There are a number of different items and pieces of equipment that you will want to have at your disposal in your stables to ensure that your horse receives the best possible care. You will want to offer your horse a comfortable place to dwell and buying the best items possible is a sure-fire way to do so. One vitally important thing to get correct is your horse’s bedding.
Going to bed is one of the best things in the world. We all love it, getting comfy in a bed with nice fresh sheets is delightful. And, your horse is no different. If you really care for your animal then you will want to take some time out to ensure that you choose the best bedding for your horse. There are many options to choose from when deciding which bedding you want to use, so take a look at all of the options available before choosing. So, here is a nice rundown of some of the offers that are available to you. Read through these and then you will be able to make an educated and informed decision next time you are looking into bedding for your horse.
Around the UK, straw is one of the cheapest options available to you and is one of the most commonly used types of bedding for horses. Straw is made from the stems of wheat, barley, oat or rye crops. Oat straw is more absorbent than the other types. You should watch out for the occasional bad bale of straw, which may smell mouldy or off and/or be difficult to separate. If this happens, discard it because there may be fungus in the straw which could be dangerous to horses. One issue with straw is that it is bulky to store and is also pretty time consuming for mucking out. It is also worth bearing in mind that some horses are prone to eating it, so it is essential that it is clean and dust free. There are also some recent developments on straw that are now readily available, such as Bliss. These are chopped and treated straw products that are dust extracted. They clump together when wet, which makes mucking out very easy and nice and quick. You can also get versions that are treated with substances like citronella and eucalyptus, in order to combat smells.
These days, wood shavings are probably the most commonly used type of horse bedding. Wood shavings were once unwanted by-products from sawmills and, as the demand has increased for this substance, these companies started selling it specifically for horse bedding. Wood shavings are nice and absorbent, which means that they absorb plenty of urine and ammonia. This combats the smell and reduces the damage to your horse’s lungs. Due to the fact that wood shavings absorb more urine than straw, you will be able to get away with using a smaller amount, which will mean you make a saving. Buying wood shavings from a sawmill is still possible, but the levels of sawdust can be unhealthy for the horse and if the shavings have been exposed to moisture, it can harbour harmful mould and fungus. In addition, commercial wood shavings for bedding comes in convenient bags which can save time. When shopping for wood shavings to be used as horse bedding, you will want to be careful as they do vary a lot in terms of quality. So shop around and find the perfect one for you. Look for one which is thoroughly dust extracted as some owners find that they can cause breathing allergies. In this case they can be bought as pellets which are really clean and dust free.
Cardboard and paper are two other options. They are sold in compacted bales, and are lightweight and easy to handle. The main disadvantage of paper is that it does blow around a lot making yards very untidy, but it is very easy to dispose of by burning. Cardboard is growing in popularity, products such as Ecobed are made of corrugated cardboard which again if used in sufficient depth gives very good drainage, leaving the top dry. These are, however, always free from dust and spores but are heavy to lift when wet.
Hemcore and Aubiose use the inner core of British grown hemp. They have no bleach or chemicals added and are designed to be be used in a thick bed which is then disturbed as little as possible. Therefore whilst they are quite expensive to start, they are very economical to maintain and very time saving. They are more absorbent than either straw or shavings and come in versions to combat smell.
Wood pellets are made from compacted shavings bound together with lignin (itself a natural component of wood). You should buy pellets intended for horse bedding, as they avoid certain woods which are toxic to horses. Wood pellets have similar advantages to wood shavings but are about twice as absorbent. Pellets are more expensive than shavings, but there can be large savings in terms of the volume of bedding which needs to be purchased, stored and mucked out. Straw pellets are also available which share most of the benefits of wood pellets.