• Properly Cleaning a Horse Stall

  • Cleaning a Horse BarnOwning horses can be time-consuming.  Although most horses can survive harsh elements, many people like to keep their horses in their horse stall during extreme weather, whether too hot or too cold.  Depending on where you live, your horse may need to be stalled during summer months when it gets too warm or too buggy, and in the harsh winter nothing is nicer for your horse than a cozy barn.  

    Regardless of your weather, if your horse lives in the barn for any part of the day, it is imperative that their stall remain clean. Unclean stalls attract insects and can encourage hoof problems, such as thrush. Breathing ammonia from urine-saturated bedding can be harmful to your horse’s sensitive lungs and is not especially healthy for you either!  

    Stall cleaning should be a daily task, as it generally takes no more than 20 minutes to give a stall a quick cleaning.  Of course it may take longer if it has been more than one day since last cleaned or if your horse spends a significant portion of the day inside the stall. 

    Full List of Equipment/Supplies Needed to Clean Stalls

    • Manure Rake 
    • Broad Barn Shovel 
    • Pitchfork 
    • Dual Wheel 
    • Sawdust or Shavings 
    • Barn Lime 
    • Wide Barn Broom 
    • Water Hose or Buckets 

    How Often Do Horse Stalls Need to be Cleaned?

    Keeping your horse in a dirty stall can be harmful for your horse’s hygiene and longevity. An assorted variety of health problems are possible if they are left to stand in a dirty stall for days on end. Keeping your horse’s stall as clean as possible is essential, especially during times of year where your horse is being kept in their stall for long periods of time.

    Your horse will never benefit from standing in his own urine or feces. Urine contains ammonia that can affect your horse’s lungs and general health. Standing in wet bedding or puddles will weaken the structure of a horse’s hooves and can cause lameness issues.  Standing in feces has the same general effect, although it generally does not happen quite as quickly.  It is generally recommended that an occupied stall is cleaned at least once a day as a matter of basic hygiene, removing feces and replacing urine-saturated bedding.

    Adequate Drainage

    Stalls and pens that drain well can help ease the cleaning process and reduce mud in wet weather. How your barn is positioned on your property can positively or negatively affect drainage and cause water and mud problems.  In the event of drainage issues, well-placed gutters and downspouts can assist in diverting runoff and keep mud from accumulating near barn entrances or in stalls.

    Proper Ventilation

    Adequate air flow within your barn minimizes ammonia buildup that can cause eye and lung irritation. If you are constructing a new barn, choose a design that offers sufficient ventilation while avoiding drafts. Strategically placed air gaps and/or exhaust fans or exhaust cupolas will help keep air circulating and prevent buildup of noxious fumes. To assist with air flow in your existing barn, keep doors and windows open as much and as often as weather permits to promote good cross ventilation.

    Cleaning the Barn and Stalls

    The primary way to control the spread of disease is by cleaning your barn and stalls on a regular basis. This cleaning entails getting rid of dirt, manure, urine and old feed. Thorough cleaning can at times be difficult in barns with dirt floors and a lack of drains. If you are building a new horse barn, considering these factors during your design and construction could make cleaning much easier for you in the future. 

    Once you are in a solid cleaning routine, it can easily be completed in approximately 20 minutes as part of your daily routine. 

    Dress for the Job 

    Mucking out a horse stall is an admittedly messy job, so make sure you wear the proper clothing. Be sure to wear jeans or overalls without holes in them and long sleeves. Gloves can prevent blisters, so we highly recommend them. Urine can erode the stitching on the soles of leather riding boots, so consider rubber boots that are solely worn for this cleaning job. 

    Prepare the Stall 

    While some people clean while the horse is still in the stall, it is much easier if you take your horse out of the stall during cleaning. A good time to muck out is when your horse is in the pasture grazing or exercising. If you cannot put him/her out, try to place your horse in an empty stall, if you have one, or cross tie them to a post in aisleway if you do not. Next, remove all feed tubs, water buckets, and toys from the stall before beginning your cleaning routine to make the process easier. 

    Use a Manure Fork and Shovel 

    You will need a manure rake, also called a manure fork. This is not the four-pronged fork used to toss hay, but one with many prongs close together to prevent spills. Bring along a flat-tipped shovel for the shavings. Finally, grab a large muck bucket with a wide mouth for easy filling or better yet, a wheelbarrow.

    Assemble your cleaning tools and park your wheelbarrow or bucket close to the stall door, facing in the direction you will wheel it toward once full.  It is easier to maneuver an empty wheelbarrow than a full one. As you continue cleaning out the dirty bedding, scrape the unsoiled bedding to one side and check to make sure there is no wet or manure-soiled bedding hiding underneath. 

    Spread Out Clean Bedding 

    Once you have removed all the manure and soiled, wet bedding, spread whatever clean bedding that remains back over the stall floor. Distribute the bedding evenly and add fresh, new bedding to replace any you have removed. The thickness of your bedding will depend on what type of stall flooring you have in your stalls and what season it is. If there is thick rubber matting on the stall floors, bedding can be thinner. On bare concrete, add more bedding to provide padding and urine absorption.  Sand floors are easier on your horse’s legs but may get saturated with urine quickly if you fail to put enough bedding down inside the stall. 

    Clean the Aisles and Doorways 

    Once you are done cleaning the stall and replacing the bedding, sweep up any spilled manure, straw, or shavings from the aisleway and doorways. You want to keep these areas as clean as possible to reduce tracking the mess to other areas of your barn. Scoop the sweepings into the shovel and toss them into the manure pile. Left unattended, manure, chaff, and bedding in doorways will quickly turn into a muddy mess in wet weather. 

     The Castlebrook Difference

    Castlebrook’s barns have a warm, inviting look which adds to the beauty and value of your property. All Castlebrook barns, round pens and round pen covers are designed and manufactured on site at Castlebrook’s facility. That is why we can provide you a limitless choice of sizes and styles. Castlebrook can manufacture a workshop, horse barn, round pen or round pen cover to suit your exact needs.

    Castlebrook never misses a ship date. We are so confident in our on-time guarantee that we are willing to guarantee it — in writing! Castlebrook understands how important it is for your project to go as smoothly as possible, and that begins with your structure shipping on the date we’ve promised. Castlebrook knows of absolutely no other barn company offering this guarantee. Where other companies disappoint, Castlebrook guarantees to be on time, every time!

    Please contact our professional team today at 1-800-52-BARNS.  We gladly accommodate Saturday appointments!