Stall floor options over smooth stone gravel?
I am putting in stalls, and one of the stalls has a floor that is currently large stone "gravel", but the stones are smooth. I'm certain that the ground beneath it is sand, and I'm hesitant to dig it up because it will likely drain really well. What can I put on top of it to fill in the spaces between the stones, add a couple inches to make it level with the bottom of the stall boards, and make it a more appropriate floor for a stall? Limestone dust? Topsoil?
I'm not a huge fan of rubber mats. First, the stall is an odd shape (11'X15') due to the pre-existing structure of the barn, so it would be difficult and extra work to find mats that would fit. Second, I'm simply not a fan of rubber mats. Third, they're probably more expense than I'd like to pay, but because of the other two reasons listed I haven't really looked into it that much. I haven't completely ruled them out, but if there's an easier way to do a dirt or other floor, I'd do that.
Thoughts? Photos of what others have done?
Not what you're going to want to hear....
I would say that it depends on how often you plan on using your stalls.
At my parent's farm, our stalls have a clay base which has worked for the past 15 years since the horses have ample shavings and are only inside when it's miserable outside. Of course, as time has gone on, our hot house flowers have decided that they prefer to spend more time in the stalls under a fan when it's hot, or buggy, or raining... Which led to the stall floors becoming uneven with that dreaded pit in the center. So this year we added stall mats.
My barn was repurposed, and had a gravel/sand/stone floor (after we ripped out the old cement). I keep my horses in when it's excessively cold or wet or buggy (hot house dressage horses, again), so I skipped the need for a relevel every year and used stall mats. I packed a fine gravel/sand base then laid 3/4" mats over top of it. My stalls are 10'x12', so not quite as irregular sized as yours, but I find that once teh mats are in, it doesnt really matter.
The pros: My stalls are still level. My bedding costs are less than half of what I needed for unmatted stalls
The cons: Upfront cost; each 4'x6' mat cost nearly $50. And the big mats are heavy and awkward to move in.
For me, the benefits are way more than the costs.
And Part II