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Equine Fresh Shortage Reported

Equine Fresh Shortage Reported

Bags of Equine Fresh horse bedding

If you use wood pellets for horse bedding, you may have heard of the brand Equine Fresh. There are many brands of wood pellets out there and I suspect there will be many more since wood pellets are quickly becoming the preferred bedding for horse owners around the U.S. But the reason I’m writing this note about Equine Fresh is that it’s the brand carried by Tractor Supply stores. Until recently Tractor Supply also carried Woody Pet, perhaps the most well-known wood pellet bedding brand. But we have it on good authority that Tractor Supply decided to stop carrying Woody Pet in favor of the less expensive and larger-portioned Equine Fresh bags. As I recall, Woody Pet was in the neighborhood of $7 a bag for 35 lbs. while Equine Fresh is around $6 a bag for 40 lbs. We’ve tried both and haven’t noticed any difference in the two, so we’ve been buying Equine Fresh exclusively…until today. It seems all of our local east Tennessee Tractor Supply stores are completely out of Equine Fresh and, of course, Woody Pet. Turns out the Equine Fresh people lost their sawdust supplier and are frantically looking for another one. In the meantime, their inventory is almost depleted, which means no more shipments to Tractor Supply (or anyone else, for that matter). Of course, Tractor Supply sort of burned the bridge with Woody Pet, so they simply don’t have any wood pellets in stock at all now. Rumor has it there is a small shipment of Equine Fresh coming into one of our local Tractor Supply stores (and I’m not telling which!) that is expected to be sold out practically before the pallets hit the pavement. Drama in the wood-pellet industry! Who knew it could be this exciting?

So why all the fuss over wood pellets? Well, I’m not sure I’d go stand in line for some, but I will say we’re converts. Without rehashing all the benefits, allow me to refer you to our post about using wood pellets for horse bedding from last year, entitled “Serta or Tempurpedic?“, referring to the relative luxury of the soft pellets versus some of the alternative bedding choices. You can see pictures of the wood pellets in detail in that post.

We managed to find an alternative supply of wood pellets locally at Co-op but they were more expensive. We paid around $6 per 35 lb. bag. Hopefully Equine Fresh gets their raw material supply problem worked out soon. The source of information for this article sounded ominous, though: “If they don’t find a supplier soon, they’ll probably go out of business.” He did assure us, however, that if Equine Fresh goes under, they’ll find another company to fill the need. I’m rooting for Equine Fresh, though, they have a good deal going.

So if you use Equine Fresh and your local Tractor Supply or other farm supply store still has some, you might consider heading down there asap to buy all you can. We’re seriously thinking of stocking up on wood pellets by buying a pallet or two next time. We could probably get a price break, too.

One more thing…Equine Fresh is made in Canada. So is Woody Pet. And all the other wood pellet horse bedding manufacturers we’ve ever seen in these parts. I wonder why wood pellets only seem to come from Canada. Do any of you know? Just curious.

Serta or Tempurpedic?

Serta or Tempurpedic?

Handful of pellets

At some point – preferably before you get your horse, but at least soon after – you will have to decide what kind of bedding you want to use for your horse. Of course your horse’s comfort is an important consideration, but since, unlike your dog’s bed, this bedding won’t just be slept on – that’s right, horses are not “housebroken” – there are other considerations too, such as absorbency and siftability (is that a real word, or did I just make one up?).  When you greet your beautiful, elegant equine companion in the morning, you will see that he made a small project for you to work on that day. More likely, two or three projects. He probably even has some stuck to his face. Sweet.

There are several options for horse bedding, beginning with the base – the stall floor. Our barn floor is just plain old dirt, but some barns have permanent flooring. You can also put in rubber floors – we are looking into that. They are easier to keep clean than dirt, and more comfortable for your horse than dirt or cement.

On top of whatever kind of floor you have, you need the multi-purpose bedding. This should provide comfort for your horse and absorb whatever he may leave in there for you to muck out. There are basically three choices: straw, wood shavings, and wood pellets.

Straw is the classic barn bedding. Upsides: It’s cheap and easy. I think it’s pretty comfortable too – we used it at first, and Valentine never complained. Downsides: it’s not very absorbent, and it’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak…when you go for the poo, you get a lot of straw too.

We haven’t used wood shavings for Valentine, but we do use them for our goat, Joey. They work great for Joey, because he hardly ever uses his little house as an outhouse, so one pack of shavings lasts forever. Upsides: They smell great, and cedar shavings, at least, naturally repel fleas. Downsides: We didn’t try these because we decided they wouldn’t be cost-effective. You’d have to buy a lot to fill a stall, and replace the soiled bedding with new shavings at a pretty good clip.

We finally settled on wood pellets. There are several brands out there. When we were researching this topic, the brand we found was Woody Pet. They don’t sell this brand anywhere nearby, but we checked at our local feed stores and co-ops and found a similar product sold under different names, such as Equine Pine and Eagle Valley ABM Advanced Bedding Management. We also asked other horse owners and the people at the feed stores and co-ops, and the consensus seems to be that this stuff is the best thing since sliced bread. So we shoveled out all the straw and put in six bags of wood pellets…

Pouring bedding pellets
We emptied six bags of Equine Pine into the 12×12 horse stall.

…watered them down to fluff them up per instructions…

Fluffy bedding
After watering the pellets turned to almost a sawdust consistency.

…and presto! Soft, fluffy, absorbent and sweet-smelling bedding! Which equals a sweeter-smelling horse. If you love on your horse like I do, you’ll appreciate that.

Equally importantly, the stall cleans up faster and easier than ever before. The sawdust – which is what you end up with after you wet the pellets down – sifts right through the fork and all you’re shoveling out is poo. The urine soaks into the sawdust until the sawdust has reached maximum absorbing capacity, then it clumps together and you can shovel it right out. My big sweetie always pees in exactly the same place, so I just shovel that spot out every couple of days and add more.