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Best way to level stalls for rubber mats?

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  • Best way to level stalls for rubber mats?

    Dirt or gravel?

    Would love feedback. Thank you.
    Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist

  • #2
    I'm curious about this too.


    • #3
      Originally posted by VirginiaBred View Post
      Dirt or gravel?

      Would love feedback. Thank you.
      Stonedust. It'll fill holes and packs hard. Dirt and gravel will both move more easily under the mats, in my experience. We did our stalls with stone dust three years ago and they're still practically perfect.
      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


      • #4
        We used stone dust and it worked great...dampen it a bit and tamp level.


        • #5
          Stone dust here too. Without a doubt.



          • #6
            yeah we use stone dust over sand that was leveled then sand again and concrete interlocking pavers then the stall mats

            The little barn is only 24 by 36 but has 100,000 pounds of stone, sand and pavers on the floor.


            • #7
              Stone dust, wet and tamp level.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you! Is that sold in bags?
                Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist


                • #9
                  Rent a POWER TAMPER to do the hard work for you. It can shake the air out of your ground fill, pack down the stone or dirt you are using. I recommend using it about every 4" of fill you lay down. Get each layer firmly packed down, then do the next layer.

                  We ran a 2'x4", 12ft long, both length and width wise, over the top stonedust surface, with a long level on it, to make sure the top layer was actually FLAT. You use the 2' side on the ground, so you can push off high places as you pull it across the stall. You want a full span length of board so it catches the whole width and length of the stall, while keeping those center bubbles in the middle of the level's lines. Does sound rather "picky", but you figure that any dirt under a horse, mats or not, is going to settle a bit more with time. Starting with floor as level as possible, will reduce the amount of holes or any low spots that can develop under the mats.

                  Tampers are not real hard to use, though a bit heavy to load and unload out of the truck. I have rented them for garden paths, as well as the stall leveling. Make sure the rental guy shows you how to turn it on and off. Make a LOT of passes over the stonedust or other layers, to get them packed as hard as possible.

                  Power tamper does a MUCH better job than hand tamping could think of doing!! Weighs more, vibration of the plate works your fill down into empty spaces. This packing dirt and fill is the job a power tamper is designed to do. Easier on YOU than slamming a hand tamper down 10,000 times!


                  • #10
                    We used stone at first, machine tamped it too. Critters (rats primarily) have benn able to dig away under the mats and cause movement and pockets. We are now in the process of floating each stall with concrete. I like the concrete WAAYYYY better. I wish I would have done the whole barn in concrete from the start!


                    • #11
                      I had cement poured so I wouldn't have the rodent problems, really don't have a problem here, but wanted to stay flat, had done stone then sand years ago and it pealed up over time a huge pita. Ended up pulling the mats out, and eventually getting the cement and doing it right.


                      • #12
                        Ditto on renting the mechanical tamper. Yes, you'll vibrate for two days afterwards, but it is soooooo worth it.
                        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                        • #13
                          Stone dust ~ rent power Tamper ~
                          Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                          • #14
                            Another vote for stone dust and mechanical compacting - in our area dirt = clay and you don't want that under your mats. Stone dust will drain and smell better too.

                            Call Boxley Materials and ask for stone dust - if you tell them the measurements of areas (LxWxD) you want to fill they will tell you how much you need and deliver it.

                            We had a dump truck load set outside the barn and wheel barrowed into the stalls. Anything that was left over was used around the barn in the walking areas.


                            • #15
                              Years ago I put in stall grids over crushed granite. Then filled and packed the grids with same material. They have held up extremely well, but in one stall, I decided to try some mats over the stall grids for extra cushioning. I spent the extra money and got the interlocking ones from Tractor Supply. This is the best stall ever!!!! Love the interlocking mats. They lie perfectly flat. I installed them four or five months ago, and no issues at any of the interlocks.
                              Last edited by ToTheNines; Feb. 18, 2013, 12:31 PM.
                              Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


                              • #16
                                We use stone dust too. We've never rented a tamper, but there is a definite advantage to doing so. If you're not going to do the tamper, level as best you can, and water every day to settle the stone. refill low spots as needed and re-water before the mats go down. Eventually the mats will have to come up and be re-leveled, but it depends on the horse. I've got one stall that has never had to be fixed (neat-freak horse) in the 11 years it's been in use, but generally we'll re-level a stall every couple/few years.

                                My favorite stall is one that has those plastic stall grid things in it. A friend decided they didn't like them, so we re-used them. They're perfect for the little mare who lives in that stall. She pees a lot and it drains well. And she hasn't harmed or moved them with her impatient pawing.


                                • #17
                                  we used gravel, and out of 16 stalls only have ever had shifting problems in one stall. and that's over.....gosh, almost 3 years.
                                  Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                                  Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!


                                  • #18
                                    Yes, you can buy stone dust in bags, but you really don't want to do that except for when you need to add a bit in a very small area. Get a truckload delivered (figure out how many cubic yards you need and order that). Deposit it in the stalls by wheelbarrow or small tractor bucket if space permits. Rent the tamper (here it's called a plate compactor). It's really easy to use so you can't really get it wrong. Level it with a 12' 2x4 or something similar. If you are not comfortable doing the leveling and compacting you can get a local landscape company to do the labor, since it is the same thing they do day in and day out when prepping sites for laying pavers.


                                    • #19
                                      and make sure you have help lined up.....moving stone in any form is miserable if you don't have enough people to get it done, otherwise it takes forever and will kill your back. Machinery is an awesome thing here.
                                      Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                                      Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. These are stalls that were created back in the 60's so.......been there a while.
                                        Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist