First – how much bedding does your horse need? According to the BHS a 12ft x 12ft stable requires approximately five bales of straw or eight bales of shavings to initially bed down, then three bales of straw a week or eight bales of shavings each week to top up. However, this can be reduced to about one to two bales with careful management.
“Adequate, suitable bedding material is necessary in order to provide warmth for your horse, enable him to lie down in comfort, prevent injury and also to help reduce the risk of him becoming cast,” says Becky Ball, Managing Director of Eazitools.
Becky adds: “We’re not suggesting that horse owners reduce the amount of bedding they’re using as this could be detrimental to the health of their animals, but there are changes they can make and habits they can put in place in order to keep their costs down this winter.
“For example, simply changing their mucking-out technique, reviewing their tools or bulk buying bedding with other horse owners on the same yard could make a big difference to their bills.”
10 Cost Cutters
1 Consider buying your straw by weight rather than per bale
2 Club together with other owners to take advantage of discount rates on bulk or wholesale orders.
3 Consider investing in rubber matting. The initial cost is high but the amount of bedding is reduced and it also helps prevent stable injuries.
4 Review the tools you are currently using. Many modern tools have been specifically designed to sift debris and minimise wastage.
5 Use bedding as sparingly as possible. In terms of layering, consider the hardness of the floor surface and the time of year; as a general rule, if the stable seems cold it’s best to add more bedding; if it’s warmer you may be able to get away with less. But remember, horses should avoid standing on bare concrete floors for long periods of time – it should always be covered.
6 Review your current mucking-out habits. Consider ‘deep littering’ where any droppings and obvious wet bedding are removed and shavings or straw sprinkled on top of bedding every few days. It saves time and money and also provides a warm, compact bed for your horse.
7 Check your storage. Keep bedding as dry as possible and ideally indoors to reduce any waste.
8 Site water containers at the front of the stable to prevent leaks.
9 Make sure you are providing plenty of good quality hay to prevent your horse eating straw.
10 Consider keeping your horse outdoors for longer. This could save on both feed and bedding, and many horses enjoy being turned out. However, there will always be times when your horse will need a stable.
For more information…
On Eazitools stable and field tools, including the Rag Fork, visit www.eazitools.co.uk