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Stalling over concrete....???

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  • Stalling over concrete....???

    Ok, a friend and I are discussing converting an outbuilding she has into a barn. It is a metal structure previously used for storing large vehicles, and could make a great horse barn.

    The floor is entirely concrete. We initially identified two options: Breaking out the concrete or installing one of the many available "stall mattress" options. We have not gotten quotes on breaking out the concrete, so we are not sure which is most economical.

    However... Today I was speaking to another friend. She has boarded horses throughout Europe. In many of the places she boarded, the horses were stalled on concrete lined with thick rubber mats (not the "stall mattresses", just mats) and thick bedding. She said that in some places, the horses were kept in for hours on end, and only a few times did she see her horse stock up behind.

    My questions:

    1. Does anyone have any experience in stalling on concrete with just rubber mats? I am very leery of this option, but maybe I'm misinformed..?

    2. If a horse had free access between a dry lot (complete with overhang from the barn that provides cover) and a stall with rubber mats and bedding over concrete, do you think they would self-regulate to prevent stocking up/soreness? I think they would.. but... We will be addressing the concrete issue (either removing it or getting mattresses), but I'd like to know if this is an option.

    Final Furlong Racehorse Retirement

  • #2
    My stalls have rubber mats over concrete.

    I bed with shavings. All my stalls are run-outs, but during the day I sweep the shavings up against the wall to air out the floor. The horses often opt to come inside for shade and to escape the bugs.

    Stocking up is virtually non existent at my barn. I've had horses here for over 12 years.


    • #3
      I've just bedded right over the concrete, no mats, just straw bedding. Now with the free housing, the horse STILL chooses to sleep on the now dust encrusted concrete rather than the dirt floor in the rest of the building. I often caught him standing in a corner dozing away the heat of the afternoon - right on the concrete and no problems, no stocking up, nothing. This isn't new either, the horses years ago were on the same concrete floor with no problems.
      Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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      • #4
        Good mats over concrete and lots of shavings should not be a problem at all. I've seen many barns like that. Especially converted cattle barns.
        I would however consider insulating the roof if you haven't already, as barns with metal roofs can be very hot.


        • Original Poster

          Wow, I had no idea that stalling over concrete was this common! Especially for longer periods of time. Interesting...

          Looking forward to reading more responses, and thank you to those who responded.
          Final Furlong Racehorse Retirement


          • #6
            My stalls are mostly mats over concrete bedded w/shavings (a few stalls are mats over wood). One of my run-ins has mats over concrete as it is part of an old barn. I do not keep my horses inside much at all (usually literally a few days a year), but I have never had a problem w/stocking up or anything else. And I have not noticed a difference between the horses on the wood/mats versus the concrete/mats.
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            • #7
              Going to go against the grain here and say that, no, I would not put my horse in a stall that has a concrete base, even with a thick mat and shavings on top. Nope. If you can afford to remove it, I would do so.
              Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!


              • #8
                Very common around here to have concrete floor, stall mats and then bedding. Better to leave the concrete imo, because it's easier to convert the building back to whatever it was before, if necessary.
                Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                • #9
                  I have been keeping horses on cement for over 30 years with no problem. One stall is wood with mats and sawdust. I have sawdust in the stalls with cement. I have 1 horse who is on stall rest now for over a month with a couple of weeks more to go. she has had no problems with swelling of soreness.


                  • #10
                    I imagine my barn has concrete floors but we have the matress type things. Our last barn had mats over concrete but they constantly had to clean out the shavings that got under the matts or they would start to lift at the corners.


                    • #11
                      Concrete is a great base, but my personal preference is to put a soft stall on top, my horse loves his.


                      • #12
                        You would be doing your horse's legs a favour by leaving the concrete and putting mats on top. 33 years keeping horses on this surface and never had a leg problem. A solid, level surface prevents the problems encountered with uneven floors. At school, quarry tiles and straw were the PREFERRED surface.
                        ... _. ._ .._. .._


                        • #13
                          In choosing a boarding facility, stalls over concrete is a big turnoff for me. The usual boarding place around here would use cheap mats and not much bedding, so that doesn't work for me. When I did board at one place with concrete, I added a second layer of mats of my own and that was tolerable. When weather prevented turning the horses out much, I noticed my horses with the double mats and larger stalls were a lot less stocked up and sore afterwards compared to the others.

                          That being said, if I was going to convert a barn as you have described and have the stalls with runs off of them (so not really locking them up that much), I wouldn't be so worried about it. I would spend the money on good thick mats or the mattress type (friend has the latter in her foaling stalls and they are quite nice and not that hard to put in -- in fact, being on concrete probably makes it easier to do).


                          • #14
                            I have just the situation you are describing--two stalls on concrete, rubber mats over, nicely bedded with access to a covered 12 x 24 overhang opening out onto a dry lot (40 x 60ish) that in turn goes out to a pasture.

                            My boys are in 12 hours a night from October to May generally and neither one has suffered any ill effects from their stalls.

                            I think people freak out a bit too much over it, frankly. Good mats, good bedding (doesn't have to be all that deep) and access to turnout is essentially all you need. Seriously--how "giving" could packed dirt/gravel be in comparison? Yeah, yeah, I've stood on concrete to work in a restaurant job. Compared to standing on carpet over concrete, it was a bit more wearing...but not much!
                            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                              I have just the situation you are describing--two stalls on concrete, rubber mats over, nicely bedded with access to a covered 12 x 24 overhang opening out onto a dry lot (40 x 60ish) that in turn goes out to a pasture.

                              My boys are in 12 hours a night from October to May generally and neither one has suffered any ill effects from their stalls.

                              I think people freak out a bit too much over it, frankly. Good mats, good bedding (doesn't have to be all that deep) and access to turnout is essentially all you need. Seriously--how "giving" could packed dirt/gravel be in comparison? Yeah, yeah, I've stood on concrete to work in a restaurant job. Compared to standing on carpet over concrete, it was a bit more wearing...but not much!

                              I have my stalls compacted dirt and gravel they have thick rubber mats over them, the soft stall does have more give. The local vet hospital is made out of all concrete had thick rubber mats, the mats were removed and soft stalls were installed, they found the horses really were more comfortable on the mattresses. I think it is a personal preference situation.


                              • #16
                                We have mats over concrete and bed with shavings. Mats in the aisleways, so horses don't slip on the concrete (especially when their feet are wet.)


                                • #17
                                  Mine are on concrete with mats, with 12x24 run-outs (and turnout). Even in the worst of the winter when we couldn't turn out but for an hour or so in the arena each day, I had no problems. And my retiree is prone to stocking up, so if that was GOING to be an issue, it would have been with him.

                                  We bed with pellets, but not any thicker than "normal" (if there is a "normal" where horse people are concerned... ).

                                  You do want to get mats cut precisely to fit, and be prepared to have to pull them sometimes to clean underneath. (How often depends on the horse and their stall habits - my messy boy is every six months or so, but my girl who prefers to use her run-out is once a year or less.)
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                                  • #18
                                    Another one on concrete and no matts and horses still alive and well.

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                                    • #19
                                      One horse we have lives in a barn with a a cement floor with a rubber mat over it. He is in for 8 hours, more if the weather is bad. Before we got him he had massive back/rear end damage and he has never had any problem with stocking up and he is very sound. My first pony lived at this same barn for over 20 years and he never ever stocked up either. I did not know what it was until I worked at a different barn that had wood and dirt floors. I think it is the horses and how they are used/cared for, not the floors.


                                      • #20
                                        As long as the surface isn't mirror smooth, then AFAIK there's no reason not to have concrete flooring in a stable, the yard my first pony was at was constructed from 'reclaimed' out buildings, and all have concrete floors, don't recall any problems, and we didn't have rubber mats. Bedding was either straw or deep litter shavings. Pretty sure my current yard also has concrete floors...
                                        Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride, friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity? - The horse. (R.Duncan)