Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Do Wednesday

Another round of What Do is here!
First off, is it seriously almost Thanksgiving? Did another week really fly by? Did I really ride 0 times since the last post?
Also, B thanks everyone for siding with him on his clip job. He thinks he's too hot to trot.
Here's a picture of my mud monster since I did nothing else this week.

For this round, I am wondering what you all do for bedding. I know this sounds lame, but for anyone with horses at home, like me, you know it its the largest PTA.
Even if you don't have horses at home, I want to know what your barn does! Because I am an idea thief. So tell me your secrets.
I've battled with what to do for bedding almost my entire horsey life...approx 16 years.
There are 7 things I take into account when I look at bedding:
1) cost 2) durability 3) actual usefulness (this should have a coefficient of 2) 4) ease of cleaning 5) storage 6) availability
As new owners way back in the day, we naively bought bagged shavings.
WORST EVER. I hate shavings from a bag. Hate hate hate. Expensive as all hell @ $6/bag with a min. of 5 per stall. It also only looks pretty for a day. Absolutely useless in terms of soaking ability and cushioning power. Also sticks to everything, Impossible to muck & literally becomes part of blankets and tail hair. The only plus I give it is its storage superpowers. Can be stored outside or inside and stackable. Literally you can get this Satanic shit everywhere. TSC, Rural King, Walmarts, Pet Stores and other grain Stores. 2/6.
Then we started buying from the sawmill.
Which, hands down, is THE BEST. Not only is it cheap ($30 a trailer load), but it stays clean longer, absorbs more, doesn't stick to poop nuggets, easy to muck, provides adequate stall coverage/cushiness and brushes out of coats easily. Also downside is finding a place to store it. If you do not have an indoor area, storing it outside is miserable. More than 25% I would say gets thrown in the wind, literally, and gets ruined by moisture. Also freezes in the winter making it impossible to use. I do prefer this bedding though for summertime. Some people have issues with availability and finding random shit in the sawdust...but I've been lucky. 5/6
Other things I've dabbled with is the bagged pellet bedding.
 Its very expensive for one. About $7/bag. It takes many many bags for one stall. I would say 4 wetted down and 2 dry, for a total of 6-7. The GOOD news is that this bedding last FOREVER, especially if you use 2 dry bags.
It absorbs like WHOA and one of the pluses is you can LEAVE the wet spots and stir it up. It reabsorbs into the dry bedding! You do have to wet the other 4 bags down, to get the bedding to plump up, which is a PTA. Overall though I love this stuff on limited use or used in tandem with sawdust. Brushes out easy, doesn't stick and is SO easy to clean. Storing it outside can be tricky- if their are holes in the bag the bedding will expand and get ruined before you use it! Best to store inside, but since its bagged, stackable! Also, it seems to be widely available at TSC, Rural Kings and other grain stores in the area. I would give this 4/6.
Lastly, I've recently discovered the holy grail of bedding when I can't use sawmill bedding.... Ground corn cobs.
Seriously. THE BEST EVER. Might be better than sawdust. $3/bag. Takes about 4 bags per stall, more if you want. Absorption level: MAXIMUM. You can also stir this bedding up like the pellets.
When it comes to cushion it is very "bouncy". My horses LOVE it. When it comes to cleaning, it is a BREEZE. Nuggets sift right out and you stir up the wet spots. It lasts ages and you only need to add a bag every so often and remove the super soaked spots after about a week. Store inside or out and stackable! Super duper light bags too. It sticks to blankets but brushes right off. Only downside: Bacardi sometimes munches on it. I don't know how available it is nationwide, but I get them at Rural Kings as they are not avail at TSC. 6/6 in my book! 5/6 for everyone else if you don't have Rural Kings.
So, dear tell, what do?!


  1. Interesting. My barn was on shavings and then switched to pellets and it has been lifesaving. On pellets, it takes about an hour less time to do 17 stalls than it did before. Connor pees more than any other horse in the barn, though, so I'm wondering if corn cobs in his pee spot would help the pellets go longer. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I use straw. I love it! Cheap, light weight, stackable, easy to clean and composts well. I also use it in the garden as mulch after I take it out of the stalls. The horses love it and lay down more on it, heck, sometimes I'm even tempted to sleep in it!

  3. Wow... maybe my barn managers need to consider a different bedding! Seems like we could be saving some money!

    We use trailer-loads of shavings at our barn. Our stalls have thick rubber mats on the bottom, and then 2-4" of shavings on top, depending on how close you are to shavings replacement day (2x a week). Half the stalls also have an outside run, so clever horses poop out there, which is nice for mucking.

  4. I've used all those options except the corn cobs, and I prefer shavings. Hands down. I loathe the pellets - I hate the consistency of them, the look of them, and while I grant they are more absorbent and easier to pick through, I don't find them comfortable or like the look of them.

    The one time Tristan was boarded at a barn with the pellets, they just tossed the in the stall and let him crush them and he ended up eating some of the pellets - and that may have led to a very bad colic. I'll never use them personally.

    My favorite option was shavings by the trailer-load. They were finer pieces than the bagged stuff, and so more absorbent and less sticky, and less expensive as well.

  5. I have done the sawmill stuff (the stuff I got was much too dusty), shavings (despise), chips (love), newspaper (devil reincarnated) and am currently on pellets. I wanted to try corn cob as I have heard good things but I have no retailer around here that carries it.

  6. My current barn owner apparently likes to set money on fire and uses bagged shavings, which he buys by the pallet load. Previous barns have put saw dust in gravity feeders with a big tarp over and that worked pretty well, including through the winter when stored outside in MN. The absolute worst idea a barn has ever done was shredded newspaper - it colored off, stuck and shredded (a la wet kleenex) when wet and was no match for a mare who prefers, and will hold it, to pee in her own stall. I'm filing this post for when I get to actually choose my own bedding and don't have to deal with boarding. One day!

  7. We use sawmill sawdust at our barn currently, but I over the years I have cleaned stalls with all of the above choices except the corn. Would love to test that out and see! We also expiramented with a weird newspaper clipping type bedding one time. It was a real pain in the ass as any wet spot was impossibly heavy to scoop out. Straw is OK, and of course I prefer it for broodmares and foals in the early days but overall I just prefer sawmill stuff.

  8. The corn cobs sound interesting. I'd love to try those. I've done straw (no fun to clean), shavings (suck to clean), fine shavings (ok but wicked expensive), and sand (helloooooo sand colic). Current barn does trailer loads of fine shavings, which I assume is cost effective but I'm no longer mucking stalls. FREEDOM

  9. I hate pellets...I deep bed so it just doesn't work for me. I can't stand skimpy bedding - so lame. I use straw. Super cheap - fluffy, warm, and I find it super easy to clean!

  10. All the horses at my barn are super messy in their stalls (with paddocks attached) so they get bare minimum shavings. The floors are rubber matted anyways. We use bagged shavings which I prefer to sawmill crap (I always find crap in mine). It sucks but I deal with it. I'm thinking for my future barn I want to try to corn cob!

  11. I don't have stalls so I don't use anything lol. My horses are out 24/7. The dressage stable where I used to work got truck loads of shavings. It was stored outside on a concrete pad with walls around it and a tarp stretched over the top. PITA!!! The tarp had to be pulled back, then load it in a wheelbarrow, then push it uphill into the barn and put it in the stall. I hated it. Luckily the stalls didn't have to be stripped very often because only the show horses stayed inside and only in the summer. In the winter they only came in when there was ice. If I was using the stall all the time I would have hated it. It seemed easy to clean, but I haven't used any of the other products you mentioned so I can't compare. Having to leave the pee spots bare to dry sucked, so I'm thinking the others you mentioned where you can just mix it up would be awesome! I would just worry about them eating it......Anyway thanks for the info and posts. If we ever get a barn built I might need this info.

    Oh I forgot to mention in my barn at the old house before we moved I had pea gravel in it really thick. It is great stimulation for hooves, drains great and was easy to clean. I don't know how it would be if the horse were kept in the stall all the time though.... mine only ate in there and they had 24/7 access to it, but they preferred to be in the weather. I did see my horse sleep in there before though so it couldn't be too uncomfortable. :)

  12. never heard of the cobs before - interesting! i've always preferred sawdust... but don't have much experience with the more technical stuff. good luck!

  13. Ground corn cobs? Never heard of it!! Dunno if it's even a thing in Australia.
    We do the old truck load of sawdust stored undercover. I've always used it with concrete floors, which means it has to be quite thick. SO hard to clean.
    I think mats + sawdust is the trick to happiness.

    I've used straw before too. Nightmare. Never again. Doesn't absorb, sticks together and can have quite sharp edges.

  14. I get my corn cob bedding from TSC, When i first started using it super kid tried to eat it, but stopped . i love it!

  15. My barn does Fine sawdust mixed with pellets. For cleaning, I LOVE this combination. The pellets soak up the wet spots super well and the nuggets sift out so easily. As for rebedding, it is a pain because the sawdust gets everywhere (eyes, mouth, lungs, places you thought sawdust would never be...) and the pellets are hard to store/distribute, can't just scoop em with a pitchfork... Trade offs, I guess.