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Monday, September 23, 2013

How to I clean a stall?

Well I do everything in a very specific manner.
My thing is... I'm not going to make my horse sleep in a stall I wouldn't sleep in with him!
So all the smells and moisture have to go!

1st thing is I try to evaluate the stall before I go poking around in it!
2nd thing... Is I try to create clear areas for piles.  There are always THREE Piles I make.
     a. First pile is for "perfect" shavings.   These shaving have never see anything from the inside of  a horse.  These and what ever new shavings I need to replace are always put on TOP!
     b. Second pile is for "questionable"  shavings.   These are in the middle when put back together.  These are clean but no longer perfectly fluffy, large, or pretty.
     c. and Third pile is for sifting.   And this pile is the kind of wet but still usable shavings that will ALWAYS go on the bottom of the stall so to be used completely and thrown into compost on the next cleaning.
          YES sifting!   If you create a tall centered cone or pyramid shape pile your dry poop is more likely to .... roll.... down the side where you can throw it out! and save the rest for the bottom of the pile.
see all the different piles!  And I was no where near being done.  This stall keeps about 6 to 8 bags of shavings due to our wet weather AND this horse has dermatitis... he is older... also has PPSM... and MUST be kept dry and comfortable at all times.

As you get better and better at cleaning a stall you can feel by the weight of the fork if you have "wet" materials in your fork full of shavings.   (unless your horse is a grinder... which is another story all together, and I feel for you ... because I have had them! They are TOUGH to put it nicely.)   

3rd thing is most horses have a specific pattern they abide by.  As with any other animal they do not necessarily like to sleep where they crap.  So learning where your horse poops, pees, and sleeps is one of your best tools for cleaning. 

Shavings are going to be more WET on the bottom no matter what your stall floor is made of.
So clearing off the top of shavings is saving shavings for later.

I know how many poop and pee piles I should find. How large they should be; and I use this information to assist in gauging how my horse is drinking and eating. 

REMINDER... I have stall mats in my stalls

This is one of my stalls.  I keep it swept daily even if no horse was kept in it.  As you can see there are feed bowls in a corner!  I always keep one corner specifically for Feed, another for water etc.... These feed buckets (a basic from Tractor Supply) are in a TIRE!!!!! yes... somehow my husbands front of his K1200S is the perfect size to use so Navarre can not turn over his feed bowl pawing at it when it gets low.
So.. as I get to the wet areas... I broom them into the shovel, sprinkle in some pinesol (full strength) which by the way also helps with FLIES as flies can not stand the smell either) Then I put down a horse feed scoop of pellets and then back to more shavings.  When I am done all you see is shavings and this way I get clumps like cat litter when they pea!   As stated earlier the pellets also help keep down the smell of ammonia.  OH yes... if you have a cat inside... this horse pellets are CHEAPER than the natural pine cat litter you get everywhere else.  This will save you money in your cat box too!
HINT... if you do not clean well enough you are going to get shavings with RED on them that almost appears to look like blood.  This is bacteria and a natural process found in the summer! but it must be removed so not to effect the health of the horse. 
HINT... I also know ... up north where it stays very cold all winter I have known some people to literally leave all the pee  and wet shavings in the stall rarely cleaning it out as this degrading process starts to create its own heat as it breaks down the pellets OR shavings!   This is NOT something you can do with a padded stall as the ammonia built up gets dangerous for your horse to breath.  IF you have a sand or clay bottom stall WITH CORRECT DRAINAGE below it; you may be able to get by with this concept a little longer.  But my thing is!  You need to put your face down in the bedding you put on top of this and if it stinks OR burns your nose it MUST be cleaned out; as your horse does not have as good of a breathing system as we do with all our filters!  
Depending on the horse, the stall, and the way they keep their shavings I clean either from corner to corner OR layer by layer like the first photo above.    It all depends on the horse!  This is something you will figure out for yourself.  As we all know ... no two humans are alike and no two horses are alike!  Thus no one person can tell you how everything is going to work out perfectly.


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