Foxtrotter Trail Horse
August 18, 2019

Best Horse Stall Bedding

Best Horse Stall Bedding? This is a question I have asked myself over the years. I have tried many types of bedding until I found the bedding that is definitely the best choice for Rafter M Training Stables. First, I would like to say that we decided the dirt floors of our stalls had to go!

How to prepare your stall for bedding

First we leveled the dirt floor by adding additional dirt in the center where all stalls have a hole after horses have used them for some time. Then we brought in a load of turkey grit and put a nice thick coating of the turkey grit. After the turkey grit we rented a machine to pack the turkey grit so that when your walk on the grit your do not leave foot prints. This is important, without packing the grit it will shift. Next, we purchased floor mats that your use in a trailer. We cut and fit the pieces nice and tight to the walls. Start in the corner next to the wall in the front and work your way to the back. If your have to cut pieces it will be on the back wall and will stay secure if your fit is tight against the wall.

Now your are ready for the bedding.

There are many types of bedding available and I have tried most of them. Straw is without a doubt the nastiest bedding possible. Straw is very difficult to pick manure from and it does not absorb the urine. It just creates a wet molding mess of wet and soiled straw. This can cause respiratory issues with your equine friends.

Saw Dust

Raw saw dust from a mill is not dry therefore it is damp and will not absorb urine. It holds heat that is hot on the horses feet. Stick your hand in a saw dust pile and your will feel the heat coming from within, this is because it is not kiln dried. This heat is very hard on your horses feet and will lead to undesirable hoof conditions. Saw dust is also dangerous because there are trees that are poisonous for horses such as walnut. If your saw dust has walnut in it your horse will founder just by standing in it. In a pile of saw dust you may have several types of tree products. You also have the risk of respiratory issues with all the mold particles that you and your horse will breathe.

Rice Hulls

I have tried rice hulls because we are located near a location that provides a good supply. It was not a good choice because it was so dusty. We had to load them by hand into a truck and then unload them again at the barn. They are very fine and therefore they are very dusty. It was easy to pick but the dust factor and allergy factor takes them out of the choices. It was cost effective but the amount of time and the dust made it a bad choice.

Packaged Wood Shavings

Packaged Wood Shavings, are another option that is readily available to most all horse owners. They are large flakes which makes them difficult to shake out using a manure rake. They also do not soak up the urine in the stall as quickly as some other forms of bedding. We do use packaged wood shavings when going on an overnight trail ride and sometimes in the floor of the trailer because it is easy to sweep them all out of the trailer when its time to clean. We do not like to pick manure from this type of bedding as it is wasteful. We do use it in stalls where we are just an overnight guest as one to two bags provides a good enough coverage for an overnight stay or maybe two to three days. Packaged wood shavings will not soak up the urine and clump together to remove just the urine soaked shavings. We find that the stall has a urine smell just after a few days and the wood shavings have to be replaced much quicker because they are large pieces and removing the manure and urine soaked pieces makes you remove much more bedding than you should actually have to remove to make the stall clean and fresh smelling. In conclusion, packaged wood shavings are more wasteful and expensive because you will have to use more packages for the same results.

BEST HORSE BEDDING Packaged kiln dried wood pellet

Packaged kiln dried wood pellet is our choice for the best in horse bedding.  A 12X12 stall will take 6 bags of super soaker bedding and depending on the horse after 2 weeks you will add 2 more bags. We prefer Equine Fresh it is 100 percent pure pine pellet bedding. It reduces waste which makes optimal compost. We actually spread this daily over our pasture for fertilizer. It is longer lasting which makes it cost effective plus it will naturally neutralize odors instantly. Plus, it will cut your stall cleaning time and give you more time to enjoy yourself doing fun things around your barn. Equine fresh is superior moisture control and keeps stalls dry, comfortable and clean longer. Hope this barn tip helps you enjoy your horses and cut cleaning time plus it will give your barn a nice clean scent!

Keeping your horses clean and free of hoof disease

Cleaning stalls is a time-consuming chore. However, this is a necessity for a healthy horse as well as keeping your facility’s fly population at a minimum. Rafter M training Stables cleans stalls twice daily. This is actually less time-consuming than once a day because you are able to do it with ease both times a day. Horses cannot stand in manure without getting thrush which is a nasty smelling disease of the hoof. If they are standing in moisture all day everyday thrush will have to be treated. Your farrier will let you know if you have thrush and will recommend that you treat the hoof and frog area. You will also be able to tell if your horse has thrush when cleaning hooves out with your hoof pick. The odor is foul smelling and should be treated. Also the life of your barn will be increased by cleaning stalls. The boards will not rot and the outside walls will not be pushed upon by the mounting manure if cleaned daily or twice a day as we choose to do. Manure and urine break down the wood and rot it much quicker than just water. So, for your barns good health clean stalls on a regular basis. All barns normally have a fly problem, even with an automated fly spray system the fly population can be a problem. Regular stall cleaning and removal of the manure from the barn area will cut down on your fly situation. We have a manure spreader and all the manure and urine soaked bedding is loaded into it each time we clean stalls and then it goes directly out on the pasture and spread lightly over the pasture for fertilizer. Plus, we don’t have a pile of manure somewhere drawing those pesky flies! In future articles I will give tips on buying a manure spreader! Happy Trails to you and yours from Rafter M Training Stables!

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