Too much bedding?

Doodle92

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Is “too” much straw in a stable actually a bad thing? The idea of “too much” varying between owner, physio and yo.
 

PePo

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I guess it could be.

Without knowing the circumstances I'd assume more bedding would increase dust particles and increase resistance around the horses legs when the horse is moving around the stable.
 

carthorse

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I'm assuming you can fit the horse in the stable and he can move around easily? In which case I'd say no and I'd be far more concerned about too little straw making a bed that shifted under foot making getting up harder and also not encouraging a horse to lie down. Is the person saying too much supplying the straw or mucking out? Because it sounds to me like it's themselves they're thinking of.
 
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Trewsers

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I have seen too much straw as in bankings in a tiny stable - a long time ago when we were yarded. The bed was lovely and thick but the stable was small to begin with - and the huge bankings made it shrink even more. And I know opinion varies on bankings doesn't it? Personally, I love straw. But, I have to be mindful of having too much down for Storm as her long term leg issues have made me wary. I don't want anything to leg her up or get too tangled. She has a huge stable and I like to encourage movement and also lying down - so it's a bit of a balancing act. If the horse isn't having issues then I don't see a problem - and unless it's wall to wall straw like a padded cell making it tiny then again not a problem. There's lots of opinions on bedding and stabling isn't there. It's what is right for you and your horse, not what other people might presume without knowing the ins and outs. I do think plentiful bedding as opposed to a skinny version is nice because it's got more chance of staying fresher and cleaner and less chance of thrush and other issues like scraped hocks. That's another thing that has happened to me in the past - Storm scraped her hocks (I don't have rubber mats) so I have to ensure her "carpet" is luxurious;)
 

Doodle92

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No banks. And I bring the straw about 2/3 the way down, leaving the water buckets on the mats at the front. Without fail some of the straw is pulled forward.

Yep indeed it’s the yo. I am giving him too much straw. Straw is included in livery price. She regularly worries about running out of straw, in 12 years I have been there that has not happened. I am not quite sure of her reasoning therefore. They make and store their hay and straw on the farm. I have done the experiments and have discovered the bigger the bed the less mess and so the less I take out. When I give a small bed most has to be removed and I actually take out more and so put in more. I actually buy my own shavings which I put under to absorb the wet and so I take out even less straw. I don’t give him more straw than the beds she does for her full liveries but she dosnt give her horses as much.

She had a real go at me this morning. I am giving him too much straw and too much hay. Yet again telling me loudly he needs ONE haynet only (despite other horses getting 3 or 4 haynets and I give 2 large ones). He does not need any bedding as he has mats. Then he dosnt need much hay as if he is hungry he can eat the straw. I have yet again explained about ulcers and I will not having him standing without forage. I have said the same thing for the 5.5 years I have had him. Again I have done the sums and if he is given ad lib, all be it in small holes nets, he eats approx 2.25% of his weight, sometimes less. He of course is going to eat more hay than her finely built 15hh horse. She told me her horses finish all their hay every night and are fine. She said he is coughing as I give him too much hay. To be fair I did hear him cough twice this morning. The latest bale of hay is dusty. I should have soaked it last night when I gave him night time hay but by 9pm having left at 9am I was tired and I didn’t do it. I realise that was the wrong thing to do.l and I am kicking myself for it. I had already soaked today’s hay and I haven’t heard him cough since. The hay is normally very nice and non dusty

I then got that he should be out anyway there is no need for him to be in. All His problems are entirely as he canters off up the field when turned out. So I should walk him up the field and walk him round and round and let him go. I said under no circumstances will he be going straight out in big field. I was then told the pen I have set up for him is too big, I should make it much smaller and put him on there. I didn’t follow her reasoning at that point.

I pointed out I am following vet advice as I always do and that there is no point getting the vet then ignoring the vet and I walked off. I presume I will now be being called rude.

I am dreading this winter with the same “you are feeding too much hay, he can’t have any outside”. I seem to be the only one on the yard in the morning with her so I get it every day. Along with the constant comments about my weight which is ideal when you have an ed. I wish there was another more suitable yard. I think this year I will suggest I increase my livery in return for her leaving me alone.
 

Doodle92

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Pic for bedding and weight purposes. I realise he is not skinny. He had got fat while ill and he has lost since. Vet is now happy with his weight, sees him regularly and I ask each time. Generally he says he could loose some without issue but he is not worried in the slightest.

3B0F9DD2-5E94-4994-A20F-6284021D0799.jpeg
 

chunky monkey

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It depends on the type of straw. ie if its long then yes it could be too much, as it tends to wrap around the foot if you have an animal that doesnt pick its feet up well.
If its short lengths it wont bind round the feet.

I use straw for the sheep shed and cows if in. I deep litter bed.
But when im lambing sometimes if im pulling out the wet beds every few days. I tend to find if its the long stuff, you find not all the beds wet so to speak and you end up pulling out bedding which is bone dry and clean. So its a bit wasteful.
 
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Lollykay

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Holy Crow that’s some deep bedding and hard to clean. I will say it looks really soft and pretty, not like the wheat straw we bedded with on the farm, when I was growing up(in the U.S.) 😊

Literal straw over here is generally used for birthing stalls, but pine shavings are also used. When I was young, growing up on the farm, we used straw because we raised a crop of wheat, making the straw readily available.

In the last 40 or so years, I think the bulk of U.S. horse owners use pine shavings for bedding. Everybody does, however, bed different - mostly predicated upon finances.

My stalls have had 12”-16” of limestone crush put in them. Mats on top of the crush, then kiln dried pine shavings on top of the mats. I prefer to let the sides of the stalls “bank up”, leaving those shavings build up to help reduce chances of the horse casting itself.

I try keep 4”-6” of shavings in the central/walkable part of the stalls, which are 12’ x 14’. I especially don’t want the shavings any deeper for my foundered horse because he also has a fractured sacrum and deep shavings will cause him to struggle too much to get up when he lies down. He is 15.3H, the other horse is 16.1H. My Arab was only 13.3H and I never bedded him deeper than 4”.

I clean my own stalls. Manure is cleaned daily, urine spots are cleaned every 3-4 days, which isn’t exactly ideal but my horses are on pasture 12 hours so not as bad as it sounds. Old age and money are the two big factors for not cleaning pee spots more frequently but my geldings are amazingly neat and pee in the same areas of their stalls.

Regarding your BO never running out of straw in 12 years— my English grandmother’s favorite phrase was “there’s a first time for everything”, so don’t count on the last 12 years being the marker for the coming years. Especially with the whackadoodle weather the world has recently seen and also the increase in prices on everything under the sun, since Covid came to visit🤕
 
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chunky monkey

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I replied to your first post above, now ive just read the long post.
Personally id find another yard. If it was just the bedding then id ignore, but questioning your hay feeding and penning im sorry but i could not stay at that yard. Do you mean shes making personal comments about your weight too. In that case even more reason to go. That is just debilitating.
 

carthorse

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Like @chunky monkey I was going to say look around and move. I wouldn't tolerate that as a paying customer, and I don't see why you should either. I wouldn't start an argument I'd simply find somewhere else and leave, in fact I'd leave the day I told her and just pay for a month I wasn't there.
 

Doodle92

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They make the straw on the farm as a by product of the harvest. I am not actually sure what kind of straw it is. It dosnt clog up round his feet although he does walk round a bit and some of the straw is pushed to the front of the stable. They have a set number of stables and they produce the same amount of straw each year. We use around 1 bale per day in the winter when everyone is in, so fairly easy to judge how much is needed. They have just brought in this years harvest and there is still straw from last year despite a flood and loosing some bales. I understand she is worried about running out. We can use shavings if we like, however there is no reduction in livery and nowhere to store. Shavings do it suit my horse.

I have tried to explain that a bigger bed makes less waste as I have tried all sorts of set ups deliberately. He is clean in that he poos in two spots and pees in one spot. The shavings soak up the wet. Mucking out is simple due to this. I take all dirty stuff and wet out each day, sweep floor, add a layer of shavings in the pee stop then straw back on top. We use large round bales of straw, I fill one barrow with straw each day to replace what I take out. Although atm being on box rest that has become 2. Watching her muck out she dosnt fill a barrow but pushes straw in and I don’t see I use any more.

Yes she comments about my weight. it started off as “have you lost weight? You looo better”. In a “well done you look better” way but also told me how huge my a*** was, how much did I weight now and how much had I lost. This is not helpful to me when I am struggling with eating and food. Maybe I need to be blunt and say there is an issue but she has talked negatively about eating disorders before and I can’t. She has now told me I need to get a smaller horse as he is far too big for me.

This winter was awful. I was battling him being so ill. I was getting daily comments about my weight and what I should/should
Not be eating. I was worn down. I wanted to leave but he was so unwell that was not sensible. However I have left twice and come back twice. I know people don’t like change but I just can’t do it. I have looked and looked around. Apart from yo the yard is great. Well Apart from the issue of hay in the field in winter. She is like this, she presses her opinions on everyone, including her family. The problem is she has 2 horses on full livery so in the morning it is just her and me. So I get the lot. She tends to move round the yard and who she advises. However she turns a blind eye to neglect and welfare issues.

I can’t find any other yard that allows hay in the field. Robin is very settled. He has good field buddies and he likes the stables. There is a yard I pass. They bring in overnight year round (I like him and he likes being out in the summer). Again no hay on the fields. Less hacking. Very competitive event yard which I couldn’t deal with. Another I did move to and hated, I moved back within 3months. I find making friends incredibly hard and struggle with social situations. I have known some people off yard for many many years and they know to read my signs of “please don’t talk to me today”. Also when I suddenly get admitted I can message yo and say he needs to go on full livery for I don’t know how long.

Sorry this has got long again. I am feeling very down about the whole thing and not sure I can cope with another winter.
 

carthorse

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It sounds like you need to sit down and decide what you need, what you want, and what you aren't prepared to accept then come up with a plan of action. Accept that no yard is perfect, and even if it was perfect for me it may not be for you.

If you want to stay on the yard what could you do to make dealing with the yo easier? Earbuds with music playing so you can't hear her? Make your bed half straw and half shavings/pellets with a clear divide so it's obvious you don't have a big straw bed? Buy in extra hay or high fibre haylage so you're only using one (massive) net of her hay? Does he eat all his hay or is some of her problem that you're throwing it away, in which case you could give less. Re the lack of hay in the field I'd give a big fibre feed before turning out in the winter.

I have to say I would still move, but that's me not you x
 

PePo

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If it was me, I'd offer to pay more for straw if your bed is thicker (and possibly hay too) than over liveries. I've paid an extra surcharge in the past for soaking hay to keep the peace

Could you use a more absorbent bedding underneath the straw, so you use less bedding.

I can see it from both YO and the livery POV, to be honest & there's little point in bad feeling if you're not sure you can or want to move at this point.
 

chunky monkey

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You need to do what is right for you but from what you describe i would keep looking for another yard ideally small, or a sole field use. I know i have been happier since i have full control of my horses. Nobody tells me i can or cant put hay out for my animals. How much hay i should give. Or i cant move paddocks and yo leaves my horses stood on a steep bank that is churned to mud and the horses are literally slidding down it. Causing further back issues and may even have been the cause of my lads hock injury. Eventually resulted in my lad ripping his sheath as the fence she forced me to move to had shocking fencing which resulted in my lad trying to jump it. I think i would rather have no horses than go back on a livery yard.
 

Doodle92

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Thanks everyone. I have tried all those solutions.

I do not waste hay or throw it out. I also don’t give him any bigger a bed than others (in fact smaller than some) and it is no bigger than what she does and I don’t take any more out. In fact i take less out that her.

I cannot afford another horse, and I don’t want another horse, to provide company in my own field. He also would need a stable in the winter and I can’t afford that set up single use. I would LOVE to tho!!

Last year I said I would need to move him as I couldn’t provide for his needs. (He needed to be out for his hocks and his lungs, but he needed hay constantly for the ulcers) She backed off saying no no that wasn’t what she was meaning or wanted.
 

Lollykay

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Jeez - when did berating someone and/or their horse become part of a BO’s privilege? I am so sorry🙁

The BO saying “-that wasn’t what she was meaning or wanted-“ likely translates to “you pay your board on time and your checks don’t bounce”.

If at all possible, I agree with those who are suggesting to find a new stable:)
 

Doodle92

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Yep your right. Standing order paid first of the month without fail. Never once in 12 years has it failed. Any increase in price updated immediately. Any extra ie full if in hospital is paid a week at a time in advance by bank transfer. That can’t be said of everyone.

I think I am just a soft touch and will take it (and get upset) so she can say what she likes.

I think the issue may have been yesterday. We were going to Blair. I had no idea when I would be back so in the morning I put in extra straw so I wouldn’t have to do it at night. Another livery popped his feed in (1/4 scoop fast fiber with his meds, I know he is fat and dosnt need feed) and said he had pilled up his straw on his water so she replaced. I wonder if she saw that and decided it was too much.
 

Jessey

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It sounds like the yard mostly suits your needs but she’s a busy body with an opinion on everything! Can you adjust your morning visit times slightly to miss her? Or I’d definitely stick headphones on and if she still try’s to talk tell her it’s something/training you have to listen to for work/therapy so she’ll leave you alone! Not the ideal solution but if the yard otherwise suits you it might help to avoid interacting with her as much as possible.
Could you pick up a couple of small bales of straw and make a point that your getting it so you don’t use up all of her straw, you’d probably only have to do it occasionally to keep the peace.
But back to your original question, yes I think you can have too much straw. When I worked as a groom there was one lady who insisted that her stable was bedded to her 16.2’s knees (after you’d packed it down) and the poor sod really struggled to get up onto the bed, to reach down to his water bucket and to move around because it was so unstable/squishy to walk on. Your bed doesn’t look extreme like that tho.
 

Trewsers

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It depends on the type of straw. ie if its long then yes it could be too much, as it tends to wrap around the foot if you have an animal that doesnt pick its feet up well.
If its short lengths it wont bind round the feet.

I use straw for the sheep shed and cows if in. I deep litter bed.
But when im lambing sometimes if im pulling out the wet beds every few days. I tend to find if its the long stuff, you find not all the beds wet so to speak and you end up pulling out bedding which is bone dry and clean. So its a bit wasteful.
Yes it does depend on straw type. I've had some that has made Storm's condition worse in the past. Luckily I've managed to source the right kind for us now. In the early stages of her injury (and whenever she has re-injured) it's vital she doesn't put any unnecessary stress on it which the longer stuff can do.
 
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