making a stall as "healthy" as possible...?
Basically I'm a total no0b to stalling a horse. All I really know is all the bad stuff and nothing really about increasing the "good" of stalling.
Due to a myriad of factors, I'll be stalling Lacey overnight, every night during the winter/fall/spring. With her terrible eyesight and her propensity towards mud fever plus a few other issues, I just feel like stalling is our safest+healthiest option.
Right now, she has a 12x12 covered and bedded stall area, plus a 22x18ish, partially covered (the overhang off the roof), outdoor area that has rubber mats in all standing areas.
Her water is on one side of the outdoor area and I've hung a hay net high up on the edge of the stall, opposite of the water. I know the bad things about hay nets but to my mind, keeping her tummy+mind busy all night is the important thing here.
I've also started throwing a small flake of hay into the back corner of the indoor area to encourage even more movement.
From the locations of her poop piles, she's been traversing pretty much the whole stall at night - fun cleaning! Hahaha
Last night she also finally laid down to sleep - I'm thrilled that she had poop on herself! Haha she doesn't lay down during the day generally at all so that's really important.
She's also finally started peeing while she's in. She had been just holding it, ALL night. O.o
Anyway, stalling pros, how do I make being stalled as healthy as possible for my old lady? Without spending my life's "savings" that is!
And sorry if this is disjointed...phones don't lend themselves to keeping a single thought. Haha!
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If you have to stall, the two most important things are protecting their feet and lungs.
Keep the bedding as clean and dry as possible and pick out the hooves often. Constantly standing in urine and manure is awful on the feet.
Urine ammonia is also terrible for the lungs as is all the dust that many stalls/barns have. Have very good ventilation and use a fan if necessary.
I love stalls. I hate having my horse in pasture.
no other horse to bite kick and eat her food
out of cold heat and rain
I have my mare in a stall with outdoor run. basically mats and a small amout of shavings is great and just clean every day so there bedding is soft clean and they can be happy
I keep my horses stalled at night, for safety reasons in my area. There are wild animals around, not all have four legs. -.-
I personally use wood pellet bedding, they start out as pellets but when they get wet they fluff into saw dust. When you first put bags in you need to wet it a bit to get it to 'fluff' into a nice fluffy bed. It's very comfy and squishy and keeps the stalls VERY dry! All moisture is absorbed quickly and effectively and made into a lump, so it's very easy to clean! I just toss all the clean stuff up onto the wall and the dirty stuff falls down, all the clean stuff falls right through the pitch fork, the dirty stuff is lumped up and stays on. Easy to clean, nice and dry and I only need 1 bag a week for my draft horse in an 18x14 stall. Took 4 30 pound bags to get it started though, then 1 a week to replace what was taken out. At $4 a bag it's pretty cheap! The only case I found I don't like it is with my pony, he is very dry, only pees in one small area, so his bedding gets very dry and can be dusty - I just open his window to keep it ventilated and normally clean his stall when he's outside.
Any wood pellet that's made out of soft wood works, but there are brands that are made just for horse bedding :) ask your local store if they have any wood pellet bedding and see what they say about it.
Sorry, don't mean to sound like a commercial, but it's something I do that really makes life perfect for me and my horses. My mare had horrible scratches (leg fungus) when I got her, but hasn't gotten it once because the bedding keeps her feathers nice and dry, even when she's out playing in the mud. She never gets trush either! :)
Sounds like a good setup already! Try to leave enough hay in the net that it lasts through the night if you can.
Some horses don't like peeing if there isn't deep enough bedding and it splashes back up on them. If she seems reluctant to pee going forward, try leaving part of the stall bedded a little more deeply and see if she likes that more.
If you have an outdoor run, don't mat the entire thing. Most horses, if they have an un-matted outdoor portion will pee/poop there which not only saves you in bedding, it also keeps them from walking and laying in it!
I can tell in 2 seconds if it was raining during the night because the horses with outdoor runs will have used their stalls. Otherwise, I *might* find a tiny pile once in a blue moon in those stalls.
Thanks, yes, I do pick the stall every morning. :) Good point though, I forgot to mention it. I never knew she pooped that much in a night - usually there's at least 7 piles!! :shock:
I also generally sweep the mats on a daily basis, at least enough that they aren't dusty or have horse poop remnants on them.
I do use those wood pellets - I also love how well they work over time! :) That's probably something I could currently do better on. Right now there's only 4 bags (give or take areas that have been removed due to dirtiness, of course) in there. The ground under the stall (basically packed earth) isn't the most level thing though, so some areas are really deep and others are nearly bare. I'm hoping to pick up a few more bags this week/weekend and really level it out+deeply bed it.
Gooood point. :)
And, PunksTank, no worries about sounding like an ad. When I first started using them, I was like "WHY hasn't someone told me about these before!!!!!!" They're really great. And SO easy to pick! And so soft! I could also go on for days. :lol:
Thanks Verona! I have been filling up the net so much that she generally seems to have about half left in the morning (this net, which is supposedly "just" a medium, literally holds 25+lbs of grass hay, it's crazzzzy! haha). I'm so glad I bought it, I had been just feeding her hay off the ground but this way is saving me so much $$ since she actually doesn't eat/waste as much of it. I love it! haha
That's an excellent point about her peeing "issues". I'm thinking that might be a factor, right now some areas of the stall are really deep (where she actually has been peeing) and some are really thin - due to the ground under the stall. It'll be an interesting test to see when I bed the stall more all over deeply later this week! :)
Thanks Delfina! The run area isn't totally matted and actually, you're totally right, about half her piles are outside on the ground-ground. Really though, a little selfishly, I actually wish she would poop every pile inside - it's so much harder to pick it off the ground! haha Somehow *puts hand to forehead* I'll survive. :lol: But yeah, bedding-wise, bonus!
Haha yes! I love them! I don't know why everyone doesn't use them xD there are inexpensive brands and are just so much easier and nicer for the horse in general.
Glad to hear about the hay net I was just thinking about doing the same thing!
Unless you already are, you might consider using a slow feeder hay net.
Not because your horse needs to eat slower but because the holes in a slow feeder net are small and she can't get her hooves caught in it.
I put my insulin resistant horse's hay in one of these every night, in his stall. For the money, they hold up really well.
Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com Tough-1 Slow Feed Small Mesh Hay Bag <>
Mine are all out during the day and in at night. I have grid mats in everyone's stalls, which helps the urine filter down away from the shavings. It lets the stalls dry out better once I turn the horses out and I can get another couple days out of the shavings. I do pick manure out every day.
If you walls are metal, you might want to think about buying some hardwood slabs from a lumber mill and lining the bottom half of the solid walls.
It doesn't matter how quiet she is, there's always the chance she could cast herself in the stall and, if the metal is exposed, run a hoof thru it and that could be fatal. Literally fatal.
The run-in is always the best idea. Whomever posted their horse goes outside to do all his business, needs to bring that horse to my barn and let it have a conversation with my horse that has the run-in stall:lol: He comes IN his stall to do everything ---- EV-REEEE thing:-(
Mares generally are much more neat than geldings, once they get their stall routine down.
I have four geldings - one is a neat freak, two are neat but then they walk their stalls and scatter everything anyway, the Alpha Dominant goes whereever he happens to be standing. Each ones habits have been that way "forever". I could be done cleaning stalls in 20 minutes if the three slobs were as neat as the fourth one:?
If she is alone, she feels trapped in the stall. Can you not allow her access to an area where she can run if she perceives danger? We feel a horse is safe in a stall, the horse sees it otherwise.
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