Help!! Stall grids & rubber mat overkill? Save my marriage!
My wife and I are building a horse barn for our daughter. We know very little about horses. She is somewhat learning disabled and will be with us probably as long as we are around. She loves her horse, but now that she is done with school, and she is working, she needs "someone" to come home too!
As a dentist I would rather over-engineer something, rather than have to do it again. Doing something over again is expensive, a waste of time, and very aggravating!
My wife and I have poured over threads here about flooring options. We were at a horse expo at the Farmshow Building in Harrisburg, Pa yesterday. I hear lots of conflicting opinions. This is what I have sort of come up with: heavy plastic covering the pit, french drains (draining to the outside of the barn, #2b limestone (driveway variety), ground limestone dust tamped down with the thing that looks like jackhammers with a flat base, a stall grid, more ground limestone dust, then covered with a 3/4" rubber mat.
This may seem like overkill, but if I am paying 90 grand on a barn, what the heck and spend maybe 2 grand more and be done with it!
Or is this way overkill. Part of me agrees with the people who put rubber mats on cement, and like it just fine (what I heard mostly at the Horseshow yesterday)! This philosophy seems to follow the KISS principle very well!
But are there some unseen problems with the complex design that I came up with in order to addresses everybody's concerns I read in these threads?
Thanks to all!
In my stalls I have clay, then chat, then mats. Very happy with that. I would suggest the largest mats you can get. I used to have 4 x6' mats and they moved all the time, had to rearrange them all the time. Now we have 6 X 12" mats and I love them. Mats custom to your stall would even be better.
Please forgive me...... what is chat?
We have mats over concrete where I board and do all the stall cleaning.
Stalls that aren't completely matted or the mats are able to move a bit get stinky/disgusting fast. I'm forever pulling up/cleaning the mats and SCRAPING the concrete as whatever gets under the mat becomes as hard as concrete. My horse's stall where I cut the mats a tad too big and then pounded them in with a rubber mallet is perfect. As long as I keep a good base of shavings to absorb the pee, there is no smell, no mat slippage and while the mats still need to be pulled up and everything clean yearly.... yearly is a heckuva lot better than doing it monthly like I do for other stalls.
Where I used to board had mats over packed dirt. Absolute WORST set up possible. Was either incredibly muddy, stinky and disgusting or the dirt dried hard as a rock and very unevenly so the horses were literally tripping over the mat edges.
It might be called screenings or minus in your area. It packs very well and doesn't move under the mats when packed down.
Our stalls have six 1ft diameter x 6th deep holes filled with pea gravel, followed by another 2in layer of pea gravel. Then we placed Equi-terr grid system with some gravel and tamped in with sand. This system worked amazing for the first 3 years, then the ground began to get saturated and the urine didn't drain as well. Regardless of drainage, having a level floor that cannot be ruined by hooves or pee-holes is a major major plus.
Over this last summer, our town experienced record flooding, we were not able to really clean the stall floors and the water table had changed so much that we had serious doubts about continued drainage. I wanted Mayo mats, but no one at the company would return my messages. I ended up buying rubber mats from TSC. Enough to cover the stalls wall to wall. This way they won't shift.
If I had it to do over again, I would have made my alley wider. It's 11.5 feet, but 15-20ft would have been better. I would still do the Equi-terr, but would dig one very very large pit per stall (6-8ft diameter and 6-8ft deep), fill it with larger gravel then do the pea gravel and remainder of the system.
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I have clay floors. I plan to blue stone them soon. I have one stall that is rubber matted (it's my "sick stall"). Eventually I want to blue stone and then rubber mat everything including the aisleway...
I like the rubber bricks for isle ways...
But as for stalls, overkill is better, make sure your mats are cut to fit snugly in your stalls. We have rubber mats on cement and it seems to be okay but we have to bed down the stalls heavily to prevent hock rubs on the bigger horses and with 12x16 stalls that is a lot of bedding!
I'd suggest maybe talking to some of the other nicer-end farms in the area to see what they did and why because there might be some geographical reasons to do something or not so something when it comes to stall bases.
Depending upon the mat though you might be able to do different things like if you were going to splurge on stable comfort flooring you could probably get away with a cement floor beneath it. But if you're going to go for just a plain rubber mat you might want to do what your thinking about or what I suggested above. I hope this helps.
I wouldn't put mats over concrete, just to hard on their legs.
StableComfort - StableComfort?
We are currently running under previous owners mats. Which is free belting from a limestone quarry over fines. While it is pretty level the problem we have come into is over time the seams have been filled in with bedding and started to come up. Digging those out is a PITA.
I used to run a stable that had solid once piece mats in each stall DO IT! no seams in the stall and make sure it fits snugly.
see link above
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