Everyone seems to have a different way they add, distribute and clean the bedding of the stalls. I believe there are only a few rules. The first is to remove all waste material. In other words, if you are going to spend time and energy cleaning the stall, then clean it well enough so that you would be willing to lay down on it. Ensure there is enough bedding to keep the horse away from the ground beneath. There is one more thing I want to talk about – banking the edges.
Many owners and grooms think that adding a lot of bedding to the sides of the stalls (banking the bedding) prevents the horse from becoming cast. This is the horseman’s term for when a horse rolls on the ground, flipping over so that the legs are against the wall. From this position, the horse is unable to rise. There is a belief that banking the bedding prevents this. But there is more.
Banking the bedding is another way of storing extra bedding, so the stall cleaner adds bedding only once a week and then picks away new bedding as needed throughout the week.
There is a problem with banking bedding that no one ever talks about. Horses cannot stand where bedding is banked. In essence, the area where a horse can stand or lay down is greatly diminished. There are some stalls with a 6 ft (1.8m) square area, and the horse is longer than this. It is like having a stall with walls only 6ft (1.8m) long.
How you bed a stall and what material is used is an individual preference based on experience, cost and availability. However, diminishing the area for the horse to live in is not in the horse’s best interest.
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