Airlite bedding and Thymox help busy horse owner live the dream.

Jennifer Coleman's success at shows starts at home.

Jen Coleman is busy.

She works full time in her own graphic and website design business and manages the stable where she rides and cares for her own five horses and her son’s pony. Based in the Lexington area’s Paris, KY., Jen trains a few students and competes in eventing as often as she can.

With her horses’ health and time management atop her priorities, “Jen” relies on stable products that work as hard as she does.

Which is why she’s a big fan of Airlite dust-free cardboard bedding and Thymox disinfectant spray, from Green Horse Brands.

On the recommendation of event organizer and fellow stable manager Mary Fike, Jen tried Airlite bedding a few years ago.

Cardboard Bedding? Really?

Initially, the idea of using cardboard was unappealing.

“In my mind, at first, I thought ‘It’s cardboard.’ It looked odd in the muck pile after I cleaned the stalls.”

But it didn’t take long for Airlite to prove its benefits to her horses, herself and the overall stable environment and horsekeeping routine.

“The lack of dust is amazing,” she says.  

Made of pre-consumer cardboard, Airlite settled into the stalls beautifully to create a lofty, cushioned and super-absorbent surface atop rubber mats.

Jen suffers from allergies and Airlite’s no-dust, no-contaminant qualities “have been great for me.”

Reducing breathable dust in the stable environment is veterinarians’ top advice for preventing and/or managing respiratory issues in horses. Jen’s horses do not struggle with such problems, and she trusts Airlite to help keep it that way.

In addition to improving barn air quality, Airlite helps with other aspects of a truly clean stable.

Jennifer Coleman's success at shows starts at home.

“I was surprised how easy it is to clean the stalls,” Jen reports. “Urine goes to the bottom layer of bedding, and it has a clumping quality to it, like cat litter. So it’s easier to get the dirty parts out.” She loves that Airlite pieces don’t stick to manure, so less the bedding is wasted with manure removal.

It doesn’t stick to horse’s coats or get into their nostrils and eyes, either.

Jen leases her stables on 150 beautiful, privately-owned acres. The property’s owners are “absolutely delighted” with Airlite because of its composting properties. It breaks down quickly, supports healthy soil and has the appealing look of dark mulch.

Bedding and Hoof Health

“It’s been a huge benefit to their feet,” Jen adds. Most of her horses are Off The Track Thoroughbreds, who often have trouble with hoof health. She typically keeps them in the barn for half the day, depending on the weather, to help maintain their hoof structure and integrity.

“Since I started using Airlite, their feet are in much better shape because they’re not standing on soaked shavings, which can break down their feet.”

Long-term structural integrity of the bedding itself is another benefit. One of Jen’s mares is an easy keeper when it comes to daily muckings. She rarely urinates in her stall, so very little bedding needs to be removed. Conversely, wood shavings can break down into dust long before they become soiled with urine, prompting frequent stall stripping and re-bedding.

Jen doesn’t leave home without Airlite bedding. It’s essential for trailer travel, when air whizzing in would whip up shavings and their related dust.

Airlite bedding and Thymox help Jennifer Coleman's horses stay in peak form.

Several shows in her Kentucky area have adopted the bedding, Jen observes. When she’s at show stabling with Airlite, she recognizes occasional knee-jerk resistance to the idea of bedding made of cardboard. It’s still not the traditional choice in a sport that’s often bound by traditions.

“A lot of people don’t like change,” Jen notes. Yet, change is often what’s needed to provide a clean, healthy and easily maintained stable.

Equine Disease Prevention

More recently, the professional horseman added Thymox botanical disinfectant and cleaner to her horse keeping routine.

With the past years’ bouts of EHV-1 and strangles for horses and COVID for people, Jen is keenly aware the risk of communicable diseases.

Disinfectants have been on her to-do list, but she didn’t want to use “gross chemicals” or a product that required a few hours’ wait between application and when her horses could safely interact with the treated surfaces.

When Airlite manufacturer Green Horse Brands introduced Thymox earlier this year, Jen jumped on it. It kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses yet is non-toxic. It’s safe to use on surfaces touched by horses, people, kids and pets.

She uses Thymox to clean out horse buckets, on bits after she rides and even to clean out the cat litter box at home. At horse shows, Jen sprays down the walls, floors and fronts of the stalls to ensure that anything her horses touch will be free of disease-causing bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Living The Dream

A life with horses is what Jen always dreamed of. Living that dream, along with parenting and paying the horse bills with her Solstice Marketing and Design is an impressive juggling act.

She’s excited to compete this season on a string including a Preliminary eventing partner and in-development youngsters.

Jen does all the stable labor herself, except for in the summers when her college-enrolled son, Leigh, is home to help. It’s a life of early mornings at the barn, sometimes jumping into graphic and website design assignments on her laptop in the barn office.  Then, it’s riding, teaching and general to-do list items throughout the afternoon before evening feedings and barn chores.

Airlite bedding and Thymox disinfectant make Jen’s busy days easier. Equally important, they contribute to a healthy, comfortable environment for the horses who’ve made her life’s dream a reality.