Following on from a previous article we wrote about putting a stable in your garden, this article goes over the basics of stable maintenance. We all want to make sure our animals are happy and healthy, and good weekly management of your horse’s living quarters can go a long way.
Muck Out Regularly
It is important to remove droppings and soiled bedding from your horse’s stable on a regular basis to avoid him/her developing health problem and there are commonly three ways to approach the mucking out process.
The first is to lift out all wet bedding and droppings completely and replace it with fresh bedding. If you keep your horse stabled all day then this should be done twice a day – once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The second approach is to adopt a semi deep litter where you remove all droppings every day and take out only a little of the wet bedding. You then place fresh bedding on top and the wet beneath gets packed down when your horse walks around or lies down on it. Then about once a week you lift the bed completely and take all of the wet out to replace with fresh.
The third approach is to maintain a deep litter. This is where you leave all of the wet bedding inside and just remove the droppings. You cover the wet with enough fresh bedding to keep the horse dry and the wet underneath compresses to provide a soft grounding. Again, with deep litter, the bed needs to be lifted sometimes before it gets too dense – some people choose to do this every week, others only once a month. Each mucking out approach is fine and is decided by how clean your like your horse’s stable to be and how much money you have for fresh bedding.
Keep Food Storage Dry
The area where you keep your horse’s feed is very important. If parasites and other nasties get into your horse’s feed, disease can spread. Hay and concentrated feeds must be kept in a clean, dry storage area, so as to stay free of mould and potential sources of contamination like dead rodents or faeces. Any feed that is kept outside or in places susceptible to moisture can spoil quickly and easily. If you plan to mainly feed your horse concentrates, a barn or enclosed shed is perfect but it is important to keep the shed locked so your horse doesn’t get access and eat too much food in one go – developing illnesses related to improper feeding. To protect against fire hazards, hay should be stored under an open shed or tarp.
Check For Efficient Ventilation
Getting frequent clean air into your stable is important. Ventilation is achieved by providing sufficient openings in the building so that fresh air can enter and stable air will exit. It is an important process year round for different reasons. In the summer is removes heat from the stable to keep the horse cool, while in the winter the purpose of ventilation changes to one of controlling moisture and the build up of odours and ammonia. Poor ventilation management can lead to respiratory infections so make sure that your stable’s ventilation points are clear and unobstructed. The mucking out process is also useful for cleaning out the air and if you have a two part stable door it is preferable to leave the top part open as regularly as possible.
Provide Access To Light
Nobody likes to spend their days in darkness, and never will your horse. If he/she remains stabled for much of the day it is important they receive access to light. Interior lights can easily be fitted to your stable to brighten up their living quarters but a clear roof sheet is preferable as it lets in natural light, an important stimulus for generating vitamin D and keeping your animal healthy. If you can, leave your stable door half open to give your pet viewing access to the outside world and stop them developing bad habits.
These are just a few tips for keeping your horse happy and healthy. If you are thinking of buying a stable for the first time and have questions about whether Colt Stables have the right product for you, please get in touch today via our contact page.