Archive for the ‘Stall odor’ Category

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!

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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?

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?

Solid Rubber Mat vs. Foam Mattress…Which is ideal for your stalls?

August 29, 2012

When choosing a surface for your stalls, how do you decide which material will provide the most comfort?  Comparing two popular mats, solid rubber and foam, can help with the decision.

Solid Rubber Mats:

Benefits:

  • Long life; added ability to withstand continued use
  • Can help keep dust production down
  • Can help to reduce slippage
  • May assist in preserving your floor’s natural surface

Drawbacks:

  • May require additional bedding materials for comfort
  • Could retain odor and moisture
  • Heavy (can weigh up to 150 pounds); making it difficult to remove and level/clean out stalls

Foam Mattresses:

Benefits:

  • Memory foam material helps cushion tired/strained ligaments and joints
  • May be sized for wall-to-wall coverage in a variety of stalls
  • Remains level
  • May resist bacteria growth

Drawbacks:

  • Initial expense; 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 benefits listed above, SuperStall® features a waterproof, woven top cover that helps to reduce labor and disposal efforts and cost, along with a 5-year warranty.

What mats are you using in your stalls now?

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?

Fuming over stall odor?

February 23, 2012

Stinky StallThe average horse generates more than two gallons of urine and 30 pounds of manure a day. All that waste has to go somewhere, and in a stall environment, that “somewhere” is usually into a pile of pine shavings on top of a rubber floor mat. Now, no one expects a boarding stable to smell like a lilac grove, but it shouldn’t bring tears to your eyes, either. When drainage is poor, or stalls aren’t mucked out regularly, the resulting ammonia fumes and bacteria build-up can be irritating at best and harmful at worst – for horses and humans.

Bedding material is obviously important, and you’ll want the most absorbent you can afford – sawdust or pine shavings are ideal. And while you certainly don’t want to skimp on all that waste-absorbing bedding, it’s worth noting that the thicker the floor mat, the less bedding you’ll need.

One major cause of stall odor is urine pooling under the mat. Foam and rubber mats provide dual benefits of cushioning tired joints and reducing the amount of bedding needed, so don’t get rid of them. But if pooling is a problem, the mats will need to be lifted, cleaned and allowed to dry completely. This will help reduce odor and disease-causing bacteria in waste trapped under the mats, but it’s also time and labor-intensive.

To give your horses all the cushioning benefits of a mat without the potential pooling problems, consider a waterproof top cover. This is a single piece of tough, woven fabric made to fit wall-to-wall on top of a foam or rubber mat within the stall. The top cover creates a “moisture tray” that allows urine and feces to be captured on top and easily removed with the bedding. In addition to getting rid of all that odor and bacteria-producing waste before it has a chance to run under the mat, you’ll also reduce the amount of shavings needed for bedding, labor to muck out the stalls, and disposal costs.

Foam mats like SuperStall®, and rubber mats like EquiSoft® by IGK Equestrian, come with top covers that can be custom-sized for any surface, from a standard 16’ x16’ box stall to a 12’x24’ foaling stall. They do a great job of keeping “stall stench” to a minimum.

How do you manage stall odor?

Carolyn


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