A five-star bed
QMy horse box walks quite a bit. Is there any way I can adjust his bed to help with this and make his stable feel more safe and secure for him? Penny Easton, Sussex
ATraits such as box walking can be very challenging to deal with, as well as costly from a bedding point of view. If there’s no other option than to stable your horse, then try to keep his time in the stable to a minimum and consider making some adjustments, such as moving the position of haynets and water buckets and adding a mirror or stable toys to enrich the stable and provide a distraction. A good depth of bed is recommended as your horse’s hooves and
joints need support, but choose a hard-wearing material so the bedding lasts as long as possible. Straw, for example, is hard-wearing but will get dragged around and pushed to the sides. A large-flake shaving could work here, offering a hard-wearing material that also knits together well. However, bedding will not be a solution to the primary problem of box walking walking.
All horses are individuals but they evolved as a herd animal. T Think about horses in the wild — some members of the herd will lie down, while others stand to look out for predators. It’s up to you as an owner to create an environment where your horse feels safe and secure enough to relax and lie down. If he’s a little sensitive, is his box in a particularly busy area of the yard where something’s always happening? Or is he a bit isolated and stresses when he can’t be part of the hustle and bustle? The environment outside the stable is as important to consider as the inside. From a bedding point of view, whatever brand or material you choose, it should be clean and free of dust/mould spores, of a good depth to support and protect the hooves and joints, and cover a good proportion of the stable floor. However, all horses are different. Even with your best efforts, some will not lie down (or be seen lying down) in the beautiful bed you’ve created, but are perfectly happy to lie flat out in the field. As owners, all we can do is create a healthy stable environment for our horse.
“Choose a hard-wearing material so the bedding lasts as long as possible”
Sometimes you need to make adjustments to the positioning of things in the stable so your horse feels more comfortable