27th April 2023

How to improve ventilation in riding arenas

How Hartpury University and Hartpury College improved ventilation

It’s been a year since Hartpury University and Hartpury College unveiled their new Equine and Animal Assisted Activity Area (EAAAA) which features Galebreaker’s Multibay system.
The arena was primarily built for use during equestrian competitions like the FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors 2022.

The arena has since also been used by college and university students studying a range of equine, human-animal interaction and canine diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

The EAAAA has also been used for special outreach events with local school children, funded by The Sedbury Trust and hosted by HorseBack UK with the goal of boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Having included Galebreaker’s Multibay system during the construction of the arena, Hartpury’s Equine Director, Phillip Cheetham, shares his experiences.

Adequate ventilation for horse and rider

A study in Kentucky, USA, of 355 horse owners found:

  • 84.5% of respondents who had concerns over their equine environment were worried about dust levels
  • 65% were concerned about a lack of air movement
  • 37% were concerned about the temperature

During exercise, horses’ muscles can require up to 35 times the oxygen required at rest. For riders, the activity of riding itself can increase the amount of oxygen needed by up to 240%. With a permanence of up to 25%, Multibays offer excellent airflow while still being UV- stabilised, tear-resistant and flame retardant.

“We wanted an arena with a roof to keep things nice and fresh for the riders inside. When you’re in the arena, you get all the advantages of riding in the outside with plenty of ventilation but without being exposed to the elements,” says Phillip.

Riding in all weathers

As the riding arena is principally being used as a warm-up area for outdoor competitions, it was important for Hartpury that the arena maintained an outdoor environment while allowing users to benefit from riding even during inclement weather. Philip and his team felt it was important for both human and equine competitors to warm up in a similar environment to the one they will be competing in.

Even the calmest of horses can be spooked by a strong gust of wind and having a positive warm-up can make a difference.

As anyone who’s taken their horse to a competition will tell you, it can take a long time to acclimatise horses to a different environment. A relaxed horse will be more able to perform well.

Multibay screens placed on one long and one short side of the arena work to stop a prevailing wind that travels through the campus. The electric rolling screens can be quickly and easily removed in good weather to reduce the temperature and allow everyone inside to benefit from a breeze on a hot summers day while maintaining a workable environment in cooler climates.

They provide privacy while allowing you to enjoy the view

One of the unexpected benefits for riders at the new arena is the unrestricted views it provides while being opaque from the outside. This is of particular use if your arena is alongside a footpath or you keep your horses close to a residential area.


How to improve ventilation in riding arenas