors, and use a leaf blower to eliminate dust when the weather permits.”
  • “No, drains in the stalls and fans to move air year-round keep the barn fresh.”
  • “Windows, doors, and fans move the air, but it still can be stuffy.”
  • “It’s all about ventilation–lots of it!”
  • “Our barn doors and/or windows are open for fresh air unless there’s harsh weather.”
  • “We use lime to take away the smell, and they are outside more now.”

Many shared how different features of their barn allow for good air quality:

  • “Our barn has good ventilation and each horse has an open window in his/her stall.”
  • “We have big windows and end doors. The aisle is angled to prevailing wind, and the barn is vented to circulate air up and out.”
  • “Windows and doors are open as much as possible. It’s a wood barn with lots of cracks.”
  • “I have a well-designed barn with good ventilation and windows open.”
  • “I have an MD Barnmaster barn, which is vented along both outside walls and breezy in aisle.”
  • “Our barn build included passive vents at both ends, hi-mount slider windows, and power fan for heat of summer.”
  • “My horse lives in an open-sided barn with no walls.”
  • “We have open run-in sheds and pipe corrals for all, and the oldest gets the downwind side.”
  • “We have a ‘mare motel’ that has only half-walls. There’s lots of air movement throughout.”
  • “My barn is very open and airy and in Northern Nevada we have a strong breeze most days, so that helps!”
  • “My stalls are in-and-outs and the top halves of the barn entrance doors are always open, as well.”
  • “The stalls have open doors to runs outside so fresh air is always available.”
  • “The barn is very ventilated. It is equipped with a fan, windows at every stall, and dust-free sand.”
  • “I have an exhaust fan at one end and a fresh air intake at the other. The fan comes on automatically.”
  • “The barn was designed for good ventilation: high, big doors and an open concept.”

Some individuals discussed different air quality concerns or challenges they face:

  • “It’s a concern because the barn is attached to an indoor arena.”
  • “It is a converted cattle barn. We do our best to sweep and aerate.”
  • “Arizona dryness and wind means a lot of dust! It’s a constant factor to consider.”
  • “Living on a dirt road during a drought is an issue for my pastured horses.”
  • “We have two with breathing issues. They have free access in and out. I wait until they are out to clean.”
  • “My horses only have a run-in shed, however dust is still a problem in Arizona.”
  • “Yes, just moved my horse because of poor air quality.”

While others said they do not have qir quality issues:

  • “I have a small three-horse barn with stalls open to the pasture 24/7. No odors.”
  • “My barn has great air circulation.”
  • “A pole barn in Texas has no air quality issues, except perhaps wind.”
  • “There’s no concern due to barn design and 24-hour access to runs for fresh air.”

And some said their horses spend more time outdoors than in the barn:

  • “My horse lives outside and breathes fresh air all day and night.”
  • “My horses’ stall doors are hardly ever closed, so they have free access in or out.”
  • “My horses have a 24-foot-by-seven-foot open shelter and a large paddock with 24/7 access to hay”
  • “I train racehorses and they all live outside in grassy paddocks with a shelter and rugs.”
  • “They have a spacious run-in with no air issues.”
  • “A three-sided run-in available at all times, but mostly only used during the heat of summer”
  • “My horse lives out, either dry-lotted or on pasture with a run-in shed, weather permitting.”
  • “My horses are only in the barn when we have bad weather.”
  • “My horses live turned out 24/7 with access to run-in sheds in their pastures.”

You can find additional information on how air quality in the barn affects horses’ breathing, tips for controlling dust on horse properties, learn how ammonia can be dangerous to both you and your horse, and design aspects to consider when building or renovating your barn at TheHorse.com.

This week, we want to know: how do you protect your horse from sunburn? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls!  

The results of our  weekly polls  are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them.  Sign up for our e-newsletters  on our homepage and look for a new poll on  TheHorse.com.