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Stall skins vs. regular stall mats?

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  • Stall skins vs. regular stall mats?

    I have stall mats in our current barn. They were a PITA to put in but we got them to fit very tight and I thought no way would they ever start to come up. After a few years, they DO start to come up.

    We're building a new barn this fall and the stalls will not be a true 12x12 but probably 11'6 x 11'6 so I was thinking of trying stall skins?

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    If you go with Stall Skins, skip their whole anchoring/border system. It falls apart. Use 2X4's or 2X6's and way bigger screws than they send you.

    I did four stalls with them, three are ok. One stall had a weaver/stall walker/pawer in it and the base shifted and now it's lumpy and has a small cavern in it near the door. To fix, I would have to pull the whole thing up. Pretty bad considering our horses are out nearly 24/7. Perhaps I could have done the base better, but... it sure seemed right when I did it.
    If I had to do it over again, I would have gone ahead and paid 2X as much and gone with the grid system I got from Ground Master. I had that in 2 stalls previously where I used to live. LOVED it. All one piece. Complete PITA to install (def. a 2 person job) but man... what luxury. The only thing with the GroundMaster was you really really had to keep the bedding on it deep, I found it to be a bit slippery when wet. I could strip a stall, and hose it down. The water would drain right down and leave the stall fresh. Can't do that with the Stall Skins. They're more like a one-piece mat that soaks up urine. And they don't drain. I found that out twice when I had a stall FLOOD with three inches of water and it just sat in there. That would not have happened with the grid system. I use Stable Fresh on wet spots to help with the soaking-in effect.

    That said, I like them better than a dirt floor.


    • #3
      I have been pleased with mine. They are installed over several inches of compacted bluestone and they do drain. I would not install them over something that would not drain
      I wasn't always a Smurf
      Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


      • #4
        As with any mat install Stall Skins or others, a properly prepared base is the most important factor.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by pds View Post
          As with any mat install Stall Skins or others, a properly prepared base is the most important factor.

          Yes, we would compact bluestone or limestone underneath it.


          • #6
            Hands down, stall skins

            I love my stall skins..........stall skins and the really fine shavings make doing stalls less of a chore.
            I also believe that they are better for the horses and creates a better living enviorment then rubber matts that don't drain.
            My horse that paws was evicted from his stall skin stall and is on matts, pawers can present a problem.


            • #7
              To clarify... my base is 8" of crushed rock. It should drain. Perhaps I was used to how well my Groundmaster stall floors drained (about instantly) so I shouldn't say that the stall skins don't drain, but they do not drain the way I was hoping. In fact, my dirt barn aisle drains quicker, and it is basically a clay base with just a little bit of screenings over it.
              The Groundmaster floor allowed all the urine to drain much quicker into the rock below. I loved being able to hose it down and be able to bed the stalls minutes afterwards. I don't dare hose down the stall skins. The stall skins, by their design, definitely soak in some of the urine. Hence, I use the stable fresh stall spray instead of a hose for more thorough cleanings. I still like the stall skins better than a dirt floor or even rubber mats! I like that they are not slippery and have even considered putting them in the run-in.
              If I had this barn to do again, though, I would seriously consider paying the extra money for a grid system like I had before.


              • #8
                Ditto on their plastic border thing. I did two additional stalls a couple years ago and didn't bother to order them. I like them so far but my snarky older guy who never passes up a chance paw and complain that the hay isn't good enough has worn a hole through his in one spot. Some of the others do have rips here and there. My older ones have been down for about 8 years and need some repair.

                One day I will put them in my other barn I think. They are much better than the stone dust base that is in those stalls now.


                • Original Poster

                  It concerns me that the skins are ripping after so many years.

                  I've not had a problem with wet stalls using mats so far, just with some coming up. Maybe I should try the inter-locking mats.


                  • #10
                    I wonder if the type of bedding matters. I use stall pellets which are very absorbent. Unless the mares pee in a bare spot there's never a puddle
                    I wasn't always a Smurf
                    Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                    • #11
                      carol, you're probably right. I only have good access to bagged shavings, which are not absorbent at all. On the Groundmaster floor it didn't matter since everything went right through. That's probably why I will have a urine puddle under the shavings (still, stall skins were advertised as being quite porous...) In fact this morning my gelding urinated just before we got tacked up for a trail ride, and even after two hours when I got back I had to rake shavings back and forth to soak up the little puddle that was still underneath. Granted, his bladder has about a 15 gallon capacity...


                      • #12
                        Has anyone used a combo of stall skins along with a solid rim of mats over it around the outer edges of the stall and interlocking drainage stall mats in the center?

                        Hope I'm making myself clear? Extra expense but would give drainage in center, and frustrate pawers. Maybe?
                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                        • #13
                          I've toyed with the idea of swapping to skins or adding skins over my stall mats.
                          My mats haven't shifted, curled, waved etc after almost 8 years or so. But...even though they're in tight over a seriously compacted/smooth base of packed stonedust and lined up well...I can still catch a fork on the edge of a mat and send the forkful of stuff flying.
                          Which then causes mucho swearing.

                          You'd think the fork would skim over a mat edge that abuts the next mat perfectly...but no. Stops it dead.

                          I don't have issues with drainage. My barn never floods, couldn't flood unless a waterline explodes in there. My aisle is matted also and I can toss a bucket of water on top of the mats and while it doesn't drain instantly...it drains between the mat edges within a few minutes. (underneath is more than 3 feet of packed stonedust, absolutely no smells)

                          And if I want to rinse down inside a stall and not wait for it to drain, I just sweep the water out of the door. Or I add new bedding on top of the water since I use pellets anyway. Saves me from wetting them to activate and I can hose down a stall and then dump a few new bags of pellets in and within 30 minutes the stall is bone dry and filled with lots of fluffy dry bedding.

                          It's just those stupid mat edges that piss me off when they catch the fork. (and of course both horses' pee spots are always over mat edges!)
                          You jump in the saddle,
                          Hold onto the bridle!
                          Jump in the line!


                          • #14
                            Love my interlocking mats. Christmas present about 5 years ago. Have not moved at all. I do need to pull them up to fix a couple of mouse/rat tunnels, but no curling, lifting, anything. No big pee "well" in the middle. Heavy to move in, though. They were 300+ per stall at that time.
                            Never argue with a fool. Noone can tell who is who.


                            • #15
                              Mats are nice but I Loved the Comfort Stall matting system I put in a previous barn.
                              I saved a ton on shavings because the "comfort" or padding is already on the mat, just need a small amount of shavings to absorb wetness.

                              I know people who use the Stall skins in outdoor stalls (in CA) but have never heard of them being used inside a barn before.
                              I thought the whole idea was that the wet could soak thru the skin (i.e urine) but they didn't let wetness back up thru the skin (ie. water from rain).
                              They helped outdoor stalls/pens from turning into mud pits in San Diego.
                              You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!


                              • #16
                                Few thoughts on the fly from a 5-year Stall Skins user.

                                They are not a "one way" barrier. Water/wet can go through both ways.

                                You can tear the HELL out of them with a metal (possibly even plastic), pointy fork if you're not careful. They make rubber matting forks with circular tines instead of sharp tips. Hard as heck to find, and I therefore hoard mine and shudder to think about replacing them.

                                They MUST be laid over a porous base, and if you do that they do a nice job of eliminating SOME of the wetness, but you still have to bed properly and keep up with wet spots or you can get stinky-ness. Easily mitigated by pouring Lysol over the wet spot--soaks down in and eliminates odor. But they are NOT a short-cut on stall cleaning, at all.

                                NO cushion with them. That's not what they're for. But IME they hold up very, very well to shod horses, horses on stall rest, everything but overzealous use of a metal fork . . . now banned in my barn. (my little tear is way in a corner and has not proven to be a problem other than my knowing to take care near that little spot when mucking)
                                Click here before you buy.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Sparky Boy View Post

                                  I've not had a problem with wet stalls using mats so far, just with some coming up. Maybe I should try the inter-locking mats.
                                  I have 10 year old inter-locking mats that haven't moved one inch. I got the heavy duty ones and even having horses with shoes hasn't caused any wear and tear.

                                  My mats haven't shifted, curled, waved etc after almost 8 years or so. But...even though they're in tight over a seriously compacted/smooth base of packed stonedust and lined up well...I can still catch a fork on the edge of a mat and send the forkful of stuff flying.
                                  Which then causes mucho swearing.

                                  You'd think the fork would skim over a mat edge that abuts the next mat perfectly...but no. Stops it dead.
                                  :LOL: This is the only problem I have with my mats!! The seams are tight and seem to be flat but the fork still seems to catch on them!!!


                                  • #18

                                    This looks to be a suspiciously inexpensive knock-off of the ones I have. Glad to know there's another source, as I believe the original Union Jack brand I have is no longer easy to find or available in the USA, but I don't know how sturdy this brand would be. Still, it will solve the "tines catching" problem very nicely.
                                    Click here before you buy.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      It's sounding more like the interlocking mats are the way to go!


                                      • #20
                                        I ordered those supersized rubber mats so my 15x16 stalls each has two monster mats. There is still seam but only one per stall. They are straight edge but have not had curling or moving problem. We leave our dutch doors opened and we have horses galloping in and out and as far as I can tell, they stay put quite well.