Indoor school owners could save thousands of pounds in electricity by installing an innovative see-through wall.
While many riding schools rely on plastic rooflights and fluorescent lighting, they can now opt for a more natural, and cheaper, alternative. Highlight — a perforated metal wall sheeting — creates a light and airy environment with excellent ventilation and natural daylight, without allowing in wind and rain.
“Roof lights often give uneven lighting across a building, with the creation of shadowy areas and strong light beams,” says Ali Dominy, recreational rider and managing director at United Roofing Products in Devon.
“Electrical lighting can also create shadows, and is expensive to run, while glass or plastic windows often result in a stuffy atmosphere in the summer.”
Highlight’s perforations allow light and air through 25% of the clad area in an even spread, so the building is always light and well ventilated. “However, it doesn’t allow in wind and rain — it is like standing outside but without the weather.”
Originally developed to improve health and welfare in livestock buildings, it is now in great demand for equestrian use, including as walling on indoor schools and equine pools. For more information visit www.unitedroofingproducts.com or call 01884 839302.
Rosevidney Livery Stables, Marazion, Cornwall
Scott and Verity Perry installed Highlight wall panels at Rosevidney when they built a brand new 22m x 60m indoor school in 2009.
“We wanted to make sure we had plenty of light coming in, so that we didn’t have to use the lights as much,” says Scott. “It’s worked really well — we only need to put the lights on when it gets dark. Other yards need to have lights on eight hours a day, so that’s a saving for us of over £1400 a year.”
The couple have been running the yard since 1988, keeping 20 horses at livery, and providing regular Pony Club and Riding Club competitions and private lessons. “The new school is great because it allows for year round riding and training in the dry — we feel it’s very important to keep upgrading the facilities so they are as good as they possibly can be.”
The panels were very easy and relatively cheap to install — and also curried favour with the local planning department. “We put them along the whole side of the building – and because the exterior is grey it looks like an ordinary clad building from the outside,” says Scott. “One of the conditions of our planning permission was a neutral shade, so it’s perfect for that. And a cost of about £2000 installed, I think it is probably cheaper than timber cladding. It’s light and easy to put up – you can just pick it up with one hand so we literally put it up with a ladder and a few hand tools.”
Although the sheeting is metal, it is galvanised to prevent rust — and with 25% of the wall being perforated it allows plenty of light and air in, without letting in the rain and snow. By providing natural light, it also creates a more natural working environment, without shadows to spook the novice horse.
“It is performing very well and the horses seem to like it — it’s nice and airy inside in the summer, and doesn’t get hot like some indoor schools do,” says Scott. “On frosty days there is no sign of frost inside, either. It’s also nice to be able to see out when you are riding – if you have corrugated sheets or wood you can’t see through them, and spending all day in the school you can feel a bit cooped up. This way we can see straight out across the farm.
“It’s done so much more than we had expected. Our main reason for installing it was to save on running costs, and it’s done that. But it’s also made the school a much nicer environment to work in for horse and rider.”