The Best Bedding For Your Horse.
We have come a long way since straw was the only thing available for our horses bed. Many people still bed on straw, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with straw, it is warm, cost effective and providing you lay enough very comfortable. It is a problem if you have a horse with breathing problems and if you have a horse that eats anything, he will go into the box a sleek thoroughbred and come out as round as a Shetland pony, although there will not be much bedding left to muck out!! humour aside straw is not the easiest thing to muck out either.
In the 21st century, there are many different choices. My personal choice is shavings BUT they have to be professionally made dust free especially made for horse bedding. It is possible to get free shavings from you local wood yard, but these shavings are not suitable for horse bedding. They are very, very dusty and some are certain types of hardwood which are dangerous to horses so be careful if you choose this route.I use and recommend Bedmax.
Cardboard is becoming increasingly popular as a cheaper alternative to shavings. It is dust free , clean and highly absorbent ideal for horses with respiratory problems. It is environmentally friendly quick and easy to muck out and biodegradable.
Rubber matting is a good choice if you have your own stables and they are well drained. It is not an instant cost effective alternative, but will pay for itself over a period of time, as you do not need as mush conventional bedding. You do need to add extra bedding to absorb the urine. If this is not done the horse will be standing in an ammonia soaked bed which is bad for the respiratory system and will soften the hooves.
Whatever bedding you choose, do not scrimp as this is a false economy. A good deep clean bed is warm, absorbent, comfortable and will help avoid capped hocks, thrush, COPD (if dust free) and make for a happy healthy equine friend.