I have seen new barns with wood floors and OLD bars with wood floors, and both were pretty nice. The new barn did get a bit slick when there was hay over the wood, so sweeping frequently was necessary, but there was also NO traction on that particular floor. A private barn I used to work at was very old, and the grooming stalls were above the "storage" part of this barn, and I was worried every time I brought a horse in there that the footing would give way- not fun. All in all, I think as long as you replace it when needed and ensure that there is some traction, it is a good footing for a barn.
It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw.
We have wood floors in the stalls. The aisle is concrete. I actually like the wood floors but we do keep the stalls very clean due to rotting. Many times, we do alot of banking and letting the stalls air during the day but this would be good whether wood or matts or whatever.
I grew up with wood floors in the barn. The only thing I don't like is we have a hay dunker and under his water bucket, it will get slippery. More for the humans than the horse. I use shavings over the wood and sweep the area clear under the feed and water buckets.
We do bed fairly deep. If I had matts, I'd probably bed as deeply.
It seems the wood has lasted longer than 29 years. My parents bought the farm in 1980 and the wood was there when we bought it. I don't know what kind of wood the previous owner used but again it lasted a long time. We've replaced the wood in two stalls the past year. I replaced it with stuff I got at Home Depot, I know for sure it is cheaper wood than what was in there. We'll see if that lasts as long.
Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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The old boarding stable,where I took my lessons, which was a converted dairy barn, still exists and is operating today without many changes to the structures. I can only guess about the construction but it was most likely rough sawn 2x redwood over joists, as the stalls were about 12" above grade and redwood was plentiful in the area. Most of it was shedrow style but there was one aisled section and the aisle was asphalt pavement leading to a concrete apron next to the indoor, which I guess was the old milking parlor. I put in a 2x12 rough sawn floor over joists in my run in, as a deck with intentional gaps. I can't tell you how long it would have lasted. It was definitely noisy but I always knew where the horses were.
We also have a bank barn in central NH newly contructed 3 years ago (husband and I built ourselves). Love the wooden floors, we have 12" wide by 2" thick rough cut hemlock floors. They are definitely easier on the legs and warmer. I use no mats, and I think they are going to out last me!
We have wood floors in the tie stalls. Horses seem to manage them fine, bare or shod. The horses in one set of stalls are always shod with pin or ice studs, used out on the paved roads. We got about 12 years on the first set of boards there, white oak. We redid the floors with some Elm we lucked into, have to see how it wears. Studded shoes are hard on any kind of wood.
Our grandfathers had wood floored tie stalls we used as kids and we copied them in our barn. Wood does not seem slippery, has good drainage underneath wood that we put in before building the stalls. Wood is a bit warmer footing I believe, than dirt. I have mats across the stall fronts, where hay falls. No feed mangers, which are real hard to keep clean. I think mat keeps food a bit cleaner if they dribble the grain, move hay around for leaves. Mats are easy to sweep clean daily. Doesn't seem to be wet underneath. Tie stalls clean fast and easily, save a lot on bedding and prevent bad stall habits, like pacing. All the horses can lay down, and usually do for the night. Horses are only in half a day at most.
I have wood floors in the aisle and grain room, not stalls. I hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it!!! Hate it! I would rip them up in a heartbeat and do cement if I could. Hell, I'd do dirt! They rot, fast! And they are slippery. One of my horses hates them too. Either they are too unsteady or she doesn't like the sound. Hate them!
We have wood floors in some of our stalls; they were there when we bought the place. I'm not a fan personally - they make me nervous because I know they are slowly rotting out. And, I had a horse put his foot through the (wooden) ramp of a friend's trailer that had rotted out over time - it was covered with a mat, so the damage wasn't visible. I prefer rubber mats over crushed stonedust; three of our stalls had the crushed stone already and I was delighted to buy the rubber mats.
I don't mind them, but they scare me unless they're over a solid surface (ie: Not the upper level of a two story bank barn, or something of that sort) -- I know of a farm near here who kept horses on the upper level of a barn with wood floors and the wood gave way under one stall and the mare went crashing through to the lower level. She made it through, but I don't think she came out of it sound. Not something I'd want to see with one of my horses.
If I knew the wood was sturdy and rot-free, maybe. Without proper maintenance though... O.O
They were a traditional barn flooring for ages...and they can make an aisle look elegant too.
However...one place I boarded did have wood floors in aisle and stalls and there are issues. No mats in stalls, as Hilary said mats make the floors rot really fast. Any liquids other than water can stain your beautiful floors. If your horses wear winter shoes the floors get chewed up fast. if you have a horse that paws often...big dents in the floor. They can be slippery at times. And if you have a stall walker/pacer...be prepared for everyone within 1000 feet to be up all night listening to "clunk, clunk, clunk". (they're very loud)
They are pretty easy to replace boards as needed though...the barn where I was that had the wood floors was simply gorgeous. My stall walking winter shoe wearing mare did a lot of damage to that lovely old barn though. I wrote a generous check to the BO when we moved to replace the floor boards she ruined.
My personal favorite for flooring is packed process stone...a good couple feet of it if possible. You can mat where needed or leave it the way it is. It drains beautifully and is never slippery.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
I saw a barn built on a slight hillside. The stalls were built out over the drop off. The owner had wood in the stalls and left deliberate gaps between the wood (maybe 1/4 inch). She said it let the urine run down and out and eliminated smells. I too would worry about rotting out. I only saw it the one time, so I can't tell you how it actually worked out.
I've seen that principle used for wooden decks in snowy areas and it works for letting snow melt off the deck.
Worked at a barn that was from the late 1880's and still had the original wood flooring, everything. Built 'em right back then, I guess. The floor was LOUD! There were only traditional box stalls though-three sided, manager where you could tie the horse's head. We used the stalls in the morning to throw tack on before riding out to round up horses, but never to just leave the horses in there. So, for what we did in there, it worked alright. Just freaking loud. And slippery w/ hay. And very uneven...impossible to sweep it clean.
I noticed that the horses slipped easily if they pulled back on their ropes while tied to the stalls. I didn't like using the stalls b/c of the sound and the slippery surface, imo. I saw a horse pull back while tied in the stall, and its hind legs just went right out from under it at one point. Not cool.
Ditto on the stain thing, too. Hoof oil, blue kote, etc. all stained it.