Healthy Comfortable Bedding: For a Horse

When ensuring the good health and comfort of your horse, it can get a little confusing if you’re not sure exactly what he needs throughout the year. While horses are strong and intelligent creatures, they often need a little bit of intuition from us if we’re going to look after them properly, as they can’t exactly tell us in plain English if something were to go wrong.

Horse Bedding is an essential part of making sure your horse stays in good health. There are a wide range of horse bedding products available and different riders and jockeys will prefer different products, but it can also be down to your location, the weather of your local are and of course; your horse. Bluntly put, if your horse is having an adverse reaction to the current bedding, it is time to try a different type.

Some riders believe that horse bedding is not very beneficial for horses, whereas others feel as if their horses do fine with just a straw or wooden floor. However providing a horse with ample bedding is very much like indulging in our own home comforts. Yes pf course we can sleep perfectly fine on a thin mattress or even a sofa or floor, but wouldn’t we get a far better nights’ sleep by sleeping in a proper bed?

We’ll take a look at the potential reasons as to why you might want to kit your stables out with a bit of horse bedding, including the different types of bedding you can buy.

Home Comforts

Good, high-quality bedding provides a soft bed for horses to sleep on and also helps keep them warm during the winter. While horses can survive without horse bedding it really helps to make them comfortable and most bedding types are highly absorbent, ensuring that any mess is quickly taken care of instead of left in the corner to stagnate.

You don’t want to use too much bedding, as this can accumulate both mould and ammonia, but it is important to provide enough bedding to suit the horse’s comfort. You will also need to change the bedding regularly, but don’t switch out an entire stable of bedding for new bedding, remove and replace small sections in order to avoid discomfort.

Bedding to Suit the Season

So long as you keep the stalls clean and dry, your bedding will do an excellent job in making sure that your horses stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. For example, cotton paper bedding and small wood shavings provide warmer and more comfortable beds than medium flake wood shavings or cardboard bedding.

Make sure to check with your local expert to see what types of bedding you should be using and when. A good horse bedding should also be suitable for smaller animals, which saves on both time and money if you have other pets in need of warm bedding.

Respiratory or Allergy Issues

Some older horses will have respiratory issues and other horses may have a dust allergy. It is essential to be incredibly careful when choosing your bedding if your horse fits into one of the above categories, as there will be some dust mixed in with the bedding because most bedding is made from wood shavings. Look to suppliers who use or supply ‘dust extracted’ bedding, which means that the bedding has been specifically checked to ensure that there are no small particles for allergic or older horses.

For horses with a lower immune system, it is also important to choose a type of bedding with a lower moisture content, to ensure that the bedding is highly absorbent and does a great job of clearing up mess. A messy stall leads to ill horses, so the right type of bedding can really help to minimise mess.

Types of Bedding

Cotton Paper- A biodegradable form of bedding, this is made from plain white paper with no ink and is a cost effective means of bedding your stalls.

-Flake Wood Shavings – Available in different flake sizes; this bedding is made from fresh timber that has been kiln dried in order to ensure a lower moisture content. The bedding is then tightly packed to make it last longer.


-Flax – Made from all natural materials, flax bedding is recyclable and biodegradable, making it a great type of bedding that requires little clean up.

– Rubber Mats – An alternative to paper bedding, rubber mats are non-slip and provide good insulation for horses. Can be used alone or in combination with other types of bedding.

– Cardboard Bedding – An inexpensive means of adding extra insulation to your bedding. It is warm, absorbent and is often mixed with other bedding types in order to make it more effective.

At the end of the day it depends entirely on what is best for your horse. If your horse is having trouble breathing or seems to be distressed, then perhaps horse bedding is not for you. There are mats that you can purchase which provide a comfortable surface for horses to sleep on, which can be purchased as a standalone product or in conjunction with horse bedding to provide a warm bed for the horses during the winter. While bedding provides a number of benefits, ultimately if your horse or his coat disagrees with your choice of bedding, you are better off cutting your losses.

However there are bedding products that are specifically designed for horses with allergy issues, it just depends on where you look and how much you are willing to pay. Many expert horse trainers and riders will be able to recommend you a brand that they prefer, or you can look online for the best deals. It is your choice.

Article provided by, an animal bedding specialist specialising in different types of horse bedding for all of the seasons.

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