With so many different types of horse bedding available making the right choice can be difficult, especially if your horse has a particular need or problem.

“From the respiratory point of view, the best bedding is no bedding,” says Colin Roberts, an ILPH-funded equine internal medicine specialist at Cambridge University Veterinary School.

“You can achieve that in a stable by using rubber matting on its own, but you must get the drainage right. In my experience, horses are fine on it – there are no problems with pressure sores and they lie down happily on it.

“If you have to use bedding, literature suggests that the best types are paper and cardboard, but they must be well managed. Any form of deep litter is out.

“Even healthy horses are better off on dust-free management. What you’re really trying to avoidis mould spores, which are the allergens that cause the most problems. The latest research shows that recurrent airway obstruction [RAO], which used to be called COPD and is similar to occupational asthma in people, may develop if there is any length of exposure to mould.”

For advice on bedding for horses with other problems, including laminitis and arthritis, plus the choice of professional yards and a bedding product update, see Horse & Hound (4 January).

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