Demystifying Mats and Bedding
Let’s face it: Horse stall maintenance is not the romantic part of horse ownership. Urine and manure reek, and an excess of these two waste products creates unsafe and unhealthy conditions for the animals in our care. There are a variety of opinions about the different mats and materials available to help keep our stalls clean and our horses comfortable–let’s dig a little deeper and look at our reason for these materials.
The average 1,000-pound horse produces approximately 30 pounds of manure and 2.5 gallons of urine for a total of roughly 50 pounds of waste per day. That equates to about a cubic foot of material, before taking into account the soiled bedding removed with it. If the horse is turned out a portion of every day, not all of this waste will be deposited in the stall, but a big mess will likely still be waiting for you at stall cleaning time.
Another problem to keep in mind is the unnatural condition that stalls create for the animal. Long periods of confinement reduce blood circulation and stress his complex and fragile suspension system, resulting in "stocked up" legs and other health problems. A stalled horse might lie down, taking advantage of the sense of safety that a stall seems to give him. But repetitive lying down and getting back up in a confined space places additional stress on joints, tendons, and ligaments, and it can also cause scrapes and friction burns. Therefore, you might decide to install mats and/or bedding suitable for your stabling situation to help keep your horse cozy and your stalls (relatively) clean.
The Foundation: Basic Stall Floor
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