Fuming over stall odor, Phew? The average horse generates more than two gallons of urine and 30 pounds of manure a day. All that waste has to go somewhere, and in a stall environment, that “somewhere” is usually into a pile of pine shavings on top of a rubber floor mat. Now, no one expects a boarding stable to smell like a lilac grove, but it shouldn’t bring tears to your eyes, either. When drainage is poor, or stalls aren’t mucked out regularly, the resulting ammonia fumes and bacteria build-up can be irritating at best and harmful at worst – for horses and humans.
Bedding material is obviously important, and you’ll want the most absorbent you can afford – sawdust or pine shavings are ideal. And while you certainly don’t want to skimp on all that waste-absorbing bedding, it’s worth noting that the thicker the floor mat, the less bedding you’ll need.
One major cause of stall odor is urine pooling under the mat. Foam and rubber mats provide dual benefits of cushioning tired joints and reducing the amount of bedding needed, so don’t get rid of them. But if pooling is a problem, the mats will need to be lifted, cleaned and allowed to dry completely. This will help reduce odor and disease-causing bacteria in waste trapped under the mats, but it’s also time and labor-intensive.
To give your horses all the cushioning benefits of a mat without the potential pooling problems, consider a waterproof top cover. This is a single piece of tough, woven fabric made to fit wall-to-wall on top of a foam or rubber mat within the stall. The top cover creates a “moisture tray” that allows urine and feces to be captured on top and easily removed with the bedding. In addition to getting rid of all that odor and bacteria-producing waste before it has a chance to run under the mat, you’ll also reduce the amount of shavings needed for bedding, labor to muck out the stalls, and disposal costs.
Foam mats like SmartStall™, come with top covers that can be custom-sized for any surface, from a standard 16’ x 16’ box stall to a 12’ x 24’ foaling stall. They do a great job of keeping “stall stench” to a minimum.
Let IGK Equestrian, know do you manage stall odor?