How do I strip a stall? What is the purpose for stripping a horse stall?
Get ready to gain some serious muscles here, people. Stripping stalls is hard work, but seriously worth it. But why do it? For a few reasons - freshen the bedding, check for a level floor, do a thorough clean, and even to inspect the bottom of the walls for damage, rust, etc. And how to do it? Grab some tools and get to shoveling. (You can skip the gym on stall stripping day!)
Vice grips (on the RIGHT) are super for moving mats and saving hands.
I like to start stripping a stall by simply mucking it out, toss the manure and wet spots. Then, you can shovel the remaining shavings. At this point, you can toss them also, but I like to repurpose them. They can go into a garden for weed control, into an outdoor run for bedding, into a paddock as a rolling spot. Or, you can save the shavings and reuse them in the stall. Alternatively, you can use a bunch of fresh new bedding. All depends on your budget and preference! Use a zeolite product along the way to soak up any wet spots.
Zeolites, like Sweet PDZ, can soak up wet spots under the bedding. You can also use them if you end up powerwashing the stall. This makes things dry a lot faster!
Mats with gaps let urine and water through to the base layers - add your horse on top and holes and warps start to form!
Now it’s time inspect your mats and what’s underneath. Are there dips you need to fill, gaps that need to be scraped out and have the mats straightened, or are they perfect? If you need to pull your mats, use a pair of vice grips to clamp onto one edge of the mat. Much easier than trying to grab with your hands! There are loads of great things to put under your mats if you have a horse that has created a dip. Also consider moving the mats around so that his favorite pee spot is not right over a seam in the mats.
With the bedding gone, you can see if the bottom of the stalls need repair. Wooden stall walls often break down a bit, and your can either replace boards or consider replacing them. Composite stall walls are often in a steel frame, which can rust. The rust can be scraped off and painted with a rust proof paint to extend it’s life. You can also sometimes find mouse holes and paths at the bottom on the stall walls, giving you a chance to put up some barricades or maybe even conducting an eviction.
For ideas on what to put under your horse's stall mats, you can read this gem of an article!
Depending on how your stall is designed, there’s a chance you have some plumbing running through it. Check the lines and surrounding areas for evidence of a slow leak. You will probably find rust on metal barn components, a dip in the ground, wet mats, etc.
Take time to inspect the boards or panels that are normally covered up by shavings.
With the stall empty, also time to check and replace screw eyes, rusty waterers, and it’s a great time to power wash the walls. Loads of tips on that topic can be found here! After you are all done, time to move the mats back (So you may be skipping the gym tomorrow, too!) and replace the bedding. It's a great time to take note of where the urine actually lands, so that you can add some ammonia killer under the bedding.
How often do you strip your horse’s stall?