Ideally, horse stalls should be cleaned every day. There are several reasons why it is important to keep stalls clean. If it is impossible to clean stalls on a daily basis, you may want to consider keeping your horses outside with adequate protection from the weather. A ‘loafing’ or ‘run-in shed’ can provide shelter and if you are lucky enough to have neat housekeepers for horses, they may not use their shed as a dropping place. Otherwise, sheds need to be cleaned out periodically as well.
Many horses lay down at night in their stalls. Some horses are very neat stall keepers and they use the same spot each time they defecate or urinate. And these same horses avoid lying down in their piles! However, this is usually the exception, so for most horses, lying in accumulated piles is pretty nasty. Horses lying in manure require extra grooming and cleaning.
Wet or urine soaked bedding can be detrimental to the health of the horse for several reasons:
- the ammonia fumes from the urine can irritate a horse’s sensitive lungs;
- horse hooves that are continually exposed to wet bedding can become soft and develop thrush (a condition where bacteria accumulates in the sole or frog of the hoof);
- horses lying on wet or dirty bedding can develop many assorted skin irritations.
Clean, dry stalls are more inviting for horses to lay down. Especially if you have an older horse, it is beneficial for it to lay down and and rest its legs.