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Permanent Bedding for Run-In

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  • Permanent Bedding for Run-In

    I have two pasture kept horses, aged 20 and 22. We had a Cover-All lean-to that was destroyed by high winds two winters ago. At that point, we let the horses have access to part of the hay barn with plans for something more permanent outside later on. Unfortunately, we almost lost our house due to an APR and the money had to be used elsewhere. So now they've been in there much longer than I anticipated. It has no drainage and they are using it as a bathroom most of the time. Not to mention that when the snow melts or it rains, that part of the barn partially floods.

    This spring/summer I plan on building a proper lean-to and get them out of the barn. I'd like to install a permanent bedding so they have a better place to lay down. I don't want to use shavings/pellets. I'm going to have it done with a divider and gates so I can have two stalls when needed. I had looked into "Equidry", but they seem to be out of business. Someone told me about ProChoice SoilMaster Red (baseball fields use them), but now a few years later, it hasn't worked well for them. Had anyone used Dry Stall for something like this? Any other suggestions?

  • #2
    I don't think there is any such thing as permanent bedding.

    You can put in something for ease of cleaning, but it won't be good for laying down in, or something for that, and you still will need to clean it.


    • #3
      You could do the ComfortStall mats in there and maybe slightly pitch it so when they pee it runs out? Won't help with the manure though...
      When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


      • #4
        What, exactly, are you looking for with the bedding choice? What properties would the perfect bedding have if you could get "perfect"? Drainage? Comfort? Cost? Ease of cleaning? Durability? Fly/odor reduction? Compost-ability? Availability? Ease of storage? You won't get all of them, but it would help to make suggestions if we knew which ones were really important to you.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
          You could do the ComfortStall mats in there and maybe slightly pitch it so when they pee it runs out? Won't help with the manure though...
          Cow beds?


          • #6
            The best way to deal with water in the barn is to keep it out in the first place. I had problems with water running into my barn too. I dug a channel (shallow ditch) for water to run around the barn and in addition added some large railroad ties around that side of the barn and made shallow berms in front of them so the water would be blocked from entering the barn. This system has been in place for 10 years and I only have to maintain the ditch every now and again.

            There is no magic bedding that you can put into the barn permanantly that will not need to be cleaned. Once you get the water problem solved (doesn't take money just a shovel) you can use any kind of bedding that suits you. I like shavings over top of rubber mats. You still have to clean it daily though.

            As far as stall footing goes...sand and clay mix works well here in the south.
            "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."


            • #7
              If you *really* went all out on a good drainage base, the same way you would for ring footing, you might be able to get away with a deep bed of very coarse sand.

              The base would have to really drain well, and the sand be coarse enough to not hold moisture (ie: urine) and you'd have to be diligent about picking manure and turning the sand so the pee spots had a chance to dry. I'm not sure if you could rinse the whole thing once in a while, or just make do with tossing damp sand to the edges to dry and scrape dry sand into the damp areas, and treat as needed with lime or PDZ or similar.

              I think it'd be as much work though as using pellets (unfluffed makes them do the job better, esp if you only put them in the usual pee spots) or sawdust and stripping every so often.

              I use my dirt floor stalls as run-ins, and to separate for feeding. They are rarely locked in for longer than 1/2 an hour so I usually don't bed them. Two of my horses like to stand inside a lot and for those guys I use the unfluffed pellets in the wet areas. I pick piles daily, give the pellets a stir, and only take out what's obviously wet and discolored. I use a bag of pellets every two weeks per stall, more or less. I think that's about as easy as it gets, short of hiring someone else to do it


              • #8
                At a previous facility, the horses had stalls with rubber mats and a very thin layer of the pelleted pine bedding. About 2" of bedding. They learned to not use the stalls as a potty because urine would splash on them with the thin bedding. My horse went from "he who would immediately pee and poop once stalled" to "he who holds it til he gets back out in the pasture". They were only stalled for feeding or if the weather was really horrible, and of course if they were locked in for some time they would of course use their stalls when nature called. The thin layer of pelleted bedding was easy to pick when needed, and not very expensive. And it lasted a looooong time once they learned it didn't make a good toilet.

                If it got really cold we had the option of bedding deeper. In hot summer, we sometimes didn't bed at all. But they were not in much at all in the summer; the barn was out in the sun and the uninsulated roof made the barn unbearable...


                • #9
                  We have shelters for our horses, and have had for a couple of decades, and I think I can say with great assurance, there is no permanent bedding. We tried dry stall one year, and I watched many bags disappear. Pellets and shavings don't last three days, because the horses don't necessarily step outside to poop. I wouldn't put sand on the floor because they eat in there and I wouldn't want them picking hay and sand up after they have thrown the hay out of the big tubs. The best we have done is put overhangs on the shelters so the water drains away from the floor, and we have railroad ties around one, with a slightly raised floor. That way they stay dry.
                  Mystic Owl Sporthorses


                  • #10
                    I recently took in a horse from the giveaways forum. He is 26 years old and is a recreational pee-er. He comes into his stall to pee and the more bedding I put in the more he uses it as a bathroom. But I have found that he LOVES to sleep in the sandpit.

                    I had a large load of sand delivered years ago and there is only a 10x10 area left but it was a depression originally. Now it is a bowl basically that is just sand. He uses his lovely stall as a potty and sleeps outside in his sandpit. He prefers it that way and we are fine with that. After almost 30 years he can do whatever floats his boat.

                    If you are going to do a run-in/shelter maybe plan a place for them to laydown outside. They are probably going to do that anyway.

                    There is a member on here (I forgot who) that built a sand box for her horses out of cross ties. It looked nice and her horses loved it.
                    Last edited by Weighaton; Mar. 1, 2010, 02:16 PM. Reason: **


                    • #11
                      Wow, wish I could have gotten equidry here, but they never shipped out here, sorry to hear they went out of business. I think her name is Debbie Hayne that wrote the book the perfect stall, loved equidry also but came up with an alternative. What she said to do was using enough to make it 8" deep was use 60% peat and 40% topsoil mix it really well together and bed the stall with it. she did say to till the bedding everyday to mix up the wet spot so air could get to it. Go to the website theperfectstall.com then go to updates to see more about this system
                      Last edited by pardnersfarm; Mar. 1, 2010, 02:32 PM. Reason: spelling


                      • #12
                        Don't know about your horses, but mine chose to have their bathroom as far away from where they eat as they can - i.e. the other end of the paddock. But they have a sandpile that encourages them as they don't get splashed. I'm sure they would come IN to pee if it was not so.
                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                        • #13
                          When I redid the floor in my shed, we dug down several inches and put a layer of large stone with a layer of crushed limestone on top of that. I got the idea from Horsekeeping on Small Acreage. It was like a large litter box for years and drained beantifully. Just had to pick up the manure. Gradually, it drained less well as the horses both pee'd in the same spot and compacted the limestone. So I just started laying down pellets in the pee spots. Replaced the limestone last year, but it still does not drain like it used to. I think I would need to dig it all up again and I'm not sure it would be worth it.


                          • #14
                            The trouble of a pee spot on limestone is that it smells - especially in summer.
                            I tried liming it, but not that successfully.
                            When we had hog fuel, there was no smell, but it needed replacing all the time.
                            What IS the perfect answer? - sigh.
                            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                              What IS the perfect answer? - sigh.


                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by pardnersfarm View Post
                                Wow, wish I could have gotten equidry here, but they never shipped out here, sorry to hear they went out of business. I think her name is Debbie Hayne that wrote the book the perfect stall, loved equidry also but came up with an alternative.
                                Sounds like they had a lot of administrative problems from what little I've been able to find online. I got the idea from "The Perfect Stall" by Karen Hayes, DVM. Dry Stall is basically the same product from what I can see. I don't have the equipment to till for the topsoil/peat. And if I did, I'd have to run an extension cord from the garage daily...

                                Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                What, exactly, are you looking for with the bedding choice? What properties would the perfect bedding have if you could get "perfect"? Drainage? Comfort? Cost? Ease of cleaning? Durability? Fly/odor reduction? Compost-ability? Availability? Ease of storage? You won't get all of them, but it would help to make suggestions if we knew which ones were really important to you.
                                Drainage, comfort, fly/odor reduction are musts.

                                Cost wouldn't be an issue if you have to replace ~10% yearly, compost wouldn't be a problem as you'd only lose a little of it, storage wouldn't be an issue.

                                It'd still have to be picked out, obviously. When I have the lean-to built, I am going to have the area raised up so water shouldn't be getting in. It's coming in the barn due to the trench they've made in the yard. Once they are out of here and I can close it off again, it won't be an issue.

                                I don't plan on closing them in on a regular basis, just when necessary, ie vet/farrier, when I want to ride one and not pony the other, etc. I'll have to look up the ComfortStall mats. But I'd like to give them something nice to lay in if they wish, you know?


                                • #17
                                  I have a 10' x 36' horse porch attached to my barn, and in the winter especially my group spends a LOT of time hanging out there. The area is surrounded by old RR ties, so it stays just a bit higher and drier than the surrounding dirt paddock.

                                  The "bedding" is a mixture of dirt, sand, and bedding pellets, unsoaked. The sand/dirt mix is the natural soil around here. (thank you God) and I add anywhere from 1-6 bags of pellets every month or two to keep the mixture the way I like it--not too dirty, not too sandy, not too sawdust-y. I pick it out almost every day and once in a while I have to dig up a really wet spot, but not too often. The horses sometimes lie down in it, usually not. When the weather is snowy, it gets full of snow; when it's wet, it gets a little muddy; and when it's very dry, it gets a little dusty. But it's just about right most of the time. I like that the horses always have a higher, drier place to stand in the wet months, and a little bit of shade and softer footing in the dry months.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    I have sorta the same issue...

                                    At my farm there is an existing structure that is a garage, stall and run-in shed. The building (put in long before I started renting the facility) was put in too low and has drainage issues.

                                    Thankfully the stall (which I only use for storage as of now) doesn't flood but the run-in stays mucky.

                                    I've also noticed that although the run in is very small for my 2 TBs they enjoying being in it and are nice enough to walk across the field into the run-in to go #2

                                    It's so mucky and poopy in there right now I've just sort of given up and when my guy comes back to finish the excavation for the new barn (a small run-in, stall, tack room combo) I'm going to have him pull all that stuff out and fill it up with stone

                                    I've also found that they only like to pee in their sacrifice area (in front of the run-in with a stone dust base) which is charming as well!
                                    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                    • #19
                                      My dream run-in would include the use of Hoof-Grid or Stable-Grid with crushed gravel as a base layer, then pea gravel over the top for "cushion." You can pick the poop and then rinse the gravel to help with the pee.



                                      Installation video:



                                      • #20
                                        We have EquiTerr(aka Grassy Pavers) grid
                                        under the mats in several of our run-in stalls, backfilled with sand and rubber matted over. Makes a much more resilient bed for my old guy, and it does drain well for the horses who do pee in their stall. We do bed with pine pellets too - and the former poster was right, no such thing as "no maintenance shed floors". Poop happens!

                                        We have also used the same product for just outside the barn aisleway doors, which get so much traffic, and put it in a "lounging place/sand bed" outside the big foaling stall - the mare who owns the stall LOVES to pee out there in the sand we put down over the grid! Since she's a fifty-five gallon drum with legs, that's a nice added attraction The grid sure helps keep the sand from migrating so badly down the slope of that paddock. Nice in gate areas, too, keeps the usual mudholes from developing.

                                        We do keep a sand bed for several, especially the stallions, who don't get as much "out time" as the others do. They love to sack out and take long naps on their sand piles. And, of course they pee there too
                                        Homesick Angels Farm
                                        breeders of champion Irish Draught Sporthorses
                                        standing Manu Forti's Touch Down RID