Archive for the ‘Bedding’ Category

Broodmare Stall Tips

February 9, 2016

If you intend on breeding any of your horses or maybe have some borders that have bred horses, it really is important that you have a broodmare stall available at your barn. I’ve had some customers just open a partition between two stalls to create one big stall, or they put a big stall in the corner of the barn. However you build your broodmare stall, I have a few tips for creating the perfect atmosphere for your horse to bring her foal into the world.

A broodmare stall needs to be larger than a normal stall. Your mare needs to be able to roll around when she’s in labor, and the stall can’t be too small where she could accidentally step on her foal after its born. A lot of farms do at least a 12×18 stall, or if you are going to use two stalls with a partition you could go up to 12×24. Make sure that there is good ventilation in the stall area that you choose, but be sure that there is no direct drafts that may make the newborn cold.

The stall needs to be 110 percent disinfected. Be sure to strip any old bedding of the stall out and remove any buckets or feeders. Wash the walls of the stall, stall door, stall floor, basically any surface in the stall with a pressure washer or garden hose, and scrub with a stiff brush and detergent. You then can disinfect all stall surfaces with 2 ½ tablespoons of Lysol concentrate per gallon of water. Apply the solution with a spray bottle, sponge, or mop. Allow this to air dry. Pay close attention to any splintered pieces of wood or any imperfections that could harm the new foal. Fix or remove any problem areas.

The bedding in the stall should be safe for both the mare and the foal. Thick bedding in the stall is necessary, and needs to be kept clean. Straw is the best option for broodmare bedding. Shavings or sawdust can harbor bacteria, which could be a danger to your new foal.

Last but not least, double-check that you have enough lighting. There should be adequate lighting to be able to see everything that’s going on in the stall, but not so much lighting that your mare is stressed out from it. At night you should dim the lights or turn some of them off so that she has the nighttime feeling, but set the libroodmare stallghts so that you can still see the progress in the stall.

Many of our customers purchase out SuperStall system for broodmare stalls. It is very easy to sanitize and clean, and provides a comforting area for her to give birth in. They’ve even used it to go up the walls of the stall! Our stalls are all custom made for your exact stall size, so if you decide to create stalls that are partitioned, where the partition can be moved or if you do one large broodmare stall, we can make the stall for you!

How do you have your broodmare stall set up?

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Winterize Your Horse Barn

December 1, 2015

Here in Upstate NY, our winters are brutal. Being located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, we can get buried pretty quickly by lake effect snow. In the winter of 2015, we had 125.3” of total snowfall! As we start to batten down the hatches, or close the stall windows of our barn to keep the nasty cold out, you also should start thinking about how we are going to winterize your  horse barn. Here are a few tips!

  • Stock up on supplies you may need in the winter, such as hay or bedding. Some barns I know cut and bale their own hay, but if you purchase hay from someone else, stock up on it at the end of summer when prices will be the lowest. If you wait until the first of the year when you are running out of hay, prices can almost double. Be sure your hay is stored in a well ventilated area.
  • Take the extra time you’ll be spending in the barn to do a good dusting. Cobwebs in a barn can be a fire hazard and are not sightly. Use a broom covered with a cloth and go through your barn with a good cleaning. The cobwebs and dust that has collected over the summer aren’t good for your horses’ health or yours!
  • Walk around your barn and see where there may need to be repairs. Waiting until there are sub-zero temperatures to fix a gate is definitely not an ideal situation. Complete all of the repairs that you may see. Also be sure to know where everything is located around the outside of your barn. If you live in a climate like we do, snow can accumulate very fast and you may lose sight or forget where something was placed outside of your barn. Draw a map of your facility if you have to, so that you know where everything is located outside once the snow covers it up. Be sure that gates are all still accessible in the snow.
  • Although our first instinct is to close everything in the barn up for the winter to keep heat in, you still need to keep your barn well ventilated. During the winter, your horses are probably going to be spending 50 percent or more of their time in their stall. Mucking your stall daily, and keeping good ventilation throughout your barn will keep your horses breathing healthy air and keeping them happy.
  • Make sure you have enough space for your winter manure. A 1,000 pound horse can generate 50 pounds of manure each day. Even a barn with a few horses can quickly create a mountain of manure. Before winter comes, create an adequate place to store the manure for a few months, or construct a plan on how to remove the manure even with snow on the ground and how you’re going to dispose of it.
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Winterize your Horse Barn

The biggest issues that you may face in the barn in the cold winter months are spending additional time mucking out manure from the horses being inside more, and trying to keep the dust in your indoor arena down, without freezing your footing.  Both of these potential problems can be solved by installing our SuperStall Mattress System and our Dust-Free Arena Footing. Our one piece, wall-to-wall mattress system will eliminate deep bedding and cut down on time it takes to muck out your stalls. By installing our dust free footings in your indoor arena, you no longer have to worry about watering your footing in the winter and then the footing freezing from the moisture. Winters can be hard in a horse barn, but installing our products in your barn and taking some steps to winterize your horse barn
can make it easier!

Stall Floors

November 9, 2015

You would not believe the kind of questions I get during sales calls for our SuperStall Systems. How old is your oldest stall? (Our first one was installed in 2006!) How thick is your foam pad under the topcover? (1 1/8”) How thick is the full mattress system together? (Around 1 1/4”) The next question I normally get is “what flooring should be under the mattress system?”

When building a barn, you normally have a subgrade (your soil), then 2-4 inches of a subbase, composed of aggregate stone, and then 2-4 inches of a compacted crushed stone, such as limestone. There are a variety of floors that you can have in yourIMG_2205 barn. Some choose to keep this crushed stone base as the floor of their entire barn, some pour a cement center isle while keeping crushed stone in the stalls, while others will pour a cement floor inside the entire barn. Pouring cement in the entire barn, or at least a cement center aisle are the best options for horse owners. If you for some reason cannot pour any cement, there are ways to make crushed stone work. The most important thing when utilizing a crushed stone floor is to make sure that it is fully compacted. If you are using crushed stone as your entire floor, you will most likely disrupt only the top 1/2 inch in the aisle way. Everything under that 1/2 inch will not be disrupted if it has been compacted correctly. Both cement and crushed stone are not adequate enough for a stall floor. There should be some sort of barrier between your horse’s hooves and the hard surface. Think of how much our bodies hurt from standing on concrete all day, a horse is the exact same. They don’t want to stand or lay on a hard surface, and adding extra bedding for padding is not much help. The stall requires some sort of cushion for the horse.

Our SuperStall Mattress System works great with both crushed stone floors and cement floors. IGK SuperStall system is composed of foam and a rubber topcover. The foam lie
s directly on the floor, while the topcover is installed over the foam and attached to the stall walls, sealing the foam under a waterproof surface. When you have a crushed stone floor, we recommend that you have a plastic sheet under the foam, so the moisture that sometimes works its way up through the crushed stone, does not reach the foam. If you have any other questions that you would like me to answer in a blog please let me know!

SuperStalls Can Help You Go Green Too!

November 3, 2015

Horse Stalls Going GreenLast week I focused my weekly blog on how our footing can help your barn to “Go Green”. This week we’re going to continue the discussion and focus on our SuperStall Mattress Systems. Our SuperStall Mattress system is a wall to wall mattress consisting of foam and a topcover. The topcover attaches to the wall and seals off the foam mattress, creating a barrier so that no liquids can get to the foam. Our durable topcover keeps liquids on top and your horses happy. Since our SuperStall has the perfect amount of cushion, you don’t need to add three inches of bedding to give your horses more cushion, instead you only bed your stall at the most, one inch. When using less than an inch of bedding, you will be saving up to 60% in bedding. This not only saves in time and money, but in the environment too!

In our last post I spoke of composting your manure. By composting your manure, you will be able to recycle the manure and use it on your gardens or to fertilize pastures in the spring.  When you fertilize your pastures with compost, you are improving aeration and also water retention by creating healthy soil in your pastures. Composting your manure not only reduces your waste and improves soil quality, but reduces flies in your barn and can kill parasites and pathogens.  In addition to composting your manure, think about ordering your bedding in bulk. You should get a discount for ordering a larger amount and you’re also cutting down the amount of gas used to pick up or deliver. If you don’t think that you will use an entire load of bedding for your barn, perhaps think of a neighbor that would be willing to split the load with you. These are just a few options to make your barn more environmentally friendly.

What do you do to keep your barn environmentally friendly?

Options for Horse Stall Bedding

October 19, 2015

Let’s talk about options for horse stall bedding. The options for bedding in your horse stall are pretty endless. In the end you have to choose something that your horse loves and it works great with you too. Bedding should have a few characteristics in order to dub it the best bedding for both you and your horse. The number one thing is that it should be safe for your horse. Don’t try and experiment with random substances in your stall. Ensure that whatever you have in your stall is going to not harm your horse externally or internally in any way, and should also not be dusty. Whatever material you choose should be absorbent (which is kind of the whole point of stall bedding), and easily composted. Your material also needs to be readily available. If whatever material you choose can be compacted, that can immensely help when looking where to store it in the barn. Most importantly, it should be cost-effective and easy to pick manure from so that you don’t spend hours a day mucking your stalls.IMG_2206

Now that we’ve discussed the criteria for horse bedding, let’s take a look at some options.

Option #1 and most popular: Shavings.

This option can be the most economical based on where you live. For example, where we are located in Upstate NY it is very easy to get ahold of wood shavings for stalls. It is cheap and you can often buy in bulk. It is easy to store and is very absorbent. The only downfall of this option is that it can be very dusty, and can even make your entire barn dusty. You should have good ventilation in a barn where loose shavings are present to give your horses fresh air. Some barns that I have gone to keep their shavings stored in a lean-to on the outside of the barn.

Option #2: Wood Pellets

I really think that this option is becoming much more popular in recent years.  Wood pellets are made of kiln dried wood and sawdust. The kiln dried wood and sawdust is compressed into a small pellet. When this pellet is in the stall and moisture hits it, it will expand to be normal sawdust again and is as absorbent as regular sawdust. This option is low in dust from the compression process and is packaged in bags, so it is easy to store; and is relatively inexpensive. The only issue with this type of bedding is that you will need to spend a little extra time to make sure that you don’t take out any pellets when you muck the stall.

Option #3: Peat Moss

Peat moss is an option that is easily available and horses seem to like it a lot because it gives them that soft bedding to lie down on. You can find this at your local hardware or garden store and a little bit goes a long way so you only need to buy a few bags. It is absorbent in the stall and virtually dust free! The only downside is that if you have a barn with many stalls, this is not your best economical option. It can get expensive for many stalls.

Option #4: Straw

Straw has been used in stalls since the beginning of time. It is often inexpensive and can be easily obtained. If it is mucked properly it stays pretty clean and composts very well. But there are many cons to straw. It is not very absorbent, (which kind of defeats the purpose of stall bedding) it requires a lot of room to store the bales, and can be very dusty. Another note to keep in mind is that some horses do try and eat this. You will need to keep an eye on what horses eat this bedding and possibly change their diet based on that.

No matter what type of bedding you use, if you have SuperStall Horse Mattresses in your stalls you will save tremendously on bedding. Our SuperStall System needs less than an inch of bedding, which will then make mucking your stalls out much easier! If you want to save on bedding, call us today for a sample of our stall mattress!

10 Most Popular Posts on Carolyn’s Footing and Bedding Blog

March 12, 2013

Top 10 Arena Footing and Stall BeddingOver a year ago, I wrote my first post introducing myself as part owner of IGK Equestrian.  I created this blog so I could address some of the main challenges associated with arena footing and stall bedding and share success stories from people who have used the products. I’ve covered topics ranging from dust control in arenas to tips on how to “go green” in a horse stall. Here, in reverse order, are the 10 most popular posts to date on Carolyn’s Footing and Bedding Blog.

#10: Is Your Horse Eating in Bed? This post revealed horses on restricted calorie diets were ingesting wood shavings in their stalls. Typically, wood shavings aren’t a horse’s “go-to” snack, but when on a diet, bedding can look pretty tasty!

#9: Fuming Over Stall Odor. When drainage is poor, or stalls aren’t mucked out regularly ammonia fumes and bacteria can build up. This can be irritating and harmful for both horses and humans.

#8: The Link Between Sand Footing and Lameness. A study by the University of Glasgow showed the type of arena footing, specifically sand, can be a risk factor for lameness in dressage horses.

#7: Cutting Back on Bedding. Replenishing materials and mucking out stalls can be a hassle. This post suggests using a mat system with a waterproof top cover because it helps reduce the amount of bedding and disposal costs.

#6: Is it Time to Change my Stall Mats? If you are using a lighter- weight mat, you may have to remove it once a month to re-level the stall; however, with heavier mats, this may only be a semi-annual event.

#5: Horse Stalls can “Go Green” Too! At a young age we learned the 3 R’s: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse. This popular post proposes ways to make environmentally-friendly choices when it comes to your horse’s bedding!

#4: My Names Carolyn “I’m an Arena Footing Freak!” This was my first post introducing myself as an arena footing freak! From this point on I aimed to educate my readers about both arena footing and stall bedding.

#3: Dust Control in your Arena. Dust in the arena is common, and suggestions on how to control dust is a topic we’ve returned to time and again on this blog.

#2: How to Create a Safe Foaling Stall. A lot of people are searching the Internet for ways to create a safe foaling stall. Needless to say, quite a few of them are landing on this post.

#1: Solid Rubber Mat vs. Foam Mattress…Which is Ideal for Your Stalls? This informational post compared two popular types of stall mats. If it helped you make a decision, I’d love to hear from you!

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?

Promoting Safety and Good Health in the Barn

January 15, 2013

SuperStall is healthy beddingAlthough time consuming, building or renovating a barn can be an exciting project. You’ll want to design a barn that is safe and promotes good health and well-being for both horses and people.

According to a recent article in The Horse, veterinarians suggest avoiding attaching a newly constructed barn to an indoor arena. Although this is a convenient set-up, the dust produced in the arena can be harmful for horses. Dust interferes with breathing and can also lead to Inflammatory Airway Disease or IAD, a condition that causes coughing, nasal discharge and exercise intolerance.

If this isn’t realistic, or you are renovating a barn that is already attached, than limiting the amount of hay and sand in the stall will help reduce dust. These materials not only produce dust, but can also create an uneven surface, which could cause slippage. Wood shavings should also be minimized in the stall due to the risk of ingestion, which can cause serious digestive problems, including colic.

Concrete covered with rubber provides a nonslip surface that is comfortable and gentle on the horses’ joints, and is easy to clean. Frequent cleaning is important to help protect horses from oral-fecal diseases such as Salmonella infection, which can occur when moisture is trapped underneath the mats.

When it comes to building or renovating your barn, consider SuperStall™ Memory Foam Mattress by IGK Equestrian. SuperStall is a one-piece wall-to-wall, foam mattress system that features a waterproof woven top cover. The top cover creates a “moisture tray” that allows all liquids and manure to be captured on top and easily removed with the bedding. This not only reduces the amount of bedding needed to provide comfort, but also reduces the risk of slippage and disease risk.

How do you keep your horse healthy and safe in the barn?

 

Sand Vs. Mattresses…Which do you and your horse prefer?

December 21, 2012

90308465When choosing a surface for your stalls, how do you decide which material is best for your horse and easiest on you? Here are some advantages and disadvantages of two common stall bedding materials: sand and mattresses.

Sand:

Advantages:

  • Sand is highly absorbent and allows good drainage.
  • The surface is soft making it one of the most forgiving bedding materials for a horse’s legs.
  • Even if the sand is wet it rarely gets slippery.
  • Sand is often one of the most affordable bedding materials.

Disadvantages:

  • Pure and newly laid sand does not compact well, creating potentially dangerous tracks and pockets.
  • Because sand does not compact well, stalls must be raked daily to assure a smooth, safe surface.
  • Sand can retain dampness in cold weather, which can be uncomfortable.
  • Sand tends to have a drying effect on horse hooves.
  • Sand mixed with other bedding material can be a hassle to clean and should be replaced frequently.
  • Horses could ingest sand which could lead to possible intestinal impaction and colic.

Mattresses:

Advantages:

  • Mattresses provide a comfortable surface.
  • Because mattresses provide a more level surface, they can reduce the risk of slippage.
  • Foam and rubber mats provide insulation for a more comfortable and warm environment during the winter.
  • Mattresses tend to have a long life with added ability to withstand continued use.
  • Horses bedded on mattresses are less likely to ingest sand or wood chips.
  • Mattresses with a waterproof top cover can reduce maintenance.

Disadvantages:

  • Foam mattresses without top covers may retain odor and moisture.
  • Mattresses can be expensive; however, many come with a warranty.

When it comes to choosing a stall surface for your horse, for the best return on investment and overall comfort, it pays to choose SuperStall® by IGK Equestrian. In addition to all the advantages listed above, SuperStall features a waterproof, woven top cover which creates a “moisture tray” that allows urine and feces to be captured on top and removed with the bedding. This helps to reduce labor, disposal efforts and cost. Best of all, SuperStall comes with a 5-year warranty.

Which bedding do you prefer? Sand or Mattresses?

Are Your Stalls Ready For Winter?

November 30, 2012

157081684With the Farmers’ Almanac calling for a colder, snowier winter for much of the United States, it’s important to make sure your horse’s bedding is winterized! Follow these steps to ensure your horse remains dry and comfortable all winter long.

1. Remove the Manure:  Don’t believe the myth that manure keeps a horse warm. No horse wants to sleep in its own droppings, regardless of the temperature. If manure is not thoroughly removed, it can freeze, leaving your horse to lie on a bed of “manure cubes.”

2. Minimize Wood Shavings: A recent study showed horses are more likely to consume wood shavings during wet, cold weather because they are both hungry and bored. Ingesting wood shavings can cause potential serious digestive problems, including colic, so be sure to keep wood shavings to a minimum in your horse’s bedding.

3. Change Bedding Materials Frequently: Stalls bedded with wood shavings, straw, sawdust and shredded newspapers absorb a lot of moisture. These materials need to be changed frequently to ensure dryness, which can be a real chore when the temperature drops below freezing.

4.  Install Foam or Rubber Mats:  Foam and rubber mats provide insulation fora more comfortable and warm environment during cold winter days and nights. 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 results in a cleaner, drier environment with less need for wood shavings and other bedding materials.

Consider installing SuperStall®, and both you and your horse can look forward to winter.

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to winter stall cleaning?


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