My horse goes in and out at will, unless weather determines she stays in. I sometimes use a few bags of pellets under a layer of shavings. I've also found that leaving a few feet inside the doorway bare reduces the amount of bedding dragged out.
Where I board (for only a couple more weeks), they use pelleted bedding that I hate. I have 2 horses in in/out stalls and one in a regular box stall with no in/out. I have to say, the bedding sucks equally in the regular box stall as it does in the in/out.
I use a mix of pelleted bedding and shavings in my horses' stalls. They have box stalls with dutch doors and 24/7 access to their stall or paddock. I like the pellets because they don't get soggy as quickly as shavings do, and they tend to prevent a bit of the drifting from the light shavings.
I don't bed any heavier than necessary, since they are rarely in their stalls and just make the bedding icky anyway from being in & out. If I want to put more bedding in, I bank a lot around the sides and keep the middle thinner. I also sweep back the bedding several feet from the outside door so it takes a little longer for them to drag the bedding out. I sweep back a couple times a day.
I don't think it matters if you use pellets or shavings, when the horse is in and out and it is yukky outside, the stalls get messier quicker.
I have in/out stalls at home and use pellets, but I'm lucky in that I have a matted overhang just outside the stall (so that keeps some of the muck out), then my paddocks that are attached are now mud-free (hoof-grid and pea gravel). We also put in a kick board -- a 2"x6" as a sill at the bottom of the doorway that has helped somewhat to keep the pellets in and the rock out.
Really, unless you can control the muck that is tracked in, there isn't much you can do. I used to let my horses still have the stalls/overhang/runs when they were out in the pasture too (so they could come in and get away from flies or rain or whatever), but now I don't as they just track the mud from the pasture in and out. Now they go out in the pasture and stay there while turned out, then come in and get legs cleaned up, hooves cleaned, and have the dry paddocks and stalls. More work, but it keeps the muck out, so it is worth it.
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I have a similar set-up to Horsepoor. I keep my bedding swept to the center of the stalls, which helps a bit. I also have a bit of a lip between the stall and my overhang, which is partially matted (by each door). I find that keeping the bedding in the center of the stall cuts down on the tracking back and forth. I have no bedding under the buckets in the front or the hay and door in the back of the stall.
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I used to be at a co-op barn like this. We had a 6x6 across the doorways, so that they'd pick UP their feet when going in/out, which prevented a lot of mixing. Made for a pain to clean the runs, though.
I use pellets and mix in fluffy shavings. Works for the most part, but the right in front of the door is always a bit darker. Doesn't help that it's either mud, ice, or snow. I think it will be quite a while until dryer ground is the norm!
Thanks guys... I'll try putting in a bag of shavings.
She has a kick board in the doorway. It's just the dampness from all the darn snow that she is bringing in on her hooves. Now if I could only teach her to wipe her feet before she comes in, that might be the solution....hmmmm