Dirt Floor within Horse Stalls Question(s)? ?

So, I'm in the process of building my barn right now. I have the external completed, and we are about to begin the inside.

I am going to put asphalt or cement down in the aisle (to hold dust down and have traction) and leave the stalls with a dirt floor, as I be aware of dirt is better, because it's better for horses to stand on than cement (even with mats I don't like the theory of cement, plus it's cheaper!). Now, I have done a lot of research, and am quite aware that it's dustier, muckier, and holes can develop from urine. BUT, I touch if I do things right, I can make it work. So, I have some question, I hope people who have experience regarding dirt barn floors can assist...

1. The floor is a hard, shale type clay, with some rocks. It has be nicely leveled off. Do I need to mix within some gravel or stones for better footing or drainage? OR can I leave it as is? Drainage will be able to go out the side.as the barn is on leveled ground, next to a slight decline on the sides for drainage (also shavings will be used to soak up urine).

2. Should I put mats over the dirt, to prevent unsafe holes in footing from urine? Then, I can use good feature shavings to soak up urine off the mat, to keep urine from getting around the sides of the stall and washing the dirt out. But, will the mat move if they aren't screwed into the stalls? would that be unsafe? I don't want to screw the mats in, so I can slickly access any problems with the dirt floor in the future, and MAINLY to allow for drainage around the fold of the barn.

3. I know I will need to dig out trouble areas and replace the dirt from time to time. But, how often? If I do proper continuation, and keep my stalls clean, and put down rubber mats to prevent urine holes and horse paw, and replace dirt around the edges when needed, the dirt floors should remain in good condition for a long time right?

4. Any other comments or suggestions? am I forgetting anything?

Thanks everyone! :)

I would advise puting mat down, but they are expensive. If yo dont have the money for mats then at least possible get the rocks out, I doubt rocks are to omfy for a horse to sleep on. We use this pelleted pine bedding that when you wet it it fluffs up and eventually becomes pine sand stuff (though it is within NO WAY dusty)...it is meant for DIRT stalls because it makes the pee into a clump like cat litter (though specifically the only simularity lol) It is amazing stuff it cuts stall cleaning time in half AND you return with more dirty bedding out :D it is amazing. They are called equine fresh pellets...they are actually cheaper than shavings too :)

Here is the relationship...I would advise anyone to use it, mainly because it is sooo much easier to clean which make 3 bags last a month o.O it is insane how wonderful this stuff is :D

Ask a local horse trainer surrounded by your neighbor hood. She or he migh have these answers
Good luck
I love horses!
Answers:    I have mat over dirt for my floor, and so does my daughter. The shaly type clay is definitely the best type of dirt to have (mines more straight heavy clay). It drains better, stays drier, and doesn't hold onto the moisture so much.

The mat will help immensely, though they're not a cureall. The urine will seep through the joins, but even minus that ground water - particularly from snow melting - will verbs the floor. Then, where the horse stands, a hollow spot can develop. This will deepen and pull the mats apart, raise edges, until the shavings start to get under the mats and lift up the edges to the tripping point.

That's when I take them up and relevel. I usually just shovel the existing dirt around, but tally more is sometimes necessary. Once or twice a year is sufficient for releveling.

Urine will drain better than with a level concrete floor, as it finds places to jump. When I level the dirt, I actually just smooth it over near a slight slope to it where I want the urine to go (and the spilled water buckets, and...) this help a lot.

I recommend against adding gravel. It tends to surface and make happen bumps in the stall mats, which causes wear and gash and can be uncomfortable for a reclining equine. It also makes it more difficult to clean. It can come up between the mat and cause hoof issues.

Shavings are used to separate the horse from the urine, not to soak it up. The urine should go through the shavings and into the ground, though it will leave a tacky spot behind. This is not a problem, as urine is basically sterile in the respectable horse. Even if you don't use shavings, as long as the mats are reasonably dry it will not impair the horse. I like shavings, and so do the horses - especially when I first put it in and they come within and IMMEDIATELY roll in it! But the mats are intended to be okay without much shavings.

Mats are not generally screwed down or staked down or held in place by anything except gravity and the side walls.

I know you won't let it receive to the point that the ammonia from the urine gets strong enough to cause eye and respiratory problems. Someone who's conscientiously done this much research and put this much hard work into it is not someone neglectful enough to tolerate an unhealthy situation; I've a short time ago added this for the people who'll shout at me for not caring about urine. ;)

I've kept horses on concrete, wood, dirt, adjectives with or without matts, and cared for horses on gravel and other surfaces. Dirt beside mats is perfectly workable, in lots ways better for the horses, and the least expensive. (Except for dirt alone, which is really difficult, though again not unhealthy if all right kept).

With good upkeep, the mats and floors should last for at lowest 10 years (that's how long I've had my current ones, and they're in good shape still).

Good Luck!

Sounds like you hold a GREAT start on this! One thing I'd put down on top of the clay would be decomposed granite instead of the gravel because that way it give the urine an opportunity to DRAIN properly out of the stall then place the dirt on top. The one thing I've always worried approximately with the mats is if the urine get underneath them but I guess if the bottom of the stall allows the urine to drain, then you really wouldn't have a problem near them and they would keep you from having to fill within holes, bed the holes with sweet lime, etc.

Generally, I do a daily clean and later clean out the pee holes, rebed them with the sweet lime as necessary (If you can smell 'em when you go and get the shavings pulled away, then they need to be cleaned out and rebedded.).
My parents own a boarding stable, and we have dirt floors (even contained by the aisle, but we are getting rubber matting installed in the spring..), we cover our stall floors with rubber mat and then either shavings, peat moss or straw depending on what the owner wants the stall bedded next to...we havent had problems with the mats moving, we purchased the expensive ones that are 2-3 inches glutinous, so it takes a fair bit of effort to move them! We havent have much need for floor repairs, i think my dad removes the mats every 2 years and does a check--nothing really foremost has ever happened, the mats protect the floors really powerfully, and you dont get holes or low spots at all--you just have to label sure you pack the dirt floor down really well before you put the mat on!

We only have the horses in at dark during the winter and then they are out all day surrounded by the winter (unless its nasty out) and 24/7 from May till the end of September...
I really like the idea, apart from that you will probably pay more money in the long run after a while the dirt will get packed to the gunwales and you will need to grade it.

In the cement halls you stipulation to put plastic mats, it's a safety thing.

I dream up that you should put in the extra money and cement the stalls your horses will be less potential to get any sorta prob and you won't have to work as hard trying to preserve the barns appearance.

Although putting mats on the dirt might be a good idea, at my barn nearby are mats on dirt in the outside pen conected to the barn, it works great. The mats to tend to shift a little more so yes adding gravel specifically inbeded into the clay/dirt is a great idea.

You won't have to fill surrounded by as much with mats.
All in adjectives this it a good idea.

Hope this info helps you next to whatever your decision is.
I put natural soil in my stalls when I built both my barns. I have no concrete anywhere. In the hallway, I did put 3/4 rubber mat over the dirt but I would never use concrete around my barn. I would not put mats over the floor in the stalls. Shavings and mats are a hot bed for germs and create more health problems. Also, if the horses lay down at night, mat can cause some nasty rubs and scrubs. Natural flooring will drain fine. I hold never had a hole from "urine". My horses do shift the soil just walking roughly speaking and going in and out so every so often I have to rake the soil support toward the center to keep the floor more level. I do not have an odor or nouns quality problem. I like my floors and feel they are safer and cleaner and well again than any of the other choices. Hope this helps.
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