What are some ways to use fewer shavings?
Shavings are money! And it’s no fun to watch your horse poop all over your dough…
Tempt your horse to urinate outside! This works really well if you have a run or in-and-out for your horse. Plant the seeds of peeing outside by stashing some shavings out there. You may also want to put some urine soaked shavings. They will smell like a nice place to pee, and the sun will dry them out so your dollar gets stretched a little bit further.
A few shavings in a turnout or in-and-out can teach your horse to urinate outside, instead of in his stall!
Try different varieties of shavings! Maybe mix them up! So you like you horse to have super fluffy and huge shavings, but they may not absorb as much as the pellets that get big when wet, or rice hulls, or even super fine shavings. Layer the super absorbent stuff on the bottom and the fluffy goodness on top.
Try a new method of keeping a clean stall. You can go for the deep litter bedding system, which allows you to only pick out the manure and urine, while adding layer upon layer upon layer by pulling the sides down. Some folks swear by careful picking and covering, instead of tossing up daily and then picking out. More on the deep litter bedding system here.
Some horses do really well on a small amount of shavings! Lot of turnout helps.
You can also consider using minimal shavings if you have the set up to make it work. Stall mattresses are a way to make minimal shavings work, as there are no seams for urine to infiltrate. You may also be able to get away with minimal shavings if you horse has lots of turnout. More on using tiny amounts of shavings here.
Try a whole new shaving style! There are tons of options out there - paper, coconut husks, rice hulls, traditional shavings, sawdust, you name it. You may have better luck with one type over another. Tons of bedding options are discussed here.
Make the shaving that you use last longer. Clean the stall or paddock more than once a day. Try to uncover the urine spots instead of sifting through everything. Use Sweet PDZ to absorb urine and nix ammonia, which gives your shavings a longer lifespan. Put these fancy zeolites under shavings to do it's job. Aim for the most popular urine areas of the stall.
No barn and no nose should be without zeolites!
Buy in bulk! You may be able to share a load with a horse neighbor if your barn doesn’t have so much storage. You may also be able to buy half a load, it really depends on the supplier.
Bulk shavings are more bang for your buck!
More turnout! Even a simple sand or dirt lot is a great way for you to let your horse have a change of scene and save money on shavings. Just be sure there’s a spot with enough sand or fluff that doesn’t let any urine spray his legs so he’s encouraged to urinate outside.
You may also find that your horse likes to urinate at certain times - after his breakfast, after a ride, etc. Known this, you can train him to urinate with a whistle, as they do at the track. This will allow you to train him to urinate somewhere else. For example, after a ride when you know he normally likes to urinate in his stall, lead him to a turnout or other appropriate location and give the signal. More on this technique here!
How to you save money by not using so many shavings?