Window in viewing room to arena; how to minimize risk?
So we are mid construction of our new barn and arena. The arena is attached to the barn and I have designed it so that there is a 42 inch by 42 inch window looking from the tack room into the arena. The arena will be used mostly for riding; I don't plan to turn out horses in the arena.
However, free jumping is on the agenda. Now I am worrying about a horse kicking through the window or getting confused by a reflection and running into it.
How much of a risk is that? If I get bars welded across the front of it, it sort of defeats the purpose of having a viewing room.
Apparently I have a limitless capacity for worrying about things....
I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.
Can you set the window back from the arena wall so it isn't right there in the arena? Not sure that makes sense, but thinking you would have arena, then the kick wall around arena, then have the window set back a bit from that, so the window has some protection by being set outside the arena somewhat. Having the viewing room floor a bit higher than the arena floor also helps as the window will be that much higher.
Turnout in rings with mirrors always scares me -- I have seen where horses have kicked them, so it does happen. We were at one barn where my horse would go down to rear up at his reflection, and I worried he would strike out (the mirrors were right there on/in the arena, so no gap), so if he got turned out in the ring, I had to stay down there with a whip to protect the "other horse" from him.
I suppose if this is your own barn, you could devise a sliding cover for the window -- so you could cover it if you are turning someone out and want to protect the glass. Wouldn't be hard to do if you have room to do it.
One barn I boarded at had shades on rollers that would be rolled down to cover the mirrors lining the indoor when horses were turned out in there.
horsepoor's idea of a cover for the window is a good one.
If there isn't room for a slider, maybe a hinged cover - same material as the kickboard - if you have room for that?
Perhaps a PITA to put up, but less worry about horses inured and/or windows broken.
Even if you use lucite in place of glass there can be sharp, jagged edges if it breaks.
The shades worked fine, except for my TB who would poke his nose under the shade so he could Shnort!! at the "Other Horse"
He did also strike at his reflection, but the mirrors were hung above his knee level.
If he'd reared it could have been ugly....
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
We have a viewing room in the corner of the arena at the barn we board at with vertical safety glass panels (car-type). They look nice, but because of their close proximity to the ring the vet was not impressed. Frankly, he has a point. If a moose can go through the panels and kill a person in a car, a horse could do likewise. Overall, glass does not impress this man. However, in a flat window connecting the tack room to the arena, with a shade over it when not in use, safety glass would probably be the best choice.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein
You can get sheet acrylic and have it made up, I think the brand name is Lexan, or you can create some sort of barrier - my last trainer had her carts all lined up against the viewing room wall and a barrier, but she also had standard slider windows all along the walls for light, right about horse head height, which wasn't good, but neither had she ever had a horse kick out and hit one, knock on wood.
Arena wise, in an indoor I'd advise that you have an actual arena and not use any wall that has a small opening of any kind, such as a door or a window as your arena wall. I've seen people poke their heads out of a sash window right into the track and startle the horse, dumping the rider, and I walked out of the bright light right into the track once when there was a horse cantering along and got the rider dumped. Big roll up or slider doors are a bit better that way, but if you walk straight into the track it's really not safe.
Having grown up in an arena that had the mirrors. believe me when I say, you do want to make your window a commercial safety glass or a plastic. We had too many accidents with riders or horses and the mirrors. The barn ended up getting rid of the mirrors until they could eventually be replaced with safe ones.
This seems like a great place to utilize a laminated glass window. Especially if it is a solid viewing window as opposed to a sash type window. Many of the laminated windows are rated for hurricanes for residential and commercial applications.
Our indoor has both mirrors (3) and viewing windows (2). Horses are not allowed to be turned out without a person present. We do free-jumping, etc.
The mirrors are some sort of safety mirrors, and in the five years I've boarded there we haven't had a problem. They are set high enough a horse isn't going to kick them.
Our viewing windows the smallish one is set into the wall about 12". The other is quite large (two that are probably 12' wide each, with about 18" between) is situated between two doors (one people door into our clubhouse and the other big slider and has an upright post in the middle where the windows aren't. I am not sure what type of glass they are.
I wouldn't be worried, many dressage barns have mirrors without problems, so I don't think a window will be a problem
Three times in my career (including once while on ambulatory rotation in 4th year) I have arrived too late to save a horse that became injured by the arena mirrors or windows.
Only one of the horses was loose in the arena-pulled away from handler while being longed, spooked, crashed through window.
One horse bolted, bucking spree, hit the mirror, panicked, hit the other mirror(s.)
The third I'm not sure, I think youngster just learning jumping, in a covered but not fully enclosed arena attempted to jump out through the mirror (rider escaped with minor injuries)
Once I arrived just in time, I was really too concerned with stopping the bleeding and suturing to inquire as to what happened.
The viewing windows at the farm I grew up riding at were actually fenced off from the arena for safety, but still horses were never allowed loose in there (nor were they free-jumped). It was not until school that I realized why they were so strict about having no loose horses in the indoor.
If you really really want to have the windows, I would suggest looking into that shatterproof safety glass they have at schools and in construction zones.
Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
Sam: A job? Does it pay?
Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.
hmmm...not sure I have any ideas on how to make it perfectly safe...(can you tell us: what area inside the arena the opening would look out on? (I mean: long side of arena? short end?.) too bad the arena itself isn't a bit 'larger' than you actually need, where in you could: have a half walled 'enclosed' seating area/walkway here...(think: walkway down this side, half wall is now the actual arena wall...) then, the window is not accessable (just don't put your seating area in front of it) ) THEN...wouldn't it be cool to put in one of those 'one way mirrors'....Mirror for the horsey/riding side, viewing from the tack room!
"Indecision may or may not be my problem"
One word - Lexan. It comes in various thicknesses from normal window pane thick to hockey arena thick. It's superior to plexiglass - doesn't change colour to that nasty yellow, is stronger and doesn't deteriorate over time like regular plexiglass. Lexan is the stuff of headlamp lenses, safety glasses, etc. and lasts a long time before replacement is needed. I have a piece of greenhouse Lexan replacing a busted window in the workshop, and it is over 10 years old, and no changes and it still lets through the same amount of light it did when I installed it (it's translucent rather than clear and gets full sun).
Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!