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Bedding in Horse Trailer?

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  • Bedding in Horse Trailer?

    I've always put shavings down in my horse trailer, but recently started reconsidering the wisdom of this given that the stuff is always flying around (horses always unload with a thin film of dust and shavings), so they must be breathing in the dust/particles, and it's probably irritating to the eyes. I've recently switched to trailering with no bedding, but I feel like it might be unpleasant for them to have absolutely nothing to absorb pee (I have one mare who considers it her solemn duty to pee and poop in the trailer, even if we're only going a mile down the road!).

    What do you guys think is best in term of balancing all the variables: air quality, stability of the footing, comfort/absorbency?

  • #2
    Straw! We always keep a bale or two for that. We too found that shavings got everywhere.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


    • #3
      I have always used shavings. Sprinkling them down a bit (I use a watering can) seems to keep the dust down just fine.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        I use sawdust pellets just at the back end. I try to scoop out as much as I can before unloading my mare. Wet manure is slippery
        I wasn't always a Smurf
        Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


        • #5
          My mats are pretty textured so I don't put anything down unless I am hauling more than 3 hours or so. My horse doesn't like to pee in the trailer, so he will wait till unloading anyway, if he can. Haven't had any slipping problems and no complaints from poneh.
          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

          Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
          We Are Flying Solo


          • #6
            I'm with the above poster, no shavings unless I'm hauling long distance. Mine rarely pee in the trailer short distances. If they did though I might put shavings down all the time just because wet mats are slippery and it is much easier to clean up with shavings! She may stop peeing if there is no bedding, they normally don't like it splashing on their legs, so might bs worth trying for a little while.

            Also, what kind of shavings are you using? Maybe a different kind will be less dusty or just crack the front windows when all other windows and back doors are open?


            • #7
              I have a friend whose pony died eventually bc he inhaled flying around shavings in a trailer. Mind you it was a stock trailer, but it makes me nervous to use shavings after that.


              • #8
                I use a small amount of heavy shavings and keep the windows open with just the bars so they have fresh air. I also put a fly mask on. I haven't seen so much as a dust particle of a shaving on my horse anytime I have hauled.
                Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


                • #9
                  The key to shavings in a trailer is dampening it down enough to keep the dust down. We dampen and mix, dampen and mix, like mixing wet and dry ingredients for baking. Sprinkling the top does nothing once a horse stirs up the shavings standing in the trailer.
                  ...don't sh** where you eat...


                  • #10
                    I use a layer of shavings near the cener and back, for absorbing what ever the horse can dish out and then bed over with straw or the left over hay from the previous trip, to act as cushioning.
                    There's coffee in that nebula.


                    • #11
                      If the horse does pee or poo that runny juicy poo some horses do when they travel, they can slip and fall in the wet if you have to really step on the brakes in an emergency. This happened to my friend and I when she got cut off by an idiot pulling out onto the highway 30 minutes into a 2 hour trip with one large horse. Horse had pood a jucy pile or two and he went down with no traction in the wet despite mats.

                      I think its more important in straight loads than slants but I would never haul without something to absorb urine and runny feces after that. My alarm was going off when we loaded him in the shavingless trailer but we hadnt had an incedent before and after talking thought we would be ok. Getting that big horse out of the trailer so he could get back up was terrifying, took 5 people 45 minutes to ease him out and damaged her trailer too. Horse was fine after walking around getting circulation back in his legs that were stuck under his body. He trailered, with shavings, the rest of the way without incedent.


                      • #12
                        We always trailer with a layer of it, but our Brenderups are pretty closed-systems, with windows that allow fresh air to cycle through across the top, with no bedding getting swirled up from the floor. A more open trailer design, susceptible to cross- or back-breezes might make us change our processes.

                        We have also recently gained access, through a woodworker friend, to kiln-dried sawdust, which is almost completely dust-free. It's basically tiny little wood chips (about 1/3 the size of a tic-tac); hard and compact, no dust, no fuzz, but absorbent. Very nice stuff!


                        • #13
                          Saturday proved to me why I never hauled with my own trailer without shavings. They put one of the barn kids mares in her 3 horse trailer-alone-with just mats. 6 miles down the road, I get a phone call from this child begging me to stop and come back to them as I am in my car in front of them. I get back there and we discover that the mat has slipped and scrunched up under the mare, and she is beat to he** and back from trying to get her balance back up. In the process, she stepped on a shoe and ripped off part of her hoof. What had happened was that apparently, a hoof nail had stuck in her mat and caused the problem to start with. I went to the feed store and got shavings, but we still had to unload the mare on the side of the road Thankfully, we were stopped beside an open field and the kids took her down there while the girls father and I straightened the mats up. We went on and hauled her to the show since she was walking off ok, but I wanted to be able to keep an eye on her as well for a couple hours.

                          After that, I will insist that we put dampened shavings in anything that my horses are in. I had not said anything since our barn manager was the one hauling in his trailer, and I didn't want to be rude, but the things my dad taught me stand true. and trailer floors are slick.

                          She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good horsesÖ.author unknown


                          • #14
                            I've been debating whether to post this but I won't haul with anything flammable. A mat at most. I had a trailer fire about 6 years ago and lost a 2 weeks from foaling mare. A cigarette was thrown out of another car and the tornadic air under trailer caught it up and then the fire. This was an enclosed 4 horse trailer. Windows and all.

                            Please be very careful. I've hauled for decades and never even had a scratch on a horse and then this. Odds are, nothing will happen but when it does, you'll be devastated.
                            GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


                            • #15
                              I used to never haul with shavings if the trip was under an hour because mine never pee loaded. Well hauling to a show, hauling buddy did a runny crap which spear across the trailer. My boy slipped, fell and struggled to get up. I was behind the trailer watching it all go down, stock/combo trailer, frantically calling my friend driving the horses. Luckily we were 3 miles from the show, and he managed to regain his footing by then. Thank god for shipping boots!!! But it permantly scarred his brain from trailers and he is a bad loader now. My once perfect angel who would hop on the sketchiest of trailers now has to have 10 minutes of coercing before getting on my nice big oversized trailer, even with dividers out and riding loose. He gets shavings, straw, and the whole trailer to himself. Im hoping this year we can put the divider back in.
                              Fourth N' Goal Training LLC.
                              ~Specializing in Mom and Kid Approved Equitation and Jumper Horses

                              *Horse Collector Status = Six Pack*


                              • #16
                                In this day and age of recycling, I have discovered shredded paper. It is lightweight, very absorbable and relatively dust free. Does not fly around in the stock trailer, not slippery, compostable, with good cushioning Works great! I shred my own newspapers etc, but you can get it at some of the recycle places.


                                • #17
                                  while horrible, I think the incident where someones cigarette tossed out a car window managed to ignite the trailer bedding on fire is a freak accident....where slipping on wet rubber mats from pee/poo is far more likely to happen. I do use a thin layer of shavings as wet rubber mats are slippery. Unlike the other posters that have horses that will not pee on the trailer....I swear ours wait to pee/poop UNTIL they get on the trailer!!
                                  Providence Farm


                                  • #18
                                    I always use shavings - just enough to soak anything up... though in the eight years I've had my mare she has never once peed in the trailer - she just won't. She'll hold it until she gets home. I don't like how things can get slippery back there w/ manure and just enough shavings makes a difference. Mine horses wear fly masks in the trailer so that helps w/ any dust/hay getting into their eyes - I won't ship without them. I just have a two-horse straight load BP and I've never had a problem w/ shavings flying all over the place even with the side windows open - the top doors at the back are always closed - I do not ship w/ them open so that helps too.

                                    "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


                                    • #19
                                      I've always used a small amount of shavings. My gelding LOVED to pee in the trailer, and I was always afraid he'd slip on the wet mats.

                                      Been thinking abou switching to straw, though. A friend of mine always beds with straw, and it seems to fly around in the trailer less than the shavings.
                                      "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesnít merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                      -Edward Hoagland


                                      • #20
                                        I have a stock type trailer and bed fairly heavy with shavings. Maybe it's the way my trailer is built, but I don't have a problem with shavings blowing around at all. I actually had my DH drive the trailer empty with me in the back and go highway speed and, nope no shavings blowing around.
                                        "You'll never see yourself in the mirror with your eyes closed"