Bedding Pondering

I have temporary stalls set up from corral panels under a roof on a compacted limestone screenings base. There are no sidewalls or mats yet. Initially I planned to use pelleted bedding, but now I am wondering if straw might actually suit better.

The challenge I am anticipating is rain blowing in and saturating the pellets. Since I find straw to not be very absorbent perhaps it might be a better product for this application. Or perhaps a little rain might keep the pellets from getting too dusty.

I’m not terribly concerned with cost or disposal at this time. Nor with mucking either product really (though daily flipping of a pellet bed sounds tedious in 15x20 stalls).


I do have screens on order that should block some of the driving rain. Emphasis on some.

I have a corral panel setup, and I put plywood around the outsides and screens on top. However due to the price of lumber this won’t be as cheap as it was to do. I use pelleted bedding and mats. I have to wet the pellets first some. It is dusty. So I tend to put large flake on top. Although without walls that will blow out. So I think straw might be your only choice. Just my 2 cents.


I’ve got screens on order for the top. I’ve got a 6” lip at the bottom so the bedding isn’t rolling out the bottom. But yeah, lumber prices are crazy high and I’m about tapped out after purchasing this place, deforestation efforts, fencing and the barn shell soo we are going to make do and be happy with what we have so far lol. I keep telling myself at least the ventilation will be on point ha!

Do you flip the whole pelleted bed daily?

I happen to think pellets would be neater and more attractive than straw, and I would just flip the wet pellets, from the rained-on edge of the area, into the back/middle of the stall, and then rake to smooth things out as needed. I would more or less flip the whole stall every day, because you want to find and take out the pee spots - though maybe your horses are consistent about where they pee and you wouldn’t have to hunt! – but even so, stall cleaning is so quick with pellets, who cares (in my experience).


That could work!

I haven’t tried it, but I hear some people swear by a deep bed of pea gravel. This seems like a great place to try it.


Pea gravel or sand. Many people bed on sand, as long as you keep hay off it. Might work for this situation, if you have enough of a lip to keep it moderately contained?

1 Like

I’d prefer something soft, but gravel might be a good choice if soft bedding proves unsuitable

Sand might be interesting to try if traditional bedding doesn’t work out.

It doesn’t need to be wood. Tarp material or heavy screening material that is malleable will work. Tuck the “bottom” edge under the mats by a good amount, and tie the top edge up on the first rail (1 foot? 14 inches? off the ground)?

You want to keep the bedding inside, you don’t necessarily need the stiffness of wood.

1 Like

I’m not too worried about the bedding staying inside. I’ve got a 6” “rail” around the bottom and screens on order for the top. But for sure if I have issue with too much wind or rain I can get more screens for the bottom. Though they’ll have to be tacked to the framing as no mats yet. It’s the moisture soaking the bedding that I think may be an issue. It’s not very windy here unless it’s a hurricane.

Even the good screens are a heck of a lot cheaper than good sheet wood right now lol!

Granted, I may be back in two weeks with a problem I didn’t anticipate!

1 Like

Nah, you can’t miss the spots the need tossing from what I have learned. I think pelleted mixed with sand may work very well for you.

1 Like

Good to hear cause I’m not keen on flipping 400 lbs of bedding daily! I liked the suggestion up thread of tossing any rained on bedding into drier areas. Seems legit. Specially if I don’t completely soak all pellets to begin with.

Mr LS probably have a fit if I suggest sand as we could have saved thousands on the clay pad and rock and just scraped the top soil off :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Granted we are on a red clay sand mix so it doesn’t drain quite as well as straight sand and packs up real hard.

The best news is that it’s just bedding. If I try something and it sucks I can just muck it out and get something different

I thought I was going to leave my stalls as plain limestone, then all the horses got hock sores despite a good bed of shavings. I’d use straw if I were you, as a kid I bedded on cement with straw bales and was able to make a comfy bed. If you put down mats or something then the story changes.


That’s a good point. Thank you for sharing

I would hesitate to use sand or pea gravel, especially if you are deliberately keeping rain out. The only time I saw a barn with sand in stalls, the ammonia could burn the hair out of your nose! It was horrible. Granted, it wasn’t open to the outside, but still, if urine is soaking into the base - eventually you have to assume you will have urine odor.

I use pelleted bedding and it varies - depending on the season and the horse. So, no - I don’t flip the entire bed each day, but some stalls may be worse than others, and might benefit from more flipping. It really is a trial and error situation - too much moisture and it’s ruined; too much and it’s dusty…but when you find that happy medium it is economical and comfortable. AND easy to store, clean and dispose of - which is the best part.

I’ve had three “experiences” with barns that had sand in stalls. 1. Horses only came in for meals and emergencies so was a non issue. 2. Beach barn, literally, so sand on sand “base” and owner diligently dug out pee spots and replenished sand as needed, non issue 3. Sand over a compacted clay base. Unknown cleaning habits. Hair burning is an accurate description.

I’m hesitant to add sand to areas where I will be feeding even though I feed hay from nets / Porta Grazer.

I bedded the stalls with pellets last night using the cut x in bag and spray with hose method. For a first try, I’m pretty pleased with the results. Seems a good texture. It’s pretty breezy today as a cold front is moving through and no bedding is floating in the wind.

Just walking in the stalls myself, the bedding seems to not be shifting as much as big flake shavings! Bonus.

I definitely appreciate the ease of transport and storage. I can purchase pellets from three different suppliers within a ten minute drive from home. I’d have to make a two hour round trip to buy straw. Talk about a deciding factor!

1 Like

I have been using pelleted bedding almost 20 years and love it. When we go to shows and are required to use flake shavings I remember why I switched to pellets. The rain will not hurt. We have 12 x 12 stalls but with some horses we rarely fluff more than the areas they use.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing you experiences! That’s very comforting!

1 Like

I use pelleted bedding and I in no way ‘fluff’ or ‘turn’ my entire stall. They will walk or stir your bedding outside the ‘walls’ if there’s nothing to keep it in, but it will get dusty if you have inches of dusty pellets in there. I pick the poop and scoop up the wet pee spots, drag clean bedding into those spots and add more if needed. You will need to create a barrier, even a 2x4 or 2x6 will contain 99% of it.

1 Like