Archive for the ‘Stall Hygiene’ Category

Daily Hoof Care

May 17, 2017

“No hoof, no horse!”

We seem to hear that phrase a lot in the horse world. Taking care of your horse’s hooves are essential for your horse’s livelihood. Daily hoof care benefits more than your horse’s hooves; it can give you early clues to potential problems and so that you can address the issues.

  1. Daily clean out: Cleaning out your horse’s hooves daily not only keeps them as clean as possible, but can set a precedent for what is “normal” in your horse’s hooves. Be sure to note the temperature of the hooves and check the frog over. If you establish what is normal for your horse, you will also notice if there is a time where your horse’s hoof feels too warm.daily hoof care
  2. Look for common hoof problems: look for thrush, punctures, cracks and abscesses. Thrush is a dark, foul smelling bacterial condition that is usually caused by standing in moist environments. Pick up some thrush remedies at your local tack shop. (My personal favorite is “No Thrush” which is a dry powder. I have had great luck with it!) If you notice a puncture, large crack, or abscess, be sure to contact your vet or farrier for advice on what the next game plan to solve the problem would be.
  3. Schedule regular farrier visits: if your horse is like mine, I have to have the farrier come out every 6 weeks on the dot. Some of my friend’s horses are around the 8-week mark, but there is no standard interval for trimming or shoeing. It really just depends on how your horse’s hooves grow. Your farrier can always suggest if he should come earlier or later than he is.

If you follow these easy tips and take care of your horse’s hooves daily, you will have a horse with hooves that are healthy and strong! Like the old saying goes, “no hoof, no horse!”

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Spring Cleaning Around the Barn

March 24, 2016

Spring is officially here! And you know what that means? Spring cleaning around the barn! I always try and do cleaning around the barn when I’m there, but it really is great when you take a day (or week!) to thoroughly clean the barn. Grab everyone that boards their horses there or grab some friends and make it a party with lunch involved! Let’s take a look at some good tips on cleaning your barn!

Start with de-cobwebbing your entire barn. After a long winter cobwebs can pile up, creating a fire hazard for your barn. Use a broom or a duster on a long pole so that you can reach higher places in your barn. You can grab one at Walmart for about $17! They are really handy! Once you got all of your cobwebs down, sweep every nook and cranny of your barn. Get every corner, behind tack boxes, under doors, everywhere! You’ll notice a huge difference in your barn immediately after completing both of these cleaning tasks!Renovating a barn, spring cleaning around the barn

Since freezing temperatures are in the past, you can take down all of your heated buckets. Be sure to clean them thoroughly with a sanitizing solution and store them upside down. You may have a few extension cords that you used with the heated buckets. Wrap the extensions cords up nicely and find a good place to store them. You can easily run to your local hardware and grab some extra hooks and hang them in your tack or storage room. That way when you need them next fall you won’t have to dig through any bins looking for them!

Finish tidying up the barn by cleaning out each stall completely. Conventional mats, you would have to pull the mats up, muck out whatever bedding or manure got under the stall mats, and then sanitize the ground under the mats. With our SuperStall Mattress System, which is a wall-to-wall system, you can use a power washer to clean your stall. The mattress connects directly to the stall wall, sealing the foam under the waterproof topcover. A quick sweep of a power wash with an attached detergent (of course make sure it is safe for your horses) can easily kill bacteria and make your stall sparkling again! Spend less time on maintenance and mucking out your stalls by adding our SuperStall system to your barn this Spring during Spring cleaning time at the barn!

How do you spring clean at your barn?

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!

Oops, I Spilled Water in My Stall!

November 23, 2015

I’ve helped out at a lot of different barns over the years. I like seeing exactly how everyone operates their facility and has their own particular ways. But no matter what, when I am in a barn and I am filling water buckets they always say “don’t let it overflow!!”

If you have a deep bedded system, the spilled water will create a big wet area, and you normally spill it right where the water bucket is, where the horse stands most of the time. Some barns will leave the water in the stall, and wait for it to eventually evaporate.  It is not good for your horse to stand in wetness for long periods of time. Too much moisture in the horse’s hoof will actually weakHunter Harrison 037en and break the hydrogen bonds that are in the cellular makeup of the hoof, and will make the hoof too flexible and reduce the hoof’s structure.  The hoof will become soft and weak. Other barns will pull out the three inches of bedding that it saturated and replenish that whole area with new bedding, becoming very costly. If you’re using thick rubber mats, this water can get under the mat and create mold; which is dangerous for your horse to be around.

If you were to have a SuperStall Mattress System in your stall, then spill some water, it is an easy clean  up! Our SuperStall Mattress keeps all liquids right on top of the rubber topcover. The topcover is not porous so you don’t need to worry about the topcover absorbing some water and creating bacteria, and water will not get under the topcover and create mold. You only need to bed your stalls about one inch, so you don’t have to worry about having your bedding being soaked. Most people with our stalls installed, just shop vac up the water that is sitting right on top of the cover and add a bit of refresher bedding. You’ll never have to tell your barn help “don’t let the water overflow!!” again!

 

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?

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!

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?

Horse Stalls Can “Go Green” Too!

October 26, 2012

Horse Stalls Going GreenThe popularity of “going green” has been ingrained into our everyday lives. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn you can make environmentally-friendly choices when it comes to your horse’s bedding, too. Just follow the three R’s: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

Reduce: Stalls bedded with wood shavings, straw, sawdust and shredded newspapers absorb a lot of moisture. These materials need to be constantly changed and disposed of to ensure dryness. Reducing the amount of bedding you use reduces the amount going into your local landfill.

Recycle:  Although you shouldn’t “recycle” bedding for obvious hygienic reasons consider using bedding materials that are themselves recycled, such as newspaper or sawdust. And consider the actual stall comfort product that contains recycled shoe soles or tire rubber, even recycled memory foam!

Reuse:  Choose mattresses designed to last horse after horse, year after year. Unsure about the lifespan of your mattress? Ask about the warranty!

Going green is easier with SuperStall®, a foam mattress manufactured by IGK Equestrian. This bedding option reduces wasted materials, eliminates potential hygienic problems caused by “recycled” bedding, and lastly ensures durability and comfort for years to come.

“How do you practice “going green” when it comes to bedding?

Is Your Horse Eating In Bed?

September 27, 2012

Cut back on bedding with SuperStallAccording to a recent university study, researchers looking at horses on restricted calorie diets found that nearly half of them were ingesting wood shavings in their stalls.

Wood shavings aren’t a horse’s “go-to” snack, but when they are put on a diet, bedding can look pretty tasty. Although all the horses in the study remained healthy, ingesting wood shavings can cause potentially serious digestive problems, including colic, and should be discouraged.

If your horse is eating his bedding, one obvious solution is to reduce the amount of bedding in the stall. The SuperStall™ Memory Foam Mattress by IGK Equestrian features a waterproof woven top cover that fits wall-to wall within the box stall, creating 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 (or a snack), but also reduced odor, labor to muck out stalls, and disposal costs.

The SuperStall™ Top Cover is constructed of tough fabric that can be custom fit for everything from a 12’ x 12’ box stall to a 12’ x 24’ foaling stall

Have you ever caught your horse snacking in bed? What did you do?


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