If you want your horse to be able to enjoy a view of the outdoors, it makes sense to build a window into his stall. Being able to look outside will keep your horse entertained on those bitter-cold winter days when going outside is just not an option, and he'll enjoy looking out at the green grass in the spring and summer, too. The problem is, however, that standard glass windows are not particularly safe for horses. One kick or head-butt, and the window could shatter, leaving you with thousands of dollars in vet bills and a hole in your barn. To allow your horse the benefits of windows without the risks, consider these three safer options.
Plexiglass is actually not glass at all. It's a clear, acrylic material that is made to look like glass. It will not shatter when hit or jolted, so you don't have to worry nearly as much about your horse injuring himself on windows made from this material. Plexiglass windows are lightweight and can be installed in any standard, vinyl window frame in the same manner you'd install a regular glass window. (Do make sure you use a vinyl window frame. Aluminum ones can develop sharp edges as they age, and these present a hazard to your horse.)
The downfall to plexiglass is that it can become scratched easily, and once it becomes scratched, it is difficult to see out of. If your horse frequently rubs his halter or mouthfuls of hay against the window, you may find that you need to replace it regularly to keep it clear. Also, if it gets very cold where you are, the plexiglass may become brittle, and it may crack if it is struck. Thus, you should keep an extra window on hand so you can make prompt repairs if this does occur.
If the weather in your area is generally mild and your barn is positioned in such as way that minimal precipitation comes into contact with the side of the barn where you want to put the window, then grilled windows are an option. These are not solid windows. Instead, they consist of an opening in the wall with several vertical bars, placed a few inches apart (not wide enough for your horse's head to fit between them) on the inside of the stall. Grilled windows allow for enhanced air circulation in your barn, and they are virtually unbreakable.
Of course, grilled windows are not a good option if you have harsh winters, as they will let snow come in. If it gets a bit chilly outside, you may need to blanket your horse more heavily than usual, since the window will let some cold air into the barn. There are vinyl and nylon covers you can purchase to temporarily place over the windows if needed.
Glazed, Shatterproof Glass and Bars
Glazed, shatterproof glass, which is the type of glass typically used for car windshields, can be a safe choice for your horse's window when you pair it with bars. This type of window will break if it is banged or bumped hard enough, but the pieces will all stay attached instead of flying everywhere. There may, however, be sharp edges that could cut your horse's nose. Thus, it is important to also mount metal bars at the inside of the window, so your horse cannot actually touch the window with his nose. Make sure the bars are close enough together that your horse cannot stick his nose through them.
This window arrangement costs a bit more than the other options, since you'll be installing a standard window and a set of bars. However, it does not let in cold air like a standard grilled window, and it won't look scratchy like a plexiglass window.
Consider the three options above, and choose the windows that are best for your barn layout and your horse's needs, as well as your budget. Cheap glass windows are simply not worth it if they lead to an injured horse. For more information on your different window options, check out a site like http://www.beisselwindows.com.