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Horse Stall Design Improvement Essay

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Updated: Jun 9th, 2020


The existence of organic and inorganic particles in stables poses a health risk to horses because they cause recurrent airway obstruction. Microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, contaminate air by releasing endotoxin and β-glycan into the air. Poorly ventilated stables have a higher concentration of dust than well-ventilated stables. In this view, the proposed solution to improve ventilation in stables is the incorporation of the dust sensor, Sharp Dust Sensor, into the air conditioner. The sensor automatically regulates the ventilation rate of the air conditioner, according to the concentration of dust in the stable.

The benefits of the ventilation system are that the sensor is sensitive, consumes less energy, and automatically regulates the air conditioner. The literature review shows that mechanical ventilation, natural ventilation, and modification of ventilation louvers are some of the methods, which are applicable in enhancing ventilation of stables. However, these methods have limitations because they require manual operation and rely on environmental conditions. Hence, the incorporation of sensor technology in the ventilation system of stable is necessary to automate the ventilation process. However, concerns arise because the existence of dust in stables is dependent on relative humidity and temperature. In this view, the design of the stable and ventilation system requires incorporation humidity and temperature sensors.


In poorly ventilated stables, horses are prone to respiratory diseases because organic and inorganic particles accumulate in the air and cause pollution. These particles comprise irritants, allergens, and toxins, which harm the respiratory system when they enter into the lungs. Inorganic particles are mainly dust particles that emanate from the dusty environment. Comparatively, organic particles are the major pollutants of air in the stable equine environment because they comprise fungi, bacteria, fur, manure, and hay. Bacteria and fungi release inorganic particles such as spores and debris materials, which contain toxins. According to Walinder et al. (2011), bacteria and fungi contain toxic chemicals, such as 1-3-β-glycan and endotoxins, which inflame the respiratory system and cause respiratory disorders.

Horses kept in poorly ventilated stables are at risk of developing respiratory disorders caused by the accumulation of organic and inorganic particles in the air. Essentially, microbial contamination is common in poorly ventilated stables because pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses accumulate in the air. Recurrent airway obstruction is a prevalent respiratory disease that affects horses in polluted stables (Witkowska, Kwiatkowska-Stenzel, Jozwiak, Chorazy, & Wokcik, 2012). In this view, ventilation is essential in designing stables because it influences the predisposition of horses to organic and inorganic forms of contamination. Therefore, this essay describes a new stable design with an improved ventilation system to protect horses from the effects of organic and inorganic particles.

The Proposed Solution

The proposed solution to the problem of air pollution by organic and inorganic particles in stables is the installation of a ventilation system, which is sensitive to dust particles in the air. The proposal is in line with the equine code of practice, which states that stables require an efficient ventilation system to prevent the accumulation of dust, noxious gases, and moisture (The National Farm Animal Care Council, 2013). The sensitivity of a dust sensor determines the ability of ventilators to change the rate of airflow in and out of the stables. In designing stable to detect dust and leverage the ventilation rate of ventilators, incorporation of Sharp Dust Sensor is necessary. In this case, the incorporation of the dust sensor in designing stable is central in achieving optimum ventilation.

Description of Sensor Technology Incorporated

The design of stable entails the incorporation of a dust sensor, which is a technology from Sharp World, an electronics company. According to Sharp World (2012), Sharp Dust Sensor is a device, which has the ability to detect concentrations of dust in buildings. Given that detection of dust occurs in stables, Sharp Dust Sensor is an appropriate sensor because designers have designed it to be an indoor sensor. The sensor has the ability to detect dust and smoke particles; hence, it is very sensitive to changes in the levels of dust in a given environment. According to Sharp World (2012), the dust sensor is very sensitive and has the ability to regulate the rate of ventilation in air conditioners and air purifiers automatically.

The sensitivity feature is important in stables because the concentration of dust particles varies according to temperature, humidity, and other activities within a stable. The feature of automatic regulation is central in real-time regulation of ventilation rate in stables. Sharp Dust Sensor uses light-emitting diode in detecting the concentration of dust in the air and gives an appropriate signal to air conditioners or air purifiers. The voltage output from the sensor is proportional to the concentration of dust in a given environment. Hence, the change in voltage output has a commensurate effect on the rate of ventilation. In this case, when the concentration of dust increases, the rate of ventilation also increases, and vice versa.

Voltage Output versus Dust Concentration

Sensitivity of Sharp Dust Sensor. 
Figure 1: Sensitivity of Sharp Dust Sensor. (Sharp World, 2012).

Figure 1 above shows the sensitivity of Sharp Dust Sensor to increasing concentrations of dust. From the figure, it is evident that the sensor can detect concentrations of dust from 0.0 mgcm-3 to 0.6 mgcm-3. Comparatively, the voltage changes from 1.0 V at 0.0 mgcm-3 of dust to 3.7 V at 0.6 mgcm-3 of dust. Hence, the figure shows that the sensor is sensitive to dust concentration that is less than 0.6 mgcm-3. The recommended dust concentration in a stable is less than 1.0 mgcm-3 and endotoxin concentration should be less than 11 ngcm-3 (Robison & Sprayberry, 2009). Therefore, Sharp Dust Sensor is appropriate in detecting concentrations of dust and regulating the rate of ventilation.

Description of the Design

Proposed Design.
Figure 2: Proposed Design.

The design of the stable comprises a dust sensor, an air conditioner, and ventilation louvers, as main ventilation components. The dust sensor is very important ventilation component in the stable because it senses the level of dust within the stable and gives an appropriate signal to the air conditioner. The dust sensor from Sharp World detects dust by creating voltage output, which is a signal that goes to air conditioner. When the dust concentration is high, the dust sensor gives an enhanced voltage output, while when the dust concentration is low, the dust sensor gives small voltage output. Given that dust float in the air, positioning the dust sensor just above the height of horses in stable is appropriate. Horses mostly spend a great deal of their time standing, and thus, they inhale air from a height of 1-1.5 meters. Hence, detection of dust in the air at the height of two meters offers an accurate concentration of dust in the stable.

An air conditioner is another important ventilation component of the designed stabled. The air conditioner is subject to the signals from the dust sensor. As dust sensor generates voltage signals, it sends them to the air conditioner; hence, regulating the rate of ventilation. In this case, an important feature of the air conditioner is automatic regulation based on the concentration of dust in the stable. Roof of the stable is an appropriate position of the air conditioner. When dust levels are high, the air conditioner reduces the concentration by pumping air out of the stable through a vent in the roof. Fundamentally, the air conditioner removes polluted air and allows the ambient air to enter into the stable.

Ventilation louvers situated at the lowest positions on the walls are integral components of the ventilation system because they allow the ambient air to enter into the designed stable and replaces polluted air. The rate at which the air flows through the stable from the ventilation louvers to air conditioner is dependent on the concentration of dust particles in the air. When the concentration of dust is high, the dust sensor generates high voltage, which signals the air conditioner to hasten the ventilation rate of clearing air from the stable. In contrast, when the concentration of dust is low, the dust sensor generates a small voltage, which signals air conditioner to reduce the rate of removing air from the stable.

Benefits of the Ventilation System

  • The sensor requires less than 100 watts; hence, it is cheaper to maintain.
  • The air conditioner does not require manual adjustment because it is automatic.
  • Sharp Dust Sensor can effectively regulate the air conditioner because it is sensitive to dust.
  • The ventilation system does not cause turbulence in the stables
  • The ventilation system does not alter the condition of the ambient air in terms of temperature and humidity.

Background Information

Since the problem of ventilation has been an issue in an equine stable environment for centuries, farmers have been relying on natural mechanism of ventilation, such as wind, breeze, and convection currents. However, the natural ventilation mechanisms have limitations because they are dependent on the direction of the wind, ambient breeze, topography, and weather. According to Witkowska et al. (2012), stables with mechanical ventilation are more conducive for microbial growth than stables with natural ventilation. This finding implies that natural ventilation has significant impact on stables because it determines the growth of microbes, and consequently, microbial contamination. However, natural ventilation has a limitation because it relies on the environmental conditions, which are highly variable and restrictive. Hence, there is a need of advanced ventilation mechanisms, which are independent of environmental factors.

As the size of a stable influences state of ventilation, modification of sizes has been an effective intervention. Essentially, construction of large stables enhances the flow of air, and thus, allowing ambient weather conditions to permeate stables. Moreover, large stables reduce congestion of horses and allow ambient air to flow freely within them. To optimize prevailing ventilation conditions, construction of ventilation louvers permits adjustment of ventilation manually, according to the perceived conditions of stables. Microbial growth occurs in summer because of high humidity and favorable temperature (Witkowska et al., 2012). In this view, stables require enhanced ventilation during summer and minimized ventilation during winter. For example, during summer, ventilation louvers open to allow maximum ventilation, while during winter, ventilation louvers partly open to conserve heat and allow ventilation. However, high humidity is essential in settling dust, which accumulates in the air during summer.

The use of ventilators in stables is a primary solution to the pollution of air by organic and organic particles. Since these particles accumulate in the air, horses inhale them in large proportions, which have detrimental effects on their lungs and entire respiratory system. Currently, there are diverse designs of stables and ventilators, which aim to solve the issue of poor ventilation and accumulation of organic and inorganic particles.

Recurrent airway obstruction is a major respiratory disease, which affect horses in poorly ventilated stables. Construction of stables with mechanical ventilators is an effective solution, which farmers have applied in diverse forms of stables. In a study to determine the effect of mechanical ventilators on the quality of air in stables, Walinder et al. (2011) found out that the concentrations of ammonia, carbon dioxide, allergens, and ultrafine particles reduced significantly. In this view, the finding supports the use of mechanical ventilators in reducing the levels of organic and inorganic particles in the air, and consequently, decreasing predisposition of horses to recurrent airway obstruction.

Other Concerns

Given that dust, humidity, and temperature have some relationships, the design of stable requires integration of ventilators with humidity and temperature sensors. Humidity is an environmental factor, which influences the concentration of dust in a stable. High humidity during summer encourages the growth of microbes, and thus, promoting microbial contamination (Witkowska et al., 2012). However, average humidity is very important because it alleviates pollution of air by settling dust particles. In this view, humidity requires stringent regulation to enhance settling of dust and prevent the growth of microbes. Temperature also has significant influence on the formation of dust in stables. During summer, hay and litter generate more dust than in winter because they are very dry. Moreover, during summer fungi and bacteria produce spores, which contain β-glycan and endotoxin (Walinder et al., 2011). These spores coupled with other organic and inorganic particles contribute to the occurrence of recurrent airway obstruction. Therefore, the effects humidity and temperature require consideration in the design of the stable and the ventilation system.


The National Farm Animal Care Council. (2013). Code of Practice: For the Care and Handling of Equine. Ottawa: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Web.

Robison, N., & Sprayberry, K. (2009). Current Therapy in Equine Medicine. New York: Elsevier Health Science. Web.

Sharp World: Application note of Sharp dust sensor GP2Y1010AU0F. (2012). Web.

Walinder, R., Riihimaki, M., Bohlin, S., Hogstedt, C., Nordquist, T., Raine, A., … Elfman, L. (2011). Installation of mechanical ventilation in a horse stable: Effects on air quality and human and equine airways. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 16(1), 264-272. Web.

Witkowska, D., Kwiatkowska-Stenzel, A., Jozwiak, A., Chorazy, L., & Wokcik, A. (2012). Microbial contamination of air inside and around stable during different seasons of the year. Polis Journal of Environmental Studies, 21(2), 1061-1066. Web.

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