What’s the best bedding to use for my outdoor runs that attach to the barn?
There are tons of choices for you for your outdoor in-and-outs, and sometimes you just need to see what’s available in your area, and what works with your budget.
This blue stone paddock is well draining in a wet climate. It's not super for rolling, but the fluffy shavings in the covered shed do the trick for that.
- Crusher dust.
In a nutshell, crusher dust is the byproduct of some quarry operations, and is a fine gravel/dirt mix. It drains well and is very durable, and is easy to pick manure from. Some horses may not like to roll on it, so it’s not appropriate for a horse’s only bedding/footing option.
- Hog fuel.
This vegetarian option is, in fact, not made from hogs. It’s the term used to describe wood bark and fibers, usually shredded. While very absorbent, this can be a problem in wet weather as the bark and fibers fill up and expand, not really draining the water. This is not readily available in some parts of the country.
- Regular old shavings.
Some barns will toss the manure to the manure pile, and the older shavings into the run, while the new shavings stay in the stall. This is usually good, until a huge rain! For very dry areas, this may work for you, but in wet areas, you end up with soggy shavings. They will dry, but if the ground below is muddy, any horse hooves will mix things up. In some installations, the mini flakes work the best.
- Wood pellet shavings.
These are the tiny pellets of wood, usually pine, that expand when they come into contact with moisture. Generally speaking, they are best used by spreading out the pellets, then wetting with a small amount of water so they begin to expand. Weather and urine will expand them even further, but they can dry out and last quite a while.
- Pea gravel.
This doesn’t work for every horse, but the benefits to the barefoot horse are well known. Pea gravel drains well, and is permanent. Use about three to six inches. You can also use pea gravel in a smaller area and another outdoor bedding in the rest of your run or in-and-out to give your guy the option.
- Cedar fiber.
This wood fiber product is great, lasts a long time, drains well, but is also reddish in color and will coat your horse in a rust colored film if he rolls. Fine for chestnuts, not so fine for grays. Some horse are sensitive to the cedar, but it smells great (if you like cedar) and can handle the rain well. It’s dusty when you first put it down, but over time that diminishes.
What do you use in your outdoor paddocks??