A five-star bed

Your Horse (UK) - - Ask The Experts -

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.

Chill­ing out

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

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