Six Key Equine Health Threats in the Stable

How Bedmax bedding can help the health and wellbeing of the stabled horse

Keeping horses in the confines of a stable for prolonged periods creates a variety of potential risks that can seriously affect their health and well-being. In our own Bedmax annual national surveys over recent years, we have found that over 40% of horse owners in the UK experience equine health problems that require veterinary treatment and/or box rest for their horses during the winter months.

This is the period when the majority of horses in the UK spend a minimum of 12 hours a day in their stables, and leading equine veterinary experts confirm our findings that over half of these cases are due to two of the six major stable risks: respiratory and hoof disease.

Bedmax has identified the most significant and widespread health risks, all of which can be prevented or mitigated by better stable management and the use of high-quality bedding:

Airbourne Dust & Spores

These are recognised as one of the major causes of respiratory problems ranging from very serious diseases such as COPD to mild inflammation, nasal discharge and coughs among stabled horses. Poor quality forage and bedding are the worst sources of dust and spores, and the choice of a high quality, dust-extracted bedding is one of the most important preventative healthcare decisions you can make on your horse’s behalf.


Horses moving from a wet environment outside onto dry or highly absorbent bedding run a high risk of hoof damage including cracking, infection and disease. Lack of secure, resilient support, particularly under the frog, can lead to hoof and musculoskeletal problems. Bedmax is dried to a controlled moisture content to prevent hooves drying and cracking, and our combination of larger, medium and smaller flakes give ideal support under the hoof.


The Covid-19 crisis has given us all a sharp reminder of how crucial good hygiene is in combating dangerous viruses and bacteria. Hygiene in the stable is critical to prevent infection and disease, and bedding quality is vital to maintaining effective hygienic conditions as a fundamental part of a healthy stable management regime. Bedmax and Littlemax shavings are made predominantly from naturally antibacterial pine and dried at sterilising temperatures during production.


Lack of adequate bedding will make a horse more susceptible to injury when lying down or rolling in the stable. With your horse sometimes spending long periods of time in the stable, the bedding you provide needs to be deep enough to give the support your horse needs under its feet and when lying down. The right depth of bedding will help cushion joints – especially hocks – as well as manage urine and moisture by allowing it to drain through the layers to keep the surface clean and dry. Used properly our larger shavings create a firm, springy and protective bed.


Ammonia is the horrible smelling gas produced when urine and faeces begin to break down, but it’s also a high-level risk factor in the stable, posing problems for your horse’s hooves and respiratory system. Recent research has proved that it can actively cause respiratory disease, and it attacks the structure of the hoof wall, allowing infections and disease to penetrate deep into the foot. A well-maintained bed can help to manage levels of ammonia in the stable, and using pine shavings such as Bedmax reduces the eye-watering smell for horses and their carers alike.


Equine behavioural and mental well-being is increasingly coming to the fore when thinking about the stable environment. We place a lot of stresses, both physical and mental, on our horses, from competition and transportation to simple exercise, and a lack of adequate rest and recovery can have an adverse impact on your horse’s mental well-being, behaviour and performance. Horses need an average of approximately 60 minutes of REM sleep every 24 hours and they need to lie down to achieve this. Bedmax has always been recognised as a bedding that encourages horses to lie down and sleep properly, and the absence of dust and spores protects your horse’s respiratory system when their nose is in direct contact with their bedding.

The stable isn’t a naturally healthy environment for horses. We developed Bedmax large flake, pine shavings on the basis of a great deal of research and consultation with equine experts, specifically to help you prevent your horse from suffering the effects of the main health threats – a 100% natural bedding, purpose made to keep your horse as healthy and happy in the stable as humanly possible.

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