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June 11, 2019
A couple of months ago, we posted about the importance of supporting your horse’s respiratory health in the spring. While it’s always important to keep your horse as healthy as possible, if you have horses in your barn that are troubled by respiratory issues, you may need to implement some special stable management strategies to support healthy breathing. These tips aren’t too difficult to put to work in your stable, and they can mean a significant difference in comfort and health for horses with respiratory issues.
Take a look at how you clean your barn and think about what activities may be stirring up dust. Try to avoid cleaning stalls while your horses are indoors, and definitely avoid sweeping your barn aisle with your horses indoors.
While using a leaf blower to clean an aisle is a popular practice, this stirs up more dust than sweeping does. If you’ve been using a leaf blower, switch to a broom and see if you notice a difference in your horse’s health.
When you’re grooming dozens of horses a day in your barn, you’re naturally stirring up a lot of dust. Try using a horse vacuum as your main grooming option to reduce the dust in your barn. Even if you can’t vacuum all of the horses, try to vacuum any horses with known respiratory problems.
Open up any and all barn windows and doors to create as much ventilation as possible. Investing in a nylon aisle guard means that you can safely leave your barn doors open more, further helping with ventilation.
You may also want to install overhead fans to help move fresh air into and throughout the barn. Barn-safe, agricultural-grade overhead fans can be an excellent investment in your stable, since they can help to keep horses comfortable in hot weather and improve the air quality of your barn.
If at all possible, store hay in a separate building. Not only is this better for your horse’s respiratory health, but it also removes a fire hazard from your main barn. With less hay in your barn, there are fewer dust and mold spores for your horses to inhale.
Soaking or steaming your hay can help to reduce allergens and make it safer for horses with respiratory issues, but it’s important to start with a quality hay source. Avoid round bales, since they’re notoriously dusty and also prone to mold, especially if your horses take more than a few days to consume the bales when outdoors.
A healthier option may be to feed bagged or chopped hay, especially if steaming or soaking isn’t practical. These low-dust options may cost a bit more than traditional bales, but they can also make a significant difference in your horse’s health.
Depending on whether you own your barn or board your horse, you may be able to implement all or some of these stable management strategies. Of course, don’t forget that feeding BleederShield can support lung health during races and competitions, and can promote repair of EIPH-damaged lungs.
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