Posted: 3rd August 2022 | Back to news feed



Bedding is one of the big costs of horse ownership, so with the cost of living and keeping a horse rising dramatically, we’re looking at ways you can help your owners cut their bedding costs but still maintain their commitment to high standards of equine health care.

 Our top three tips for cutting the cost of bedding:

  1.  Choose a more cost-effective high-quality bedding
  2. Manage your bedding better to reduce waste
  3. Avoid cheap bedding that might incur bigger health costs


Your owners put their horses’ wellbeing first

Costs are rising steeply for bedding manufacturers like us, and you may have read in Horse & Hound that equestrian businesses fear they will inevitably need to pass on higher costs to horse owners.

But we also know that the great majority of owners in this country put their horse’s wellbeing first and foremost. Our latest equine health survey in 2021 showed us once again that this is the absolute priority for owners when choosing the best bedding to buy for their horses. Cost comes a long way down the list.

In these uniquely tough times, however, owners must consider how to cope with such hefty cost increases, and we hope our tips might help them – and yard owners ­– achieve savings without jeopardising their horses’ health.



Choose a more cost-effective bedding

There may be beddings available that could be more cost-effective than your current choice but a healthy bedding for your horse at the same time.

The majority of owners in the UK today use purpose-made shavings like Bedmax or Littlemax (other brands are of course available). But about 20% still use traditional straw and many use wood pellets.

Straw varies hugely in quality, it can be full of dust and with pressures on farming costs it is going to be very expensive this year. Wood pellets are mostly made from imported timber, which in turn makes them cost more.

So we have developed Strawmax to combine all the best benefits of straw and pellets, without their downsides. Strawmax is made from locally sourced UK high quality straw. We crush it, dry it at sterilising temperatures, and thoroughly dust extract it, and it’s compressed naturally into dense pellets. Unlike straw, you can buy it from your local retailer in handy 15kg bags which are consistent in quality and price, and really easy to handle, store and use.

The simple answer is that you need less Strawmax to maintain an optimum bed. It lasts a long time, and Because it’s so super-absorbent, you need less Strawmax to maintain an optimum bed, you waste less and you reduce your muckheap dramatically.


Manage your bedding better to reduce waste

It is very tempting to think that reducing the depth of your bed, or making it smaller, might cut your bedding costs. All the advice from the experts we have ever been given suggests this is both worse for your horse’s health and wellbeing and likely to reduce the lifespan of the bed – which means more waste and more replacement.

With purpose-made shavings like Bedmax and Littlemax shavings, vets and professionals recommend a bed should be about 20cms deep across most of the stable. The key is to manage it meticulously to keep it in top condition, muck out at least twice a day, and use the right kind of fork to minimise waste.

Good management will keep a bed of good quality shavings healthy and comfortable for your horse for longer and maximise its cost-effectiveness.


Avoid pitfalls that might incur bigger health costs

Finally, don’t fall into the trap of using cheaper, poor quality bedding or skimping on your existing bedding to save money. It might end up costing far more in vet’s bills.

Nearly 1,000 owners responded to our 2021 survey. Over 450 of them had paid vets bills of more than £1000, and 25% had paid over £2000, to treat health problems as opposed to injuries.

As with every previous survey, the biggest health problems reported were respiratory and hoof disease.

Both these problems can be avoided or at least mitigated by using high quality, hygienic bedding, and managing it properly.  As any good equine vet will tell you, prevention is far cheaper than cure.

So even when you pay a bit more for a  bedding such as Bedmax shavings, you could be saving yourself a much bigger bill down the line. And now you have the option of paying less for Strawmax – a lower cost bedding solution with high quality equine health and human wellbeing benefits.


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The Equestrian Index newsfeed is compiled from articles submitted by advertising members and expresses the opinions of those members. Watsons Directories Ltd shall not be held liable for any inaccuracies or mis-statements therein.

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