We spent a lot of time looking for a suitable new bed for Katrina who’s quite a stressy dirty mare in her stable. Having moved to a new yard with smaller stables straw simply wasn’t working. Apparently, Katrina was secretly having girl’s nights in with all her neighbours (get it?) invited round for a bit of a session and some knitting. I’m not even joking, her bed was no laughing matter, so I was delighted to come across Bed Down on twitter, I'd seen their products at BETA last year and been impressed. I felt that if anyone could put their bedding through it’s paces it would be Katrina.
We had quite a long chat and went through what they had available and what they thought would suit her. They do lovely lavender scented traditional shaving which sound gorgeous but unfortunately my mum has allergies so we had to avoid that. Eventually we decided on putting a base of Rapasorb down to absorb the wet as much as possible with a topping of their Excel bedding to actually make the bed. I waited excitedly for it to arrive, and when it did I was delighted to see that not only did I have the standard bales of Rapasorb and Excel, Kat had been sent some of the new Bed Down Handy Bales too.
First the Rapasorb. Rapasorb is a special dust extracted rape straw. It’s supposed to be really absorbent and ideal for a wet messy horse’s base. I took some of the Rapasorb to Katrina’s stable to start the base. The Rapasorb is really tightly packed, I mean really tightly, it took quite a while to get it out and separated properly and the feel is quite coarse or woody initially which worried me a little. I have to say being so tightly packed it went a long long way, there was not a speck of dust anywhere!
Next the Excel bedding. Even before we unwrapped the pallet, we could smell to most wonderful scent of fresh lemons, even across the yard. Once open, the smell was quite strong but not at all unpleasant or over powering I thought it smelled really nice and even mum who has allergies said she liked it too. This was not quite so tightly packed as the Rapasorb, but there was still a huge amount of bedding in each bale. Excel was again dust extracted but this time it was gorgeous soft chopped straw mixed with soft wood shavings. I used 2 bales of the Excel on top of the 4 bales of Rapasorb to set the bed in a stable that measures 12 by 12 feet internally (I checked). This was more than enough to give a super deep and comfy bed, if I wanted banks I could have made it thinner or used another couple of bales, but we just don’t do them. By then I also had Tango my little TB so I decided to trial him on just the excel and I used 5 bales for him as there was rubber matting under his bed.
Overall really pleased, I was doubting the texture of the Rapasorb a little but it did seem to lay flat, there was definitely a huge amount in each bale of both types and the smell was heavenly.
Using the beds.
For the next two weeks I literally skipped out both horses as normal and took out the wet every weekend. With Tango, who is reasonably normal in the stable I found that his bed still looked really good even though I didn’t top it up at all to start with. The Excel works well with a normal metal shavings fork, it seems to settle and stay in place and other than the wet patches I really didn’t take out much at all. Over time with Tango I found that he needed topping up just once a week with the Excel and it really suited him.
For Katrina at the end of 2 weeks she did need a top up. Overall the bed had held up well really well, the wet patches were easy to take out and as I had made it deep, when she stressed and walked round she hadn’t dragged the wet bedding through the clean. I did take a lot more out of hers than Tango’s, but I honestly think no matter what was in there I would have had to because she walks her poos in. No bedding will stop that. Again, it was easy to remove and I found that for Katrina as she was so much messier I was topping up at least one Excel a week and one handy bale of Rapasorb and adding a handy bale of one or the other during the week. Having worried about the woody feel of the Rapasorb to start with I found that in reality it was soft enough for my Princess and it absorbed really well.
A couple of things I wanted to say because they are quite important. The Bed Down dust extraction method really works. I’ve never experienced putting down beds and there to be virtually no dust at all. This is brilliant if you or your horse has allergies and definitely something to look into.
The handy bales, definitely easier to handle and move about and are just the right size for an extra top up when needed. I found them really useful.
The other thing is disposal. We can’t normally dispose of wood shavings at our yard but the composition of the Excel bedding meant that it was going to rot down enough to be used as compost in 4 to 8 months so it was actually easy to get rid of. That’s something a lot of people need to think about.
Bed Down Bedding met all of my expectations, they make a super quality bedding that allows you to treat your horse like royalty. I don’t know about you but I love knowing they are snug and dry in a lovely fresh bed. I doubt there’s anything better out there for my messy Katrina, the Rapasorb on the bottom really changed how bad her beds got for the better and I’d say if you have a stress head that walks their bed in, this is something well worth trying (and it smells great too yay!). I loved the Excel too it made a great comfy bed, the bales have so much bedding in them you won’t actually believe how far it goes. Great products great bedding and some very snug and happy horses!
You can check out the Bed Down Bedding range here on their website - here.