Cleaning stalls is a never ending job. If your horse stays in…your going to have to muck stuff out.

stall cleaning techniques vary by bedding material used

stall cleaning techniques vary by bedding material used

How you clean will also depend on what you bed with. Sawdust, straw, shavings, newspaper, pellets? Each one has its own pros and cons. Location and availability will also play a part.

I try to keep my horses outside as much as possible but there are times that they end up in stalls. Over the years we have bedded with almost everything out there.

Cleaning a stall that has been bedded in straw vs one bedded in shavings is the same in one respect; we are removing all soiled bedding, but it does differ in technique. Metal pitch forks excel in straw and flop in shavings.

One thing that stays the same is that I like to make sure to rotate the bedding as much as possible. Many horses have one area that is dirtier than the rest and I start by removing that. Then I pick through the bedding that can be saved. If I am adding new bedding, I first pull the leftover bedding into the area that is normally bad because it is likely to be on the way out of the stall tomorrow. And the cycle continues.

When I attended the University of Findlay I returned home and joked that my tuition had largely been spent on teaching me how to clean stalls. During the equine class they really did do a ‘stall cleaning demo’ complete with the technique shown here to the right which involves moving all clean bedding into the middle. This technique works well on shavings, especially with the horses that tend to mix the manure in, making it difficult to separate. Just to be sure we mastered the school had us clean four stalls a day and yes, we even were tested and graded on it!

What do you bed with? Why?  Do you have a cleaning technique that makes stall cleaning easier? A special tool?