The Horse Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,205 Posts
You need a base as dreamcatcher mentioned of something to "cushion" their legs.
That said... I did stalls in a show barn where the entire stall was turned daily to fully clean and fluff. Our stalls were bedded deep in pine shavings, 10" on the floor and deeper sides...stalls were 14'x14' boxes when bedded down probably made a 12'x12' box of usable space.
We never had issues of leg problems or horses sliding getting up. No soreness, pain or anything else. These were top competition show horses.
I think the secret was stalls large enough for the animal to freely move around and more than enough bedding to give cushioning to the animal.
I never had a horse "walk" a bare spot to the floor either....

Drives me nuts to see matted stalls with a 1"-2" of bedding in them...why bother.
Doesn't truly absorb the pee so the horse if they lie down is lying in sopping shavings, rub marks on the animals coat from bones/fur making hard contact with a hard surface...and no soft place to lay the weary head...
Ever sit on a stall mat...hard as can be and can be slick underfoot too.
With all of that they then can also smell really foul because of the urine seepage under the mats left to fester...gross.
Give me thick bedded stalls of shavings on top of any surface, ....mats, concrete, dirt...whatever just give me the shavings to use.
Once established those bedded stalls also use less than the thin covered stall needing a near total stripping everyday.

jmo, sorry...off the soapbox.:oops:

In answer to your question though...over concrete nothing less than 5" thick across the entire stall floor...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,111 Posts
How many inches of shavings would you put in a stall that has concrete floors?
Probably 4 to 6 inches if it were me.

I've got rubber mats over gravel in my stalls.....and use about the same...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,293 Posts
A well known farrier stated that his problem with shavings is that the horse winds up standing with the toes downward as the shavings pack under the heels. Once I read this I realized it was something I had observed but didn't think anything of it at the time. Wheat straw doesn't do this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm actually asking because I work at a barn (they train barrel horses) and recently the owners have told me to use less shavings. They are concrete floors and they said instead of using 8-12 inches of bedding that we only need to use 4-6". I'm not questioning their intelligence on the matter but that just seems kind of skimpy when you look at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
horselovingguy, I used to get SO mad when they would inadequately bed my horse's stall at our first barn. I was a new horsey mom at the time but I feel like it's pretty obvious when your horse is getting bedsores in a 12'x14' stall... And he wasn't the only one! Fortunately we got that fixed fairly promptly but I would think that even mounds of shavings wouldn't be enough on straight concrete when the horse is shifting getting up or something. It can be quite hard on their legs over time too so I definitely recommend the gravel+mats+shavings method as well. :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,205 Posts
2BigReds;4421569 It can be quite hard on their legs over time too so I definitely recommend the gravel+mats+shavings method as well. :-)[/QUOTE said:
Agreed, this sounds really nice with the ability of drainage yet mats so not on the gravel and adequate shavings to soften those hard mat surfaces.

I never saw or encountered any problems with any horses in my care or on my own horse either. I though was a stickler for meticulous clean stalls, heavy bedding due to the concrete and ever watchful vigilance for problems arising.
:wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,337 Posts
I prefer the gravel too. Concrete is nicer for the barn owner, because you can pull the mats and hose everything down, especially if there's a drain under the mats for the pee to run down too. I think it's too hard on the horse's legs and if I showed up and they didn't have mats and I only found 4-6 inches in my horses stall I'd have a fit. Actually, I'd probably move.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,111 Posts
I'm actually asking because I work at a barn (they train barrel horses) and recently the owners have told me to use less shavings. They are concrete floors and they said instead of using 8-12 inches of bedding that we only need to use 4-6". I'm not questioning their intelligence on the matter but that just seems kind of skimpy when you look at it.
I buy 24 bags of shavings a month for my three horses stalls so multiply 24 x 5 and then add the governors part and it's a bit of loose change in shavings...or about $132 a month just for shavings.....or $44 a month per horse..... I have 2 10' x 10' stalls and a 10' x 20'. Love the larger stall because Only about 5 or 6 feet of stall is covered in shavings and the rest is just stall mats.

I've also got a huge pile of dirty shavings just waiting on the ground to firm up some so I can spread them...

So IMO, cost does matter, and I'd love to use less shavings...but 4 to 6 inches is good for me....and, it cuts the barn owners shaving cost in half and reduces the amount of waste they have to deal with as well. Now if money grew on trees and whiskey flowed from streams........then I'd have 6 stalls and rotate the horses.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,337 Posts
I have heartburn with BOs who skimp on shavings. I buy mine by the truckload for around $200. I buy 2 truck loads at a time and that keeps all of my stalls, 8 12 x 12 and 2 18 x 24 foaling stalls and the hen house, in deep shavings for over 1 year. Most big barns don't buy by the bag they get truck loads in at a much reduced cost.

I wouldn't mind 4-6 inches over mats but if they don't have mats in the stalls I wouldn't accept it as a boarder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There's nothing I can really do about it- I just work there- but I was just wondering what others thought. They definitely care about the horses there and she's very picky about the cleanliness of the stalls...so I guess they're just trying to cut down on waste, which is understandable. We end up taking out A LOT of shavings because they make such a mess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
I'm going to throwout a contrary opinion on this.

My stalls have concrete floors that both have a drainage /leech pit in the center which was back filled with pea gravel and leveled to the concrete and then have 3/4 inch rubber mats over. I have one stall w/o a drain pit and that stall has 2 layers of 3/4 stall mats.

I took an class about "green" horsekeeping sponsored by our local county conservation district, and presented by a local horse vet at her house to show the best practices she uses.

It was there I got the idea for the drainage pits, but she said that horses needs are different than ours and while we might find rubber mats uncomfortable, they are perfectly acceptable for horses. That in nature you will never find something as dry and fluffy as a deeply bedded stall, and that dust the bedding causes more respiratory problems than laying on rubber mats does to joints.

That there are exceptions for horses under two who lay down exponentially more than grown horses. But that any horse under saddle doesn't need so much bedding.

Also, that deep bedding actually encourages horses to pee in their stalls. Horses like to pee where the urine won't splash their legs and give them urine burns. Fluffy bedding soaks up the pee splashes, so that's where they pee. And that if you remove the bedding, they will find a more hospitable area in their turnout to urinate.

She also said that you have to think about the purpose of the horses stall. The horses should spend most of its time outside. Urinating, pooping, socializing, playing, exercising and resting/sleeping should be done outside. The stall should be a clean debris free area to eat and escape harsh elements. You especially don't want any bedding to mix in with their food.

The vet said that you should design the horses stalls with the intention you want. She went a step further and had a track paddock with task oriented stations. I don't have the room to do that but I took her advice and implemented what I could.

I stripped my stalls down to the mats and I use 2 big grain scoops full of broken down stall pellets, per stall. That's it. That is all the bedding I use.

I would use none at all, but I live up in Seattle and enough rain makes hooves slippery, even on rubber mats. So I use 2 scoops if bedding, mostly as a sweeping compound for use as traction.

I redid my horses turnouts to be half, 5/8ths minus gravel and half hogs fuel.

Now all my horses except the studly-acting-yearling-gelding; all pee outside, sleep in the hogs fuel, and do everything else outside. My mare takes a nap every day in the hogs fuel patch, especially when it's sunny.

They only come inside to eat and occasionally escape the rain.

I go through 2 bags of shavings a month, and our manure pile is a forced air system that breaks down to useable compost in 50-60 days. This method is cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Also all if my horses are barefoot and are thrush and bedsore free.

The take away from the course was that: If you use less bedding, you don't NEED to as much. Again, if you want your horses to use the stall as a toilet, that's fine, keep deep bedding.

But if you want them to go outside then you need to design the environment to support that goal.

For what it's worth, my mare took to the no bedding/"pee outside" change within a day. The husbands horse took a week and a half, to finally get with the program. And [email protected] goes back and forth. (If my mare comes in to heat he pees inside.)

When they do pee inside they have to deal with it until the next stall cleaning (AM or PM). That's their consequence for going inside. The pee drains away except in the one stall and in there I just add a handful of unsoaked bedding pellets and a dash of sweet PDZ in the one corner he tends to pee in.

Horses are smart and they get it. If your horses stalls don't have attached runs it might not work *as well*, but the methodology can still be applied.

Hope this helps!
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,001 Posts
I did stalls in a show barn where the entire stall was turned daily to fully clean and fluff. Our stalls were bedded deep in pine shavings, 10" on the floor and deeper sides...stalls were 14'x14' boxes when bedded down probably made a 12'x12' box of usable space.
That must of taken FOREVER to clean!!:shock:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,001 Posts
We have run ins and the horses pee and poop both inside and outside. Shrug. I used to keep them in at night with various amounts of bedding, but my mother keeps them out 24/7 using the run in and only uses shavings on wet spots.

Just curious about your post BGRW (sorry for abbreviating!) while I agree playing, exercising, etc should take place outside..what is wrong with a horse sleeping in a stall? That is half the point of bringing them in, imo. I do get the concept (interesting!) just didn't get the mindset of the horse "should not" sleep inside?

Side note, it drives me NUTS when horses (relevant to management usually) will hold it all day in T/O then wait til they get inside. First of all that can't be healthy, second it's a mess, third I DO NOT want to put the horsie in the stall and wait so horsie can use the bathroom if I am to do something with horsie. Or not do it (or not think since I am not and refuse to be "used to it" and be dealing with a really obnoxious horse or a horse that pees in the aisle and splashes EVERYWHERE. Arg.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
:) You can do whatever you want to your horses stall, so long as you understand the trade offs. You can dedicate the stall to be the comfiest horse bed ever, so long as you understand that your horse might not see it as a bed, but as a urinal that can be slept in.


Horses are not naturally animals that prioritize and seek out shelter the way humans do. Horses can be perfectly content huddled together in a mass in a down pour.

Now we obviously want to provide as much comfort as possible, but we need to be self-aware enough to know the line between anthropomorphizing your horses versus providing suitable and reasonable care.

I.E. "Are we deep bedding b/c it's what you would want as a person looking for a place to sleep?" Or "Are you bedding for the appropriate behaviors, and those results."

Are you (you, in the pejorative sense) trying to convey to your horse that you love it by filling the stall with bales of bedding? B/c if so that's not a realistic expectation.

Are you working with the horses instinct or fighting against it?

Basically it's about trade-offs. You don't NEED to set up your horses stall's primary function to act as his matteress. You can if you want, so long as you're fine with the consequences; spending the money on the shavings, and the time needed to change them out, etc. now if you don't buy the shavings or clean the stall or have to dispose of the used bedding go nuts! I totally get it. But as a barn owner I'm in the wonderful and rare position where the cheapest option, also happened to be the most natural for the horse, and best choice for the environment.

When you deep bed a stall, you are potty training your horse to pee inside. The methodology I learned in essence was about was about how to litter train your horse. Except that "litter" is a designated spot in his turnout ... Outside. Where the bedding/footing doesn't cost.

Hope this helps!
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,205 Posts
Yogi...my stalls took about 10-15 minutes each to clean, honest.
Once you got to know your horse and where they did their business, and they do make a pattern, you could work more efficiently.

I like the idea BigGirls...but in a world where not everyone does turnout or has attached paddocks to stalls those ideas simply don't work very well.
The horses I took care of spent probably 15-18 hours everyday in their stall. They did get turned out everyday and get ridden most days, but they did not have 24/7 t/o....
These were show babies, was the norm where I came from that horses go out {not everyone does this} for a few hours not all day long. They ate & slept in their stalls. When they were t/o they did run & play but we found they wanted in and were really miserable outside and into mischief and getting cuts, scrapes and hurt when left outside endlessly...
These guys were pampered and their stalls were their safe haven for them. It was common that they were down in their stalls for several hours a few times a day...resting, snoozing...they were adjusted to their life and were happy in it.
Based upon the needs, routine and lifestyle our horses lived, a sprinkle of pellets on a hard mat...just not going there. As you mentioned...you made alterations to the example of what you saw at the vets home...same idea...alterations were made to accommodate the lifestyle and conditions that these horses lived, worked and showed in.
We also bought loose shavings by the tractor trailer load...a huge pile. So cost was minimal to bed and once your stall was established and your horse was content and happy in their environment they usually kept a neat house...they also did not like to live in filthy conditions to lie & sleep in. Their stall though was where they spent the majority of their day, so we did indeed cater to them using it as a potty and a couch and a kitchen I guess.

I have found there really are no right or wrong ways, just different.
As long as what you do meets your horses needs and your cleanliness standards and their comfort standards...
Not every place in this vast land and country are their acceptable land offerings to allow t/o all day long for many horse owners. When you live someplace where 1 acre of land is near 1/2 a million dollars, your horse might not be out on 5, let alone 10 acres wandering around, but can get out to stretch their legs, fresh air and sunshine and then return to their stall to loaf the day away...and those prices were from many years ago...can't imagine what land costs are now!:shock:...affordable to have horses...not everyplace!
That $$ fact alone will dictate what many would, could and do do to even entertain having a single horse let alone multiple ones...and for many having them "home" is just completely out of the question in what land costs alone.
:-(...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,001 Posts
:) You can do whatever you want to your horses stall, so long as you understand the trade offs. You can dedicate the stall to be the comfiest horse bed ever, so long as you understand that your horse might not see it as a bed, but as a urinal that can be slept in.


Horses are not naturally animals that prioritize and seek out shelter the way humans do. Horses can be perfectly content huddled together in a mass in a down pour.

Now we obviously want to provide as much comfort as possible, but we need to be self-aware enough to know the line between anthropomorphizing your horses versus providing suitable and reasonable care.

I.E. "Are we deep bedding b/c it's what you would want as a person looking for a place to sleep?" Or "Are you bedding for the appropriate behaviors, and those results."

Are you (you, in the pejorative sense) trying to convey to your horse that you love it by filling the stall with bales of bedding? B/c if so that's not a realistic expectation.

Are you working with the horses instinct or fighting against it?

Basically it's about trade-offs. You don't NEED to set up your horses stall's primary function to act as his matteress. You can if you want, so long as you're fine with the consequences; spending the money on the shavings, and the time needed to change them out, etc. now if you don't buy the shavings or clean the stall or have to dispose of the used bedding go nuts! I totally get it. But as a barn owner I'm in the wonderful and rare position where the cheapest option, also happened to be the most natural for the horse, and best choice for the environment.

When you deep bed a stall, you are potty training your horse to pee inside. The methodology I learned in essence was about was about how to litter train your horse. Except that "litter" is a designated spot in his turnout ... Outside. Where the bedding/footing doesn't cost.

Hope this helps!
Posted via Mobile Device
When I kept them in at night it was so I knew where they were and that they were safe when I wasn't around, to keep them separate when they ate, and to give them a place to sleep. My old ranch horse and Icelandic could care less (ranch horse actually prefers being out) but my Arabian was used to it, and prefers it. (He enjoys being coddled lol) He actually gets excited when he sees a nice soft pile of clean shavings. I think I'm understanding what you are saying (and agree, though I choose to keep them in) I was just not sure about the horse "shouldn't use the stall as a bed". Obviously most of those behaviors are to be done outside, but not sure what the "issue" with that one was.

Also, the other horses that weren't so consistent in lying down I used less bedding, so I guess in a way I let the horse decide the use of the stall. So I guess I would be bedding BECAUSE I want the horse to sleep, to encourage that behavior. Just curious why you do NOT want the horse to sleep inside. Obviously you feel they get enough sleep outside, which is fine, but if they were to sleep inside what is wrong with that?

I find the horses can relax and lie down and go to sleep when they are in. When I come out to a horse with shavings in their mane every morning I know they were relaxed the night before. I almost never see them lie down outside unless basking in the sunlight on a nice day. I feel there is more (natural) stress when lying down outside and they are less likely to do it. All the horses I know with sleeping issues/"narcolepsy" (from not getting enough sleep) are outside. They are more alert outside.

So yes, I understand and agree with you though prefer to do things differently. I just didn't understand why you feel it is better for a horse to sleep outside, specifically.

And no, I don't think my horse feels I love him more because he gets more shavings :lol: He likes a deep bed so he gets a deep bed because I do love him, but he doesn't think that way! I think I "get" horses pretty well, and know they don't think like that :wink: Not guilty of anthropomorphizing.

ETA for the record, my horses are in my parents backyard and at the point in time I was living there and their primary caretaker, I paid for everything myself and did all the work myself, just preferred to keep them in at night. (Now my mother, who prefers a run in as I said)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,686 Posts
My barn is 24 x 24: concrete floors with double stall mats, and has five rooms. You walk into a 12x12 open with two 6 wide x 12 deep tack/feed rooms on either side. The 12 x 12 stall leads into two other 12 x 12 stalls behind it. Because my horse is a poop and beats up other horses, Ahab has the entire barn to himself.

So, he has one back stall very deeply bedded with shavings; usually better than a foot; for sleeping and he does not poop or pee in it, one back stall for eating grain, which is sparsely bedded; maybe 3 or 4 " of shavings, and the outer open front stall for eating hay and hanging out in, which has shavings in it, but mostly hay that he drags around. He does pee and poop here. He sleeps in the bedded stall all the time-- all night, and he naps there too, although he has access to all three stalls and his paddock too, 24/7.

I think deep shavings are really important for my guy, since he is so heavy and getting old. I know he uses that stall a lot; he is always covered in shavings, and I can keep it thick because of the non-poop/pee situation.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,686 Posts
Originally Posted by horselovinguy
I did stalls in a show barn where the entire stall was turned daily to fully clean and fluff. Our stalls were bedded deep in pine shavings, 10" on the floor and deeper sides...stalls were 14'x14' boxes when bedded down probably made a 12'x12' box of usable space.


That must of taken FOREVER to clean!!:shock:
I love big stalls: I think a 14 x 14 is way easier to clean than a 10 x 10, bedded to the same thickness.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top