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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
    Posts
    320

    Default Bedding for outside pen?

    I have to keep my horse confined for 30 days due to a mild suspensory injury. He is doing very well in a small pen made up with round pen panels.

    Thankfully he is being very neat so far, pooping in a corner, etc.

    Is there any type of bedding that might work for an outside pen? We are only on day 5, but I can already tell that the bathroom area is going to get nasty. Moving the pen is not really an option as I have to be able to access it through an in-line fence gate.

    We are in SC and our ground is clay, so drainage does not really exist. Stuff just sits on top or if it does ooze into the clay, it gets very slippery and mucky very fast.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    SCM1959



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2010
    Posts
    156

    Default

    Wood pellets are great for outside. They break down easily and work really well for pee spots and break down great for a soft bedding.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2011
    Location
    My Little Bit of Heaven
    Posts
    233

    Default

    I think any bedding will just turn into a horrible mess very quickly. Is the clay wet or solid? A few honey-comb type rubber mats might help you out temporarily. If it were me I'd probably try some pea gravel which would certainly sink into the clay but might stabilize the ground for a while and allow you to pick up poop easily.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,168

    Default

    We use outdoor pens and have mats down in one, those work the best. They were OK when we had them on an old graveled area, not perfect due to the age and conditon of the area. I can't recommend bedding if there is any soil there at all, they'll just churn it in. If you could keep it dry it wold be different, I'm just recalling what happens when straw or shavings get wet and mashed into the mud. You can't pick it out, you darn near need to take down the sides and run the FEL to scrape up the glop.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
    Posts
    320

    Default

    Okay, mats it is ... I will get some at TSC tomorrow. I think I might get the honecomb ones; that will help some of the water run through or maybe I could get a combo of solid and honeycomb.

    Rocky is such a wonderful horse. He MUST heal properly from this injury. We have miles and miles of trails to ride and he is way too young for retirement! Not to mention that to me, he is irreplaceable and priceless - there is a lot to be said about a horse who maintains his composure and training at all times.

    SCM1959


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2007
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    4,948

    Default

    Just a word of caution, if you do get the regular solid mats, they can become very slippery if they get wet and are not topped with bedding.

    At our barn, the few runs which are not totally gravel / graded, mats are put over any areas prone to mud, and cedar rest is used on other areas to either provide an absorbent “bathroom” area – or a soft place to lay down. It does not seem to make mud issues worse like regular bedding can.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,168

    Default

    I think we use our mats upside down, they have an unfinished looking surface and diagonal grooving, not the slick side with the little raised hash marks. We also have a certain amount of hay that turns into bedding whether we want it to or not. They look more like this http://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp...2_IMG_0141.jpg

    So far no issues in the sleet and snow and ice. A little shavings would be nice to soak up the urine spots, that's a fact.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,542

    Default

    Agreed, mats can be VERY slippery when only a little wet.

    Does he have a stall he can be in? Can a small run be attached to his stall, so that maybehopefully he'll use his stall for potty?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,542

    Default

    Something else about the mats - if you're going to put them side by side in the area you're talking about, you will have a tripping hazard at some point since you won't be able to have and keep them laying flat next to each other.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2005
    Location
    Australasia
    Posts
    1,112

    Default

    What about arena surfacing like shredded tyres? I'm considering putting this in my outside yard, possibly mixed with pea gravel.
    where am I, what day is it, am I still having a good time?



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
    Posts
    320

    Default

    Unfortunately, we do not have a stall available for use. We do have a sheltered area, but we had several trees come down in a bad storm and that area is "under construction" - regrading, taking other iffy trees down, etc. We have wanted to level out this area for quite a while and the downed trees made us decide to go ahead with the work. It just figures that we have an injury requiring no turnout exactly when we cannot use our shelter! Murphy's law, I guess. I can bring him to my instructor's place if I need a stall, but I also have a toddler, so having my horse off-site will be very difficult.

    My husband will be traveling this week, but next weekend he plans to do more work in the sheltered area. I hope we can get everything done so that Rocky doesn't have to be out in the open for the entire 30 days.

    He is keeping the pen very neat, and I noticed him lying down comfortably this afternoon. I thought I would look at the mats tomorrow morning at TSC - it is possible that we can anchor them somehow so that they don't slip all over the place. We framed up stall mats for use as a wash stall by using landscape timbers all around, so maybe we can do that as a temporary measure. I figured I would have to put shavings on top of the mats - another reason for the landscape timbers, to hopefully corral the shavings or pellets.

    I took him out this afternoon for handgrazing and he was a perfect gentleman. No yanking or tugging. I guess I will see during this 30 days' confinement if he is truly the mannerly horse I always say he is. He is used to 24/7 turnout, but he has never given me the impression that he would become explosive. Let's hope not!

    SCM1959



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    4,106

    Default

    I have anchored mats with 120 penny nails (look like a small spike about 9 inches long) I put fender washers on the nails, took a cordless drill to get a hole into the mat then hammered the nails into the ground



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,287

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by clanter View Post
    I have anchored mats with 120 penny nails (look like a small spike about 9 inches long) I put fender washers on the nails, took a cordless drill to get a hole into the mat then hammered the nails into the ground
    I've done something similar with a carriage bolt (about 8") and a washer. I used the mats with the holes in them for a few places and while I love that they drain and aren't slippery, they sure do flip around and shift well. anchoring them down was the only way to go.

    OP, if you use the mats with the holes and don't want to/can't anchor them down, you might get away with just tying them together with baling twine or cable ties. Either one is a very temporary fix (both will break eventually... I know from experience!) but you have a temporary situation.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    269

    Default

    OP - I have a 30x24 pen attached to my run-in, and had the same issues you did. I also have the awful clay which becomes a giant muddy mess under there. I am now using pine pellets and am IN LOVE. I initially put mats down but they got slippery so I pulled them back up.

    I cannot say enough good things about the pellets. They absorb EVERYTHING and there is zero mud/clay. What I did..... opened 12 bags, raked them out somewhat evenly but not so they reached any of the sides. Sprayed them lightly with the hose but did not drench them. Every day after I put them down, I picked out the poop and "raked" the pellets (which had now broken down and expanded, covering way more area) around and out. Eventually, after about a week, they cover the entire area and I now have about a 3" thick, cushion-y ground! No clay or mud is visible. It is seriously a lifesaver.

    They are fairly inexpensive and I haven't even had to put down any more bags. I will probably throw 3-5 more bags down in another week or so (it's been nearly a month), but have not needed to strip it even once. I don't even pick the urine spots - they get soaked up, and when I rake it out, dry and there is never even any odor (if I were using them in a stall I would probably pick the urine spots).

    Our horrible mud/clay
    The area before pellets (this was on a good day, no rain)
    The area after pellets (this was about 1-2 weeks after I put them down)
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
    Posts
    320

    Default

    Wow, OTTB Cooper -- that looks fantastic! I could actually do this myself without getting my husband involved. Where did you buy the pine pellets?

    Last night I realized I am getting sick -- achey, cold, chills - and today I have a low fever, so I did not go to Tractor Supply this morning. I am trying to lay low and rest while my toddler is at pre-school.

    It would surely be easier to do the pine pellets than having to hammer in mats.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    I prefer the pelleted pine shavings for situations like this or in run ins where horses will urinate.

    You can usually get them at Tractor Supply or similar farm stores, or at feed stores. Some brands can be dustier than others but since you're using these outdoors, that shouldn't be an issue.

    Me? I'd skip the mats and put down the pellets.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    269

    Default

    Here in VA I can get them at Tractor Supply, Southern States, and the co-op in my town I did some researching around to see if people had a preference for a certain kind (Guardian, TSC, etc.) but realized that for use outdoors, I wouldn't have to worry about excess dust and whatnot so went for the cheapest! I buy them in 40lb bags, back my truck up to the pen, and dump them all out.

    Honestly, even if eventually you wanted to install the mats, the pellets are worth a shot first. I still cannot believe how amazing they have been. After nasty weather, I won't clean the pen for a few days and it takes me less than 30 minutes to shovel the manure then rake the pellets. I have not seen a speck of mud/clay since I put them down. Obviously if I never added more it would come back, but there is also no waste at all when you pick through them (I'm probably going to switch to these instead of shavings for my stalls once I run out. I wonder if you can get a load of pellets delivered?!).
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    269

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    I prefer the pelleted pine shavings for situations like this or in run ins where horses will urinate.

    You can usually get them at Tractor Supply or similar farm stores, or at feed stores. Some brands can be dustier than others but since you're using these outdoors, that shouldn't be an issue.

    Me? I'd skip the mats and put down the pellets.
    100% agree! Same experience.
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    FWIW, ignore the directions on most of the bags. They'll tell you to just leave pee spots or other nonsense IMHO.

    If I am using them in stalls, I take the bag, throw it out flat on the stall floor, make a slit in the bag, stick the hose in and let 'em soak for about 10 min before dumping them out. This lets some of the pellets expand so your horse isn't just walking on rolly pellets. You may want to do similar given your clay so that the pellets don't just get smooshed into the mud. They dry back out so it doesn't affect absorbency IME, but it makes for a nicer feel.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    2 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2007
    Posts
    2,102

    Default

    OTTBCooper: just wanted to say, your post, explanation and how you added photos is really well done and helpful ! (You guys are making me a bit worried about my expensive interlocking mats in my 12x24 run in.....uh oh.....HOPE I don't regret it, due to slippery???---and ReSomething: thanks to your (!) helpful hint, I guess I can always pick em up and flip em over! )--- love this board.
    ayrabz
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett


    1 members found this post helpful.

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