What am I doing wrong? Stall Savers smell

So, I installed Stall Savers back in the summer. So they’ve only been in about 5-6 months.
I loved the ease of installation, compared to mats.

However, despite tons of testimonials I found online, I think they stink, literally.

Our barn is brand new. We installed them over screenings, over 2" gravel. (I can get specifics but it was done with max drainage in mind)

Its exactly the same as our drylot, which drains beautifully.

So, I started using shavings because that’s whats recommended - because you want the pee to flow through. I found that it didn’t, though. It would sit on the surface and smell. Eventaully it would drain but it would still just sit there.

Then I tried pellets just in the pee areas. That helps. So now I do pellets with shavings.

I still find that it has a funk at times. I was so excited because our barn is new, and pretty, and I would like it to be a place for people to hang out. But with the smell the way it is, I don’t like it.

Any suggestions on how to keep the smell down?

What Ive been doing recently is diluting Simple Green and pouring a small amount over the pee areas. However, I also think that the fact that it doesn’t dry doesn’t help matters.

When we were redoing some stalls that had an uneven base, I pulled the mats and hosed down the screenings underneath, hoping that would make it easier to hack it up and even it out. I had standing water in there for daaaaaaaays, which is probably what’s happening with your stalls, if the smell is bad? Packed screenings don’t really drain. :frowning:

You might be able to improve drainage with some different materials or with a dry well in each stall?

rather than Simple Green use PDZ …

It absorbs ammonia from horse urine and other animal waste odors, doing the important work of improving the respiratory health of the horse more effectively than any other product on the market. Safe and gentle to use, Sweet PDZ Horse Stall Refresher has superior absorbency and is non-toxic, organic, recyclable and compostable.

We have matted stalls over concrete pavers, most bedded with pine shaving and pellets, one bedded with shredded paper (baby horse is allergic to pine)… the barn was built 30 years ago… no urine under the mats.


I would think so, but this is 6 months old screenings, and the dry lot isn’t rock hard. I dunno, you could be right, I just can’t imagine that its the case?

If it persists I might pull up the stall savers, rake out the screenings, and put some bigger stone down. I’ll need some more screenings in the dry lot come spring anyway.

If the urine were to drain through the screenings, the odour would persist because there is no clean water to rinse the odour-causing elements away. Barn floor drainage is about moving liquid away, but it cannot neutralize odour. Your best bet is to bed more heavily to catch the urine before it gets to the screenings. I have heard of people setting up stalls that are bedded in pea gravel so they can actually hose them down, washing the urine away. If your barn floors are set up for it, you could test that in a stall or two.

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I second PDZ for odor --I have stalls built on a base of gravel topped with 6" of clay then 4-6" of sand. Drainage is great, but in the hot humid days of summer, sometimes I smell pee. When I do I treat wet spots directly with PDZ and smell goes away. Be aware, however, my horses are only in their stalls in the summer --9-3 to get them out of the heat and bugs. So not as big a problem as it might be for a 24/7 operation.

I have been using PDZ about five years now and it is great for urine odor. The down side is that it can get dusty. It starts out as granules but it gets quickly crushed down to dust underfoot.

So I now just sprinkle PDZ on the wet spots on the rubber mats after mucking and brushing the dry shavings away from the wet spots. Then I let it sit for a few hours to dry, and brush and shovel the used PDZ up before spreading out the shavings again.

This is not as instructed on the bag label, but it works for me.

I have stall skins- similar product as stall savers. I had done gravel floors in my stalls before deciding to do the skins, so I didn’t do the base for skins in the ideal way. I find that the skins can get spongy if I don’t bed well (pellets) rather than letting the urine percolating through. Having said that though, before I brought my horses home my BO added skins to their stalls- they followed instructions to a T with grading the bases towards a sand “pit” in the center. Clean & dry!

Assuming the dry lot is…

Bigger, so urine isn’t concentrated to a small spot
Outside, so rain and snow dilute the urine and wash it away
Graded, so even if pee can’t go down, it can go sideways until away from a non draining base

Stalls are tough, ya know? Horses pretty much pee in the same spot every day. Any drainage ability of the base material is easily overwhelmed unless it’s built specifically to really move fluid.

well at least the stalls in my barns are not exposed to sun light, rain and wind like the paddocks which could easily be the difference of why there is not an urine odor in the paddocks

As for our stalls, I do use a grain scoop shovel to remove all wet bedding, this is done when the stalls are cleaned.

I have stall savers and have only had odor once, in one stall. I mixed PineSol and water in a watering can and gave the wet spot a sprinkle. Totally took care of it.
I copied this from the Stall Savers website Maintenance:
For harsh ammonia buildup treat area with a disinfectant. e.g. (pinesol and water) poured through the stall liner. There are other products like: Sweet PDZ, Stall Dry, and Zeolite that also work well. Also make sure you use plenty of bedding (6 to 8 inches) to get the maximum life out of your liner.