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Bad Horse Bedding and Floor Choices
 By Saferaphus   •   23rd May 2017   •   552 views   •   0 comments


There are plenty of options when it comes to bedding down a horseís stall. Straw is traditional. After harvesting the grain the bare stalks of the plants are left over. These could be tilled under, but what is left is often used as bedding in livestock pens and stalls. Straw comes in bales, or it can be pelleted. Some horses eat straw, especially oat straw, and this may not be good for the horse if youíre trying to control its weight. So, instead of straw, some people use wood shavings or wood pellets that expand and become fluffy when moistened.

Paper, chopped or shredded can be a good option for a horse that snacks on its bedding or has dust sensitivities. Peat moss can be used, but if itís very dry can be dusty. It soaks up moisture like crazy though and can be used underneath a layer of other bedding to absorb urine.

Bad Bedding
But, there are a few things you donít want under your horse when itís standing in its stall. If youíre using wood shavings, you will want to be sure that the mix of wood doesnít include some types of trees. Black walnut shavings contain the chemical juglone. Even standing on shavings of black walnut trees can cause laminitis. The shavings from cedar trees arenít great either. Cedar resists rot which is why it is used outdoors for fences, decks, and siding. But that quality makes it a poor bedding choice. It doesnít decompose well and the oils in it can cause skin irritation to some horses.

Concrete
Leaving horses with no bedding isnít a great idea, even if there are stall mats, but especially if the floor is concrete or asphalt. Bare floors can be slippery once there is a bit of manure and urine. Bedding helps wick this up. Even very soft stall mats should have some bedding over top just to absorb moisture. Thicker bedding will be needed on hard floors so that the horse isnít standing on an unyielding surface, which can be hard on its legs. Stall mats and bare floors can be slippery when damp, so bedding helps give a bit of grip.

Metal Floors
Another surface that can be hard on a horseís legs, and become slippery when wet is a trailer floor. Many are metal. Smooth metal has no grip, and metal with serrations can be damaging to hooves. A horse that paws in a trailer that has serrated metal flooring can quickly wear down ití hooves until it is lame. Mats and a bit of dust-free bedding help with grip and cushioning.

Mud
Itís been a very wet spring in many places and that has created lots of thick mud. Itís hard to keep horseís out of the mud, especially if their entire paddock is covered in it. But, mud is hard on hooves and legs. Horses can strain legs running through thick mud. And, hooves that are constantly wet are prone to things like thrush and white line disease. Mud can also cause shoes to pull off. While it's good for a horseís hooves to get a bit of damp, being constantly wet isnít healthy, especially where manure and urine are mixed in. Try to get your horse out of the mud to dry as often as you can.
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