Courtesy of Classic Equine Equipment
Next month we turn the clocks back an hour. While it’s great that we get to sleep in an extra hour, it means that days are going to start getting darker sooner. Shadows and poorly lit areas can make stall cleaning cumbersome and inhibit observation and care of your horse. In order to get all the riding, horse care and barn work in that you want, it’s a good idea to look at ways to add more light to your barn.
A combination of individual stall and general aisle way lighting is preferred. Place fixtures where they won’t create shadows for the horse when he enters his stall. For natural lighting, provide a minimum of 4 square feet of window space in each stall. Glass windows should be either out of reach (generally above 7 feet) or protected by sturdy bars or mesh. Lexan is a good option for window glazing. Position fixtures at least 8-feet high to minimize contact with the horse. Avoid motion sensor lights inside the barn as they are often tripped by barn cat or other animals.
Big barn exteriors require big lights – standard residential type lights are typically too small and do not provide enough light. Dusk to Dawn Halogens are often installed over entryways for general lighting purposes and for safety. Select fixtures as to where they will be used as barns are dusty and in some areas (wash bays) very moist. Vapor tight fixtures are required in wet areas for safety and durability. When selecting lighting bulbs, there are several options.
In addition, using lights in strategic places can also help with barn security. Install security lights at farm entrance and around barn doors. Either leave them on from dusk to dawn or install motion detection lights to alert you to intruders. Remember, however, that motion sensors can also be tripped by your barn cat or other animals.
In order for the lights (and other equipment) to work in the barn, you need electricity. All electrical wiring in the barn should be housed in metal or hard plastic conduit since rodents may chew unprotected wires, creating a fire hazard. Metal conduit can be used, but has the tendency to rust. Plan enough circuits, outlets and fixtures so switches are within easy reach. Locate switches so lights can be turned on and off at two convenience locations, usually at either end of the barn. Install outlets every 15 feet or so on both sides of the aisle. Light switches should be four feet up from the floor and outlets should be 13-15 inches off the floor (or as required by code).
Consider lighting in other areas of your barn as well. Common places are the wash/grooming areas, feed room and tack room.