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OK, convince me to do stall mats

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  • OK, convince me to do stall mats

    I have posted about this before, but was adamant that I hate rubber stall mats.
    After lots of research and lurking, I have come to realize they may be my best option.

    Situation: 11X15' stall, sand/clay natural base mixed with a large river stone top layer from previous property owners. I need to bring it up about 4-6" to level and even with the stall walls. Horse would spend nights in the stall and some days (due to weather and rotational turnout with other horses due to herd dynamics). Other stalls are simple dirt/clay floors that work well for me now, but I do have plans in the future to dig up and do "right".

    I have hated rubber mats because of the amount of shavings that is wasted since the urine has nowhere to go. I currently compost my manure, three horses, no tractor, so the thought of adding copious amounts of shavings to my already large piles is a big turnoff for me.

    Rubber mat fans: I want you to try to convince me they're the way to go, or give me suggestions for other kinds of stall floors.

  • #2
    Straw breaks down faster then shavings and into smaller amounts, here stall mats prevent sand colic. Works for me that alone.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have rubber stall mats in the stalls and in the barn aisle, and I'm grateful for them. Yes, you use bedding soaking up manure. BUT if you save the wear and tear on the stall floor. I have one horse who paws, so her stall was horrible in the last barn we owned (without stall mats). The rest of my guys don't paw, but they still wear low spots in their stalls. The mats help prevent that.

      I use wood pellet bedding in my wet/messy horse's stall, and that tends to compost quicker than shavings. I'm working on switching all my stalls over to the pellets actually.
      Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

      Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm not a mat fan, so I won't try to convince you to use them.

        As far as bedding material goes, I like straw best. Since it sounds like your existing base should drain well, can you look into something like the stable grids that get backfilled, and then you use whatever bedding you prefer over the top? My last BO had those and they seemed to work really well. The only issue I saw with them was that one panel did get pawed up, but the horse was on stall rest for a long time and he was NOT happy about it. Even with that, I liked it well enough that I'm probably going to install it in my barn one day. (Don't need it currently, as New Girl spends about 10 minutes inside per day - just long enough to eat!)

        This is the kind of thing I'm thinking of: http://www.hoofgrid.net/

        Comment


        • #5
          My stalls have mats. My one horse who comes in at night uses maybe 1 1/2 bags of shavings per week. I can't see how there is any waste there!

          These mats were put in when we built this stall about 8 years ago and they have not shifted one bit.

          After years and years of no mats I would never go back!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by bdj View Post
            This is the kind of thing I'm thinking of: http://www.hoofgrid.net/
            I've thought about those, and the stall skins, but don't you pack the grids and use a base of stone dust? I'd imagine that's super hard ground for a stall....

            Originally posted by vtdobes View Post
            My stalls have mats. My one horse who comes in at night uses maybe 1 1/2 bags of shavings per week. I can't see how there is any waste there!
            I just don't understand how this is possible! How big is your stall? My dirt floors use 1-1.5 bags/week (remember, I have 11X15' stalls), and the majority of urine seeps into the ground.

            Comment


            • #7
              How about stall mats prevent the bedding from being ground into the footing below so when you pick up your stalls, you pick up "only" soiled bedding instead of whatever you just brought in to level your stall? Another big concern I have is ammonia that seems to always permeate in the "drainage" type stalls.

              Oh by the way, my stalls are 15x16 and I use probably one bag or two bags of shaving per stall per week (depending on whether the resident is good house keeper or not). I also have concrete underneath the stall mats.

              Comment


              • #8
                Way back when I boarded where they had dirt floors and no mats, the dirt would get saturated with urine and the smell was awful, plus the dirt would get soft and churn up with the shavings. So there was a lot of dirty shavings going out anyway, and the air quality was awful. Since then, I have only been in matted stalls, whether over concrete, rock, or dirt. At home, my stalls are matted and I use pelleted bedding which composts really well. Of course, it helps that my horses have in/out stalls and mostly pee outside, so our stall cleanings are almost always manure only. Using pellets, the urine gets caught in one area that is easy to clean, like clumping kitty litter, so you don't take a whole lot out. Unless you have a churner, of course!

                I guess you could try doing one stall in mats and see how you like it before doing the whole barn. Less $ and effort up front to do a trial run, and if you hate them, you could sell the mats on CL or use them elsewhere. Just a thought.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I horse sit for a barn that is all mats stalls and aisle. The BO has a system of only putting shavings where the horse urinates. The rest of the mats are swept clean. The barn is immaculate! I can clean 4 stalls in 20 min and only use 3 muck buckets. She uses about half a wheelbarrow of shavings a day for ALL 3 stalls. Granted the horses are only in at night but wow! No sores on the horses from laying down and most of hers are elderly retirees. No smell either.
                  If I ever get to bring Miss Mare home I will most definatly do this at my place.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                    I just don't understand how this is possible! How big is your stall? My dirt floors use 1-1.5 bags/week (remember, I have 11X15' stalls), and the majority of urine seeps into the ground.
                    My stalls are 10x12....and I DO have Morgan ponies Only one pee spot which I don't think wastes too much shavings.

                    It also helps that since they are at home I can go out at 8pm to feed and then again at 5am so they are not locked in as long as a boarding barn.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I lived with hard-pack clay stalls for 7 years before I finally had enough saved up to do 'em right. Brought in loads of M-10, rented the tamper and laid the mats. Hallelujah, I'll never go back to dirt.

                      They drain right because the prep was done right.

                      I chose Equine Pine pellets, instead of shavings, for the ease of use and to ensure the manure pile remains small and composts quickly.

                      So much easier to pick. Faster too. Not even wee pooplets escape me!
                      <>< 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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have gone from stone dust stall floors to mats and will never go back. Hated the smell because, yes the urine drains below the bedding, but the odor stays in the stone. And hated trying to clean the uneven floor that results from a horse walking or pawing - the holes meant that I had to bed deeper too.

                        I also wasn't a big fan of mats I had seen in other barns either because they always seemed to be shifting and popping up in the corners - made cleaning a chore and didn't seem too safe or comfortable for the horses.

                        When we built our barn I went with interlocking stall mats and love them. Nice even floor that is easy to clean with no shifting at all in the 5 years we have had them. Most days I only take about a 1/2 muck bucket out of each stall - horses are in all night - and if there is a super wet spot I will put down some PDZ to freshen and the barn smells great.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ditto on the interlocking mats. Got mine from TSC and they are great.

                          I have five stalls and they all have stall grids, which drain wonderfully and the stall floors stay nice and flat. But they are harder than mats, so I felt like I could use less shavings with mats over them. So I put interlocking mats over the stall grids in two stalls, and wow, I love that combination. The interlocking mats lie so nice and flat. You would think that the interlocking parts would pop up but they don't at all. I laid mine pretty carefully though on a very flat hard surface (stall grids).

                          I'm sure the interlocking mats would be just as nice over a properly prepared base.
                          Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            have been a boarder at barns all my horsey life....but have learned FROM those varied locations/barns that I would always WANT stall mats....yes, my biggie was: when I could afford my own, they would have to be interlocking. As I build the little ghetto barn, this was my first/foremost priority. Bluestone was packed/leveled and interlocking installed over that. I have it in my stalls, my aisle (edge to edge) my 12x24 run in, and soon to be installed: in my outdoor washrack/groom area. I always found that the mat flooring allowed such EASIER clean up and so much LESS waste, as the need for bedding is so much less, and can be removed so easily. Your results may vary!
                            ayrabz
                            "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                            --Jimmy Buffett

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                              I've thought about those, and the stall skins, but don't you pack the grids and use a base of stone dust? I'd imagine that's super hard ground for a stall....
                              They honestly didn't seem any harder than any other well compressed stall flooring I've seen. Don't forget, if you install mats properly, they're going to be on a seriously tamped down base (or, as some folks have, concrete) as well. The "cushion" in a gridded stall is going to come from the bedding, not so much the base. I don't have any personal experience with matted stalls, but since I prefer straw as bedding, my stalls have to have some way for urine to drain, and the grids allow for that, and keep the pee spots from becoming pee craters. I figure a hard, flat, well drained base is better than one that's not so hard packed, but is uneven...

                              For those that prefer mats, do you find that they get slippery in the wet spots? I've contemplated mats in the run-in, but worried that if they got wet, they could be slick, especially if you didn't have any bedding on top, or if the bedding got pushed aside.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by ChocoMare View Post
                                They drain right because the prep was done right.
                                Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
                                Ditto on the interlocking mats. Got mine from TSC and they are great.

                                I have five stalls and they all have stall grids, which drain wonderfully and the stall floors stay nice and flat.
                                Originally posted by KnKShowmom View Post
                                I have gone from stone dust stall floors to mats and will never go back. Hated the smell because, yes the urine drains below the bedding, but the odor stays in the stone.
                                OK, so I'm still confused.

                                Does the urine "drain" through the spaces in between rubber mats (as indicated in the first quotes) or does it not drain at all (as indicated in the 3rd quote)??? Because if it drained between the mats, it will still be lingering in the stone dust base underneath...
                                Either way, the odor isn't a huge issue in my barn because all of the walls are open (I live in the deep south). The walls in this stall will only be 7' high all around, so excellent air flow. But I do get the odor point of dirt/clay floors.

                                Also, I have a horse that lays down a lot because of an old injury. I would not be doing his stall with the mats (he's one of the dirt floors that would be redone at a later time), but just in case... When I have boarded at places that have the stall mats, he got wicked rug burn from getting up and down all the time. I would have to put 8 bags of shavings in his stall. The dirt floor, not so much. Was it specific to that one barn's stall mats?? Do any of you mat-lovers have horses that spend a lot of time getting up/down? I realize it's probably a stretch.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Urine does drain somewhat thru the spaces in the mats (I don't have interlocking) but 90% is absorbed by the pellets and I bed deep enough so that the bedding does its job first.

                                  I, too, am in the South with totally open-air stalls.

                                  For your injured guy that lays down a lot, I'd find a way to bed deep -- maybe the deep litter system with Peat Moss (especially in the winter)?
                                  <>< 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.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I have had mats in the stalls for over twenty years. Mats are over concrete pavers.

                                    I will bed with three different grades of shavings ranging from near saw dust to large flakes....most stalls are bedded with a medium grade. If I want the horse to have more comfort I increase the large flakes, if I need easier clean up more near dust.... just depends on if the horse is a related to a pig or not.

                                    If I have to convence you to use mats that will not happen as in your mind you do not want to use mats and that's OK

                                    The reason we used mats in our barn was the training farms we worked at in Kentucky all had dirt floored stalls or rather they were pits enlcosed to look as it they were stalls. The stalls floors could never be kept level.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by clanter View Post
                                      I have had mats in the stalls for over twenty years. Mats are over concrete pavers.

                                      I will bed with three different grades of shavings ranging from near saw dust to large flakes....most stalls are bedded with a medium grade. If I want the horse to have more comfort I increase the large flakes, if I need easier clean up more near dust.... just depends on if the horse is a related to a pig or not.

                                      If I have to convence you to use mats that will not happen as in your mind you do not want to use mats and that's OK

                                      The reason we used mats in our barn was the training farms we worked at in Kentucky all had dirt floored stalls or rather they were pits enlcosed to look as it they were stalls. The stalls floors could never be kept level.
                                      Do you have any picture of the concrete pavers you use under mats?
                                      Thank you.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                        Do you have any picture of the concrete pavers you use under mats?
                                        Thank you.
                                        it appears the specific product we used is discouninued but it similar to this


                                        http://www.pavestone.com/conlock-ii-4-closed-cell/

                                        Each brick is a large I shape of 8,000 PSI concrete that interlocks with the others .... we bought what deemed to be factory thirds. They had been in open storage for an extended time period causing variation of the color... we were not concerned about the color as they were just used to floor our barn.

                                        The cost was a faction of poured concrete. We installed them ourself.

                                        Comment

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