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Is this a dumb idea? Drilling holes in stall mats for drainage?

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  • Is this a dumb idea? Drilling holes in stall mats for drainage?

    I've been fighting it, but have decided to put stall mats on top of my clay floors. I will be using straw and since it's not the best at absorbing urine, would it be a terrible idea to drill a few holes in the mats so the urine doesn't puddle? I plan to drill holes on the edges so I can zip tie them together so I thought a few here and there might not be a terrible idea. I wasn't planning on make huge holes, maybe the size of a pencil? I have one horse in particular that pees allllll the time and I think she's going to have a slip and slide in her stall if I don't do something!

    If holes in the mat's get vetoed, which is more cost effective, a thin layer of wood pellets or a thin layer of shavings underneath the straw.

    TIA!

  • #2
    Well, I would say it is not about the mats, but what you have in the stalls.
    Clay under mats will just pool the urine under the mats, ammonia fumes will still have to go somewhere and that is back thru the holes into the stall.

    I think it makes more sense to use some bedding pellets or shavings under the straw, so you don't get pooling under the straw on the mats.

    I would try that first.

    I wonder how you are bedding with straw, that you don't have the older, still clean straw that is getting walked on and now has become very absorbent as it disintegrates?
    I grew up with straw bedding and had always enough of the old straw for the places where urine may pool.

    Maybe you are taking too much out when you clean, unless you have a really piggy horse that churns it all in?

    Comment


    • #3
      mats directly over clay may eventually cause problems. It's usually better to have the mats over a layer of packed gravel or stone dust. When they are over clay, once the clay gets wet (and even without holes, the urine will seep through the seams) the mats get uneven and start to slip.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Woodsperson View Post
        mats directly over clay may eventually cause problems. It's usually better to have the mats over a layer of packed gravel or stone dust. When they are over clay, once the clay gets wet (and even without holes, the urine will seep through the seams) the mats get uneven and start to slip.
        That too, you need about 1/2" to 1" of sand over the clay before putting mats down.
        Doesn't take much, just a bit.

        Comment


        • #5
          As others mentioned, with clay, you've got virtually zero chance of drainage.

          And even if you add stone you then just have urine going into the stone and you may have issues with with that.

          If I were in your shoes, I'd plan to use something like pelleted shavings in the pee areas even if you want to use straw as your main bedding so that you can actually remove the urine and avoid having the fumes from soaked in urine.

          Products like PDZ in urine areas also help.

          What I used to do when cleaning up a particularly piggy mare's stall was to take out the urine soaked shavings, sprinkle PDZ and leave it sit while I cleaned other stalls and then throw bedding back over.

          I would NOT tie together your rubber mats because as horses use certain areas more (like near where you feed), you'll likely need to bring in filler dirt/stone to level things out which requires pulling the mats up.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...

          Comment


          • #6
            i have these in my stalls. http://www.centaurdirect.com/winners...shmats3x6.aspx
            LOVE THEM. saves on shavings because the piddle drains through and doesn't puddle in the middle.
            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


            • #7
              The holes would probably just get clogged with muck and not do much draining eventually, and anything that seeps through the holes or seams is going to just hang around with the clay underneath. Better to soak up the urine before it goes through the mats, using pellets or sawdust, and remove it with stall cleaning. I don't see the value of zip tying the mats together...I just see catching the zip ties with the fork when cleaning and it would probably be the 2nd or 3rd day of that and I'd be cutting them off, cursing. If the floor is level and mats laid properly, they won't move around, unless you have a "special" horse like mine that pulls them up and eats them. But so far, he's the only one I've ever met or heard of!

              Comment


              • #8
                well if you drill holes then you will just have nasty pee under the mats and a stinky funky barn that will be an even bigger pita to clean because you will have to lift the mats every time. I would just put the pellets then enough bedding that you can to soak up the pee and clean it thoroughly daily. I also really like the granular Sweet PDZ to sprinkle on the wet spots after i clean them to keep the smell down.
                "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jaegermonster View Post
                  well if you drill holes then you will just have nasty pee under the mats and a stinky funky barn that will be an even bigger pita to clean because you will have to lift the mats every time. I would just put the pellets then enough bedding that you can to soak up the pee and clean it thoroughly daily. I also really like the granular Sweet PDZ to sprinkle on the wet spots after i clean them to keep the smell down.
                  i have clay under my 'wash stall' mats and have never had a problem with smell or pooling of urine. quite the opposite. the piddle seeps through the mats and unless you bed with sand or really fine sawdust type shavings, clogging isn't a problem. i used to have packed clay/stone dust stalls and every spring i had to redo them and repack the lumps and divets. before i built my barn, i boarded at a barn that had rubber mats over wood. yuck, the puddle of pee was soo disgusting that my poor boy ended up with crappy feet until i could get him out of there. i've had the 'wash stall' mats for almost 10 years and i would never go back to packed clay or 'plain' mats in the stalls.
                  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


                  • #10
                    I have rubber mats over packed dirt floors with a layer of sand on top. I have a gelding so this makes it easier....Since I've cleaned his stall for years I know where his preferred pee spot is. Under the mats I left a dip in the sand so the mat has a slight depression. I bed with fine shavings and pile them deep there and scrape them off the mat where he prefers to poop at the back of the stall. When he pees it runs into the dip and puddles there until it gets absorbed by the shavings. Each morning when I clean his stall I just scrape the dry shavings away from the wet ones, scoop up the wet shavings (all in one spot) and scoop poop and I'm done. I leave the wet spot bare for the day while horse is turned out so it can dry out.
                    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'd be afraid the holes would just clog up - and limestone pee-spots in my turnout paddock get very stinky - it does not neutralize odour at all.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by My2cents View Post
                        i have clay under my 'wash stall' mats and have never had a problem with smell or pooling of urine. quite the opposite. the piddle seeps through the mats and unless you bed with sand or really fine sawdust type shavings, clogging isn't a problem. i used to have packed clay/stone dust stalls and every spring i had to redo them and repack the lumps and divets. before i built my barn, i boarded at a barn that had rubber mats over wood. yuck, the puddle of pee was soo disgusting that my poor boy ended up with crappy feet until i could get him out of there. i've had the 'wash stall' mats for almost 10 years and i would never go back to packed clay or 'plain' mats in the stalls.
                        It's a wash stall, correct? So you dont have a horse in there for 10 or 12 or however many hours a day pooping and peeing right? And i would imagine if a horse does happen to pee in the wash stall once in a while that by the virtue of it being a wash stall the water from the washing would help to rinse away whatever would get funky, as opposed to it all just sitting under the mats stinking up the place.

                        I couldn't imagine having a wood floor in a BARN? much less putting mats over it. Gross.
                        "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I guess I didn't explain myself. I have the 'wash stall' mats IN my stalls. Packed clay and stone dust go under the mats. The piddle drains right through.
                          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


                          • #14
                            Plumcreek has described her system for drilling mats for stall drainage in the facilities she designs, including what to use for the base. Here is one thread where it is discussed, and I think there are others:

                            http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/ar.../t-236880.html
                            Hindsight bad, foresight good.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Badger View Post
                              Plumcreek has described her system for drilling mats for stall drainage in the facilities she designs, including what to use for the base. Here is one thread where it is discussed, and I think there are others:

                              http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/ar.../t-236880.html
                              Gee, thanks Badger!

                              I just saw this thread and scrolled to the bottom to comment. I am just about to re-level the first of my stalls I did with crushed rock and mats with drilled holes about 12 years ago. The mats have stayed in place very well, and no puddles of urine to clean.I would not use the wash mats, you want smaller holes to block the smell underneath, plus the wash mats are more expensive than the solid mats. It is way easier to fill existing stalls with crushed rock than a new barn, as cleaning dirt floored stalls wears a natural bowl in the center. I now recommend only 3/4" crushed rock as the 1/2" can get too roundish, no fines, and a vibrating plate tamper. Or if it is just me doing my own stall, I roll the wheel barrow full of rock back and forth over the the rock I dumped from the last load. The holes do not plug up if you fill them with very coarse sand at first, and I make them 3/4" so, even with shavings, they still drain.

                              At around $2.00 a square foot and some labor, I would not do stall floors any other way.

                              Since I also close up my barn overnight in winter, I do use some lime plus a pint or so of stall pellets on the pee spots, under the shavings - no ammonia smell at all in the morning.
                              Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                              www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Question for those who are draining pee thru the stall floors. Do you have any concerns or issues with the buried support stall and barn foundation posts always exposed to urine? I would be wondering if the posts are rotting at a faster rate than stalls where the urine was removed. Thoughts?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  what i find works really well is to use pelleted bedding in the pee spot under the straw. you cant use a ton as it mixes funny but an inch or so should work.

                                  also, i prefer not to use mats under straw, fwiw.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thank you all!

                                    So the consensus is to put down limestone first. I have enough in the budget for 1.5" of limestone. Is this enough? Too much? I will rent a tamper this weekend and tamp down my clay, insert limestone, tamp limestone down and lay mats. Good thing it's a three day weekend!

                                    mbm- just curious. If you use straw, what's under it?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      dirt. but we do have sandy loam.... but i *love* dirt in my stalls because it is easy to maintain, you can add dirt, scrape it if needed etc etc.

                                      it is also much nicer on the horses legs.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Count me as another one not into mats directly over clay. We did that at my grandparent's barn. It goes ok for a while, but you hit a point where the clay underneath gets saturated and does stop draining.

                                        When I worked at a barn, we used deep straw in the matted broodmare stalls. We always laid down half a bag of shavings in the pee spots. Kept things nice and dry.

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