How To Clean A Horse Stable/Stall Efficiently (Great Tips To Clean Quickly)


If you have horses you know it can be time consuming depending on how you take care of them. Us we have our horses in during bad weather which includes when it is too hot or too cold. We know horses can survive most all elements especially once they have adapted we have just always done it this way.

So for use it is usually horses in at night during winter and in for longer periods of time the colder it gets and of course the less daylight hours. Summer time our horses are in when it gets too warm or too buggy and can’t keep up with the flies. We hay multiple times a day when needed (have lots of pasture for spring and summer months) and grain at least one time a day. So stalls are cleaned at least once a day. Spring months we can get away with leaving them out 24 hours a day some days.

So how can you quickly clean a horse stall or stable? 

Cleaning a horse stall can get pretty easy and done much more quickly once you have refined your routine. This is something you will have to figure out by trial and error. However to get your stalls cleaned efficiently make sure you have the right tools for the job and with doing things more quickly bigger can be better. 

  • Dual Wheel Wheelbarrow – twice the size of regular 
  • Broad Shovel 
  • Shaving Pitchfork to pick and move shavings/hay around
  • Wide faced barn broom 
  • Lyme (use as needed)

These are just the basics and you can add or take away from this as needed. The bigger the wheel barrow the better for the most part. For us we got our first boarder in who is a friend of ours and she gave use her dual wheel barrow. We can now literally fit double the manure in the wheel barrow the only downside of course is that it is twice as heavy for dumping.

Below we discuss more tips and tricks to speed up your cleaning going through our different routines. We have 6 horses currently of which 3 are boarders (2 mares and 1 gelding). Then we have 2 geldings of our own and one stud miniature horse that will be a gelding soon. Also we will be talking to REAL HORSE OWNERS on cleaning stalls and getting their opinions.

Full List Of Equipment/Supplies To Clean Stalls

  • Manure Rake – the bigger the better on these is our preference. Get the ones with a side wall so you can put more in as well. We sawed off one of our smaller ones to use in the horse trailer and also our 3 year old daughter loves using.
  • Broad Barn Shovel – you can find these usually right at a Lowes or Tractor Supply depending on where you are or even on Amazon if you can find one at your local hardware store.
  • Pitchfork – regular pitchforks go along way if you are having to move a ton of lose hay or if you use hay for your bedding with manure in it.
  • Dual Wheel – Wheel Barrow – we used to use a single wheel forever and when we got our hands on the dual wheel we never looked back. Twice the amount of space to fill with manure goes a long way. The downside of course is having to move it. Luckily my husband does a lot of the horse chores.
  • Sawdust or Shavings – we always use Fine Pine Shaving for the most part. It seems to soak up more of the urine and easier to pick out so you go through less shavings overall.
  • Barn Lime – you can get any kind of cheap vegetable lime there is also specific cleaners like Horse Stall Refresher you can find right on Amazon Here. This is something you can use either weekly or month or even just quarterly depending on how much your horses are in and how much seeps through your horse mats. Summer time is usually the worst if they are in a lot because of the heat then with winter time our horses are in more so it can get bad as well.
  • Wide Barn Broom – use this to sweep up the alley way much quicker then a regular broom. Can find these at most hardware shops or they have them on Amazon as well for a decent price.
  • Water Hose or Buckets – depending on how you fill your buckets. Some people clean them out every other day or every day depends on how mess your horses are. Some horses drop every bit of grain in their water buckets with hay to go along with it so they need to be cleaned everyday. Others are very clean about it so you may just have to fill back up with 5 gallon bucket. We take and clean out at least every other day by simply rinsing and filling at water station.

How Long and How To Clean Horse Stalls Right From Other Horse Owners

We don’t want you to only take tips from us so we have gone out and tracked down horse owners recommendations to other horse owners on how to get stalls cleaned the right way and quickly if possible.

We curated this information only correcting grammar/spelling where needed other then that the answers remain the same.

Real Horse Owners Advice On Cleaning Stables/Stalls

 1. TrickRoperDeluxe “5-6 minutes a stall” –

How many stalls do you/have you cleaned at one time?
I have worked 40+ stall barns. So on average it would be 15-25 stalls at a time.

How long does it take you?
Shouldn’t take more than 5-6 minutes a stall.
What kind of bedding?
Straw , pellets and shavings. Straw takes the longest but if you hustle its not so bad.
How much bedding? How often did you replace/add to it?
Too many variables. As needed depending on the stall/horses needs.

Do you use wheelbarrows, muck tubs or something else?
Wheelbarrows or manure spreaders.

Do you clean stalls with horses in them or not?
I’ve done it both ways. Prefer horse out.

What do you think would cut down on the time/labor of stall cleaning? Ie, one of the barns I worked at, I wish we could have moved the manure spreader closer to reduce the trips to/from the spread.
Less talk more work. That’s always been what slowed me down.

2. MiAmor “3 inches of bedding” –

How many stalls do you/have you cleaned at one time?
26 Stall barn

How long does it take you?
It depended on the horse really, most stalls only took 5 minutes or so but a couple almost always had to be stripped and that took a big longer. I remember one stall I almost always stripped then had to move the mats so I could dump lime and shavings under them because of how much pee had pooled and soaked in.
What kind of bedding?
Standard shavings

How much bedding? How often did you replace/add to it?
Usually 3 inches worth of bedding, most stalls didn’t need much to replenish what they needed.

Do you use wheelbarrows, muck tubs or something else?
I used muck tubs and drug from the stalls to the spreader, or if the spreader broke then the wheel barrow to the pile.

Do you clean stalls with horses in them or not?
With them in unless they had issues then they went to the round pen, assuming they were not turned out. The Stud’s stall I cleaned he had an attached run, I would go in, point at his run door and out he would go, no point in verbal commands he was deaf.

What do you think would cut down on the time/labor of stall cleaning? Ie,
one of the barns I worked at, I wish we could have moved the manure
spreader closer to reduce the trips to/from the spread.
I’m not sure, a better spreader for sure, the one I used broke down a lot with the chain popping off.

I feel like it takes me forever to clean stalls and I figured I’d see what other people think.

3. Enigma “10 minutes per stall” –

How many stalls do you/have you cleaned at one time?
I worked in a 50 stall barn (not usually full), cleaned 15+/- per day

How long does it take you?
I’d say average was about 10 mintues per stall (horses were stalled with very limited turnout)
What kind of bedding?
Shavings, loose, not bagged

How much bedding? How often did you replace/add to it?
As needed, average was 1/2 wheel barrow every other day (BM was a shavings nazi, which is why I am now too, haha!)

Do you use wheelbarrows, muck tubs or something else?

Wheel barrows, with the old metal forks (this was before the plastic ones were popular)

Do you clean stalls with horses in them or not?
Some in, some out, depended on the turn out schedule. The ones who would pester me would be moved to anohter stall if they couldn’t be turned out.

What do you think would cut down on the time/labor of stall cleaning? Ie, one of the barns I worked at, I wish we could have moved the manure spreader closer to reduce the trips to/from the spread.
Not keeping horses in the stalls 24/7!

Driving spreader through barn vs. single trips to poo pile with wheel barrow. I do know a barn that used to turn all the horses out for the morning and drive a tractor/spreader through the isle, saved tons of time!

Mats for piggy horses and limited shavings. Only one if mine is a pig but she’s in a straight stall, rest have limited shavings on mats. (They are only in during nasty winter or cold/wet weather.) I don’t think it’s necessary for them to have shavings up to their knees unless there is a medical issue.

I feel like it takes me forever to clean stalls and I figured I’d see what other people think.

4. HenWife “6 inches of bedding” –  

How many stalls do you/have you cleaned at one time?
One at a time, after a mare had foaled and had been turned out.

How long does it take you?
About an hour. It was a 12×12 stall.
What kind of bedding?
Shavings over sand over hard-packed dirt with lime.

How much bedding? How often did you replace/add to it?
About 6 inches worth of bedding as I remember. It was only used for foaling out, so I didn’t have to rebed it. The owner poured bleach all over the cleaned floor and let it sit.

Do you use wheelbarrows, muck tubs or something else?
I parked my pickup in the center aisle just outside the stall door and heaved into a wheelbarrow and from there into the truck (those sides were high). One stall would fill the full-sized bed to heaping high.

Do you clean stalls with horses in them or not?
Out.

What do you think would cut down on the time/labor of stall cleaning? Ie,
one of the barns I worked at, I wish we could have moved the manure
spreader closer to reduce the trips to/from the spread.
I would have needed better tools if I did this regularly. Being able to drive the truck next to the stall was a real time and work saver.I probably could have worked a little faster if the owner wasn’t telling me stories the whole time I was working; it felt rude to not look at him, but at least he shared his sodas in the frig.[In my dreams, I covet this barn. 6 stalls, locked grain and tack rooms, breeding dummy space, and a very nice little apartment with TV monitors you can see from the bed. It was cinder block the first three-four feet and then wood with a 13′ high ceiling. Sky lights, fans, big doors at each end. Lovely!]

5. Dutchy “10 minutes a stall” –

How many stalls do you/have you cleaned at one time?
Largest barn was 40+, all stalls were cleaned daily, 2 people cleaning them.

How long does it take you?
If taking only the manure and pee out about 10 minutes per stall, taking everything out (1-2 times a week depending on the horse) about 5 minutes.
What kind of bedding?
Straw.

How much bedding? How often did you replace/add to it?
About knee deep. Stall mats are very uncommon here, it’s nearly alwats bedding directly on concrete. Add every day, replace completely 1-2 times a week.

Do you use wheelbarrows, muck tubs or something else?
Something else, a cut in half open rubble container with wheels underneath so we could push it through the narrower barn aisles. For the wider aisles and outside stalls we used the forklift to move it. We also used the fork lift the dump it on the pile.

Do you clean stalls with horses in them or not?
Out.

What do you think would cut down on the time/labor of stall cleaning? Ie, one of the barns I worked at, I wish we could have moved the manure spreader closer to reduce the trips to/from the spread.
Not much that could be done there to cut down on time. Leaving the horses in the stall would have been faster, but as pitchforks with sharp points are nearly always used here that’s pretty dangerous. I’ve seen some nasty pitchfork accidents…

I feel like it takes me forever to clean stalls and I figured I’d see what other people think.

6. QHSlidin “5-6 Minutes A Stall” –

How many stalls do you/have you cleaned at one time?

The most I have cleaned at one time is 22 (3 different barns, 22 stalls each).

How long does it take you?

depended on the day. At the barn I was at the longest, it usually was split between two people but then things changed and I was cleaning alone. I also generally took a break in between cleaning to do other things like move horses around in the turnouts. So with that considered, I’d say it took about 4 hours total. At the reining barn (second one) I always had help so it never took long, maybe 2 hours total to clean 22 stalls and rebed the ones that needed it.

What kind of bedding?

sawdust for all 3 barns.

How much bedding? How often did you replace/add to it?

just estimating, probably 4-6 inches when freshly bedded. If a horse had a particularly messy stall that we knew would need nearly stripped everyday, we’d pile some extra in a corner so we (hopefully) didn’t have to get more the next day (ie only having to get it from the actual sawdust pile every other day vs. every day). For most horses, they only needed more added every other day unless it was an out of the ordinary day where they might not have gotten out or something. That goes for all 3 barns.

Do you use wheelbarrows, muck tubs or something else?

At the first barn, wheelbarrows. If the stalls weren’t horrible I could usually fit two stalls to a load before I had to go dump it. At the reining barn they had a tractor with a big manure spreader that we drove down the aisle and tossed the dirty stuff in from the stalls, just moved it as we went. Much quicker, but also always had help there so it was quicker anyway. At the most current barn I wasn’t really working there so I only cleaned stalls there maybe 10 times if needed to help pay toward training. We used wheelbarrows there also but they were the larger kind so we didn’t have to dump them as often.

Do you clean stalls with horses in them or not?

mostly yes. Every horse at the first barn could be cleaned with the horse in, and that’s how I usually did it. I might move one over if they’re particularly messy and it’s just easier to get them out for the elbow room. At the reining barn, yes as well. At the most current barn, some got moved (I didn’t know the horses there as well so if it was a young one or a flightier one then I’d move them). Better than getting stuck in a stall with a panicking horse.

What do you think would cut down on the time/labor of stall cleaning? Ie, one of the barns I worked at, I wish we could have moved the manure spreader closer to reduce the trips to/from the spread.

at the first barn, having better floors in the stalls would have helped. The floors were packed screenings, and most had mats but not enough to completely cover the floor, so pee and dirty sawdust would get underneath and make the corners flip up. So nearly every day, at least part of the time was spent having to try to scrape out the packed dirty stuff out from under the mats, mostly so they’d lay down again, but also obviously to get the dirty stuff out. PITA. Second barn, nothing really. It was pretty efficient in that department. Third barn, also nothing really. The setup was nice so everything was pretty close to the barn itself, so there wasn’t a lot of time wasted walking back and forth to the manure pile or sawdust pile.

7. EducationWithEquines “3-5 minutes a stall” –

How many stalls do you/have you cleaned at one time?

I currently clean two stalls BUT the boys are only in on an occasional overnight when the weather is nasty (freezing rain, double digits below zero, etc) and for as long as it takes for them to eat their grain every morning/evening. I’ve cleaned as many as 10 stalls and as little as 1.

How long does it take you?

It usually doesn’t take more than a few minutes per stall but that really depends on how messy the horse is. One of the stalls I cleaned had a horse that only used one corner as a bathroom so it took nearly no time at all to clean. On the other hand…I’ve had horses make a total disaster of their stalls…so it takes quite a bit longer. Right now if the boys are in for the night it probably takes 5-15 minutes to clean each of the boys’ stalls depending on how big of a mess they make. I’m really fussy about making sure they’re clean so if they made a huge mess I make sure the stall looks as nice as it did before they were left in. Occasionally they decide to use the stall as a bathroom after eating their grain but that only takes a minute or two to clean.

What kind of bedding?

We use shavings although have used straw.

How much bedding? How often did you replace/add to it?

We give the boys 3-4 bags of shavings per stall although we probably don’t need to use that many as they have thick rubber mats underneath the bedding. We replace the bedding as needed. Being they’re not in every night it could take several months before the bedding needs to be replaced.

Do you use wheelbarrows, muck tubs or something else?

I use a wheelbarrow.

Do you clean stalls with horses in them or not?

I don’t usually clean stalls with other people’s horses in them. I do however when the boys are in. It’s taught them to tolerate things moving around them.

What do you think would cut down on the time/labor of stall cleaning? Ie, one of the barns I worked at, I wish we could have moved the manure spreader closer to reduce the trips to/from the spread.

Other than making sure the boys have enough hay to keep them occupied overnight so as not to make a mess of their stalls there isn’t much that could make things faster/easier where we’re boarding.

 

Thoughts

Okay we can keep going this is great information of course if you want to see more details and more responses to the poll then go to Free Speech Horse Forum. You definitely want to have your horses out if you can to speed up the process. Having your horse in can create havok you have to be more careful at all times and it will slow you down. Especially with studs make sure you can tie them out somewhere else or move to another stall if possible.

Shavings is a must over straw if you ask most horse owners. You can pick it when you want to and move it around with easy. Cleaning up urine spots can be easy and you can always drop some lime on the soiled area and cover right back up with some shavings.

A lot of great tips to speed things up. If you are using a spreader try to get it lined up closest to the side of the stalls you are working on and just pull it up the line as you go to speed up the process. If using a wheel barrow try to bring it as close as you can as well. If you have to keep outside of stall do so but scrape where need to the wheel barrow.

Your main goal should be to get it down to at least 5-10 minutes a stall if possible. We do different routines depending on who is doing the horse stalls and we will give you both those so you can choose at the end of this article.

Cleaning With Horse In Stall

If you know the horse that is great and you know what you have to do whether you have to tie up or not. If it is a stud I wouldn’t take any chances at least move them to another stall or tie out. We have had some great studs over the years but if a mare is in heat and they catch a whiff of that (tip use vicks under nostrils when mare in heat) they can go nuts at any moment and you don’t want to be in their way with your back turned when you do.

If you can kick all the horses out into a turnout just while cleaning that great then if there is a stud you can move when they are out. If you can only kick a few horses out at a time may be a great option as well. If you have to leave the horses in that is fine too just take your time a little more to be on the safe side put the wheel barrow to block the gate area after you walk into the stall.

How Do You Keep A Horse Stall Clean?

You keep a horse stall clean by keeping your horse out as much as possible this is just a simple fact. The more they are in and fed in they more they will soil and dirty up the stall. I would try to focus on cleaning stalls at least once a day to keep the load lighter and then it will keep it cleaner since the soiled areas aren’t sitting over 24 hours. Use lime or Refresher when needed mostly once a week at most places is how much it is needed.

How Long Should It Take To Clean A Horse Stall?

Cleaning horse stalls can vary quite a bit based on how long they are in and different scenarios. Overall you want to be able to clean each stall in 5-10 minutes because if you are cleaning like 10-20 stalls at a time by yourself you are going to get burnt out easily. Try to work on efficiency and getting it done in a timely manner without wasting energy.

How Do You Get The Smell Of Urine Out Of A Horse Stall?

You get the smell of urine out of a horse stall by cleaning out completely with a shovel. Then going through and pulling mats out if there to clean them off with hose and lime everything down. There is also a good powder called Refresher you can get on Amazon even that works great. But something like cheap garden lime works just as good just make sure you don’t have any lime exposed when the horses go back into stall at least cover with shavings.

How Do You Clean Stall Walls?

Yes clean stall walls as well if they have urine on them soap and water go a long way. Your horses will lick and put their mouths and chew on all areas of the stall. We have gone as far as to put oil in stalls to keep horses from chewing on them if needed. Get them a ball toy and salt lick to keep their mouths busy.

Horse Stall Cleaning Tractor

We have used tractors to clean stalls in the past if their wasn’t a manure spreader and you are cleaning 20+ stalls it is okay to use the bucket of a tractor then you can run the manure further away from the barn to pile or spread. Just pull up as closes as you can maybe between a couple or 4 stalls to keep your time efficient. Keep the bucket at about waste high to make it easier to fork or shovel into. Dump when full and come back for the next load.

How Often To Muck Out A Stable or Stall?

You should muck out stables or stalls once daily at least. This way the soiled areas aren’t sitting longer then 24 hours as mold and certain bacteria’s can start to grow after 24 hours. Get a routine down so when it is time to kick the horses out your stalls are getting cleaned quickly.

How Long Does It Take To Clean A Horse Stall?

It can take a very long time to clean a horse stall up to an hour if you are using knee deep bedding. If you are keeping the bedding a few inches which is all you really need for a healthy horse then you can get it down to as little as 3-5 minutes per stall. This will also depend greatly on how much the horse is in the stall.

Final Thoughts

Okay so we have gone over a ton of ways on how to clean stalls, what tools to use, and what bedding to use so now we are going to finish up with how we clean stalls.

Summer Months: Horses are in from about 11am to 7 or 8pm depending on how hot or buggy it is. When we kick out at 7pm the cleaning immediately starts. There are two ways we clean stalls either by completing a stall: remove manure/urine, re-bed, re-water, hay, etc. each stall or we just remove manure/urine from all stalls then go back through to re-bed all stalls, then re-water all stalls, then hay all stalls. So that preference is up to you.

When removing the soiled areas we shovel up the urine spots and bad manure spots into the wheel barrow. Then we pick the rest of the areas of the small nuggets. On average I would say we can get 4-6 stalls into one dual wheel wheel barrow load. This is great because with only 6 horses we can clean it all up with one wheel barrow trip to the big manure pile to compost.

Then we throw shavings down in each stall. We use fine pine shavings from a local tack shop. It is bagged loser then the commercial brand ones so it is easy to toss out. Watering depends on who is doing it my husband just brings the buckets out empties them and will fill them directly at the watering station. I however will go around with an empty bucket to empty and with a 50 foot flex hose that you can find on Amazon for pretty cheap to wash out and fill all at once. Whatever works best for your situation.

Then finally we hay each stall with how much is needed. If for the night it is usually around 3 slabs each. That is it though so work on your routine and refine it. Bigger is usually better as you need to make less trips with the wheel barrow, less shovels with a bigger shovel, and less picks with a bigger pick. Hope this article has helped. Email us with any questions or tips of your own we can put on our website.

Danielle

Hello welcome to our blog. We are avid horse riders and horse lovers that are looking to provide free information to those looking to get into horses or horseback riding.

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