Winter's coming again, to my great displeasure, and we just finished the mass cleaning of the barn today so the horses can start coming in when the weather's bad and at night (they haven't got a shelter out in the paddock, and very few trees or structures for protection).
Our barn is...different. Only some of the floor is cement, the rest is hard-packed gravel, including the stalls of "my" two horses. I have often asked my dad if we could cement it, but he always refuses, and the weather's becoming too wet now anyways. But anyhoo, no cement, and I'm not likely to get any.
The first thing I'm going to ask about is bedding. We only have straw, we have only ever used straw, and I'm finding it inconvenient and just...unpleasant. It doesn't absorb everything, it gets kicked around so there are bare patches in the most-trodden places, and I just generally don't particularly like it. I'd love to get shavings or sawdust, but first of all I don't know where to get them since there are no saw mills around here anymore. I also don't know how much they cost-if they're expensive, as opposed to the free load of straw we just baled, then I don't think we'll get them. And finally, how would they work on the gravel? Would they just make a big mess? If you can answer any of my questions, I'd appreciate it.
I am also interested in knowing your cleaning routines. Last winter I tried valiantly to diligently keep the stalls clean, but I'm one person and I am often strapped for time after school, so the stalls really only got a strip on the weekends and were just picked/half-stripped the rest of the week, and some days I barely looked at them. Ideally, I'd like to clean them daily, but I know when schoolwork picks up near exams and such as well as riding and other work, that's not going to be realistic. I'm thinking this year I'll pick the dirty spots each day and do a strip on weekends and then another strip through the week because I'm bound to have at least one not-busy day. Do you think this sounds reasonable? I like to keep the barn clean so they aren't standing in urine and manure all day (they go out during the days unless it's really wet and cold), but it's simply not possible for me to do a thorough cleaning every day unless I'm going to be out in the barn until 10 each night.