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The Ultimate Barn and Arena Lighting Guide for Horse Owners
Horse Arena Lighting

How many times have you wished you had better lighting in your barn, arena, or along causeways? When it comes to handling horses, good lighting is more than a luxury; it’s a prerequisite to a healthy and safe horse experience.
Article by Karen Elizabeth Baril

Poor lighting may even be a liability issue. Trying  to navigate a dimly lit aisle or riding your frisky horse into that shadowy corner of the arena is just not fun. 
Investing in quality lighting is one of those farm improvements that offers so much bang for the buck. In fact, quality lighting saves you money in the long run. Let’s take a look at lighting for the barn, the arena, and even your wash stall.

Barn Lighting
Horse Barn Lighting
Regular incandescent bulbs inside the barn simply do not offer safe or adequate lighting for horse handling. Dark shadows make it tough to navigate aisles with horses in hand and those dark places tend to spook even the calmest horse. Good lighting offers a daylight quality and will help your horse feel more confident when he requires veterinary attention or is having his feet trimmed.

Grooming requires adequate lighting as well. It’s easy to miss a cut or wound in a shadow-filled barn aisle. When choosing lights for the barn or stalls, keep the following in mind:

If  you have old wiring or lighting, enlist the help of a licensed electrician to remove it. Keep in mind that incandescent bulbs generate heat and are a serious fire hazard in the barn. Dust, cobwebs, and bird nesting material are highly flammable. Incandescent bulbs also can shatter when the temperatures rise or drop.

Choose fixtures that are designed for agricultural, but specifically for equines. Lighting should be UL approved and must offer daylight quality. 

LED lights are cool burning and last up to 40 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. They cost more initially, but you’ll save on electricity, protect your horses from the risk of fire, and they require little effort to maintain.

Fixtures must be gasketed and enclosed to seal out moisture, dust, and insects.

Consider lights that offer a timer option or a night-light option.  

Arena Lighting
LED Horse Arena Lighting
Quality lighting for arenas is more than a luxury. It’s a critical component to a safe and comfortable riding environment. Many horses avoid or even shy at shadowy corners. My horse spooks at shadows, creating a safety risk for riders and spectators alike. Conversely, if the arena lighting is too glaring, it can also spook horses and interfere with sight lines to jumps.

Arena builders recommend LED high bay strip lights. A 35,000 Lumen bulb (only uses 300 watts of power) offers high quality daylight quality illumination. Look for fixtures that promise:

No ballast to repair or replace

Shatterproof UV stabilized polycarbonate lenses-(frosted to reduce glare)

Neutral daylight colored light

120 light distribution

Minimum fixture height of 18’

Dimmable lights

Daylight quality

Wash Stall Lighting
Horse Wash Stall Lighting
Take a thousand pound flight animal, a slippery floor, dangling power cords, and one tiny reason to spook—you guessed it, it’s a recipe for horse and human disaster. Don’t bother to stir the ingredients—your horse will do that for you.
If you’ve lived through a few spooky moments, you know that bad things happen with no warning. One minute your horse is standing quietly with his leg cocked and a nano-second later he’s in a full-blown panic. That’s bad enough if you’re leading him , but if you’re trapped in a wash stall with him,  the situation can get downright dangerous. If the lighting is unsafe and your footing is iffy, you’re in double trouble. 

Let's take a look at the essentials of safe conditions in the wash stall.

At least 5,000 lumens

Clear LED tubes

Shatterproof Polycarbonate Lens Covers

No Ballasts to repair or replace

UL Certified for wet locations

Use a waterproof grommet so the cord is airtight, preventing water from leaking into the fixture.

Outdoor Lighting for Walkways and Drives
Security and safety are the primary concerns for outdoor lighting. Choose dusk to dawn lights that turn on automatically or are set on a timer to avoid having to remember to turn lights on and off. Motion sensor lights can work well, but some horses take a little time to get used to them. Consider dark sky lights for outdoors; these lights offer less glare and help to protect the night sky for star gazers.


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