Barn design: Drainage problems in the stalls

What is wrong with this interior stall photo?


The slope runs downhill INTO the barn! So guess where the rain goes? Into the stall and into the barn’s aisle. Guess what the horses are standing in? Mud.

If this were my property I would back fill with a gravel mix and raise up the level of the stall floors. But it’s not. I’m renting. Whatever solution I come up with has to be affordable. I had a plan on paper but got stumped when I couldn’t find any railroad ties. It was at the beginning of the fall season and all those had been sold off at the garden stores. I’ll try again in March as folks will be planning spring gardens.

Meanwhile, the stall in the photo doesn’t get hit too badly. The first stall on the right which became the hay room, and the 2nd stall, which ZZ prefers to be in, does get really bad drainage. For the hay, I’ve raised it up on a double pallet stack, and for ZZ’s stall, I’ve put in rubber mats and shavings like shown above.

The mats aren’t cut to fit. These are 10×10, lopsided square stalls with a very uneven floor (some buried rock is projecting). I figured up the expense of doing wall to wall stall mats with leveling the stall and it was just too costly. Instead I’ve gone with 2 mats per stall ($100 per stall from Tractor Supply) and put them in the quadrant where the horses stand and pee the most. Over time they will get moved around and shavings will work under them so I’ll have to keep adjusting.

However, I’m willing to put up with the hassle of adjusting them about due to the cost savings and knowing the horses spend little time in their stalls. They prefer to stay outside and as the weather gets warmer, they will spend less and less time indoors. If the weather is anything but snowing, raining, or below 20 degrees, the hay nets get hung outside. The only thing inside on a regular basis is their heated water buckets and salt blocks.

heated water bucket and salt block

Once the RR ties come in we’ll be digging them into the exterior line of the barn wall and then back filling with gravel to make a pseudo- French Drain down that east side. I’m also stymied as we have been at freezing temps for a week or more and the ground is a rock – no digging right now unless I had a backhoe.

And THIS is why you raise your barn higher then the surronding ground. And THIS is why you use stall mats – to prevent urination and water soaking the ground which you dig out, causing the stall to be lower then the surronding footprint.

The problem with water is it WILL seek out a place to go. You can’t just block it without allowing it another path of least resistance for it to flow. Without a place for it to run too, it will just wipe away whatever you put there to initially block it.


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