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No mats, no missing them?... (yet)

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  • No mats, no missing them?... (yet)

    So I relocated for work from PA to Indiana. I am thrilled with the barn, the one potential issue I had was I "needed" to get mats into the stalls. Concrete aisle but stalls are (hard to tell) not quite earth, not quite gravel....hmmmm)

    Well.....after a nightmare move and a shady contractor (long story) , horses came down with no mats.

    I stressed, I budgeted (9 stalls to mat) and here I am over a month later, no mats yet due to other issues, no problem (yet).

    Am I crazy that this is not an issue? The stalls seem easier to me, but in PA I had some water issues and we ARE in a drought here.

    My guys aren't big "diggers", yet (though I'll go home tonight and find one dug to China..)

    Anyone else NOT put mats down and not have it be a problem? I'm not saying I'm not going to do it, but it is becoming less of a priority than I thought it was going to be.

    Just interested in other people's thoughts. I would have DIED without them in PA.....
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies

  • #2
    There are plenty of barns that don't use mats, and instead use some sort of compacted dirt/stone/gravel/etc.

    Mats save on bedding, are easier to clean, and require less maintenance. (Don't have to regrade the floors every so many months due to diggers/etc.) I also feel like they provide a small amount of cushion and a more comfortable sleeping surface, but that can certainly be made up for with additional bedding.

    If you're happy without your mats, then don't buy them and find some other horse-related expense to spend that obscene amount of money on. Meanwhile, you can always stalk craigslist for good deals...there's someone on mine right now selling mats for $10 a pop....if I had somewhere to put any more, I'd go pick up a couple. Also, Tractor Supply tends to do a Black Friday deal every year for $20 mats.

    Comment


    • #3
      No mats drains better.

      I have two stalls with mats (both horses dig) and one stall with out mats.

      If it is working with out mats then leave it. You can always add them later.

      Comment


      • #4
        If you enjoy re-leveling stalls, adding gravel and compacting regularly you can skip the mats. If your stalls were originally made of carefully layered gravel and stone dust, well compacted then you might be fine.

        If I were in your shoes, I'd mat a stall a month, or as you can afford it.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

        Comment


        • #5
          I've had horses for over 50 years and never had mats until 20 years ago when we moved into a 40 stall race horse facility. ALL the stalls were packed asphalt!! UGH!! Despite bedding REALLY deep, we did have to mat some of the stalls for horses that were more arthritic. Left that barn after a few years and built a new 30 stall stable of our own. Over a good sandy loam foundation we had 6 inches of clay, tamped with a power tamper installed, before the stall walls went up. We did have one mat in the doorway of each stall, but never had a problem with digging or erosion in any of the stalls in 10 years. Our current barn has packed stone dust over clay, over gravel. We have full mats in two stalls - horses that walk the stall - but all the others have only one mat in the doorway. If your foundation is good in the stalls, I think I'd wait and see how things went before I spent the $$$ matting all the stalls. I personally bed as deeply WITH stall mats as without. A horse just doesn't look cozy curled up on a rubber mat!!
          www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
          Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

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          • #6
            I don't have mats in my mares double stall. I find it easier to clean since stuff doesn't end up shoved under a mat. Sure her floor isn't perfectly level. Its just the sandy clay ground the barn was built over. But it drains urine fairly well. The mare stands in one spot except to drink or poop, so she's not going to wear a dip in the ground. But matting it would have cots me over $500 and I just didn't have the money.

            If i had a stall walker or one that liked to paw, I would mat that stall. Same with an arthritic horse. My mare is 21 and is a bit stiff and creaky, but she still doesn't need mats. She comes out of her house after 14 to 16 hrs just as well as she went in.

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            • #7
              I'm looking into stall flooring options right now- and (this is not an endorsement- it's just a mention) There is a permeable liner product out there- it seems there are a few companies and I have not seen/compared their products... "Stall Savers" is one of them. The permeable liners are thinner/lighter than rubber mats- and they are seamless (assuming that one dimension of the stall isn't over 12 feet) You need to put down a good draining base below the liner- and then it seems you bed deeply- they all say the savings is not in putting less shaving in- but in taking less OUT.

              Part of the reason for the deep bedding *seems* to be to protect the liner from wear and tear- they seem that they are a dividing barrier- but not really intended to be a durable standing surface.

              Stall Savers says they ship free and by my math, they are less expensive than tractor supply rubber (not including the effort and cost of the drainage layer- but I have to do that anyway since I'm doing a new barn)

              I wanted to post here and ask about permeable mats if anyone has used the products they have on the market now. I have experience at one farm which had this AMAZING beautiful material in their aisles and stalls- it was a heavy duty woven fabric (similar to webbing for halters) and it was reclaimed conveyor belt from a paper mill- it was 12 feet wide, tan color and a horse could piss in the aisle and it would just VANISH. It was awesome. They secured it by nailing it to 2x4s that were sunk in the ground.

              I hate the puddling/spreading of urine on rubber mats...(with a draft horse it's like dumping a full 5 gal bucket on the floor) but I like the rubber mat surface. I wish I could custom tailor each stall for each horse's urine habits and dig "piss pit" drainage with a small permeable mat over that area and rubber everywhere else.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't really use mats as stall flooring (and don't want them). Stall floor is just plain, clean fill dirt and I use straw as bedding if I have to put anyone up for any length of time. I do have one mat in a corner of my stall, and two in the "hay corner" or the run-in - my old guy was a pretty messy eater, and I didn't want him to ingest a ton of dirt, and this was the easiest solution.
                I also have a heavy duty ring mat at the outside dutch door of the stall - it's done a really great job of keeping that area mud free, and the grass has even grown through it, so you don't really notice that it's there. As I can afford it, I'd really like to add a "border" of them to that side of the barn, since the stall doors open out into my "night pen" and I like to allow free access to that area.

                I would like to floor my stall/s with one of the stall grid products eventually (like this one: www.stable-grid.com), but for now, it's not a high priority.

                Comment


                • #9
                  No mats here. I bed with straw on clay floors and don't see a difference at all, except there aren't pools of urine like there are with mats (a problem with unleveled floors). The floors absorb better so the "less bedding" theory doesn't hold true in these stalls.

                  I need to have the floors of my stalls re-done since they've always had low spots in some of them (from before we were here). I have no idea how much that will cost, but I'm not looking forward to it. I'll mat the floors when the stalls are level.

                  What part of Indiana are you in?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As far as I'm concerned, mats only help with a digger, an eventual hole to fill and easier daily cleaning because the floor is level, BUT I do know I use a LOT more shavings because the urine doesn't sink into the ground. It pools on the surface of the mats and soaks up more shavings than if I didn't have mats and I've had horses for 50+ yrs. When I built my barn, I initially used a lot of gravel going from larger to smaller for drainage and it was great for maybe 3 yrs till the boys made their own big hole in the center and at the same time I got a couple of horses that were diggers. I releveled the stalls and got mats. Had to do the same with the aisle. I won't use concrete or asphalt but a dirt aisle needs maintenance every couple of yrs and I couldn't always get someone in for that small job. I finally had the aisle releveled and put mats down the entire aisle.

                    If you can live without them great but I like the suggestion of matting one stall a month or even every couple of months. Good luck.
                    Sue

                    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bdj View Post
                      II would like to floor my stall/s with one of the stall grid products eventually (like this one: www.stable-grid.com), but for now, it's not a high priority.
                      A friend did his stalls with the grid and filled the grids with either sand or stone dust-I don't remember which. Unfortunately the grids were a heavy plastic and at least one horse that pushed his bedding all around and then would lie down. He really scraped his legs up badly against the bare grid. This was several yrs ago so the material in what you are looking at may be different than what his grid was made of. Just keep that possibility in mind before you put grids down in all your stalls. Maybe do one stall and see how each of your horses react to it. I know I have one horse that pushes all his bedding from the center, pees on the empty spot and then will lie down. When I do the 10 PM barn check I always take the fork and push bedding back to the center for him.
                      Sue

                      I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've mucked many a stall, mats or no mats, all types of bedding. I prefer stalls without mats!
                        Flickr

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by msj View Post
                          A friend did his stalls with the grid and filled the grids with either sand or stone dust-I don't remember which. Unfortunately the grids were a heavy plastic and at least one horse that pushed his bedding all around and then would lie down. He really scraped his legs up badly against the bare grid. This was several yrs ago so the material in what you are looking at may be different than what his grid was made of. Just keep that possibility in mind before you put grids down in all your stalls. Maybe do one stall and see how each of your horses react to it. I know I have one horse that pushes all his bedding from the center, pees on the empty spot and then will lie down. When I do the 10 PM barn check I always take the fork and push bedding back to the center for him.
                          I had the grids in my stalls (at my former barn) and I loved them EXCEPT for when the bedding would get pushed around and exposed - it was actually a bit slippery! Even deep bedding can get rearranged by a horse. Lesson learned - request a sample of the material before purchasing and installing!

                          I use the Stall Skins now, although you can purchase similar fabric under different names. It's held up for me, drains a little bit - not as good as the grid, but obviously more than mats. It's not slippery or hard at all.

                          OP, your base might be a packed stonedust type material, and It might hold up pretty well for you if your horses don't set out to destroy it. You could always play the "wait and see" game... if you start noticing issues then you can decide on mats or some other system to protect the base.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I didn't think the geogrid is intended for stalls. Isn't it to hold the stone product in place?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm in IN too and do not have mats in my stalls.
                              The entire barn is floored with crushed stone - called stonedust - grains smaller than pea gravel, larger than sand.

                              After 8 years this stuff has compacted so the aisle feels like cement to me & is easily swept, but the horses still sometimes leave a shallow hoofprint so it has some give for them.
                              Inside the stalls it is the same and I bed with pellets directly over the stonedust.
                              Minimal dust in my barn - mostly from leaving stalls open to outside 24/7 and the barn doors open whenever I possibly can.

                              I would never go any other way for flooring.
                              Unless I win the lottery and can have the fancy rubber pavers put in
                              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Hundredacres- I am in New Palestine, just south of Indy and the solo hunter person (it seems). Any advice on hunter trainers? I don't mind travel (been commuting from Pa since Feb) and want to keep my young hunter going ( she was 6Th at Devon this year).
                                Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  For years I had packed stone dust and clay and every year I would set aside a week to re level the stalls (renting a compacter and buying more stone dust). I finally relented and put in mats BUT I put in mats that are normally used in wash stalls. The hole-y mats drain just as well as the non matted stalls and the best part is that the stalls stay LEVEL.
                                  You may not see any problems just yet, but watch those pee spots. Concentrated urine can dig a hole by just sitting there.
                                  R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
                                  36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever
                                  5/5/75-7/5/11

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
                                    Hundredacres- I am in New Palestine, just south of Indy and the solo hunter person (it seems). Any advice on hunter trainers? I don't mind travel (been commuting from Pa since Feb) and want to keep my young hunter going ( she was 6Th at Devon this year).
                                    PB, I'm waaaay up north near MI/OH but there are hunters there for sure. I just switched from dressage to h/j and you're riding in levels out of my league but I've heard wonderful things about a couple of trainers at IRUS (http://www.irus-stables.com/). I don't know if they do hunters there (mostly dressage I think) or ride at your level, but maybe they know of someone.

                                    You should post a query about it - there are some Indy people on this board who will have better contacts than me. Unfortunately, all I know are dressage names.

                                    Oh! You do know about the Trader's Point Charity Show in August, right? Maybe there will be some contacts made there.

                                    ETA: have you talked to anyone at Grandview Stables? I know they do A circuit, perhaps they'd be a good contact as well.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Have done both ways.

                                      Went years with dirt floors, and sawdust bedding. No problem.

                                      Moved to a new barn. Cement floors! Way too much trouble to blast out, and who knows what's under that. So mats. More work, more bedding. And... someone is always pulling up a corner and getting bedding under it which gets more bedding under it, til you give up and excavate. What fun!
                                      Taking it day by day!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Mats and bare floors each have their advantages and disadvantages.

                                        My main issue with mats is that I usually go through MORE bedding when matted. with mats, if you have a horse who pees in a certain place where it can't drain down, it pools and so the only way it goes anywhere is to have it soaked up by bedding. Without mats, if you have decent drainage in place (not just some packed dirt), the urine at least partially soaks into the floor.

                                        Of course, the flip side is that you're going to end up with a low spot from cleaning/raking the urine spot in a non-matted stall- even if you're careful.

                                        Then if you have a pawer... stall walker... etc.... they can make short work of a non-matted stall. Of course, they're a PITA with mats too because they can shift mats just enough that bedding creeps up underneath it, makes heaves, etc.....

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