Horses are heavy and don't like lying on hard surfaces. If they do they may hurt their legs, and to avoid this, are more likely to remain standing up. This in turn causes stress. So make sure you give your pony a soft layer of bedding.
As well as warmth and comfort, bedding is important for hygiene. Stale, wet bedding can easily be removed and replaced with a fresh layer. The bedding also keeps droppings off the ground, stopping the floor becoming slippery.
What To Use
There is a wide range of materials suitable for bedding. Before you use it make sure it is clean and dry, easy to manage and contains nothing harmful to your horse. Some horses are allergic to dust and can react badly to fine bedding such as sawdust.
Some materials let urine pass right through and are called non-absorbent or draining. Other bedding soaks up wetness and are called absorbent or non-draining. Below is a list of suitable bedding materials you can use.
Before starting to muck out, remove the feed bowl, water bucket and hay net from the stable. Put the pony in another stable or tie him up outside the stable. Collect together all your tools & put your wheelbarrow in a convenient place.
First of all remove all the droppings from on top of the bedding. Take the dung fork and either pile all the clean bedding from one half of the stable to the other side, leaving behind any droppings you missed earlier. If you are working from one side to the other, put all the bedding to the clean half of the stable. Finish the second half in the same way as the first. Swill out the drain with a bucket of water and make sure that it is draining.
Leave the stable to air for a while and let the floor dry before bedding down.
Use the dung fork or pick fork and shake up the clean bedding. Spread it evenly over the floor, piling it more thickly at the sides. Use the back of fork to compress the banks of the bedding against the walls. Level the surface of the bedding in the middle of the stable and check the depth with the fork - the bed should come up to at least the depth of the prongs.
Top up if necessary with extra bedding, shaking it well before you level everything off.
Refill and replace the water bucket and hay net. Try to allow about half an hour for any dust to settle before you return the horse to his clean stable.