Archive for April, 2012

How to Create a Safe Foaling Stall

April 26, 2012

With foaling season upon us, you may have already started preparing your mares’ stalls for the upcoming birth. Here are some important tips to consider when it comes to creating a proper foaling environment.

  1. Choose the Stall:  You will need to choose a large enough stall that can comfortably house your mare and foal, ideally 12 ft. by 12 ft.  Pick a stall secluded from neighboring horses, but with adequate ventilation and light.
  1. Prep the Stall: Thoroughly inspect the stall for any potential hazards, including large splinters, protruding nails and hooks, abrasive rough spots on walls or floors, or hoof-sized traps in the floor or corners.  Finally, remove any strings, cords, or dangling ropes that could entangle wobbly newborns.
  1. Clean the Stall: Take everything out of the stall and thoroughly clean and disinfect the walls and floors. This includes sweeping and scrubbing the walls with a detergent followed by an approved disinfectant diluted in water. Don’t forget feeding equipment, as those items may harbor bacteria harmful to a newborn foal.  Be sure to rinse well and let the stall air dry completely.
  1. Bed your Stall: After making sure the floor is level, now it is time to properly bed the stall for comfort and safety of both the mare and foal.  A foam mattress like SuperStall provides a safe, cushioned and hygienic surface ideal for the foaling environment. SuperStall comes with a waterproof top cover that allows all waste and bacteria to be remain on the surface and be removed with bedding for easier cleaning.  You should also provide a layer of foal-safe bedding materials, such as straw, wood pellets, or shredded paper, on top of the SuperStall to provide additional comfort and security for the foal.
  1. Maintain your Stall: Finally, be sure to frequently clean and muck out your stall after the birth. Maintain a safe living environment free of sharp edges and hazards and provide adequate light in the stall throughout the night in order to keep a watchful eye over mare and foal.

Have you already started preparing your stall for foaling season?  What other tips would you recommend?

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Cutting Back On Bedding

April 11, 2012

Cutting Back On BeddingStraw, sawdust, wood shavings, shredded paper and rubber mats are just some of the bedding materials horse owners and stable managers use to help horses stay dry and comfortable. Comfort without dryness can breed disease and odor, while dryness without comfort results in an unhappy horse.

The problem with bedding for both dryness and comfort is dealing with excess amounts of bedding, specifically removing and disposing of it,  as well as hauling out the mats, cleaning and re-leveling the stall base, and re-installing the mats.

Using a mat system with a waterproof top cover helps reduce the amount of bedding and odor, while also reducing disposal costs. A wall-to-wall top cover creates a “moisture tray” that allows for waste to be trapped on the stall surface and easily removed with the bedding.  Overall, a waterproof cover can help to reduce the amount of additional bedding materials, labor to muck out the stalls, and disposal costs.

Recycled memory foam mats like SuperStall®, and rubber-filled mattresses like Equisoft® by IGK Equestrian, include a waterproof top cover constructed of tough, woven fabric that can custom sized to fit everything from a standard 12’ x 12’ box stall to a 12’ x 24’ foaling stall. They really help to keep “stall stench” down to a minimum.

One caveat: a customer has brought to my attention that she is reluctant to install SuperStall® because it would ruin her “social life!”  She and her friends make it a point to periodically get together and work on re-leveling their stalls. The women have even designated this time as their ladies “wine night” and actually look forward to completing this task with one another. However, with the addition of SuperStall® there is no re-leveling, and mucking is much less than with other bedding techniques.

What strategies do you use for reducing the amount of bedding in your stalls?


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