Archive for February, 2013

Should You Cut Back On Hay Bedding?

February 18, 2013

Reduce hay bedding with SuperStall by IGK EquestrianAre you using hay in your stalls? According to an article in The Horse, dust particles, mold spores and fibrous plant materials found in hay can cause severe respiration irritation when inhaled by horses. Together, these irritants can result in shortness of breath, coughing and other symptoms which can impact training and exercise. In addition, a recent university study shows that mature hay for bedding can be dangerous for pregnant mares in the third trimester due to fescue toxicity. Here are four safety tips for horses bedded on hay:

 1. Wet the hay: A study conducted at the University of Edinburgh suggests wetting hay before it is put in stalls can significantly reduce dust concentration. The most effective way of limiting dust is by immersing hay in water and then immediately putting it in the stall. If not done right away, the hay will dry which could allow respirable dust levels to increase.

2. Remove horses while mucking: The study concluded dust levels are higher when there is a lot of activity in the barn. Therefore, remove horses while mucking out stalls or during any other frequent activity.

3. Test mature hay for toxins: It is not uncommon for horses to eat their bedding. Tall fescues may contain high levels of the toxin ergovaline. This could cause problems for pregnant mares and their unborn foal. Ergovaline tests can cost up to $50 per sample, but it is money well spent to protect your mare.

4. Select alternative bedding: Reducing the amount of hay used for bedding can reduce the risks posed by dust irritants and/or fescue toxicity. SuperStall® Foam Mattress by IGK Equestrian features a waterproof industrial top cover which creates a “moisture tray” that allows all liquids and manure to be captured on top and easily removed. This not only results in a cleaner, drier environment but it also reduces the amount of hay and other bedding needed in the stall.

Which bedding would you choose to keep your horses safe?

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