Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems

Program or Major

Equine Studies: Industry and Management

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Christina J. Keim


Many studies have evaluated the impact of poor stable air quality on equine respiratory health and respiratory illness in horses. Many factors contribute to poor air quality conditions in the equine stable environment, including ventilation rates, humidity levels, presence of noxious gases, rate of fungal spore production, and level of airborne organic and inorganic dust particles. While the implications of poor air quality for equine health are well-documented, far less is known about how air quality impacts human stable personnel. This literature review seeks to evaluate the implications of poor equine stable air quality on the respiratory health and allergic response of human personnel and consider management strategies to mitigate these risks. Management practices that have shown efficacy at reducing the levels of respirable particles and improving air quality include the use of clean, low-dust bedding and hay, turning horses out of the stable for long periods of the day, and ensuring the stable is adequately ventilated. Findings suggest the most common cause of increased respirable airborne particulate matter (APM) in equine stable air is the dispersion of settled dust during daily barn management and cleaning practices. Many of these practices are required to maintain an environment that meets equine health and husbandry needs, so further research is warranted to determine ways of reducing workers’ exposure to APM during these activities.