As an equine owner, the last thing you want is for your horse to get sick or develop a disease. While there are plenty of precautions you can take, there is one that should be at the top of your list: cleaning. Many people differ in their methods, but here are some general guidelines regarding your stable’s cleanliness to ensure the best and healthiest environment for your horse:
Why you need to clean
One of the primary causes of horse’s respiratory diseases is known as “heaves,” or recurrent airway obstruction (RAO). This is due to exposure to bacterial products, particularly from urine ammonia. For horses that lie down frequently or ones that are close to the ground, such as foals and ponies, this can be problematic. In addition, the more horses you have in a stable, the more susceptible they can be to RAO. Any precautions you can take to reduce the amount of ammonia in the air is necessary, and one of those is the cleanliness of your stable.
“Clean stalls can help prevent diseases.”
Dirty stalls could also encourage the development of hoof problems like thrush. This is a fungal infection of the horse’s frog or clefts brought on by moist, damp or dirty stable conditions. Nothing can entirely prevent these diseases, but clean stalls are a step in the right direction.
The cleaning process
As a homeowner, you may think you know how to clean up, but when it comes to barns, it’s a completely different game. Start by making sure you have all the gear and tools you need such as:
- A wheelbarrow or cart.
- A pitchfork.
- A shovel.
- A stable broom.
- Rubber boots.
Rubber boots and gloves can protect you from horse manure and cleaning products. If you have a sensitive sense of smell, it may be helpful to buy a mask to cover your nose, as well. Base your attire on your needs.
Start by removing your horse from the stable if they aren’t already. A great time to clean is during pasture so they are already out of the barn. Use a pitchfork or shovel to remove manure, wet soil or bedding. Check to make sure there is not anything hiding underneath the bedding. Next, replace the bedding and fluff it to ensure maximum padding. After you’ve completed this in each stable, be sure to check the alleys and doorways for any mess and clean if need be. Don’t forget about your horse’s food and water tubs. These should be cleaned every day for hygienic needs.
Clean according to your horse’s habits
Many horse owners ask the question, “How often should I clean my horse’s stable?” The answer is multi-faceted because it depends on your horse and its habits. Horses that are very young or older require you to clean the stable more often because they are prone to developing diseases. In addition, the more horses your barn inhabits, the more often you should clean the stables. Monitoring your horse’s habits is the best way to determine how often you should be cleaning your barn.