Use of Misting Fans for Horse Cooling

Misting fans provide evaporative cooling, which can drop the ambient temperature by as much as 20-30 degrees.
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Misting fans, such as these used at the 2018 WEG, can help cool ambient temperatures for horses and humans.

Outdoor misting fans offer cooling relief on hot days. Chances are you’ve seen them at festivals, sporting events or even on restaurant patios. In the equine industry, misting fans have been used at the 1996 Olympics. 

Misting fans provide evaporative cooling, which can drop the ambient temperature by as much as 20-30 degrees, explained Kathleen Crandell, PhD, a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research.

“In dry climates, misting fans can also introduce some moisture into the air, which can be welcoming,” she said. “The mist also discourages flying insects and keeps the dust down to a minimum.”

The systems might not be as effective in humid climates that are already damp, but they will still stimulate some air movement. Misting systems need some natural air movement. Without adequate airflow in the area, evaporation can’t occur before the water droplets hit the ground. That creates damp areas that encourage mold growth and wood decay.

“Install the misting nozzles where there is good air flow and at a 45-degree angle, not pointing at the ground,” she said.

Permanent systems can be installed if the budget allows, but if not, then portable cooling fans are a more affordable option, she said. An abundant water supply is necessary to provide hours of misting. A pump is also needed to increase the water pressure, which creates the mist.

“Installing a pump that is water-, rodent-, corrosive- and dust-resistant will save costly repairs over time,” she said. “An auto shut-off valve is important to protect the system in times when the water supply is compromised.”

The proper installment of the electrical system in waterproof conduit is vital since it should be kept away from the actual misting itself, lest it short out the electrical system or expose horses and humans to the risk of electrocution. If using portable misting fans, using 3-prong, outdoor rated, water resistant extension cords is advisable.

Whether in a permanent or portable model, a fine mist can feel refreshing on the hottest of summer days.

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