Monday 20th January, 2020
Muddy fields can make for miserable horses in the winter, especially if your horse is prone to mud fever. Even the hardiest breeds can benefit from a cosy stable to rest in at night. If you are making the move to bring your horse in from the elements, then you will need to consider what to use on your stable floor. Here we help you choose the right bedding options for your stable.
Many owners usually opt for matting on the floor and bedding on top, but rubber matting is worth mentioning as it offers superb support underfoot. Internal stables that have brick floors can cause injury to your horse if he is prone to pawing, so rubber matting will help provide much needed cushioning for the hooves, joints and body. When matting is used, it is often the case that less bedding is required, as it provides insulation and promotes drainage. Rubber is easy to disinfect in between deep litters or stables mates too making it a great solution for livery yards.
This is one of the more expensive bedding types in terms of initial outlay, but one of the most economical due to its longevity. Shavings are highly absorbent and clump together in areas of wet meaning that you can easily remove soiled bedding without changing the whole bed. Shavings are often used as deep litter in stables. This means that droppings are removed and compacted layers of bedding are allowed to build up, with fresh layers being added as necessary.
Bales of straw are much cheaper and quicker to rot down than their popular counterpart, shavings. This is a great option for bedding if your horse isn’t a heavier wetter, doesn’t churn up his bed or isn’t stabled for long periods of time. Straw provides good insulation and drainage; however, you often need more straw than you would shavings to build a thick base that will cushion and support your horse. Chopped straw can be a good alternative as it requires less storage and creates a smaller muck heap – an important consideration for larger yards.
Pellets are made from heat-treated, compact sawdust, which need water adding to make them expand. They are biodegradable, eco-friendly and highly absorbent. Wood pellets are also dust free which is a plus for horses who suffer with COPD. The main disadvantage is that the pellets can be slippery when wet so care must be taken when adding water to create the bed.
Paper bedding provides a great base for horses with allergies or those prone to eating bedding. It can be very cheap to buy, but like straw you often require a lot of it to make a thick base. Paper bales are usually a mixture of newspaper, magazine and other printed material, which can be tricky to dispose of. Care must be taken when removing wet bedding as paper can quickly become papier mâché.