Hello and welcome to the first Lighthoof newsletter!
My name is Kelly. I’m one of the founders of Lighthoof and I’m looking forward to chatting with you monthly about great topics related to horse care that will help and inspire you on your journey to a Pinterest-worthy horse stable that suits you and your herd to a T.
In November’s edition, I’m going to talk about a non-mud-related winterization project that we just did at our barn, tell you why the late fall isn’t such a bad time to install Lighthoof, and ask for your input on what’s most important to you right now.
But first, a little about me. :) I created Lighthoof with my husband Dan, who’s a product design engineer. We live with our 2 year old son, West, and our 4 horses just outside of Seattle, WA. Our farm is a boarding facility that houses 40 horses. We are lucky to have had many very different types of equines/equids and their people cross our path who have shaped the way we do our stable management, design our products, and help others with their farms.
Lighthoof was an innovation that we have greatly enjoyed sharing with the world and are thankful to have happy customers from all corners of the globe. I love the way that the simple and universal act of caring for horses brings people together from such diverse backgrounds.
Thanks to you for joining us!
Fresh Air and Winter Warmth
As I write this, we are buttoning down a project on one of our barns that will benefit us both in winter and summer! One of our stables backs up to, and shares a wall with, the indoor arena. The barn has a single pitch roof that traps hot air near the ceiling where the roofline meets the arena wall. In the summer, that stable is very hot and stuffy - so on a whim one hot day, I pulled all the panels down at the tops of the stalls that were trapping the hot air in the barn. Instantly the stuffy air rose up into the arena rafters, cool air came rushing in the aisle doors, and the sweaty ponies had some sweet relief from the heat!
However, I knew that my decision was going to have serious implications as the nights grow colder in November. Previously we used the hot air trapped in the barn, which was created by the 12 fuzzy, hay-munching horses, to keep the pipes and automatic waterers from freezing. The barn was always a comfortable 10 degrees warmer at night than the outside temperatures.
I knew that I needed a system that would be able to let the hot air out in the summer and keep the warm air inside in the winter. I experimented with a number of silly looking flaps and doors that my boarders were always giving a suspicious side-eye to as they carefully rode by. Finally my handyman had a brilliant idea! He picked up three industrial, wall-mount shutter fans from Grainger Supply and installed them near the ceiling pointing into the arena. Then he buttoned my flappy panels down tight and installed trim to make it look like board and batten siding.
He used outdoor shielded cables near the ceiling to safely wire them into a switch at the end of the aisle and voila! With the flip of a switch, all of the hot air is drawn quickly from the barn and into the arena where is dissipates into the rafters. When the fans are off, the shutter flaps fall closed and the barn is automatically winterized!
This system has a whole bunch of added bonuses. In addition to cooling the barn in the summer, the quiet vent fans can be run year round to refresh and improve the breathability of the air, which is healthier for horse’s sensitive respiratory systems and keeps it smelling nicer.
When riding in the arena, you can feel a pleasant gentle breeze coming down the longside. In the late fall when the temps are cool, but not too cold for the barn, I can run the vent fans and the warm air from the horses in the barn will blow into the arena which really takes the edge off during warmup and cool downs.
Ventilation may not seem like a very sexy barn project, but it certainly has me excited and already enjoying the many multi-season benefits that this improvement has to offer! ;)
Why Late Fall Isn’t Such a Bad Time to Install Lighthoof
Although November is project prime-time for our friends in the South, I talk to plenty of people this time of year who say, “oh! I really want Lighthoof this winter, but it’s probably too late to get started.” I usually ask them if they have a good pair of boots and a great sense of humor. If they do, then there’s no reason not to go for it!
Even if it’s already raining, it’s not hard to get Lighthoof installed in your trouble spots and save yourself and your horses from a season of mud. If you can walk into your mud without drowning or sinking in past your ankles, then you can put Lighthoof right over the top with a good layer of landscape fabric underneath. If you do sink in past your ankle bones, you may want to wait ‘till next summer to install when the ground is a little firmer.
There are plenty of other reasons NOT to wait on your Lighthoof project though. For one, the wet season can be very long, and any extra time you spend battling mud this year is one less winter spending time with your horse and/or family. Additionally, in some regions, heavy snow pack can last through the spring right up into show and trail riding season. So waiting to install your Lighthoof can end up dragging on until you’d like to be doing other things.
Finally, already expanded and installed panels perform great in frozen weather! But collapsed panels really prefer to stay collapsed in temps sub 40 degrees F. So, if you decide in January that you can’t wait another month, you will end up bringing your chilly new “friends” (Lighthoof panels) inside your house or truck until they relax enough to stretch all the way open.
So if you aren’t afraid to get a little wet and dirty every once in a while, let us get your panels on the road to you, grab a shovel and rake, and get ready to put some hot tea on to warm you up when you are done!
Lighthoof panels ship for free anywhere in the continental US. We have them in stock and ready for you, so you normally only need to wait around 6 days for them to arrive.
What’s on Your Mind?
Is there something on your farm that you wish you had an innovation for? Is there a horse care or equine lifestyle topic that you would enjoy pondering? Let me know and I’ll address it in the next newsletter! I’d love to hear back from you even if it’s just a quick note, smile, or idea. Hit reply and I’ll see you in my inbox. Or better yet, join us on Facebook at facebook.com/lighthoof to share your questions and ideas with our 8k+ community of fellow equestrians.
Until then, have a great ride! (or drive, or liberty session, or carrot and hug, or whatever it is you and your horse enjoy!)