Bedding for Horses: Uncover the Secrets of Selecting the Perfect Bed

February 13, 2023
bedding for horses

Choosing the right bedding for your horse is an important decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Horses need a comfortable place to rest their heads at night, but there’s so much more to consider than just comfort when it comes to selecting the perfect bedding for horses. From understanding the benefits of different types of bedding materials, considering any necessary maintenance or cleaning needs associated with them, and learning how they can impact overall health and wellness – all these factors should go into making sure you have selected the best option possible. In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into everything you need to know about choosing the ideal bedding for horses.

Bedding Types

When it comes to bedding for horses, there are a variety of options available. Straw is the most popular choice and is often used in stalls or paddocks. It’s relatively inexpensive and provides good insulation from cold temperatures. However, straw can be dusty and needs to be changed frequently as it breaks down quickly.

Wood shavings are another common option that provides more cushioning than straw but may not last as long. Pellets made from recycled wood products are becoming increasingly popular due to their absorbency and ability to reduce odors when wetted down with water or urine-absorbing solutions. They also break down slowly so they don’t need changing as often as other types of bedding materials.

horse lying on the grass

No matter which type of bedding you choose, it is important to ensure that the material meets your horse’s individual needs such as comfort level, temperature control, moisture absorption, odor control, and dust reduction. Additionally, cost-effectiveness should also be taken into consideration before making a purchase decision. For instance, if your horse has allergies or respiratory issues then straw might not be the best choice since its dustier than other types of bedding materials like pellets or wood shavings which tend to produce less airborne particles when disturbed by movement within the stall/paddock area compared to straw due to its lightweight nature. Furthermore, some horses may prefer one type over another so pay attention to how your horse reacts after trying different types before settling on one particular type for regular use in future endeavors.

Finally, consider factors such as availability (can you get enough delivered at once?), cost (is this something you can afford?) and convenience (how easy is it for you to store large amounts?). All these things should factor into your decision about what kind of bedding material will work best for both you and your horse.

No matter what type of bedding you choose, it’s important to make sure your horse is comfortable and has a safe place to rest. With the right bedding selection, your horse can stay healthy and content. Now let’s explore the benefits of different types of bedding for horses.

Key Takeaway: The best bedding for horses should take into account comfort, temperature control, moisture absorption, odor control, and dust reduction. Factors such as availability, cost, and convenience should also be considered when making a decision.

Bedding Benefits

When it comes to horse bedding, there are many different types available and each has its unique benefits. Wood shavings are a popular choice due to their absorbency and comfort for the horse. They can be used in stalls or paddocks, and they’re relatively inexpensive compared to other options.

Straw is another common option that provides cushioning for horses while also helping keep them warm during cold weather months. It’s also more affordable than wood shavings but not as absorbent so you may need to change it out more often if your horse urinates frequently in his stall or paddock area.  If you’re picking out the stalls every day, straw creates more waste, as it’s not easy to separate it from the manure.

Pellets made from recycled paper products are becoming increasingly popular because of their superior absorbency capabilities and ease of cleaning up after use. They come in various sizes so you can find one that fits your needs perfectly, plus they don’t create dust like some other types of bedding do which makes them great for those with allergies or respiratory issues. However, pellets tend to be more expensive than straw or wood shavings so this should be taken into consideration when deciding what type of bedding will work best for your horse’s needs.

horse lying

Shredded rubber can be an excellent option if you are looking for something durable that won’t break down over time like straw does, while still providing cushioning support for your horse’s hooves. It is not prone to getting too hot during the summer months either – a bonus. However, it tends to cost more than other types of bedding materials and this should be taken into consideration when deciding what type of bedding will work best for your horse’s needs. The long-term use may make up for the extra expense as it requires less maintenance between changes or cleaning cycles compared to using something like a straw which breaks down over time due to urine absorption.

Finally, there is sand which can be a great option if you have access to clean sand sources near where you live and adequate drainage systems set up around any areas where sand might accumulate such as stalls or paddocks. Sand offers good cushioning properties similar to shredded rubber but does not hold onto odors like some other materials do nor does it require frequent changing or cleaning cycles like straw does. However, make sure whatever source(s) you are using is not contaminated before introducing them into any living spaces occupied by animals.

Bedding can provide a comfortable, safe, and supportive environment for your horse, while also providing insulation from the cold. However, there are several considerations to keep in mind when selecting bedding material.

Key Takeaway: When choosing bedding for horses, there are many options available such as wood shavings, straw, pellets, shredded rubber, and sand. Each has its unique benefits and should be chosen based on your horse’s needs and budget.

Bedding Considerations

From allergies and climate to the type of bedding you choose, all of these things can affect your horse’s comfort level and health.


If your horse has any known allergies or sensitivities, this should be taken into account when selecting a bedding material. Some materials may contain dust or other particles that could irritate your horse’s respiratory system if they have an allergy or sensitivity. It is important to research the types of bedding available before purchasing to ensure that you select one that will not cause further irritation for your horse.


The climate where you live can also play a role in which type of bedding is best suited for your horse. For example, if you live in an area with high humidity levels, straw may not be the best choice as it tends to retain moisture more than other materials such as wood shavings or shredded paper products. On the other hand, if you live in an area with cold winters then straw might be better since it provides extra insulation from the cold temperatures outside while still providing cushioning support inside the stall.

horse lying on the ground

When it comes to selecting bedding for your horse, there are several different types available. Straw provides cushioning support but can retain moisture; wood shavings offer odor control but may create dust; pelleted paper products have great absorbency yet break down quickly, and shredded paper products provide cushioning support without creating too much dust while still allowing air flow. It is important to research each option thoroughly before deciding to ensure that you select the best type of bedding for your particular situation and needs.

When it comes to bedding for horses, there are many factors to consider; from comfort and safety to budget and convenience. But once you’ve chosen the best option for your horse, cleaning, and maintenance should be top of mind to keep your horse healthy and comfortable.

Key Takeaway: When selecting bedding for horses, take into account allergies, climate, and the type of bedding. Options include straw, wood shavings, pelleted paper products, and shredded paper products – research each option thoroughly to ensure you select the best one for your particular situation.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining horse bedding is an important part of keeping your horse healthy. It’s essential to keep the stall clean, as this will help prevent any health issues from arising. Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your horse’s bedding:

Bedding Types:

The type of bedding you use can make a big difference in how often it needs to be changed or cleaned. Straw is one of the most popular types of bedding, but wood shavings, sawdust, shredded paper, and rubber mats are also used. Each has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.

Bedding Benefits:

Different types of bedding offer different benefits for horses such as cushioning their joints while they sleep or providing insulation against cold temperatures during winter months. Bedding can also provide comfort by reducing pressure points on the body while lying down or standing up in the stall.

Bedding Considerations:

When selecting a type of bedding for your horse’s stall, consider factors such as cost, absorbency rate (how quickly it absorbs moisture), dust levels (to avoid respiratory problems), flammability rating (for safety purposes) and ease-of-use/maintenance (how easy it is to clean).

Cleaning and maintenance should be maintained daily with spot cleaning using a rake or shovel to remove soiled areas followed by sweeping out debris that accumulates over time at least once per week if not more frequently depending on usage rates within the stable area where horses reside. If the straw is being used then changing it out every two weeks may be necessary due to its tendency towards mold growth when wet which could cause respiratory issues for horses living in those conditions long term. For other materials like wood shavings, which tend not to need replacing quite as often, removing soiled spots daily along with weekly raking should suffice. Rubber mats should be hosed off regularly, especially after heavy rains, snowfall, etc., since these materials don’t absorb moisture well thus making them prone to becoming slippery when wet.

Key Takeaway: Cleaning and maintaining horse bedding is essential for a healthy stall. Consider factors such as cost, absorbency rate, dust levels, flammability rating, and ease-of-use maintenance when selecting the type of bedding. Daily spot cleaning with weekly raking or changing out straw every two weeks will help keep your horse’s stall clean and healthy.

FAQs in Relation to Bedding for Horses

What is the best bedding for a horse?

The best bedding for a horse depends on the individual needs of the animal. For horses that are stabled, straw is often recommended as it provides cushioning and insulation from cold temperatures. Wood shavings can also be used, but may not provide enough cushioning for some horses. Shredded paper or rubber mats are good options for those who want to reduce dust in their barns. Horses kept outside will benefit from deep bedding with hay or straw, which helps keep them warm and dry during wet weather. Ultimately, choosing the right bedding comes down to what works best for your horse’s comfort and health.

horse sleeping

What is the best horse bedding for dirty horses?

The best bedding for dirty horses depends on the individual horse and its needs. Generally, straw is a good option as it absorbs moisture well and can be easily replaced when soiled. Wood shavings are also an effective choice, as they provide cushioning while still being absorbent. However, some horses may have allergies to wood shavings or hay, in which case shredded paper products such as newspaper pellets or recycled cardboard might be better options. Ultimately, the best bedding for any horse should provide comfort and absorbency while being easy to clean up and replace when necessary.

How thick should horse bedding be?

The ideal depth of horse bedding should be between 4 and 6 inches. This will provide the necessary cushioning for your horse’s joints, as well as absorb moisture from urine and manure. It is important to use enough bedding so that it can be changed out regularly, but not too much that it becomes difficult to manage or causes an excess of dust in the stall. Additionally, if you are using wood shavings or straws, make sure they are clean and free from mold or mildew before adding them to the stall.

What is the best bedding for an outdoor horse shelter?

The best bedding for an outdoor horse shelter depends on the climate and conditions of the area. The first, and most important consideration is proper drainage.  In cold climates, a deep layer of straw is recommended as it provides insulation and cushioning. In wetter climates, wood shavings or sawdust can be used to absorb moisture and provide comfort. For hot climates, shredded paper or rubber mats are ideal as they help keep horses cool while providing some cushioning. Ultimately, the type of bedding should be tailored to your specific environment to ensure that your horse has a comfortable place to rest.


No matter what type of bedding you choose for your horse, it’s important to consider the benefits and considerations before making a decision. Cleaning and maintenance are also key factors in keeping your horse comfortable and healthy. Ultimately, finding the right bedding for horses is an individual choice that should be based on their specific needs. With so many options available, there’s sure to be something that works best for both you and your horse.

Are you a horse owner, rider, or enthusiast looking for the best solutions to make your equine partner’s life easier and healthier? Do you need help selecting bedding that is safe and comfortable for them? Look no further! We have all the tips, tricks, advice, and knowledge to guide you in making sure your horse has what it needs. From choosing between straw or wood shavings as bedding material to understanding how often they should be changed out – we’ve got everything covered! Come explore our resources today – because every horse deserves better care.


I'm Bo, the owner of Smarter Horse. Helping horses be smarter by educating their people.  To find out more about me, click here

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