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Discussion on Pea Gravel, stall use, outside use, in areas where it freezes?

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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1341
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 - 10:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've read that pea gravel is wonderful for hoof health, and very comfortable for horses. It seems that most advocates of it live in southern states though, where the ground isn't frozen over half the year.

I currently have stalls with a sand base, then what I thought was pea gravel, and is 3/4" gravel, over the sand. There is a nylon "Skin" (very tough stuff that is used on paper making machines)over that. The gravel is packed like concrete now, and the skins no longer provide drainage.

Some options I have for adding pea gravel to my horses environment:

Put it right over my stall floors as they are now, but then I am not sure it would have any drainage. Right now I sweep "P" and add it to manure when I take it out.

Dig up the "cemented" gravel, put the skins back, and pea gravel on top.

Did up the compacted gravel, put pea gravel on top without the skins...would it just get lost in the sand then?

Just put the pea gravel outside around their slow feeders?

I don't stall my horses or use bedding, but 2 of the stalls are open during bad weather.

Any gravel experts have suggestions? Anyone use this pea gravel where it freezes? Pea gravel = 1/4" to 3/8" size.
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Kirsten Lotter
New Member
Username: kruiser

Post Number: 1
Registered: 9-2011
Posted on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 - 10:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Mt horse is turned out at night in a small run that has a shelter. The owner of the barn had some road base delivered and laid under the shelter...turned out it was poor quality and since she did not want the horses to get sore feet standing on it she laid stall skins over it and then a thick layer of crushed granite. The horses don't lie on it but it is very easy to pick poop off and makes for a comfortable surface for them to stand on and eat.
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Vicki/Diva
Member
Username: divamare

Post Number: 13
Registered: 4-2011
Posted on Sunday, Oct 2, 2011 - 2:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Angie. I use pea gravel in the Hafies' stalls on top of the Equiterr flooring and haven't had any problems. However, it gets "used up" over time when bedding/muck and whatever they drag in on their feet gets removed as inevitably the pea gravels is stuck in the organic matter or doesn't fall through the tines of the muck rake. I usually add more pea gravel about once a year.

I believe if you put the pea gravel on top of the sand some of it will get "lost" as you say as the hooves churn up the sand/pea gravel.

I don't think there is a maintenance free stall flooring other than concrete. Everything gets packed down over time.

If the horses aren't stalled, perhaps putting pea gravel on the path the horses used the most would benefit their feet.

I have no experience with stall skins.

My other horse is on mats w/ bedding on top of the Equiterr. She doesn't like to lie down on the pea gravel...
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LRH
New Member
Username: lrhughes

Post Number: 5
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Sunday, Oct 2, 2011 - 12:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi-
If you can find a tree chipper business and ask for chips that are from trees without any poison in them, that works well and doesn't compact a lot. I've put it in a corral at a foot deep and it lasted about 5 seasons. The chipper needs to do a thorough job and not leave big pointy sticks. My horses liked it. We used pine, redwood, cedar and sycamore and eucalyptus. Made sure not to use walnut or get things like oleander in the mix. The guys who delivered were conscientious in or case...
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Vicki Z
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 2507
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Sunday, Oct 2, 2011 - 2:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. Karen Hayes (horse Vet from out west) spoke on this subject at a big horse event I attended a few years ago.

For her horses she used a mixture of peat moss and soil, I think, then put an electrical outlet above every stall where she could hook up a piece of equipment to mix up and fluff everything.

It was supposed to be a real low maintenance thing that the horses found extremely comfortable.

She has a book called "The Perfect Stall" but it is at my home in FL so cannot refer to it.

She makes other suggestions about beddings, etc.

Maybe you will find some info if you run a search.

I like the idea of the pea gravel but in the FL sand it would certainly all disappear very quickly.

Might work better here in VA!
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PattyB
Member
Username: pattyb

Post Number: 310
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Sunday, Oct 2, 2011 - 6:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"Might work better here in VA!"

Oh Vicki Z...I'm following this thread waiting to see if anyone has used the pea gravel in their outside muck areas..like at the gates? My primary "to the pasture" gate is now hovering over quick mud (also known as shoe and boot sucker mud) and the more it rains, the deeper the muck gets. I'm at a loss what to put there because the ground does freeze in the winter time and I have horses prone to literal stone bruising...the last thing I need to add to my worries. My stalls are fine...but that muck hole leaves me flustered....
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LRH
Member
Username: lrhughes

Post Number: 6
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Sunday, Oct 2, 2011 - 7:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi-
We've found that bolting RR ties together is a good way to create a solid foundation for a "hole". Dig out the area a bit and level the bottom, then set on sand or gravel. You can put a rubber mat or two over the top for traction if desired. The area will drain, and if its clay dirt, a french drain (outside your fence) going from your gate to someplace innocuous works ok. This is a fair amount of work unless you have a tractor with a blade and a good long drill. Some people use old tomato harvester conveyer belts to create paths and non muddy areas. There is also an absorbent sawdust like stuff that absorbs a lot of water that might make a good overlay o gravel. The best thing I've seen was a barn where the corral is on a slope (at least 30'x40"corral) and slopes from both sides to a drain type ditch in the center. A roof over hang of about 10 feet covers a feeder and that area is raised about 1-2 feet off the corral level and held in place with a heavy board edge screwed to the outer post supports for the roof. Horses always had a dry place to go.--LRH}
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1342
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Monday, Oct 3, 2011 - 10:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the feed back everyone.

I am thinking pea gravel in the stalls is kinda a pea brained idea. Wouldn't be able to push a wheelbarrow through it, and every time I picked it out, I'd have stones to add to the compost pile. Don't want that since next it ends up on the garden.

I think for now I will add the pea gravel around the slow feeders. And if I get really ambitious I will take the skins out the stalls, (FUN..NOT! hodge podge of boards hold it there, screws will be h*** to get out...and the stuff is heavy, with sharp edges when handling it) and play human jack hammer to get the gravel out. Then I will add that gravel to the sloppy areas by the barn, and in low spots.

I did the one stall that wasn't too compacted a few months ago, and adding that gravel outside the barn did help. I also have been laying conveyor belting by the barn. I overlap it like shingles on a roof. So far, so good. I keep it cleaned off with the broom, and I think once the ground freezes it will be nice for them to stand on. Rubber is supposed be nice for their hoofy comfort.

I can cut up more belting and lay it in the stalls in strips. I've been toying with that idea, but it's also a big pain to work with! Only negative about that stuff is they can slip on it when the weather is damp as it seems to hold moisture. I used to have in the barn aisle, and hated how slippery it became.

Nothing is easy, and I still refuse to buy bedding. Horses need a dry spot for hoof health, and it should not be a rock hard spot either.
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LRH
Member
Username: lrhughes

Post Number: 7
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Monday, Oct 3, 2011 - 12:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just one last comment. In an arena sized corral the mud = clay, we had 5 tons of pea gravel placed about a foot deep along the feeder area (8x 25 feet). It worked well for about 3 years. We did have to rake gravel back around feeders from time to time as horses moved it when standing. It wasn't necessary to clean more than manure as the urine and rain dissipate into the dirt below. As you can tell, my location can be very deep clay mud in winter and we've tried many solutions.
LRH
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Vicki Z
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 2508
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Oct 3, 2011 - 12:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Friends of mine have used the conveyor belt stuff in the center aisle of their barn for years and it has been very serviceable for that.

In their stalls, the front portion of each has an area of concrete that they have poured, with the back ends being simply soil. If they have had to shut a horse in for a long term and had a urine problem they have dug kind of a French drain to the outside but they don't normally shut horses in their barn.

She has only used bedding when it has been prescribed by a veterinarian for a particular problem.

I've had pretty good luck with the use of natural materials as a base in my stalls but I think that what works best varies by area and type of soil and I do top off with stall shavings for horses.

With my farm here in VA the prior owner who had this place set up for llamas used boards on the ground in some of the mucky areas and also some railroad ties that were anchored with big metal tie rods on severe slopes. They also poured concrete on some of the severe slopes to anchor the land. The boards and anchored tie rods, with horses created a bigger problem as time went by. Had to rip it all out because it would not stand up to hooves and all of that weight and became a danger. The cement on the sloping area is a hazard and very slippery and the horses are smart enough to go up and down next to it but sometimes this VA clay is even more slippery than the sloping cement!

In FL when I've had an area become terribly mucky I've dug it all out and had a truckload of landscaping sand brought in. Sometimes I have also dumped shavings outside of my barn.

Here in VA (as I also do in FL), I keep the manure picked up out around the barn and some areas do get slippery when it rains due to the VA clay but haven't ended up with one of those mucky mud holes so far. If I do I would probably get a load of fine gravel to dump on top of the nasty area. Along the local trails they dump large-sized gravel and rocks to secure the trails but they still can get pretty bad when there is a lot of rain.
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