Lime for Horse Stalls: Secret Weapon for Keeping Your Horse’s Stall Clean

Lime for horse stalls is essential for the health and well-being of horses. Specifically agricultural lime or hydrated lime, can help to improve stall hygiene and comfort in a number of ways.

  • Lime absorbs moisture, which can help to keep stalls dry and prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Lime neutralizes odors caused by horse urine and manure, making stalls more pleasant for horses and people alike.
  • Lime has antibacterial properties that can help kill harmful bacteria that lives in horse stalls. Thus, reducing the risk of respiratory infections and other health problems in horses.
  • Lime improves drainage in horse stalls by breaking up hardpan and making the soil more porous. This will prevent pooling of water and mud.

Lime is a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use material that can be spread on stall floors with a shovel or rake. It does not require any special equipment or training to use.

Overall, lime is a valuable tool for horse stall management. It can help to keep stalls clean, dry, and odor-free, which can improve the health and well-being of horses. If you are looking for a way to improve the hygiene of your horse’s stall, lime is a great option to consider

Let’s dig a little deeper into the benefits of lime.

Moisture Absorption and Odor Control

Lime serves as a desiccant, allowing it to effectively absorb excess moisture from stall bedding and floors. This characteristic allows for maintaining a dry and sanitary environment within horse stalls. By reducing moisture levels, lime helps thwart the growth of bacteria, fungi, and parasites that thrive in damp conditions.

Excessive moisture in horse stalls can give rise to the proliferation of harmful microorganisms, leading to a range of health issues for the horses. Damp environments provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which can cause respiratory problems, skin irritations, and hoof ailments. Lime’s moisture-absorbing capabilities create a drier atmosphere that is less conducive to the growth of these detrimental organisms.

Furthermore, lime possesses antibacterial properties that aid in neutralizing odors. The decomposition of urine and manure releases ammonia and other volatile compounds, which contribute to unpleasant odors in the stall. Lime interacts with these compounds, effectively neutralizing them and diminishing the intensity of odors. This enhances the working conditions for handlers and caretakers., published an article recognizing lime’s desiccant properties and its role in maintaining dry and odor-free environments. 

Ammonia Reduction

Ammonia gas can irritate the respiratory system, leading to respiratory distress and discomfort for the animals. Fortunately, lime plays a crucial role in mitigating this issue and safeguarding horses’ respiratory health.

One of the primary ways lime addresses the ammonia problem is by raising the pH level in the stall environment. Lime’s alkaline nature increases the pH, creating an environment less conducive to the conversion of urine into ammonia gas. Certain bacteria present in the stall environment facilitate this conversion. By raising the pH, lime inhibits the activity of these bacteria, thereby reducing the production of ammonia.

lime for horse stalls promote healthy horse environment, horse inside the barn eating grasses

Pest Control

Lime serves as a natural deterrent for pests, particularly flies, by creating an inhospitable environment in horse stalls. The dry and alkaline conditions established by lime discourage the breeding and development of insects and parasites. This characteristic is highly beneficial as it helps minimize the risk of diseases and discomfort associated with pest infestations.

Flies are a common nuisance in horse stalls and can transmit diseases, cause irritation, and disturb the horses’ peace and well-being. However, the use of lime can help alleviate this issue. Lime’s ability to absorb moisture plays a key role in deterring flies. By reducing moisture levels in the stall, lime creates an environment that is less favorable for flies to reproduce and thrive. Flies require moist conditions for their eggs and larvae to develop, and the dry conditions created by lime hinder their life cycle.

Additionally, lime’s alkaline properties contribute to repelling pests. The alkaline environment created by lime is inhospitable for insects and parasites, making it difficult for them to survive and reproduce. Lime’s alkalinity disrupts the habitat and growth of these pests, acting as a deterrent that helps keep their populations in check.

The University of Minnesota Extension, a reputable source in the equine industry, recognizes the efficacy of lime in deterring pests and minimizing the associated risks. Their reference supports the understanding that lime’s dry, alkaline conditions create an inhospitable environment for insects and parasites, thereby reducing the presence of pests and the potential problems they cause.

Stall Sanitization

Lime possesses powerful antimicrobial properties that make it an exceptional agent for sanitizing horse stalls. When applied to stall floors and bedding, lime actively inhibits the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. This proactive approach significantly reduces the risk of infectious diseases and fosters a cleaner and healthier living environment for horses.

Damp and unsanitary conditions provide a breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms, posing potential threats to the well-being of horses. However, lime acts as a natural sanitizing agent, effectively suppressing their growth. By reducing moisture levels in the stall, lime creates an environment that is unfavorable for bacterial proliferation. This preventive measure helps prevent the accumulation and multiplication of harmful bacteria, which can cause infections and compromise the horses’ health.

In addition, lime’s alkaline nature enhances its antimicrobial properties. The alkalinity of lime creates an inhospitable environment for a wide range of microorganisms, disrupting their growth and survival. This contributes to the sanitization of the stall by suppressing the population of bacteria and other harmful organisms, thereby reducing the risk of diseases and improving overall hygiene.

By actively suppressing the growth of harmful microorganisms, lime helps minimize the spread of infectious diseases among horses. This is particularly crucial in shared stabling facilities, where horses often come into contact with one another. The use of lime as a sanitizing agent plays a vital role in maintaining a healthier environment, reducing the risk of disease transmission, and improving the overall well-being of the horses.

Hoof Health and Prevention of Thrush

Thrush, a prevalent and troublesome hoof infection caused by bacteria, can be effectively prevented by incorporating lime into horse stalls. Lime plays a vital role in controlling moisture levels within the stall, effectively thwarting the development of the damp conditions that contribute to thrush. By maintaining dry and clean stall environments, horse owners can promote overall hoof health and reduce the likelihood of hoof-related issues.

Thrush is characterized by the colonization of bacteria within the horse’s hoof, resulting in a foul odor, black discharge, and potential lameness. The bacteria responsible for thrush thrive in moist and unsanitary environments, underscoring the importance of proper stall management in its prevention. Lime’s moisture-absorbing properties help create a drier stall environment, reducing the conditions conducive to bacterial growth and minimizing the risk of thrush development.

By controlling moisture levels in the stall, lime effectively inhibits the growth and proliferation of the bacteria that cause thrush. The dry environment created by lime discourages bacterial colonization, preventing the establishment of the conditions necessary for the infection to take hold. This proactive approach significantly reduces the likelihood of horses developing thrush and helps maintain their overall hoof health.

Moreover, maintaining a clean stall environment is paramount in preventing hoof-related issues, including thrush. Lime aids in this endeavor by neutralizing odors and reducing the presence of bacteria and fungi, which can contribute to various hoof ailments. Incorporating lime into regular stall maintenance routines enables horse owners to promote cleanliness and hygiene, creating a more favorable environment for overall hoof health. (Reference: American Farriers Journal)


Lime’s properties, including its ability to absorb moisture and neutralize odors, reduce ammonia levels, control pests, and act as an antimicrobial agent, make it an essential tool for creating and maintaining a clean and healthy stall environment. 

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