newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.
My goal is to answer some of your questions and send you interesting stories and
helpful tips for your horse care, training, and riding.
Cement Floor With Rubber Mats
2008 Cherry Hill ©
I have one stall that has a cement floor in it. It is covered
with rubber mats and lots of cedar shavings. What are your feelings regarding
this type of arrangement used only for overnight stalling? Can urine drainage
be a problem even though the mats are fitted nicely?
thanks so much!
the mats are fitted tightly and there is always enough absorbent bedding in the
stall, it should be OK. Generally with mat covered cement floors, you will need
to use deeper bedding not only to soak up the urine but also for the horse's comfort
when he lays down.
If you begin to smell ammonia or dank urine odors,
you may need to pull up the mats, dry and disinfect the cement floor and relay
the mats. However, you may go for years without having to do this if the stalls
are cleaned thoroughly and regularly.
Let us know OK?
Well-Drained Dirt Base
2008 Cherry Hill ©
Can I use well-draining compacted dirt as a base for my:
Pole barn including stall area (I'll
be using mats for stall flooring but do I need to also use crushed rock even if
I won't be using draining flooring),
barn indoor arena (I'll be using processed wood products for footing),
Outdoor arena (I'll be improving my native
soil by discing sand in with the dirt),
pen (I'll be using sand footing), 5) Sacrifice turn out areas (I'll be using 3/8
minus pea gravel on top of a 5% sloped turn out area)
For the arenas and turn out areas it would seem to me that
the dirt would (undesirably) eventually mix with the top footing. Also, I read
in your extremely informative books on Horse Housing and Horsekeeping on a Small
Acreage that the site for the barn and arena should be compacted. To what degree
does it need to be compacted? If the site settles for 6-12 months does it still
need to be compacted? Doesn't compaction affect the natural soil's ability to
drain? I would much prefer to not have to excavate and back fill with drain rock
if that's not necessary. I also read that the arena base should be sloped or crowned
to allow for drainage, but is this really necessary in an indoor arena (that otherwise
has a good drainage system) and why?
Thanks for your devotion to horses
and dedication to details! Sincerely, Jean
1. It depends on the type of "dirt" you have. You say
it is well draining. We have native decomposed granite soil here so it is well-draining
and would be OK. But I haven't lived many other places where the native soil is
well draining enough to be OK. However, if you use tight fitting mats and remove
most of the urine with the bedding, it might be OK because not much moisture should
seep below the mats.
2. The manufacturer of the wood product footing
for your indoor arena should be able to tell you if it is compatible with your
"dirt". If your native soil does compact well, it might make an ideal
base for the wood footing. However, many native soils don't stay compacted under
hoof traffic and mix with the wood footing and create dust problems.
3. This sounds good. I'm a big fan of decomposed granite if it happens to be available
in your area (you don't mention where you are) you might want to consider it.
4. Yes, that is what I have. Compacted native soil with sand on top. It has
worked well for many years. Be sure you buy clean sand - dirty sand will compact
and be dusty. And take care not to make the footing too deep - start with less
and add until you get what you want, about 2-4 inches.
of base of arenas - The better the base is compacted, the less it will tend to
mix with the footing. Compacting is done with mechanical rollers and water. If
you have an excavation company that is familiar with arenas, they will have the
heavy equipment necessary to do the job correctly.
Compaction of barn
sites - letting the site settle over a winter or over 6-12 months like you say
is ideal, especially if there has been moisture to help the settling process.
Depending on timing, whenever you have heavy equipment scheduled on your place,
take advantage of dual purpose - perhaps preparing the base for the arena and
giving the barn site a "going over" at the same time. But if that doesn't
work out, letting the site settle naturally usually is sufficient.
is necessary to provide a solid base for arena footing and for building structures.
Although it does decrease the spaces between soil particles, which, as you suggest,
decreases drainage to some degree, compaction is essential. AND proper drainage
should be taken care of by slope of arena or site, swales and ditches around each,
and by the arena footing and the material you choose for subflooringin the barn.
Slope of the outdoor arena should be 1-2 degrees. Generally, indoor arena
buildings are set on a site that slopes away from the buidling uniformly in all
directions. If the building is set up this way, there would be no reason for the
arena floor to be sloped.
2008 Cherry Hill ©
My indoor wash rack will also be my only indoor tack, groom,
vet and farrier area. I haven't worked with stocks and I was wondering if there
would be sufficient disadvantages to permanently installing enclosed stocks in
this area (possibilities of difficulty with doing farrier work, tacking up, etc.)
to outweigh advantages (better control for the vet, safety for beginning students
around the tied horse, keeping horse away from shelves, counter, sink and other
obstacles in wash rack, etc.). Are stocks a safe place for young horses and for
first-time bathers? What is the ideal size for enclosed stocks to accomodate small
ponies (10 hands) to warmbloods? I would have a variety of other tie areas outside
and in the stalls, but no aisles in the barn for tying.
Will an infrared
heater installed above the stocks 11 feet from the ground provide sufficient heat?
If not, how can I safely move it closer to the horse without risking having the
horse hit it if he rears?
I'd suggest leaving the wash rack as an open work area with
crossties and both ends. It will make bathing, shoeing, grooming, and tacking
up much more convenient and safer. To keep horses away from shelves, counter,
etc, install a heavy pipe guard rail around the perimeter of the stall. You can
see the guard rail I have in my wash rack in the books Horse Handling and Grooming,
Stablekeeping and Horse Housing. (see links above)
you find you have a need for stocks for vet work or breeding, you can have a set
installed outdoors on a concrete pad. The stocks can also be used as a training
area for first time bath. It would be great to set the outdoor stocks under a
roof overhang or under a tree for shade and shelter.
There is no stocks
that will perfectly accomodate small ponies to Warmbloods. You can choose stocks
that fit the largest horse and then make provisions to adjust to smaller horses
(not as easy as it sounds) or you could purchase an adjustable stock like this
heater over your wash rack would probably provide adequate warmth at 11 and it
would be risky to mount it lower. Hanging a heater from the ceiling or rafters
by chain is a safe option because even if a horse did contact it, it would swing
out of the way.
it for this month.
forget, when you ride, keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.
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