With so many brands of bedding on the market, it can be difficult to know which to choose that will be cost effective, and will suit both you and your horse. As winter is fast approaching, we have compared a variety of bedding types to help you choose.
There will be lots of factors that affect which type of bedding your horse should have, which can include how clean or dirty their bed gets, how long they are stabled for, their age and whether they have any medical conditions, whether they have a tendency to eat their bedding and many more. Whichever bedding you decide to use, make sure your horse is happy in order to help prevent issues such as capped hocks, colic, or stiffness and injury.
Wood pellets are compressed natural wood that swell to 3 x their original weight when in contact with liquid. During the manufacturing process, the pellets are heated to high temperatures which makes their moisture content consistent and kills off any bugs that may be present. They are 100% organic and environmentally friendly, and the small amount of waste from mucking out means your muck heap stays smaller for longer. What’s more, they are super time efficient to muck out, and nice and easy to store too! The only downside to pellets is that they don’t make a lovely big fluffy bed, but this is personal preference.
Shavings are crafted from timber to form a supportive and cushioning bed for your horse. They are naturally unpalatable, making them ideal for horses on a restricted diet, and the natural fragrance will help to keep his bed smelling fresh. However, shavings take longer to rot down than other types of bedding which won’t help your muck heap.
Paper is a dust-free bedding that is also naturally unpalatable and produces a lovely, warm bed. The bedding clumps when wet making it easier to remove, and it absorbs from the bottom up so the top stays dry for your horse to lay on. Paper is a good choice for any horses suffering from allergies or respiratory issues, and it is biodegradable when composted, but it isn't ideal for deep littering as it can become quite soggy when very wet.
Miscanthus is a tall perennial grass, more commonly known as Elephant Grass. It is finely chopped and conditioned to expose the inner core meaning that it can absorb up to 3 times its weight in liquid. It has a naturally low dust content and the coarse texture means it’s not palatable for your horse whilst still being light and airy for a super comfy bed.
Hemp is soft, lightweight, dust free and absorbent. It cleverly works by forming a capped layer over the top of wet material to prevent it being mixed in, and keeping the top layer warm and dry for your horse making it ideal to use for deep littering. It is a completely natural product which composts readily, however some horses can be tempted to eat hemp, although this should be avoided by ensuring they have access to ad lib forage.
Rape straw is chopped to expose the inner pith that makes it far more absorbent than conventional straw and keeps your muck heap small, as well as being quick and easy to muck out. It can be used to make a nice big bed, and doesn't clump together keeping it fluffy and soft. Rape Straw is easily disposed of as it rots down quickly, and it is also naturally unpalatable with a lemon fragrance to keep your stable smelling fresh.
Wood pulp is a by-product of the paper making industry that is dried under high temperatures to kill any mould or spores and then dust extracted twice. This makes it a great choice for horses that suffer from respiratory problems. It is 100% natural and is super absorbent, meaning it requires very little to top up, and leaves your bed fresh and clean without the strong ammonia smell.
A straw bed is the traditional choice and is great if you like a big, fluffy bed that will block out draughts and keep your horse nice and warm when he's stabled through Winter. Straw allows urine to drain away and is relatively easy to dispose of, as well as being cheaper to buy than most other types of bedding. It is, however, bulkier to store than most other types of bedding, and some horses can be tempted to eat it which is not ideal for those on a restricted diet.
Whilst not specifically classed as bedding, many people choose to install rubber matting to keep costs down in the long run. Mats provide a non-slip base that is warmer than concrete, and create a soft layer that horses can lay on. They are ideal for horses that are very wet to save costs on bedding, and they can easily be hosed down to prevent smells and bacteria. You can add a light dusting of bedding on top to soak up any further wet.
Posted: Mon 30th September 19