The horse owners guide to alternative bedding choices

With an ever increasing number of horse bedding options it is vitally important that you decide which product is best for your horse - Have you ever wondered about trying something new? 
We will we take you through some of the many choices and other criteria for choosing the right bedding and have even contacted  some of the UK's bedding manufacturers who will tell you about their bedding and the benefits it can bring to you and your horse.
So if you are thinking about trying something new and want to understand all the factors involved in making your decision this guide will help put your mind at rest.
Everyone's bedding criteria differs
  1.  Is it safe for my horse? - skin respiratory etc
  2.  Is it readily available?
  3.  How absorbent is it?
  4.  Is it composts friendly and easily disposal and good for the environment?
  5.  How easy is it to store?
  6.  Is it easy to handle and pick manure from?
  7.  Not too dusty
  8.  Cost-effective 
Things to think about 
  • Horses' Space - If your horse is confined to its stall it will require more bedding to absorb urine and moisture than horses that are turned out a lot or simply use the stall primarily for feeding and protection from the weather
  •  Storage  - Consider how much space you have - are you limited to land space or do you have a storage room, is your storage protected from the weather, do you have easy access for delivery and the available space to buy in bulk and save money. 
  •  Dust  - Does your horse suffer from heaves or other respiratory issues, or do you suffer from allergies or asthma yourself - if so you might want to consider absorbent bedding with low dust, mold and other foreign objects. Another benefit of using a bedding with a higher absorbency is reduced ammonia levels in the barn which not only smells horrible but can lead too lung problems if too high.
  •  Disposability - Managing your waste can be a headache - so consider all your preferences, how fast and completely will your bedding compost, will you be applying waste straight to the land, if so you will need to know carbon output as carbon will rob your pastures of nitrogen. How easy and expensive is your choice of bedding to take away, check with your local farmer or commercial compositors that they will remove your chosen bedding waste - remember your chosen bedding might be great for you and your horse but not so good if you can't dispose of it regularly..
  •  Availability - Once you decide on a bedding check the availability in your area, is their regular delivery to your region that you can utilize when ordering. Is your chosen bedding available in our nearest country/equine store - Don't be afraid to ask questions most suppliers are pleased to help and advise.
  •  Cost - Remember to research all your options and weigh up the cost against the benefits to you and your horse, for example if bedding is highly absorbent you won't need to use as much. If you control some or all of our horses' allergies, you will spend more time on your horse and he will be a lot happier.  Buying in bulk may save you some money, too.
Find out what some of the UK's bedding suppliers have to say and how they can help
in answering many of your questions.
Aquamax is a premium quality wood crumble bedding that is fast to muck out, economical to use, inhibits the smell of ammonia, can be stored outside and will save you time and money over the winter months. 
AQUA MAX_PRODUCTHow many bags of Aquamax does the average horse use per week?
Most people use just one bag, even less when the bedding is used with rubber matting. Each bag is 13.6kg in size, but as 96% of the moisture is removed during manufacture, this expands to around four times its original volume when wet.
Is it easy to use?
Yes, Aquamax is incredibly easy to use- droppings are removed from the horse's stable each day, and then the bed is tidied, it's as simple as that. Because only droppings are removed, it also means fewer trips to the muck heap, and less clean Aquamax gets thrown away.
If wet patches aren't removed each day, surely the bed will smell?
No, it won't. We always say to people that if you've tried other pellet style products and you've been left unimpressed, try us, as we are completely different, and this is one key area where we really pull away from the group. Aquamax is a wood crumble, which is made from pure pine whitewood. Pine removes the smell of ammonia naturally, so this won't be a problem.
AQUAMAX IN_HANDSYou say your bedding is 'wood crumble'- what's the difference between pellets and crumble?
There's actually quite a difference in the product's performance. Wood crumble is made from cracked pellets. This process increases the bedding's surface area, which improves the rate that it absorbs any moisture, which means the natural agents that remove the smell of ammonia act faster! It's also worth noting that whilst wood pellet is a broad term, much like shavings, there can be (and is) a huge difference in quality. The screening process that removes the dust, the type of wood used, and the way the wood is treated and how the wood used is sourced all contribute to the quality of the product, its overall performance, and how easy it is to use. What is important is the quality of the bedding, not the quantity in the bag-our 13.6kg bags last up to 50% longer than some 15kg bags.
Are there any horses that can't use Aquamax?
Not as far as we know. The wood crumble is virtually dust free as, during manufacture, it goes through a very fine filter to remove virtually all of the dust, before it is made into pellets, before the pellets are cracked. The pine removes the smell of ammonia, which can also be beneficial to those with respiratory problems. The bedding isn't particularly palatable, which is another great benefit, and, on the whole, forms a comfortable 'pad' that doesn't move around and can help to cushion. Farriers love it too, as it absorbs moisture fast, meaning that the horse's hooves aren't subjected to urine, which can cause a lot of problems.
Is Aquamax easy to dispose of? 
Yes, Aquamax is really easy to dispose of. Thanks to the way it's managed, minimal clean bedding makes it onto the muck heap and, any bedding that does, rots down quickly to form compost, which is great for spreading on land…and gardeners love it too!
To order your free sample, just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name and address.
Experience the difference, visit to find your nearest stockist or ring us on 01285 648240 if there is not a stockist near you or you would like to find out more.

bed max_logoBEDMAX
What Are Your Priorities When Choosing a Bedding 
Horse owners in the UK have never had a wider choice of equine bedding than they do today, and with so many options, choosing the best has never been more difficult. Each horse is different and may have different needs, but in all the surveys we have carried out over the last 12 years, over 10,000 owners have consistently told us that these are their top priorities when it comes to choosing bedding for their horses:

bedmax product1. Dust
Horses evolved over millions of years to live in wide-open spaces, so keeping them in a small, enclosed stable creates some significant threats to their health and welfare. The biggest threat comes from airborne dust and spores that can attack the horse's respiratory system, and the biggest single source of dust and spores in the stable is likely to be bedding. 
It is estimated that 20% or more of horses in the UK suffer from some degree of respiratory problems, ranging from mild inflammation and mucus production to chronic, career-ending Recurrent Airways Obstruction disease (RAO - sometimes still referred to as COPD or the 'heaves'). That's why the choice of a dust-free bedding and the proper management of the stable environment are critical for equine professionals and owners. Eliminating dust was our absolute priority when we began making BEDMAX shavings in 2000, and it still is.
2. Supporting hooves
Like its respiratory system, the horse's hooves evolved to cope with very different conditions than those found in most stables today. The best bedding must provide firm, resilient support under the hoof, particularly the frog, and a moisture-controlled environment that will keep the hoof dry, but won't dry it out. Large flake shavings such as BEDMAX provide the right support, they're dried to a controlled moisture level, and they also help drain urine away from the surface to minimise the effect of ammonia, which attacks the molecular structure of the hoof wall.
3. Cushioning hocks and joints
In a modern stable with solid walls and a concrete floor, a good, deep, aerated bedding provides insulation between the horse and the floor, and a protective cushion that will help prevent the kind of common damage such as capped hocks that can so easily occur when a horse is lying down, getting up or rolling in the stable. With its high proportion of larger, 'springier' shavings, BEDMAX provides the ideal combination of protective cushioning and comfort that encourages horses to lie down and rest.
bedmax and_stable
4. Hygiene
Essential stable hygiene is something traditionally dealt with by periodic disinfecting. But bedding can provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that will quickly recontaminate the stable, especially when wet, generating pathogens that can invade and infect the respiratory system, cuts and grazes on the legs, and cracks or splits in the hoof. 
BEDMAX shavings may help to provide a natural solution to this problem. BEDMAX is made predominantly from pine, which has been scientifically proven to kill a wide range of harmful bacteria and fungi, including the widespread Escherichia coli (E.Coli) and Enterococcus faecium.
5. Value for Money
Cost is inevitably a factor in an owner's choice of bedding, but value is a far more important measure of cost effectiveness. A good bedding may be slightly more expensive per bag to purchase, however there are two issues to consider:-
  1. Could prevent disease or loss of use, and cut your vet's and farrier's bills, thereby saving more money than you gain by buying a cheaper option. 
  2. How durable is it and how long will it last in the stable?
  3. Here at BEDMAX we have just completed independent stable trials  comparing the usage over a period of eight weeks of three different types of bedding, namely 'byproduct' shavings, a wood fibre bedding and BEDMAX. Taking the average for all of these trials over the eight week period, the stables used for both set and top up, an average of 3 bags fewer BEDMAX than they did of the other beddings, which of course results in a  considerable saving in a stable over the period of a year.  (Please note that the cost of BEDMAX varied and in some trails it was less expensive than by product and the traditional shavings)
Professionals, competitors and knowledgable owners are becoming increasingly aware that the bedding you choose is as important to the health and performance of your horse as the feed you provide. Many trainers, breeders and liveries now use specially made shavings, for example, and you'll find them in the stables at many leading international events and equine hospitals. For people whose success depends on keeping their horses in top condition, purpose-made shavings are becoming the first choice.
For further information about the recent BEDMAX value trial please visit -

Elite Dream Bedding Focuses On Health, Quality And Affordability
It may be one of the newest equine bedding brands to hit the market but Elite Dream Bedding was created to be the ideal product in terms of superior quality and cost-effective bedding.
The bright pink brand has become well-known over the last 12 months with everyone from small stables to Katie Price now hooked on the product. And it's this connection with the end-user that really forms the ethos behind the brand.
We wanted to create a product that could be accessedby customers, as well as retailers, directly from the manufacturer, explains product development director Dave Simpson.Our production and distribution channels allow us to deliver direct to your yard and our customers are really warming to that extra service.
Elite Dream is not just about the service.

Dust Free - The company's state-of-art manufacturing plant uses only virgin wood flake, which undergoes a double dust extraction process. This extra measure ensures Elite Dream is dust-free and its unique baling process means they squeeze around 20% more shavings into a bale.
elite 2Quality ensures a healthier environment for your horse - The dust extracted flakes mean less inhalation pollution for both you and your horse and they decrease the chance of respiratory problems. The use of virgin wood flake also eliminates skin irritation and ensures no external chemicals or contaminants are mixed in with the wood-flake.
Hygienic - The large super absorbent flakes are preferred by leading stables as they make for a more hygienic environment for your horse and the insulation properties of the bedding helps to protect from cold and dampness.
Cost effective - As well as providing horse owners with the best possible product, we've also focused on being cost-effective, affordable and environmentally sustainable, added Simpson.Our bales contain more shavings than other leading brands and each bale covers around four square metres‚ so a little really does go a long way and helps to save owners money.
Easy to store -The super-compressed bales mean it's easy to store and our in-house distribution network is one of the most efficient in the UK with orders delivered direct to your door within five days. Our delivery vehicles have the lowest carbon emissions in the industry and the Elite Dream factory has FSC approved environmental credentials.
Bio-degradable - Elite Dream Bedding also has the advantage of being fully bio-degradable and can break down into compost - which makes it 100% organic, environmentally friendly and reduces stable waste. It's this list of benefits that has seen the new bedding being adopted by many top riders.
What do the riders say - I chose Elite Dream Bedding initially from a recommendation of other friends and clients in the area, explains top UK dressage rider Daniel Sherriff. I found the quality to be superior to other brands on the market and the order and delivery system is quick and simple - exactly what we need. But the biggest advantage is the very low dust content and large absorbent flakes which keep my horses dry and clean and provides good foot health for those inclined to be trushy."
These benefits are reinforced by Emma Tarpey from Equihab. "I've made Elite Dream Bedding my choice because of the quality of the bedding and ease of delivery. Unlike some others, the bedding is a reliable quality, is really dust free and goes further than most other brands. For our horses who are often on box rest, the bedding seems to hold up to being trampled much better than other brands."
Looking ahead - But the successful company is not resting on its laurels. They're developing a new pellet bedding product which is again made from virgin wood. 
‚Pellets offer increased absorbency so our new product will work really well for many owners, said Simpson.However, our recommendation to owners will be to use our pellets as a base and then have a layer of wood flake bedding on top. This combination will offer the best of both worlds - increased absorbency alongside the comfort and practical advantages of wood shavings.
More information on Elite Dream Bedding can be found on their website at where the company offers a full online order system.
  • Bliss Bedding is premium quality, finely chopped and dust extracted rape straw and is treated with a bittering agent and TRUSTeedstableguard disinfectant for a healthy stable environment.

Bliss product

  • Bliss Bedding provides your horse with the warmth and comfort of a traditional straw bed but with easy handling and maintenance and with little waste, saving you both time and money. 
  • We recommend using up to six bales to lay a bed in a 12ft x12ft stable and to add one bale per week for maintenance. 
  • Bliss is available in three varieties aimed at making your horse as comfortable as possible regardless of common ailments or allergies. 
  • Bliss Eucalyptus is suitable for horses with respiratory ailments as eucalyptus oil is a mild decongestant and antiseptic. The citronella oils in Bliss Citronella help to deter flying insects and so can assist in keeping your horse relaxed in the stable during summer months. 

bliss and_horse

  • Bliss Basic is the same premium quality bedding without added essential oils.
  • Bliss bedding biodegrades on the muckheap within approximately six months.
For more information please visit or contact us by email E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone T: 01335 310202

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