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Shavings VS Straw: Which One Is The Best For Your Horse?


One of the most important decisions you have to make is choosing the bedding for your horse’s stall. There are many different options available, but two of the most popular ones are shavings and straw. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one can have a significant impact on your horse’s comfort, health, and overall well-being.

In this post, we will dive into the differences between shavings and straw and help you decide which one is best for your horse.

Shavings: Soft and Absorbent

Shavings are a popular choice for horse bedding, and for good reason. They are soft, absorbent, and easy to clean. Shavings are made from wood and come in a variety of types, such as pine, cedar, and aspen. The type of wood used can affect the smell of the stall, so it’s important to choose one that is not overpowering for your horse.

One of the main advantages of shavings is their absorbency. They can absorb a significant amount of moisture, which is important for maintaining a clean and healthy stall. Wet bedding can lead to bacterial growth and respiratory problems for your horse, so keeping the stall dry is crucial.

Shavings are also easy to clean. They can be removed with a pitchfork, and any soiled areas can be easily spotted and removed. This makes stall cleaning a quicker and more efficient process.

Straw: Traditional and Affordable

Straw has been used for horse bedding for centuries, and it remains a popular choice today. Straw is made from the stems of wheat, oats, or barley, and it is often the most affordable option for bedding.

One of the main advantages of straw is that it is natural and biodegradable. This means it can be composted after use, making it an environmentally friendly option. Straw is also a good insulator, which can help keep your horse warm in the winter.

However, there are some downsides to using straw as bedding. It is not as absorbent as shavings, which means it can become damp and moldy. This can lead to respiratory issues for your horse and a strong odor in the stall. It is also more difficult to clean than shavings, as it can be hard to spot soiled areas.

So, Which One Is Best?

The decision between shavings and straw ultimately comes down to personal preference and the needs of your horse. If you have a horse with respiratory issues, shavings may be the better choice. However, if you’re on a tight budget, straw may be a more affordable option.

There are also some other factors to consider when choosing bedding for your horse. For example, some horses are allergic to certain types of wood shavings, so it’s important to choose the right type for your horse. Additionally, some shows and competitions have specific rules about the type of bedding that can be used, so it’s important to be aware of these regulations.


Choosing the right bedding for your horse is an important decision, and there are many factors to consider. Ultimately, the best choice for your horse will depend on their individual needs and your personal preferences as a horse owner. Whatever you choose, make sure to maintain a clean and healthy stall for your horse’s comfort and well-being.

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Shavings VS Straw: Which One Is The Best For Your Horse?