Horse health starts in the stable

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As much as we would all love to have our horses living out, it’s not always possible.

Some are unable to withstand certain weather conditions whereas others may need stabling for health or ease of management around competition season.

Regardless of reasoning, a large proportion of the horse’s day is spent in confinement.

The stable environment is highly influential on your horses respiratory condition, so what can be done to ensure maximum health?

Forage for stabled horses

It is now widely accepted that feeding dry hay is detrimental to the respiratory health of horses, high temperature steaming has been proven to dramatically reduce respirable particles in hay and haylage providing clean palatable forage without the increase in potentially harmful bacteria that is associated with soaking hay.

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Bedding options

Deep littering has been a common management tool for many years, giving owners the option to do a full ‘muck out’ a little less often and proving what looks to be a comfortable bed for their horse.

The truth?

You’re potentially creating a dusty space and the perfect environment for the production of ammonia.

Deep litter beds and poorly fitting rubber matting can allow a build-up of urea and bacteria, which in turn releases ammonia causing irritation to the respiratory system and eyes in horse and human.

Ammonia – just an unpleasant smell?

Studies into the presence of ammonia in the stable are really quite alarming. Ammonia is a caustic gas and irritates vulnerable tissues such as skin, eyes, nasal passages, sinuses, the respiratory tree and the lungs.

Ammonia doesn’t actually come from urine itself. Urine contains urea, which is a byproduct of the digestion and metabolism of protein in the horse’s diet. But urea is odourless.

The harmful ammonia smell actually comes from the breakdown of urea, which is done by various bacteria that happen to love urea as a food source. If it’s available to them, they’ll flourish on it.

They’re equipped with an enzyme called urease which digests the urea and produces ammonia as a by-product.

Many stable floors offer the perfect environment for these bacteria to thrive and traditional rubber matting can actually pose many health threats. Even when all wet bedding is removed, the bacteria are still present under the mats.

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How can I create a healthy environment?

Thankfully we live in an age when the welfare of our horses is a priority. There are many fantastic ways to ensure a clean stable and horse health leaders Haygain are committed to the cause in the creation of a healthy horse environment.

Their revolutionary ComfortStall® Orthopaedic and Sealed Flooring System combines three key veterinarian-recommended components to provide multiple benefits for both horse and owner including; 

-    Orthopaedic Precision Foam™ padding for its unique ‘spring in your step’ anti fatigue properties and benefits to joint health,

-    Proprietary IronClad™ TopCover for unmatched structural stability and durability,

-    HDPE Anchor Strips to complete an impermeable seal with the sub-flooring, preventing build-up of ammonia and harmful bacteria. The sealed aspect is of utmost important to address the presence of ammonia.

An investment that pays dividends

ComfortStall® significantly reduces the quantity of straw, paper, cardboard, wood pellets or other bedding required. Bedding is now only needed to absorb body waste.

The reduction in bedding, cleaning time, and the lack of flooring maintenance required adds up to a significant reduction in costs, and a return on investment typically of less than one year.

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The choice of top equine vets

Cornell University Veterinary Hospital in the United States carries out 1,000 surgical procedures a year and every horse recovers on the ComfortStall® flooring system.

flooring has stood the test of time with minimal signs of wear, providing continual service since it was installed in 2007.

ComfortStall® comes with an impressive six year warranty, and a life expectancy of at least 15-20 years. For more information and to get a quote, please visit