Classic Equine Connection

Things to consider when choosing stall bedding

Posted by Classic Equine Equipment Blog on Aug 19, 2020 4:29:09 PM

When it’s time to bed your horse there are a wide variety of bedding options. Here are some things to consider when deciding on what your horse will stand and sleep on.

horse stall mattressWhat are you going to use it for?

The most common use of bedding for stalls is to absorb urine and make cleaning manure easier in your horse’s stall. In this case, shavings, wood pellets or even newspaper are your best bet.   Most will absorb the urine and some will even help with odor control. However, be careful when selecting shavings – black walnut shavings can be dangerous to your horse.

If you plan to use bedding to help protect your horse’s legs and give him a soft spot to stand, you may want to consider stall mats or a stable comfort mattress system. This can also help reduce the amount of shavings you use while giving your horse another layer of cushioning.

What’s available in your area and in your budget?LOCATION, LOCATION LOCATION!

Not all products are available everywhere. For example, you may see several advertisements in national magazines but that product may be unavailable in your area. If you live near a woodworker or lumber mill, you might be able to get a deal on shavings or sawdust – make sure you ask what type they are as some can be hazardous to horses.

Where are you going to store it?

Bedding made from shavings or sawdust require a large, covered area to keep them from flying around and/or getting wet. If you have a large horse operation, buying bulk shavings may be economical. But if you have a smaller farm with 4 or so horses, you may find that wood pellets that come in bags are the easiest to store and use.

classic equine blogHow long will it last?

You want a bedding that does the job of cushioning your horse and absorbing urine, but does not become so saturated that it is hard to remove or causes irritation to your horse. It’s better to clean more often than to wait until bedding becomes thoroughly saturated. Damp or wet bedding softens the horse’s hooves and provides a bacterial breeding ground. Bedding that does not absorb well also allows more ammonia to be released and can irritate your horse’s respiratory system. Dusty or moldy bedding can also be a respiratory irritant.

It’s important to develop a good mucking routine when cleaning stalls. By teaching workers to only pick up manure and soiled bedding, you can make products last longer. In addition, consider where you put your shavings. If you spread them all over the stall, even under the water and feed buckets, you are probably wasting your bedding. Some horses have favorite spots where they urinate – bed more heavily there and skip areas where your horse doesn’t go.

What are you going to do with it after it’s been used?

Once the bedding has been soiled, you will, of course, have to get rid of it. Composting is one way, but certain types of bedding don’t break down as quickly as others. Straw and wood pellets break down quite quickly in the compost pile. Wood shavings and sawdust do not.

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