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New Barn Advice

Hi all! For anyone in the CT area, HOW ABOUT THIS WEATHER?! Can’t say I didn’t love 100 degrees yesterday… But those damn gypsy moth caterpillars are KILLING me :ambivalence:
Anyway, let’s get on topic here… I am renovating a new “barn” - was originally a paint booth. The building is perfect, great structure. It does have cement floors, they are in fantastic shape and pretty flat. I know there are some who say “NO” to cement floors, and others who swear by it. I am looking for some guidance on how to go about preparing this floor for my easy keeper mare…
What pads do you suggest? I have been doing tons of research on rubber pads, found some ideas on padding used in gyms? Not sure how I feel about that or if anyone knows much about it. And then of course people saying “go to Tractor Supply for rubber stall mats” - What do you think?

I can’t lead you in the direction of the best stall mats but I would question the ability of gym mats holding up as they are designed for human traffic not the hard, possibly shod, horse foot nor the weight. IMO


I would say, the controversy over concrete or other in horse stall flooring is one topic you don’t really need to decide now.
You already have concrete there.

Most I know use plain 3/4" rubber mats.
You can find those cheaper in Tractor Supply, or get some made to your dimensions, one or two or four mats to the stall.

Europe had for centuries horses in concrete/stone stalls that did fine, really and didn’t even have mats.
We had some stalls that had concrete and wood planks over them, but most didn’t.
Horses seem to be most comfortable with fairly smooth, hard ground to stand on, then look for soft spots to lay on.
Because of that, I think your bedding is more important even than what you have for floor.
What is working well for many today on concrete floors is mats and that pelleted bedding that expands.
It doesn’t take much of it, but horses seem to like it to lay down on it and it is still firm enough to give traction when getting up and smooth enough to stand on flat footed.

We didn’t have but straw, bedded deep, banking the corners and horses did just fine.

Then, we didn’t leave a horse standing in a box or tie stall all day, day after day.
Horses were in use, giving many lessons, going on trail rides, being trained, taken out to groom them.

One important question you have to ask yourself, are those stalls with runs, where the horses can come and go and have other footing outside?
Will your horse have turnout and how long, will you take the horse out daily and how long?


K8ee: Yes, I thought the same thing about the gym mats! Those will be a no-go.
Bluey: Thanks SO much for all of that info. My girl right now, where she has grown up and I have been boarding her, is not stalled and has a lean to she can come in and out of. I want to give her the option right now to come and go out of the building (and be at home with me), and maybe slowly turn the carport into a one stall barn with tack room, giving her a stall a little less than half the size and using the other side for food, tack, etc.

What are the dimensions of your stalls? That might dictate whether custom sizing is more cost efficient, or whether the typical mats at TSC/etc will work, since you might be able to use 1 mat to fit odd spaces in a few stalls.

Definitely use stall mats, they are just more dense and tougher.

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lots and lots and lots and lots of bedding. My barn owner decided against the “stall mattresses” in the concrete floor barn and opted for mega mega deep bedding. Like, we did 10 bags of large flake shavings in each stall to start them. Now they’re established and only take about 1 bag a week. I actually really love cleaning the concrete floor stalls better than the matted and dirt floor stalls in the other barn*.

  • As long as it’s properly bedded. Otherwise it’ll be a complete mess and not very comfortable for your horse.
    The thing with mats if the floor isn’t drained, and I’m guessing it’s not since it wasn’t built for horses (same situation with the concrete floor barn my horse is in), is that urine WILL get under them. That’s part of why we didn’t do mats in that barn. Lots of shavings and the ability to deep sanitize the floors seemed like a better option. Once you’ve moved stall mats a few times you’ll get why that’s important :wink: My horse has “track jewelry” on his ankles, his next door neighbor tore a tendon as a 4 year old, and the guy across the aisle had extensive surgery to fix several shredded tendons. ALL of them stay 100% sound and look 100% comfortable in their concrete stalls as long as they’re bedded properly.

Go with naked floors and lots of bedding or the stall mattresses that are seamless to avoid the urine seepage (though I think it still gets under eventually)


One part of my barn has cement floors. My husband put a wooden floor over it and we use stall mats over that. The stall stays dry but I do use a lot of bedding. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to use so much, I’m just heavy handed with it.

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If I had concrete floors and decided against mats I would probably bed with straw. It’s the only thing that kept the hock sores away when I worked in a barn that had macadam floors and no mats.

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since the base is cement, what about those comfort horse mats that have a little give to them? maybe that would be a good compromise?


I have kept horses on dirt floors, concrete floors, mats over concrete and finally wood floors. I wouldn’t keep a horse on straight concrete unless you were going to bed super, super deep. Hock sores are a real issue with concrete and then sometimes there is the “slip” factor when a shod horse tries to get up but slips on the concrete. You’re better off putting down mats. Most mats are 4’x6’ so you’ll need about 6 mats per 12’x12" stall. The mats are reasonably easy to size with a utility knife. I liked the interlocking mats but the straight edge also work well if the surface is flat and they are properly sized.

We have purchased mats direct from the manufacturer and picked them up at one of their distribution facilities. The mats are heavy and freight can chew you up if you aren’t careful.

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My advice? They make different padding for gym floors and stall mats for stalls for a reason.

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If I could afford it I would give the Thurobed system a shot. Looks pretty comfy!

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