Horse Bedding – Styles

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 in it.  Make sure 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.

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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 in it.  Make sure 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 all the way 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.

Here is the problem with banking a stall that no one ever talks about.  Horses cannot stand where bedding is banked.  In essence, the area of where a horse can stand or lay down is greatly diminished.  There are some stalls I have seen where there is maybe 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 with what material is an individual preference based on experience, cost and availability.  However, diminishing the area for the horse to live is not good for the horse.

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