Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fun With Mats

Small Thing has an obnoxious habit of flipping the end of the stall mat over and standing on it, so he can whiffle up the bits of hay underneath. This would be fine, except that eventually the mat cracks and then the end breaks off. Due to his ministrations, I now have eight stall mats with ragged ends ranging from a corner missing, to nearly half of it snapped off.

This is why he can't have nice things.

His shelter had broken pieces of mat around the outside, and a bare-dirt depression in the middle where he stands to eat. During rain events the depression would turn into a pond, necessitating me brooming the water out. So it was time for a makeover.

We added railroad ties around the outside and fetched a pickup truck-load of roadbase rock. The result was a clean flat surface for him to frolic on. I re-added two of the biggest broken mats in the corner he tended to poop in mostly, for easy cleaning.

The new digs worked beautifully. They got a little soggy the time we got 6" of rain, but I can live with that. But then I noticed that the sogginess wasn't going away, and realised that he'd started to pee in his shelter.

Now ST pees a lot - and by a lot, I mean at times it has worried me. But he pees clear, so there's not much odor associated with it. But it does make a soggy mess. A soggy mess that was never drying out.

I added some strips of broken stall mat to the middle of the shelter in the hope that it would discourage the activity, but he just moved 2 ft to the right.

Clearly he was going to need proper stall mats - at least in that area - to completely curtail the habit.

Knowing the rain was coming in tonight, I needed to get the mats in place this morning, so yesterday morning pft followed me to Echo Valley on my way to work, so I could pick out the mats I wanted. This didn't go super-smoothly due to the truck battery being totally dead for some unknown reason, but we jumped it and got over to Auburn.

Fast Forward to today, with me needing to wrestle the mats in place before I left for work.

First of all, I had pft back the truck as close as he could so I wouldn't have to lug them too far. This didn't go super-smoothly either, since the space we're working with is very narrow. We managed to get the truck in OK to unload, but predictably, on the way out, the front wheel slid on the dew-wet grass and dumped it into the drainage ditch. 15 minutes of engineering-with-railroad ties later, we got it out again. Those RR ties are so versatile for all kinds of things, but damn they're heavy.

Took one of the new dimpled mats and swapped it with a flat, slippery one in Uno's stall. His shelter has a slightly sloped floor that can get quite exciting in the wet and I'm hoping this will help prevent him from doing the splits. I need to re-engineer the floor in there - at the very least dump in a load more rock to level up the slope some.

ST's space got the flat mat from Uno's shelter, plus one of the new ones, artfully arranged so they weren't near his eating area in a tempting-to-flip-over fashion.

We're due another 5" or so of rain over the next few days, so we'll see how well the area holds up with the changes we made today.

Certainly Small Thing seems to like them - pft took this from the house this afternoon. He titles this "Small Evil Satan" (as opposed to the usual "Baby Jesus" tag):

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