Stall bedding & a disgusting gelding

Currently, I have dirt floor in my stalls for my horses and up until now it’s been fine. The problem is that my young gelding pees right in the middle of his stall then SLEEPS in it. He has plenty of room to get away from it. He is just a dork. I’d like to be able to use my stall. Often, it’s sitting empty trying to air out. What bedding would be absorbent enough to soak it up? How deep do you keep your bedding? Is there anyway I can make him stop peeing in the middle of his stall?!?! How do you keep the bedding contained to the stall? My stalls are open to allow for maximum ventilation. I am not aware of any allergies. If it makes a difference, I hardly ever use my stalls maybe two/three nights a week.

What are you using now?

I use wood pellets and they are very absorbent. Some people don’t find them as cushy as shavings, so pellets under shavings could also work.

I’d probably put at least 4-5" of pellets down, and pick out and readjust daily (rehydrated, not 5" of straight dry pellets, that might be 8-9" after adding water). The deeper the bedding, the less the urine will spread, making it easier to remove. When it’s thinner, it makes a wide puddle, which is a bigger mess.

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I agree with S1969, more bedding is better. I have two geldings who will come in to their stalls to pee. Drives me crazy. I generally use fine shavings in my stalls but add pellets in the pee spots when I clean them out. The pellets are more absorbent, but I find they can make the stable really dusty, so there is a balance there. Keeping the bedding deep, though, is the key.

You can try what I did for one horse who seemed to pee a lot. I dug a “well” or big hole and filled it with crushed stone, then sand under my mats. I still used quite a bit of shavings but once I gave it someplace to go initially I never had a problem.

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Peat moss is super absorbent, gives an excellent cushion, and gardeners love it mixed with manure and urine. At least when I kept a colt in my backyard within the city of Charlotte, NC, my next door neighbor just told me to throw all the soiled bedding over the fence because he wanted to use it in his gorgeous back yard.

Peat moss also cuts down on the smells.

The downsides of peat moss is that you HAVE to clean the horses’ hooves everyday, it tends to dull the horse’s coat and it can be somewhat expensive when you bed the stall for the first time. However I needed a lot less peat moss to keep the established bedding deep enough for the horse (the bed was super springy underfoot), and since it is super absorbent the urine puddles stay in place instead of spreading, so in the end I used less bedding.

Install rubber mats that cuts way down on how much bedding that is needed. Won’t have constantly wet stall floors,dirt floors are horrid makes for stinky stalls. Had dirt stall floors doesn’t work need a ton of bedding. With mats stall are bedding with just enough to cover mats. Easier to clean way less bedding required.

Geldings typically pee in the middle. It is just how they are made.
Unless your stalls are truly huge I can not imagine how a horse would find a way to not lay down involving the middle of the stall.

I have three horses at home, all are bedded differently because of how piggy they are or are not.

The gelding who pees a lake (I swear he must hold it all day and the pees as soon as he is let into his stall) I put pellet bedding (dry, not pre-wet) in the center (where he pees) under the other bedding (use whatever you like, straw, shavings, sawdust). When it comes time to clean you just scrape off the dry bedding from on top and pick out the soaked bedding from underneath. Toss in some more pellets and recover with the dry bedding.

I personally do not put lots of pellets underneath. In my case I find that a 3qt scoop or two works perfectly.

Now the mare that always has several pee spots gets more pellets because she has more spots.


Mares tend to pee around the edges, geldings in the middle or “middle”. It’s a function of anatomy :slight_smile:

You need more bedding (or bedding, period) to manage this. By “open” stalls do you mean metal panels? How much wind blows through there? That will dictate what will work best.

Pellet bedding tends to be the most absorbent, but also the dustiest, all else equal, with infrequent use.

There are other “sawdust” beddings, finer than shavings, and there are different grades of shavings from the big fluffy flakes, to the smaller more uniform flakes, with them being more absorbent the smaller they are.

Something like Sweet PDZ on the pee spots will help with odor and drying as well, then pull bedding back on top of that when you need to use it.

I personally disagree that mats require less bedding. Pee still needs to be soaked up sooner rather than later, and thinly bedded mats end up with exposed mat surface, pee sits, or creeps down between cracks, and wet mats are slick.

I had dirt floors, with infrequent use, and they were a bit of a pita, and I was still using Sweet PDZ at times, especially for the gelding who, like trub’s guy, would come in and pee out what seemed to be a whole day’s worth, OR, I’d have him in for a couple hours in the morning for breakfast, and as soon as I walked into the barn to let them out, he’d pee :rolleyes:

Mats have been amazing.


I had missed that post (It looks like that poster and I posted at the same time). I 100% agree with JB on this. Mats do not save you on bedding unless your bedding is getting wet from ground moisture coming up.

My pees a ton gelding uses more bedding now that he has mats than he did when he had a dirt floor.

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By open I mean the stall is made of what I believe are 2x4s set apart. But it’s got a big X on all sides to keep their heads and other body parts in their stall. My dad is a carpenter and built the barn and stalls. It’s tunnel ventilated and has fans. The air is kept stirred up. My stall is set at a very slight tilt to help with drainage. The stall door is very large and bedding likes to come out into the hallway. I could have him build a solid bottom on the stall door that would help keep everything in. Do you have to rewet the pellets? Just moisten the top to help with dust?

Do you know how many pounds of dry pellets it would require to make 4-5" of hydrated pellets?

Even with mats you still have to put down adequate shavings to soak up the pee. I’ve worked at barns that do it with barely any shavings and those that use plenty of shavings, I find the ones with tons of shaving so much easier to clean. They smell better and horses generally lay down more in them and stay cleaner. Don’t skimp on shavings.


I agree with luvmyhackney, you need lots of shavings, even on mats.


Especially when a horse is urinating a lot like this gelding.

Depends on the size of the stall. But yes, I use pelleted bedding; so I do know. It might not need to be that deep in the entire stall, though, if the problem area is the center. I don’t bed my entire stalls because my horses use them as run ins. I usually put 2-3 40lb bags to bed 1/2 my stalls that deep, leaving half as swept mats. But, my stalls are smallish.

What I would do too.

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I screwed a 2x4 into the bottom of the exterior doors for this purpose- keep bedding from being dragged out. The horses quickly learned to step over it. The concrete aisle was done after the barn was build, so is raised above the stalls already, so that’s the barrier there.

Do you have to rewet the pellets? Just moisten the top to help with dust?

It all depends on your humidity level and how often the stalls are used, and how much turnover there is. In your situation - horses in 2-3 nights - that might suffice to keep things moist enough. In my case, which is in only for breakfast, it’s not enough so yes, I was having to keep it sprayed down daily. When my mare foaled, I had pellets in the 12x24 stall for a while, and it was just too dusty.

I’d used straw pellets, Stru-fex brand, which were a lot nicer- heavier particles so didn’t float in the air as much, and didn’t dry out so fast. They aren’t made any longer, so I’m back to a new-to-me wood pellet from Southern states. It’s a lot nicer than whatever brand I used to get (wood pellet) but still does get dusty.

With how little your stall is bedded, any of my 4 horses would have urine-soaked feet if they peed in there. It just sits in a puddle. No idea what sort of shove you use to scoop up liquid from a stall.

Hay doesn’t make for anything absorbent, and there’s definitely not remotely enough in your stall to qualify as “bedding”.

I never have to strip my stalls. Not even when a mare and foal spent nights in theirs for a few weeks. Not even when my gelding was on strict stall rest for 2 weeks.

If you have time to shovel out a puddle of pee before it gets walked through, you’d have time to pick up manure piles and pee spots before they got churned around.


They come in around 12pm go out at 8 pm stalls get cleaned when they go out for the night. Scoop shovel works great for scooping up pee. Both are geldings depends on where they pee on if they stand in it. They lay down in stalls just as much as any horse does in deep bedding. Their filthy but they lay where they pee and poop. Hose them off every day.

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My horses would both have had hock and fetlock sores from that…

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They wouldn’t be forced to lay in their own waste if they had actual bedding to lay on.

Not sure how scooping out a puddle of pee if they are laying in it :confused:

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