Bedding – Styles

Overview
Horse bedding styles are passed on from generation of horse owners. Each seem to have advantages and disadvantages.
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Discussion:

To bank shavings is to add a large amount of bedding around the edges of the stall. This provides a ready supply of clean shavings used to touch up the dirty stall as soiled shavings are removed. It also becomes an anti-casting device.

ADVANTAGES –

Efficient use of labor – A large amount of shavings are added once or twice a week rather than fresh shavings added daily. Afternoon “picking” of the stall is quickly performed as new shavings are pulled from the ready supply banked at the stall walls.
An effective anti-casting device is created because the banked shavings doesn’t allow for the horse to roll beyond vertical against the stall wall.

DISADVANTAGES –

Banking the walls with any bedding decreases the area for the horse to lay down. In my experience, most stalls are too small for the horse to begin with. Horses cannot stand comfortably where the bank is. In addition, they are limited to the small center of the stall to stand or lay down.
A 12 foot by 12 foot stall for which a lot of money was paid to build is now effectively a 10 by 10 or even an 8 by 8. That is very small for most horses today.
Extreme banking creates a funnel which forces the horse into a small central area in the stall.

While I understand the concept of work efficiency and I appreciate the cleanliness of the often picked stall, I think that the decreased area for horse occupation when banking is extreme is not in the best interest of the horse. Maybe a compromise is to only bank one wall and add casting rails if your horse is prone to becoming cast.

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