Product review by Lois Wattis – NAGS, Qld
Proteq is a new product which was showcased at Equitana and at Dressage Queensland’s State Championships recently and I have had the opportunity to trial it in my stables. Like most horse owners I have tried most bedding products and know the pros and cons of each option. Storing bulk sawdust is problematic for me due to space restrictions and no matter how or where I positioned the load about 30% would end up being wasted due to decomposition at ground level.
The spoiled sawdust would then need to be relocated to somewhere in the garden; a labour intensive and money-wasting process at best. I have also had problems at times with supply of sawdust, usually in the wet season when trucks cannot get into the mills to collect it.I have tried rice hulls delivered in huge bags which can be stored inside but still take up a lot of space. I found the rice hulls became dusty and broke down quite quickly, and tended to stick in rug materials and my socks which was annoying and didn’t do my washing machine much good either. Rice hulls can cause injuries to horses’ eyes. I tried a paper based product once which became so dusty within weeks it was a complete disaster. Hysorb shavings are handy but work out very expensive. I’ve also found supply of Hysorb can be unreliable, usually during weather conditions when everyone needs it most. There are other pelleted products such as Equisorb, but I have reservations about the straw source materials which I think may be tempting for my horses to eat in spite of the added fragrant oils. I have also heard it can become extremely dusty when it breaks down making it absolutely unsafe to use in closed floats. Agrisorb is similar but is made from hemp (also edible). These manufacturers advise sprinkling the bed with disinfectant if necessary to discourage horses from eating the bedding.
Proteq Equine Bedding is a premium all natural pine horse bedding sourced from sustainably managed Australian softwood timber industry. In compressed pellet form, it is manufactured in Maryborough and sold in easy to manage 15kg bags.
My stables have concrete floors and are 4m X 3m. I used 13 bags to set up one stable, and kept another 3 bags aside to top-up as needed. When the product is soaked with water it fluffs up to about double the original volume, and creates a very soft bed very quickly. The stable is used every night, and it was over a month before I decided to add one extra bag which rejuvenated the bed to its original form. There is very little waste as the product falls through the rake like sand. It has a nice pine scent at the beginning but this fades in a week or so. I have noticed significantly less odour from urine and poo. To avoid the bed drying out and becoming dusty I give it a light spray with the hose every few days to keep it slightly moist and fluffy, and turning the whole bed about weekly loosens and rejuvenates its fluffy texture. I found preparing the product by adding water was much easier to do in a wheelbarrow than the recommended method of adding the water to the opened bag. The pellets respond immediately by swelling and the bags become VERY heavy to lift and empty. Mixing was easier in the wheelbarrow too.
The bottom line is I love this product and I will not be going back to any of the other options. As we face our most challenging season of the year here in Qld I am confident I will have a lovely dry location for my horses to escape the weather. I can store the bags inside or outside, and stable cleaning through the wet season will be easier than ever before. I highly recommend Proteq Equine bedding as the initial cost is counteracted by the long-life of the bedding, with no waste and no dust!
You can read Lois’s original product review here.