What is the Best Bedding for Horses?

As a horse owner, you want to ensure that your equine friends live their best life in comfort and safety. Choosing the best bedding materials for your unique horse is at the top of the list of ways you can increase their quality of life.

The dilemma is that there are so many options to choose from. It can be overwhelming to research all possible horse bedding choices all on your own. Also, it is too expensive and takes too much time to test each one by trial and error.

Therefore, we have put together a quick guide to learn your horse bedding options and make the best decision for you and your horse.

Factors to Consider

There are several key factors to consider when it comes to finding the best bedding. Unfortunately, most equestrians stick with what they have always known, even though more effective options exist. Each horse, stall, and owner are unique and have individual conditions to consider, such as location, health, size, finances, and more.

Here are the top elements to consider before selecting your horse bedding:


Stall bedding must be highly absorbent to keep your horses dry and comfortable. Wet or moist bedding creates a breeding ground for bacteria and allows hooves to become soft and diseased. Muggy conditions may lead to thrush and other health issues. To promote hoove health, provide your horse with a dry stall they can comfortably stand and lay in.

Absorbent materials also keep ammonia smells and gases out of the air. Ammonia inhalation is harmful to you and your horse’s lungs. Not only does the substance produce an unpleasant odor, but it’s also considered a toxic gas.

Ammonia is created by various bacteria breakdown and is dangerous to inhale regularly. Bedding that traps these smells keeps the stall smelling pleasant and protects your horse’s respiratory system.


Horse ownership is not a cheap venture. Therefore, it is essential to remember finances when selecting bedding materials. Horses often need large amounts of bedding that are changed out routinely. Bedding that you can purchase in bulk at a reasonable price is your best option for price concerns.

Also, it is more cost-efficient to select bedding that lasts longer and does not harbor mold and bacteria. You can add these materials between mucking-out sessions rather than redoing your entire bedding stock.


Selecting bedding that produces low dust levels is much better for you and your horse’s lung health. Many horses with allergies or those who suffer from respiratory problems do not do well with dust-producing materials. They will benefit from having a bedding material that does not produce dust.


It is common knowledge that most horses sleep while standing but will lay down for a few hours of deep sleep when they feel safe. Comfortable stall floor materials will aid your horse’s good night’s rest. Again, soft and plush horse bedding will give your animal unbeatable sleep and comfort.

Storage & Cleaning

Before buying bedding, it is crucial to have a plan for storage solutions. Buying in bulk means you need to have a significant enough location to keep your selection away from the elements such as sun, wind, and rain. It is an expensive bad day to have bulk-size bedding get wet and ruined!

Make sure to create a plan for cleaning your horse stall when choosing the perfect bedding. Will you dispose of compost yourself? Or will you hire a waste management service? These decisions will also affect the type of bedding you implement.

For example, higher-maintenance bedding, such as materials that become heavy when soiled or need to be changed often, is something to keep in mind.

Types of Bedding

Now that you know the critical factors to consider before selecting bedding, it is time to start looking at your specific bedding options. There are too many bedding options to cover that will not be listed, such as peat moss, rice hulls, and coconut husk, but here are some of the most common selections.

Stall Mats

Stall floor rubber mats are not bedding options by themselves but are used to prevent the floor from being too hard. This popular material is not absorbent and can become slippery when wet. Therefore, you should not use rubber mats without additional floor support.

Many horse owners place down rubber mats with a bedding material over the top. The initial cost of using rubber mats may be expensive, but you can use less bedding over the top, which saves money and storage space in the long run.

Straw Bedding

Straw is perhaps the most commonly available form of horse bedding. It is widely accessible and affordable for most horse owners. Straw is not the best bedding choice for absorbency, but when using a thick layer of straw, it creates a mat between your horse and any fluids on the ground.

The downside is you must change out the material entirely after some time. Also, in cold months, your horse will require extra layers to keep them warm. It is also a good idea to add additional layers when you have pregnant horses and new foals.

A concern with straw bedding is that many horses enjoy eating hay, which is safe in small quantities but not safe if it is soiled or if the horse is on a special diet. It is wise to test a small amount with your horse before officially selecting straw as your chosen option.

Wood Products

There are many different types of wood products available for use as horse bedding. These include wood shavings, wood pellets, wood chips, and sawdust. There are benefits and drawbacks to each of these options.

Shavings are a popular choice because they are a soft option and can be bought loose in bulk or bags. They are typically very affordable but carefully consider what brand to use. It would help if you chose a brand created specifically for horses because some wood types, such as black walnut, are toxic.

Pellets are a great option because they expand to create comfortable and fluffy bedding and are highly absorbent. They also do not produce very much dust. They can be more expensive though and difficult to find in rural areas.

Wood chips and sawdust are affordable options for bedding costs yet are not always the best solution for horse bedding. Chips can be coarse and uncomfortable when your animal lays its head to rest. Watch out for sawdust since its small particles create respiratory issues when inhaled by you or your horse.

You will need to sweep and replace all wood options to prevent ammonia and bacteria buildup when cleaning stalls out.

Hemp Bedding

Hemp bedding is a recent, all-natural bedding option in the horse world that equestrians love. While stall mats, straw bedding, and wood products are popular choices for horse bedding, hemp has several benefits that maximize your animal’s comfort and safety.

The material is highly absorbent, affordable, and available in bulk or by the bag. It is a dust-free option that is an excellent choice for horses with allergies and respiratory problems. Also, hemp bedding is very soft, comfortable, and safe to ingest. No trees are cut down in the hemp growing process, which makes it an environmentally friendly option.

We Provide the Best Bedding for Horses

At Canapa Oro, we prioritize the comfort and safety of your horse in all of our bedding products. Being equestrians ourselves, we understand how many options are available on the horse market and how difficult it is to find a bedding that works.

Our company provides the best bedding for horses, and we would love to tell you more about it. Call us today at 866-322-5989 to discuss any questions regarding hemp and what horse bedding needs you have.