How to master the art of mucking out a stable

How to master the art of mucking out a stable

Mucking out is something that must be done if your horse lives in a stable, although it is a simple task, it is usually the least favourite for most people! However, there is a feeling of satisfaction if the horse’s bed is done properly.

Your horse’s bed should always be clean and tidy, stables that are dirty attract more unwanted insects and could encourage hoof issues like thrush. If your horse’s bedding is covered in urine, you horse can breathe in the harmful ammonia.

For a complete muck out daily (and not a deep littered bed), you will need a fork (either a straw fork or a shavings fork), a wheelbarrow, a broom and a shovel.

Here’s the easiest way to clean out a stable:

  • Make sure your horse is out of the stable, this gives you plenty of room to clean. Having your tools all to hand makes it easier to reach them.
  • When you muck out you need to be separating the clean bits of the bedding from the dirty parts. You can chuck the clean parts of the bedding up onto the banks (the side of the stables) and see if you can get the dirty parts to fall, this makes it easier to pick it up.
  • You need to use the relevant fork for the bedding type so that you can separate the poo from the bed. Having the correct fork type also means it will save you time and bedding.
  • If you have a shavings bed you will need a shavings fork. With this you can get some wire mesh which can be attached to the fork so that the bedding falls through, but the poo stays on the fork.
  • When you have removed all the poo’s you can target the remaining wet parts. Some horses are messier than others; some choose an area to ‘wet’ (easier to tidy), and some ‘box walk’ it together. If they are a box walker, trying different bedding may be better to find out which one they are happier with.
  • If time allows and you can leave the bed up, this gives it a chance to ‘air’. However, if you don’t have the time, buying a stable sanitiser and putting down a layer on the stable floor is a good idea. This absorbs the toxic substances and removes the smell of ammonia.
  • When putting the bed down you need to use the bedding that you have put in the banks first. New bedding can be fluffy or even a little slippery, and so having both means that the bed will be thicker. To check if the bedding is dense enough, put the fork into the bed and if it touches the floor and makes a noise you may need some more bedding.
  • You can now put new bedding up the side of the bed as banks. This gives more protection and is more comfortable for your horse. It also prevents cast.
  • Level it off with the base of your fork to give it a nice clean finish.
  • Finally, sweep up any stray bedding and admire your hard work!

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