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Bedding at shows: Alternatives to shavings/straw

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  • Bedding at shows: Alternatives to shavings/straw

    Now that show season is starting up I have been going down my list of things I need for upcoming events. Bedding was one of the first things on there.

    During the early winter months when its cold, I bed with straw. I hatethe lines horses get in their coats but the pros out weigh the cons (warmer, cushier, easier to keep clean, cheaper, don't have to buy a million bales like you do with shavings...). During the summer months I use shavings because it gets too hot to use straw.

    However anyone that knows me, knows my hatred of shavings. They are dusty, expensive, hard to keep clean especially if you have a stall walker, you need a million bags to properly bed a stall (with my arthritis guy I found no less than 6 bags at one time worked for him), and even with all those bags, it is not super comfy. But unfortunately straw will boil the poor ponies in Cali summer heat waves.

    I recently started looking into using rice hulls (perma stall). My boss tried it for everyday use but found it too expensive as opposed to straw for day to day. It was SUPER cushy, stayed clean, and the per dried out very fast. And no dust!! The hulls did stick to the horses but not like the dust from shavings. And I figure 4 bags of this is cheaper than the 7 or 8+ I would normally be getting (yes I am anal about my horses mattress).

    Has anyone used rice hulls as show bedding? Experiences? Likes? Dislikes?

    What about any other alternative bedding?

  • #2
    The old barn I was at used rice hulls as bedding (on a daily basis) for a long time. It didn't take me long to begin liking that option a lot! The shavings they had been using were crap and extremely dusty. We didn't bed with rice hulls at shows, but I think it's a great option. What about pelleted bedding? I'm guessing it's expensive, but my trainer switched to that from straw and loves it. You use less in comparison to shavings, straw, or even rice hulls.

    ETA: Woah, I didn't notice the 7-8+ bags! That IS a lot. I use that much at shows with concrete floors in the stalls, but do you use that much with mats? I'm anal about bedding too, but I can see why the stall would be harder to keep clean with so many bags in it.

    Also, just as an aside, my horse liked nibbling on his fresh rich hull bedding! It was kind of funny.
    T3DE Pact


    • #3
      I have only used shavings, sawdust, straw and shredded paper (need too much of it, and not that absorbent) for bedding but I don't see why you can't bring whatever you want to the show. If you are in a tent stabling setting for only 1 night you really don't need any bedding, as horses sleep on grass all the time.

      7 or 8 bags of shavings for one stall for one or 2 nights seems like a lot to me but you know your horse.


      • #4
        Read omnibus carefully, some shows say "shavings only allowed in stalls" or something to that effect
        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


        • #5
          If you're going to be in a place with access to kenaf, it's certainly worth consideration.
          "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
          Thread killer Extraordinaire


          • #6
            The only other type of bedding I've used is ground up corn cobs. They were absorbent and soft but the horses do eat them at first, and then they get over that, just like straw. Has anyone bedded on grass hay? I have done that. I have also bedded in peat moss. That's kind of a long term thing for horses with bad feet, I don't think it would work on a temporary weekend basis because you'd need too much. If you can get sawdust as opposed to shavings that might be better, too. Our sawdust is not dusty, it's bigger bits than shavings. ?
            Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
            Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


            • #7
              Have you tried pelleted bedding? I used it this summer and LOVED it. It's a little more pricey than regular shavings per bag, but you don't need much and it's super easy to clean. Would be convenient to take on the road too because it's so condensed (you add water once you put it in the stall and it fluffs right up- like sawdust but with out the "dust" factor).
              Balanced Care Equine


              • #8
                We use pelleted bedding from the Animal Bedding Supply company. I cannot say enough about this bedding! It's very easy to pick, super absorbent, not dusty, comfortable, and easy to transport. We often bring our own bedding to shows and events because it's usually cheaper and we can pack several bags without taking up too much space. You do have to add some water to the pellets if you're starting a stall from scratch. One really great thing about this bedding is that it lasts; if the horse is somewhat neat, you should only need to add another bag of bedding once or twice a week. If we want a really comfy stall at a show, we will put down a base of pellets and add some regular shavings on top.



                • #9
                  I really love pelleted bedding! Also, Guardian makes "Swift Pick" bedding, which is teeny tiny shaving flakes, and I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!!!!!!! SO easy to clean, beds up a little fluffier than the pellets, and did I say easy to clean?

                  My favorite stall mixture in the world is a solid base of pelleted bedding (5 bags when starting a stall) + 1 bag of the swift pick. My dream mix!


                  • #10
                    OK, this is a big hijack, but it seems all the shows I go to have signs that say "No OUTSIDE shavings." So alternatives, aren't technically an option........

                    At first, I just bought theirs. (I am a DUTIFUL RULE FOLLOWER.)

                    Then I noticed nearly everyone I knew dragging shavings from their trailers. When I asked them, "Is that allowed?" & mentioned the signs, they all looked bewildered and said they'd never noticed the signs!

                    So I started bringing my own shavings (cheaper & usually nicer, fluffier, cleaner) but I always feel like I should "sneak" them into my stalls when no one is looking and then hide the "non-farm" bags as quickly as possible.

                    Yes I'm a freak. Something about "breaking a rule" hurts my brain.

                    Anyone else notice the "No outside shavings" signs? Do any of the venues actually enforce it?

                    And I am totally going to check out the pelleted bedding. Very curious about it now! But it would be even harder to hide the "non farm bedding" then!!

                    I feel guilty already...................


                    • #11
                      At home I use "Best Cob" (corn cobs). It's awesome! You do have to water it down to keep it from being dusty, but you use a lot less and it composts fast.

                      I'm not sure that the "shavings only" shows would allow it though.