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Dirt Stall Floors

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Dirt Stall Floors
  • Last year when we moved our horses to our own barn the funds were not available to do anything other than dirt floors that the barn came with.

    Before moving the horses in I tilled all the stalls to loosen the dirt and allow for better drainage. No one lives in the stalls full time. If there is harsh weather or someone needs to rest due to being hurt/sick then they are in the barn.

    The plan at the time was to eventually put granite fines in the stalls and then stall mats over that. A year has passed and we have become happy with the dirt. We have no diggers and it drained well and was rather easy to maintain. This week I "reconditioned" the stalls. I took the tiller back in and tilled them all over again.  They now look pretty much like they did a year ago. We will also throw in pine shavings and clean that up as necessary during the year.

    So we may stick with this method and do a hard service for the center and concrete for the wash bay. My only change would be to till twice a year instead of once. It was also interesting that each stall had an easy area to till along with a very packed area. Packed area was probably pee and standing areas.

  • Nothing wrong with dirt if you aren't using the stalls full time.  Getting a bag of lime powder to help break down the urea will help, especially when you till.  We have one dirt stall (ran out of cement), it was a pain because the horses are stalled all winter so holes got dug up.  We went ahead and leveled it, then put stall mats down and this helped keep it in better shape.  Hope to get some crushed rock in there this fall and next year have the cement truck come out for a visit.
  • We always had dirt floors growing up.  I just have a run-in w/dirt now.  If I had cement I'd love to have a drainage system for hosing it off. 
  • We do use lime on a regular basis. We have not had a serious odor problem. The worse was about a month ago when we brought home our yearling for a short visit. She and the assigned companion horse stayed in the barn for a few days and then when allowed out in the day, still spent the night in the barn. Since it was warmer, there were some odor problems then.
  • I lived with dirt for 20 years. I dug it all out of my barn this summer and replaced it with gravel last weekend. (ask me later if I'm sorry I did this, the horse aren't in the barn yet) I'm keeping it gravel and allowing the horses to come and go as they please. I will have a "bedroom" set up in that area, that will allow them to lie down in comfort on those cold winter nights. For the bedroom, I will put felt down from a paper machine and shavings on top of that. I'm hoping the horses will spend time in there as its a good surface for their feet.
    Geez! The last time I rototilled the barn floor was to hunt down rat tunnels.  I know now, that at the time I was unsuccessful as I found them when I took the dirt out.  Now I have acquired some rescued cats that take care of things for me, lol! The dirt floor in the barn (with stalls) was a lot more work intensive and increased bedding....still couldn't keep them in the barn for more than 2 days before things got nasty. I know for a fact that they won't be peeing on the gravel...its a splash factor thing, lol!
  • YAY for rescue cats!!!   Not to change the subject!  Great info!  THANK YOU!  I'll be sure to ask you later!!  [':D']
  • anyone want to rescue some cats? &nbsp';P'opulation explosion this year from the two females I could not catch to get those kitten factories removed.
  • I'm not familiar with the granite screenings.  I was able to get limestone screenings. (there were 2 grades and I've also chosen the finer one) After removing 8" of dirt, I put down 4" of 3/4" clear drainage gravel, a layer of felt, then 4" of limestone screenings, tamped it, then another layer of felt, then shavings. The felt is indestructible! The floor, which divoted about 4", settled down to only divot 1/2" after being tamped and a couple of days given. I had to take the felt off the floor in the entranceway and hang it up for the back door, so that section is bare screenings and they have to cross it to get to the shavings.
     I've had limestone screenings for 7 years in my round pen now. The traction is fantastic. The horses have to escape there when the mud in spring is bad. We play in there, plus I ride them out for adventures. One particularily bad spring, they were in there for 2 months. (I just treat it like a big stall) When I took them out of there, I challenged the road back the land, which is fist-sized quarry stone put in by Hydro. When I started transitioning my horses to the barefoot trim, my goal was to walk that road. I had been trapped around the barn for years as that road was the only route and hurtful to travel. When I took them out of that round pen, I challenged it to see.....success! We walked that road from stem to stern without a single hesitation or blink of an eye! And limestone screenings is not exactly pea gravel either! (couldn't afford the pea gravel anyway) The screenings stick to their feet, but doesn't pack in, but I can imagine that if you had a horse with a stretched white line or the like, I would fear penetration and aggravation. I also can't trim on it cause I don't need to be hitting stones with my rasp, but that is easily remedied with a towel to place the foot on.
    So far, I'm not sorry I did all this. Got a few glitches yet. The entrance outside the barn is a ramp and I didn't have enough screenings to cover the drainage gravel. They were picking these larger rocks up with their muddy feet and carrying them inside and leaving them mixed in the shavings, so I found another felt and covered the ramp for the winter.  Heh, heh, so far so good! Whew! I thought I'd never get done before winter set in!
    Gone on long enough! Hopefully this provides some insight. You can't do enough research on things like this....its like hay....once its in your barn, you're stuck with it.

    Oh, and no thanks on the kitties! I live on a dead end road and people keep dumping them here. I'm up to 7 cats right now. They're all fixed, but every time somebody dumps one, it costs me $300. I'm tempted to put a sign up out front that says, "Turn around here and take your pets with you!"
  • Here in Northern California it's decomposed Granite and rice straw.  I used to put pine shavings under the straw, about a foot deep.  Then another foot or so of straw.  Then again, with driving horses, they did'nt get out of their stalls work days.  No play time till their days off.  Can't have clean harness/carriages with dirty horses.
    When  we had our barn put in, we had them dig out the earth three feet under the barn pad and replace it with decomposed Granite and a french drain under that (one of the advantages of a sloped lot).  Also, we kept our stalls about six inches deeper than the door sill.  It was well filled over the sill after the bedding.  Thus, we had no smells, odours, or problems.  The barn was well drained and odourless.  I'm really lazy.  It's always better to start out right than to have corrections to deal with later.  It's expensive... worth every penny though.[';)']