I like a dirt/sand mix, maybe with some clay mixed in (but not too much) to pack it. That will absorb urine and can be dug out, removed and replaced with clean fill. We use a product called Sweet PDZ in either granular or powder form that quickly deoderizes and absorbs the remaining urine/amonia.
I use clean wood shavings for bedding but straw in the foaling stall.
In the UK it is the normal thing to have concrete floors and have no leg problems because they are 'hard'. Then again we are inclined to bed a great deal deeper than in the USA.
The reason I would dislike dirt floors is because you cannot sterilise them, they wear into all sorts of dips so become unlevelled. It needs clearing out periodically and replacing.
Concrete stays where it is, bedding absorbs any urine, it can be power washed out, swept daily and has no ammonia from the urine hanging around.
I work in a barn where we have both. I much prefer the concrete floors with thick rubber mats. The concrete stalls we do put deeper bedding in but overall they stay much cleaner and smell less. Therefor the stalls with concrete floors are kept for the seniors and very young horses. On a regular basis or after a horse has been sick we can disenfect the whole stall without making a huge muddy mess.
The dirt floors do absorb liquid and have to be maintained a lot more. They will settle & compact as to not be level and I do not feel they can ever be properly sanitized. Which tends to give me a case of the ickies if one gets perticularily wet and muddy for some reason.....i swear it is the only time I am ever "weird" about germs
I don't know, I can't imagine what it would be like having dirt as the base in a stall. At my barn it;s also concrete with rubber mats, and then a lovely thick bed of shavings. The horses seem very comfortable and lie down.
We built our barn ourselves, and I wanted dirt floors, but my husband wanted concrete and won. I love it! We have thick stall mats and use lots of shavings and it is so easy to clean, and never smells. I remember digging out dirt stalls, and the stench... I love concrete. My horse can go out day or night though, so that also helps relieve leg strain.