Q&A Questions and Answers:
My wife and I are beginning construction on our barn and we are still debating what to line stalls with. Our horses are only stalled during very inclement weather, and during feeding time. Other than that they are free to roam on our acreage. We would rather not use shavings or disposable stall material and have considered road base topped with sand, an application of sand over the existing soil, or possibly just pea gravel. We can't seem to find much on the subject in the numerous sites and magazines we've perused. We only seem to find ads for expensive stall mats that we don't have a budget for. We don't mind spending extra time or a little extra money for the good of our horses, so, can you please point us in the right direction. Whatever suggestion you have will be appreciated.
Thank you for your wonderful website!
In answer to your question, it strikes me as similar to someone installing a toilet in their house -- and never wanting to flush it! Here's the difficulty: without disposable bedding, you'll need a surface that the waste won't soak into (and cause an over-powering ammonia stench plus allowing bacteria to grow). A surface that hard, on the other hand, will be hard on the horse's feet and very uncomfortable to lie on.
The long and short of it is that cleanliness and comfort combine to require the use of some disposable bedding in stalls. Otherwise, just provide a shelter (open to the southeast) where they can get out of the weather and where you can use a tractor scoop to remove the accumulated manure from time to time.
Happy Horse Care!
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