Horse Stall Bedding Options

Horse Stall
When your horse has to spend time in a stall, make sure he’s comfortable with the right type of bedding.


There are very few things as satisfying to a horse owner as knowing your four-legged friend is comfy and cozy for the night. If your horse spends part of his time in a stall or pipe corral, the proper bedding is essential for his comfort, both in terms of cushioning his body mass and absorbing odors to maintain his respiratory health. While some bedding is more regionally available than others, each has its pros and cons.


Pine shavings are most often available as compressed, bagged bedding, although you may be able to get them in bulk in some regions. While shavings smell terrific and lighten stalls with their bright color, they can coat the walls, horses and items in the aisle way with a fine coating of dust.


Traditionally available in bulk for either pickup or delivery, sawdust is a byproduct of lumber mills and is widely available. The fine particles do have a tendency to be dusty and can cause allergies in horses bedded on it. It’s imperative to ensure that no black walnut was milled at the same time as the load of sawdust equine owners buy as even minute amounts of black walnut can cause laminitis in horses.


Pelleted bedding is sold in bags and is made of compressed, kiln-dried wood and sawdust and is generally less dusty than sawdust or shavings. Typically made of fir, alder or pine, the super-absorbent bedding expands when exposed to moisture. Pelleted bedding works best in stalls with mats, and it can initially take quite a few bags to obtain the depth of bedding desired. Once that is achieved, however, you won’t need to remove much bedding each time you muck out, though cleaning a stall bedded in pellets can be a learning curve. You’ll remove manure as usual, but most wet bedding (except those areas that are particularly saturated) are simply spread back into the dry bedding and allowed to dry. The soiled bedding is readily composted as it is so fine.


A byproduct of wheat and oat grain production, straw is commonly used on large breeding farms and racetracks, and in areas of the country where grains are produced, driving down cost. While this bedding composts well, it can be dusty and moldy, and it does not absorb urine well, which can lead to a strong ammonia smell in barns that use it. Additionally, some horses will eat straw. Storage can also be problematic as stalls need to be bedded deeply and require multiple bales of straw per week.



Peat Moss

Peat moss is extremely absorbent and soft. The relatively high price is what keeps most horse owners away. Peat moss is also dark in color, so it can look dirty, but it’s a wonderful addition to compost piles and pastures, making disposal easy.


In some areas of the country, bedding on hay is common. There are no side effects to equines eating their bedding, but cleaning can be difficult and continual use can get expensive as hay prices rise.

Shredded Newspaper

Shredded newspaper is an excellent source of bedding for horses with allergies, if you can find it. It is fairly affordable, but users should be aware that the soy-based ink may transfer onto lighter-coated horses. Additionally, learning to clean a stall bedded in newspaper can take some getting used to.


  1. Not common yet, yet Good options too- What about rice hulls?:) and the newest tend is to use small pea-sized gravel, as it wears the hooves down and can also help sore horses find comfortable angles for their hooves!:)

  2. I use “Easy Pick” twice cleaned bagged sawdust. Worth the extra money to not have the dust of shavings or pellets.

  3. When I lived in Arizona, I used rice hulls. They are great! They do not attract flies. You can take the rice hulls that the horses urinated on and rinsed it with water outside and reuse it. Living in Michigan, no one has any knowledge of the product. It comes from California,

  4. It’s good to know that sawdust for stables can be bought in bulk. My grandfather is planning to start taking care of horses in his rural property and his stable is currently being constructed. Getting sawdust bedding right away will ensure that once he buys the horses, they will have a comfortable environment right away.

  5. Hemp bedding is a recent, all-natural bedding option in the horse world that equestrians love. While stall mats, straw bedding, and wood products are popular choices for horse bedding, hemp has several benefits that maximize your animal’s comfort and safety.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here