Horse Bedding

Rocky Hullette

We love getting to know farmers and “horse people” of all types. We recently met Joey McKay and heard about his family farm in the small town of Pass Christian, Mississippi. Here, he shares tips on starting a farm, learning to ride and introducing your kids to the beautiful world of horses.

My son 1st time on a horse

Tell me about your farm.

My family and I live with my father and grandfather on the same property that my grandfather purchased over 60 years ago. I’ve lived on this property my whole life. It’s now 43 acres and we have six Quarter horses and three mules.

How did your farm get started?

My granddad developed a polo habit so that’s what led him to buy horses. He needed property, so he moved 15 miles outside of town. Leaving town to run a farm was a strange move to make in the 1950s!

My 79 year old GrandFather with my 1 year old son

Did your granddad’s interest in polo impact you?

Yes, definitely. I’ve been riding horses since before I can remember. I started playing polo when I was 13 and right after high school, I was hired to play polo professionally and train horses. I played professionally for 5 years. My granddad played longer – 58 years! He’s 79 now and still rides horses.

Do you have any tips for someone starting a horse farm?

First, take the time to think about what you really want and be honest with yourself about how often you want to ride. Your ability to get along with your horse is significantly impacted by the suitability of your match. If you’re mismatched, you may end up with a very athletic horse that may not be the most obedient. Remember that advanced riders make it look easy.

Trail Riding Mule

What about riding tips?

Be light. People drive a horse with the reins, which are touching a very sensitive part of the horse’s mouth. It doesn’t take much muscle to get a horse to understand you.

I also recommend riding often and spending a lot of time with your horse. Even grooming helps you learn about each other. The more time you spend together, the better the experience will be for both of you.

You have a 2-year-old son. What are your tips for introducing kids to horses?

For young kids, the best thing you can do is to have them around you while you work with the horses. Of course, use some caution so they don’t put themselves in danger, but just have your kids out there. I have an old horse that was my granddad’s for about 30 years. I know her very well and can ride her with my son. If you want your kids to ride, you need to be on a horse you trust.

My son at 1 year old feeding a mule

Another great option for kids is mules. We purchased our mules to pull a wagon and riding together is a fun family activity. My wife, son, and myself all ride together and we love it.

Family Wagon Ride

Thanks for speaking with us, Joey. We look forward to seeing what the next generation of McKay’s does with horses!

Rocky Hullette

farmer_mary

Since 1995, Mary Rigdon has been producing award-winning farmstead artisanal cheeses from Saanen goats on her land outside Atlanta, Georgia. Lovingly known as Farmer Mary, she started researching dairy goats and practicing making cheese with books from the library after a trip to England where she ate delicious cheese, milk and yogurt. Soon, she was making cheese for her family and buying land. What started as a 12.5-acre farm is now 40 acres and a thriving business that services some of the best markets and restaurants in the Atlanta area.

Farmer Mary took time out of her day with the goats to answer a few questions about her experience.

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What’s special about your goats?

They are a world-renowned Swiss breed called Saanen, known for their milk production and sweet disposition. The woman I purchased my first goats from was an excellent farmer. She had a healthy, accredited herd with great qualities. Recently, some folks from Saanen Valley in Switzerland came to Georgia and heard about our goats. They came for a tour and even wrote a feature about them to be distributed in their hometown!

baby_goats

Pictured: Three new kids resting on Nature’s bedding, getting ready for a nap.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?

The same things I found rewarding years ago are what I find fulfilling now. I love dairy farming – working each day to get a little bit more milk, a little straighter leg, or utilizing the land in the best fashion.

Part of the reason I started selling cheeses, rather than making cheese just for my family, was because so many people with allergies and digestion problems contacted me. We do our best to keep our cheese a pure product and many people find that goat’s milk is gentler on their digestive systems than cow’s milk.

I also love that people are using goat’s milk and goat products around the world. At the farm, we receive visitors from so many countries – most recently, from Venezuela and Bosnia. Goats are universal.

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Pictured: Two of Farmer Mary’s goats relaxing on a bed of Nature’s at a market.

Why do you choose Nature’s Bedding for your goats?

There’s a feed and supply store nearby that has been my go-to for over 25 years. Before I found Nature’s, the bales I bought from them were difficult to separate and use. One day, probably about 10 years ago, I went to another store and saw Nature’s. I gave it a try. I loved it so much that I asked my regular store to stock it. I’ve been using Nature’s ever since.

What I love about Nature’s is that it flakes easily and does a great job absorbing moisture. There are no heavy bales to separate. When my children want to help out, Nature’s chips are so manageable that they can spread them. And I like to stack the packs to create a playscape for our baby goats – they love jumping on and off them!

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Thank you Farmer Mary for sharing your experience and choosing Nature’s!

Heather Hastings

We at Woodgrain are committed to the environment. That’s why over 99% of the wood fiber we process is used as a product. This sustainable practice is often referred to as upcycling. The official definition: the process where you transform by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

Future horse bedding.

Our line of Nature’s horse bedding is a great example of upcycling. All Nature’s products are created from sawdust, fine shavings and trim materials used in the manufacturing process of our millwork products. Another great example is Proof—an eyewear company started by descendants of the family who founded Woodgrain. Proof’s glasses are crafted from sustainable materials—including FSC-certified wood, cotton-based acetate, and even repurposed skateboard decks.

Proof sunglasses from iwantproof.com

So now that you’re more familiar with upcycling, let’s bring it home. Take a look around your house. Surely there are items you want to donate or even trash. Can you think of some ways you can reuse those items? Here are some ideas to get you started:

This is a great idea for cats, too, as they love jumping in drawers.

Repurpose an old dresser drawer into a new, custom piece of furniture. PopSugar has over 200 brilliant ideas for cool upcycling projects, but this chic dog bed by DIY Show Off is my absolute favorite. This is a great idea for cats, too, as they love jumping in drawers. Genius!

I would have never guessed this headboard started off as a door.

How about that old door you’ve had in your storage shed for years? As you can see in this blog post, Remodelaholic looked at 100 different ways you can use your old door. Our favorite, add a little crown moulding to the top of an old door to create a classic headboard, like this one by DIY blogger Infarrantly Creative. Gorgeous!

Upcycling bonus: This pedestal is made from reclaimed barn wood redwood.

If you’ve got an old door lying around, you may also have some random pieces of trim. We’ve found the perfect idea for moulding that can provide function and beauty in your home: The architectural moulding pedestal. If you’re lucky enough to have decorative moulding on hand, you can create an ornate work of art that doubles as a dining room table centerpiece. We love the craftsmanship on this piece from The Cultured Artisan. (Upcycling bonus: This pedestal is made from reclaimed barn redwood.)

We will continue exploring upcycling ideas on our blog and would love to hear about some of your favorites. Show us an example of how you’ve upcycled doors and moulding in the comments below. We may even feature you in a future blog post. Happy upcycling!

 

Brian Michaels

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While spring has officially sprung, it still feels like winter in many parts of the country. What are you doing to keep your horses warm? Some turn up the heat (literally) while others layer on blankets to provide warmth. However, what goes inside your horse’s body is just as important as what goes over it.

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Horses need lots of hydration to regulate their body temperatures. Be sure to provide your horse with enough drinking water that will not freeze over. One owner suggested a trick to keep the water from freezing by keeping an apple in the trough. The horse bobs for the apple and it prevents the water from freezing.

Horses also need to fill their bellies with food. According to equine specialist Dr. Carrie Hammer, DVM, for every 10-degree change below 30 degrees, a horse would need to eat two additional pounds of feed per day. So, throw in a few extra bales of hay when sheltering your horse in the winter.

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But perhaps one of the most important things you can do to keep horses warm is to give them extra bedding. Just make sure to keep it dry and clean to prevent waste-related illnesses.

If you’re looking for a safe and effective bedding product to keep your horses warm, look no further than Nature’s. Nature’s is made from non-allergenic Kiln dried pine, making it safe to use all year round. Nature’s high absorbency makes clean up quick and easy while leaving a fresh pine scent in your stable. To see if Nature’s is available at a feed and seed store near you, contact us.

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In the meantime, stay warm and let us know if there are any techniques you use to keep your horses toasty when it’s freezing.

Brian Michaels

Nature’s offers environmentally friendly and cost effective products for your animals. Nature’s bedding products are made of 100% kiln-dried pine. Kiln-dried pine delivers superior absorption, a natural fresh scent, and makes our product the safest choice.

Features & Benefits

  • Superior absorbency
  • Natural fresh Pine scent
  • Easier clean-up and reduced amounts of waste
  • Dust free
  • Compostable and biodegradable
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Made in the USA

Nature’s bedding products are available in:
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Shavings are available in 8, 10 and 12 cubic foot bales; Mini-flakes are available in 4.5 cubic foot bales; and Pellets are available in 40# bags.

Visit www.naturesbywoodgrain.com to learn more.

“Since I first found Nature’s about four years ago, I just won’t use anything else!!! They break up so much easier than the other brands, they smell wonderful, and their lighter color makes the stalls look nicer.” -Heidi Olds; Hilsboro, Oregon

Brian Michaels

Nature’s Bedding would like to welcome San Dimas Grain & Pet Company! San Dimas Grain & Pet Co. has provided high quality pet and livestock products since 1927 and now carries Nature’s pellets. Nature’s pet products are on display in the San Dimas Grain & Pet Co. store in southern California. Be sure to visit their store for your Nature’s pet product needs.

Nature's

Welcome San Dimas Grain & Pet Company!

Brian Michaels

Nature’s Horse Bedding proves to be successful against the competition.

Nature’s attended the Pomona Horse Expo this last weekend in Pomona, CA and had an amazing turnout.

Nature’s exhibited the bedding products of Pellets, Shavings and our new low dust Mini’s. As the only bedding exhibitor at the event there was a lot of traffic and interest in our absorption test which compares Nature’s products against many other products in the market. Over and over Nature’s comes out on top as more absorbent against the competition. Check it out for yourself at www.naturesbywoodgrain.com/bedding.

Nature’s Bedding products are made from 100% kiln-dried pine which allows for superior absorbency, elimination of urine odors and a naturally fresh pine scent. Nature’s is all natural with no fillers and no additives.

Check out what one of our customers said after visiting us this weekend at the Pomona Horse Expo:

“Nature’s mini flakes are in my opinion one of the best bedding options on the market for three reasons:
1. Absorbency – one of the best absorbency factors I’ve ever seen in any bedding;
2. Softness – when you walk into a stall bedded with mini flakes it is like walking on memory foam;
3. Price – these shavings don’t get thrown in with the manure because they fall from the rake, they don’t get thrown out because they’re too used, and they are excellent about being dried out.”

-Hannah Butler, Owner of two mares; Sierra and Sapphire

Below is our Mini’s horse bedding product:

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To learn more about Nature’s horse bedding products, visit our website at www.naturesbywoodgrain.com/bedding.

Phil Steklenski

Nature’s, headquartered in Prineville, Oregon, offers environmentally friendly and cost effective products for both your animals and your home. Nature’s is a brand of Woodgrain Millwork, a family owned and operated company and one of the largest millwork suppliers in the world with 60 years of industry excellence. All Nature’s products are created from the materials of saw dust, fine shavings, and trim materials used in the manufacturing process of our millwork products.

Nature’s products are the safest natural choice for your animal needs. Made from 100% pine, our product offering includes:

  • Horse bedding products:
    • Shavings
    • Mini flakes
    • Pellets
  • Small pet products (coming in 2014):
    • Cat litter
    • Critter litter

The kiln-dried process is a slow, even drying process that removes moisture without damaging the wood, allowing for superior absorbency and a healthier, smarter product. Our pine species acts as a natural deodorizer, providing odor control while emitting a long lasting, fresh cut pine scent. Woodgrain is a fully integrated forest products company that maintains exact standards over its raw materials ensuring the purest, highest quality product.

Additionally, Nature’s and Woodgrain Millwork are completely committed to the environment by optimizing the use of resources and producing products that are safe for our homes and the planet. The wood used by Woodgrain originates from sustainable resources and we operate in an environmentally conscious manner. All products are compostable, biodegradable and made in the USA.

Visit our website at naturesbywoodgrain.com to learn more about Nature’s products and read customer reviews.