by American Stalls November 13, 2023
As the days continue to get shorter, it can make horse keeping more challenging. During this time of year, you may be spending more time in the barn when it is dark outside, but great horse barn lighting can make the winter months a little brighter until the days get longer again. Evaluating lighting needs and taking steps to make your facility safer will benefit you and your horses and can even add up to significant cost savings throughout the year.
Before planning on updating barn lighting, there are a few terms to familiarize yourself with to get a better understanding of how lighting works in a specific space. One of the most common terms in lighting is watts, or wattage, which is a unit of power denoted by a transfer of energy. While watts have always been equated to brightness for incandescent bulbs, with the emergence of LED lighting, the wattage is typically lower while the lighting is brighter. Lumens are a measure of light output and perceived brightness in space, and Foot Candle Measurements indicate one lumen per square foot. Photometrics is the measurement of how lighting will work in a space and may be a term that is used when contracting someone to complete a lighting project in your horse barn or arena.
The single most innovative technology in lighting is the use of LED (light-emitting diode) lighting versus conventional incandescent lighting. LED lighting is safer than conventional lighting because it runs cooler, decreasing the risk of a fire hazard from the heat of a lighting source. Because LED lighting is much more efficient than traditional lighting, it will also translate to savings on electric expenses. LED lighting lasts significantly longer than other forms of lighting, resulting in less turnover and product replacement, and it is better for the environment too.
Interior Barn Lighting
When it comes to lighting inside the barn, it is important to note that utilizing natural lighting as much as possible creates a healthier environment. Horses, like humans, need Vitamin D which we source through the sunlight, which in turn allows the absorption of minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Well-planned interior lighting becomes essential for barns when natural light isn’t available.
Proper lighting in the interior of the barn is going to make day-to-day activities much safer for both you and your horse. Some of the areas to concentrate on include aisle ways, grooming areas, feed rooms, and horse stalls. Appropriate lighting can make grooming and clipping much easier, but it will also allow for proper examination of tack and equipment, increasing safety. In feed rooms and aisle ways, it allows for feed and medications to be properly assessed so that you can make sure that each horse is getting what they need when they need it. Good lighting makes it easier to ensure these areas are properly cleaned.
Above are a handful of ideas of installing different types of lighting fixtures to help complement the Custom Horse Stalls, Rubber Pavers, Barn Entry Doors and other stable equipment in your barn. Lighting fixtures can include everything from LED strips to gooseneck lamps to chandeliers.
Lights can also alter circadian rhythm for a horse, tricking their system into believing it is summer year-round. For this to work, lights should be placed on a timer so that the horse is exposed to light for around 16 hours throughout the day. Extension of lighting will both keep hair coats short for horses that show year-round and keep mares cycling through the year to allow for earlier breeding. If lighting in stalls is being used to maintain coats or assist with breeding plans, the stall should be lit in such a way that it is easy to read a newspaper in the darkest corner.
When riding in an arena, shadows can create a spooky space for your horse, so there are a few things to consider when mapping out a lighting project. The number of foot candles required for safe riding will largely depend on the types of events that are occurring in the arena. Professional settings and arenas may need up to 70-foot candles. Standard training facilities require as little as 25–30-foot candles, while disciplines that involve obstacles, such as jumps, do best with around 40-foot candles because the objects can cast shadows.
For outdoor arenas, the lighting is typically on the perimeter, this means that setting the poles around the arena as high as possible will provide the best lighting. Poles that are 20-foot high may be adequate, 30-foot poles are preferable. For indoor arenas, there are typically more restrictions with height of the lamps. To adjust for this, add more lighting. Additional lights will allow the casting of the light to overlap, softening harsh lines that can cause shadows.
Exterior Bar & Safety Lighting
Exterior barn lighting improves the safety and security of your barn. Anyone who has horses at home understands that no matter what season or time of day, there are reasons you will need to be in the barn after dark. In these cases, it is helpful to have lighting on the exterior of the barn that lights the way for entry points. Motion-sensing lights can help save energy and will alert you if someone or something is out in the barn area. Although lighting alone will not guarantee security, it can be an important part of a more comprehensive security plan. It can help deter nocturnal animals from entering the barn, including raccoons, opossums, and even coyotes. When walking between the pastures and the barns, well-planned lighting can make it safer to lead horses in or out in the darkness.
Lighting is an important aspect of any well-planned equine facility. By simply adding light, it leads to a safer and healthier environment for horses and humans. Lighting can also add an extra touch of beauty to the barn interior and exterior. Fixtures can be refined, modern, or classic, depending on the overall style of the barn. Our team can help you every step of the way in your project, helping to incorporate beauty into your lighting improvements. We encourage you to fill out our Consultation Form and one of our expert Project Managers would love to assist you. You can reach our team at (855) 957-8255 or email@example.com. We look forward to assisting you soon!