On a hot summer day, where do you typically go to cool off? Most people will probably find relief in a location with air conditioning. Horses don’t always have this option, however, and barns can heat up fast during hot and muggy summer days.     

So how do you keep your horse’s barn cool during the summer? We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 630 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 630 respondents, 323 (51%) said they use fans to keep their horse barns cool, and 111 individuals (18%) open doors and windows. Another 15 respondents (2%) use misters to cool down the barn, and 61 people (10%) use other methods not listed. The remaining 120 respondents (19%) said their horse barn is properly ventilated and does not require extra cooling.

Additionally, more than 75 people commented about how they keep their horse barns cool:

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Many people said they use multiple methods to keep horse barns cool:

  • “I use stall fans and open windows and doors.”
  • “We use all except misters. but it is always very comfortable in there.”
  • “Open doors/windows, add fan on hottest days.”
  • “All of the above, except mine don’t like misters.”
  • “Fans, plus open doors and windows.”
  • “Fans and the end doors always open.”
  • “A combination of fans, cross-ventilation, and opening windows without letting in the sun.”
  • “Doors and windows are always open, fans are on to keep the flies away. I have an open concept living.”
  • “Combination of leaving everything open and ventilated with fans for humid/hot days.”
  • “Actually fans, open doors and windows, and a mister! It is hot here in the Deep South!”
  • “We use both fans and misters in extreme heat.”
  • “Shade cloth awnings, misters, fans, and breezeway openings.”
  • “For extremely high heat indices, it takes a combination of all or some of the above methods.”
  • “I use fans, misters, have stall gates to allow air flow, and leave doors/windows open.”
  • “All of the above with the exception of misters, however we’ve got extremely large fans on the ground.”
  • “Fans, misters, and frequent hosing off. We also add a treat: frozen Gatorade cubes in water buckets.”
  • “Basically all of the above. We live in Arizona, so it is very crucial to keep horses cool.”

Several others said they use fans to keep their barns cool:   

  • “Industrial fans for 100 degree/90% humidity. 9-12K cfm sealed motor -$100-200 cheap fire prevention.”
  • “Our barn is well-ventilated, but my horse still loves to hang out under his fan.”
  • “In steamy Florida, she has access to shade during the day. Fan at night in well ventilated barn.”
  • “We use fans and do night turnout.”
  • “I have six big ceiling fans which do a great job at circulating the air!”
  • “Industrial fans in each stall; each stall also has two doors one aisle and one outside.”


Some commented that their horses were not confined to a barn during the summer:

  • “They don’t live in a barn, have shade and plenty of water and good pasture.”
  • “My horses have 24/7 turnout so if they think it’s too hot in there, they don’t go in the stalls.”
  • “Horses are not shut in the barn and have shade and shelter, but are not confined inside.”
  • “My horse doesn’t live in a barn. He has a run-in shelter with plenty of ventilation.”
  • “He’s in the pasture under shade trees.”
  • “They go outside and stay outside using run-ins for shade.”
  • “They live outside 24/7/365, appropriate shelter and shade, with water available at all times.”
  • “No barn, lots of trees and well-constructed shelters”
  • “Not stalled in a barn. He goes where he wants. Plenty of shade to choose from.”

While some respondents listed other methods of keeping their barns and horses cool:   

  • “Barn placement to take advantage of prevailing winds.”
  • “Barn has a roof, no walls, and stays as cool as the rest of the corral sprinklers used for emergency cool.”
  • “My horses stand outside in 95-110-degree weather even though they have a three-sided shed to stay under.”
  • “Wind turbines in metal roof really help with heat, too.”
  • “Shed-row stalls have two doors each; shed-row and mare motel have high roofs that move hot air up and out.”
  • “Cooling foods and baths.”
  • “In Arizona we use pole barns with no walls. The heat can still get extreme at 120 degrees. I wet my hay.”
  • “Sprinkler hose cools steel roof.”
  • “My barn is open to the south and I can open sliding door on west. There’s usually a breeze through it.”
  • “We bring the temperature down by using the shade of trees and a pattern of shade cloth sails over the barn.”
  • “Barn and adjoining free access paddock are shaded after 1 p.m.”

You can find additional information on improving ventilation in horse barns, considerations for providing shelter and shade to horses during hot weather, learn more about harmonious housing practices for horses, find out how barn air quality affects horses’ breathing, get tips for helping your horse beat the heat this summer, and more at TheHorse.com!  

This week, we want to know: Were you/are you a member in an equine youth organization? Vote now and tell us about your experiences 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.