Temperature and Humidity in Indoor Riding Arenas during Cold Weather

Improved rider, instructor, and horse comfort and health may be improved with fresh air entry and distribution within the arena.


Improved environment within horse-riding indoor arenas starts with an understanding of current conditions. Little information is available on environmental conditions within indoor arenas. Improved rider, instructor and horse comfort and health may be achieved with improved fresh air entry and distribution within the arena. Six indoor arenas were monitored with electronic temperature and humidity sensors in order to better define conditions within the facilities. There was large variation in the amount of ventilation (0, 0.3, 0.4, 1.4, 9.1 and 21.5 m3 opening per 100 m3 arena floor area) provided to indoor arenas for air quality and occupant comfort during winter conditions. The facilities are characterized in terms of a number of features, such as ventilation system, riding surface material, temperature and humidity levels, and management expertise. All but one arena met natural ventilation temperature guidelines most of the time; two arenas met well-ventilated temperature guidelines all the time. All but one arena was more humid, in terms of absolute humidity, than outdoor conditions. Moisture comes from water that is applied to suppress dust in the riding surface. Arenas attached directly to the horse stable had higher indoor humidity levels than arenas separated from the stable.

Prepared by Dr. Eileen Fabian Wheeler, Jennifer L. Zajaczkowski, and Dr. Nancy K. Diehl

Contact Information

Eileen E.  Fabian (Wheeler)
  • Professor of Agricultural Engineering
Phone: 814-865-3552