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Country Discussion Topics
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Laying the Foundation in a Horse Stall
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Machelle    Posted 05-27-2003 at 07:52:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We just purchased a home with a 4 stall horse barn. The stalls have not been used in over 10 years, and the floors are dirt. We would like to lay a good foundation on the floor. What is the best components to use for your horse stall floor, other than rubber mats?

Tina-NY    Posted 05-28-2003 at 04:55:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
There are many ways to do it, some good some bad. I have to say thou that cement is the worst way to go for a horses legs. They are designed to roam at will and be able to escape danger, their legs are not meant to stand in a stall. By standing in a stall it puts a lot of unatural stress on most of the legs inner system but standing on cement puts way more stress on everything from the hoof to the spine. I have known horses that went thru extensive vet work to figure out why said horse is so sore all the time only to find out later after horse is on pasture rest that all the origiinal problems have dissapeared. If you go with rubber mats spend a lil more for the ones that have a lil extra traction, some do get pretty slick when wet with pee and wet manure. My favorite stall would be a dirt mixed with a lil sand and packed, covered with good quality matts.

Paula    Posted 05-27-2003 at 09:32:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
1. I think concrete is very unforgiving to joints and
things. Not to mention traction gets questionable when
its wet.

2. A good layer of stone dust, then the rubber matting
with shavings is, IMO, a good make up for a stall floor.

3. Dirt doesn't drain well, it erodes badly (if the horse
pees in a particular place it easily becomes a pissy
mudswill), and it stinks after a while because it doesn't
drain well.

JMO, I'm at my riding instructor's barn 3nights a week,
two of them to work so my experience is limited to
mucking out the couple of stalls she has (her horses
are turned out 99.99999% of the time - the stalls were
used for resting horses if they were recovering from
something, and for when she had the blind, white appy
who had to be protected from the sun during the
sumner). I've been working for her for a couple three
years now so that is why I say stone dust over dirt or


Tom A    Posted 05-27-2003 at 09:17:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Maybe I'll have a different view from most others, don't know. I don't have horses, but do have a mule and a donkey. We have a 100 year old barn that is 2/3s dirt floor and 1/3 concrete.

The concrete is easy to clean. That is the only thing I can say good for it off the top of my head. My mule/donkey avoid walking on it whenever it gets even slightly damp because it is slippery for their hooves, so if you go with concrete make sure to rough up the surface.

I've grown very partial to the dirt floor, even though it is not as easy to clean. First off, the animals all seem to prefer it (I have a mix of critters), and would spend all their time on it given a choice. I don't think it is any harder to fork dirty straw off of dirt than concrete, although it is harder to give a really good scrape it clean cleaning. The dirt floor tends to be less cold in the winter than concrete which is easier on my older animals. It does get "gushy" if I don't clean often enough, and that can be hard on
hooves...for us it is only a problem in the spring time. During the summer and early fall we don't put down bedding and the animals don't "wet" in the barn then so there's no problem. In the late fall we add several inches of straw bedding and then they begin to "wet" in the house." We fork out the wet straw and replace it, but in springtime, before it has a chance to dry
sometimes the dirt isn't the nicest surface.

Still, all in all, I'm keeping the dirt.


PatM    Posted 05-27-2003 at 08:17:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
A free draining dirt floor with bedding of shavings or straw is best, in my opinion. Here's a link to the NEbraska Extension Service Pamphlet on stall floors. Housing for Horses Flooring for Stalls

However, mats reduce the amount of bedding needed. You need a level, firmly compacted base beneath mats. Dirt will be fine, and a lot cheaper than concrete.

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