Don’t let your horse stand on wet or hard stall floors. Horses need extra cushion and dryness in their stalls to help promote healthy hooves and overall general health. Horse bedding provides comfort and warmth for your horse and provides traction to help keep your horse from slipping.
Bedding materials today are excellent for maintaining such conditions. Traditional straw bedding is still available and popular, and provided it is clean and dust free, makes an excellent bed. The disadvantage of straw is the amount of waste that is generated with its use, which in turn may result in more work for you and increase in cost to dispose.
In years gone by deciding what bedding to use for your horse would have been a choice of straw or wood shavings. These days there is a much wider choice including: rubber matting, shredded paper or cardboard, flax, hemp or rapeseed-based equine bedding as well as different types of wood shavings specifically manufactured for horse bedding.
Straw, shavings and rubber matting are the most popular choices and there are pros and cons to each type:
Straw – traditionally used for bedding in horses, wheat straw is most suitable whereas oat and barley straw should not be used. Straw is relatively cheap, easy to buy, biodegradable and therefore easy to dispose of and is warm, cosy and comfortable. The negative points are that it can be very dusty, some horses will eat straw beds and this can result in respiratory problems, weight gain and more bedding being needed.
Wood shavings – easy to muck out, more absorbent than straw and dust-extracted products are available if your horse suffers from any respiratory diseases. Horses generally don’t eat shavings which can save money and help you control the horse’s diet. However shavings can be expensive and disposal can be a problem – taking a long time to rot so may be unwelcome on yard muckheaps.
Rubber Matting – there are many benefits to using rubber matting. For example if your horse requires extra protection from injury whilst stabled they provide cushioning and can prevent further injury. Stable matting also cuts down your bedding costs, jeeter juice live resin helps keep the floor level, are easy to clean and disinfect, the urine can pass through and dissipate.
Often the horse bedding has been dust-extracted and treated with non-toxic disinfectants for added equine hygiene.
The choice of bedding should be based on your horse’s and your own needs. Things to take into consideration include:
Cost – this is not always as obvious as it may seem and you need to take into account the initial cost of filling the stable but also the ongoing cost including how much you will need to add per week.
Health – if your horse has any specific health issues such as respiratory problems then you should consider using dust free products such as shavings and hemp that have been developed with these conditions in mind. Your vet will be able to give you further advice as to whether this would be a benefit.
Eating – if your horse eats his bed then you should look at bedding products which are treated with a non-toxic and unpalatable substance to discourage the horse from eating their bed.
Disposal – it is essential to check with your yard owner to see which types of bedding they are happy to dispose of. Some yards don’t like shredded paper to be disposed of on the muck heap as it blows around the yard and can make a mess.
Temperature – is there a draught or is it cold? A deep straw bed with high banks will provide extra warmth and block out draughts whereas rubber matting will provide insulation from the cold concrete floors.
There are various people who can help you to select the right bedding for your horse, always speak to your yard owner, vet, feed and bedding merchant etc. who will be able to weigh up the pros and cons of each type of bedding and help you make a decision.
Many horse owners have turned to sawdust and wood shavings to help eliminate horse health concerns of dust and spores often present in straw and for better absorbency and reduced waste. Though saw dust does improve upon absorbency, it does not eliminate the dust problem entirely. Wood shavings on the other hand cut down further on dust, but do not absorb as much moisture and are slow to decompose in the compost pile.