My dream barn would have these, even out here in fairly moderate CA . Only because when it gets really cold, but I still need to body clip, I could bathe and then stick under the heat lamps. But, like mentioned I would be really scared about fire safety-maybe have them on a timer so they couldn't go longer than 30 minutes without being reset?
If it's something you really want to do, figure out just how much power the one you choose will draw and do the math. Electricity ain't cheap and none of these gadgets is particularly energy-efficient.
I have very, very small ones (like 60W) for my chickens and another small one where the dogs and cats like to sleep. I don't stand still long enough in the barn to make use of a human-sized one. If you really spend long periods of time standing in one spot, they are lovely. Otherwise, not worth it, and if you do use one, make sure you add a timer in case you forget to turn it off!
We have these where I board. One in the washrack and one over every stall. I'm not sure how much they get used by the barn or how much they cost to run.
I have used them when it is very cold and the vet is there. They do certainly help when you've got the horse in the washrack for an extended period of time while the vet scrubs for an IA injection or something similar. The heaters we have really only heat directly under, so you've got to be right there to get any benefit.
After some vet work on some very bitterly cold days, an actual HEATED vet area is on my list of wants for my barn. The overheads were just not nearly enough. Perhaps if they were bigger or if there were more of them.
I was just thinking about these for my home barn, but not really sure how much use I'd really get out of them, being in a pretty mild climate. But when I had to pull out a hair dryer to dry my hairy beast before blanketing him the other day, I thought how nice it would be to just put him under a heater for a bit. I was tempted to put him in the heated tack room, where everything else goes to dry out, but he's too much of a bull in a china shop guy.
At my former job, we had them installed in our wash stall. They were EXCELLENT. Very nice for bathing pre/post hunting or if someone HAD to have a winter bath (my horses, with their allergy skin, took advantage of them a lot), or for clipping in the dead of winter (or braiding). A good investment, HOWEVER, we did have doors on our wash stall, so I could turn the lights on, close the doors, and raise the temp in the wash stall a bit. They would have been helpful without the doors, but they were awesome WITH the doors.
Ours were on a timer, so you couldn't forget to leave them on and run up the electric bill a bunch.
Ours were also especially made for horses/wash racks (they start with a K), so were a little tougher and than just the big bulbs.
I used to have the Big Red Bulbs in my wash stall in the corners inside reflectors to help with drying and when clipping....until water drops bouncing off a horse hit a hot bulb that was turned off and it exploded...now want a heat bar type like the Quartz one.....
My neighbor has one above her wash stall (inside the barn). It looks more or less like a regular 'shop light' that takes florescent tubes, but instead it's radiant heat. Very nice, but not something I'd want to pay the electric bill for!
The horse would just have to live with the propane blower heater if I *really* needed heat. (Vet emergency in bitter cold -- no winter baths for us.)
Thank you all very much for your ideas and experience.
Having been the cold horse holder for shoers and vets, I'd love to be able to give these guys the warmth they need to work well on my horses. Think of it as a big ol' Welcome Mat rolled out.
For the rest of the time, do you guys think heat lamps speed drying of the bathed horse significantly? Do they make the difference between "too cold to bathe" and "I'm doin' it 'cause I wanna, and the SPCA won't be called"? Or do you need heat lamps plus fans to move that warm air down and toward the wet horse?