Horse owners already know that it is difficult for horses to stand extended periods of time on hard floor. This is especially true for horses that spend most of their time indoors. Some cushion is needed to provide additional support under the feet of horses. Horse stall must be kept clean. The stall should be designed and constructed in such a way that there is no drainage problem. Non-slippery floor that is soft but not too soft should be used. According to StallMatsWorld all such issues with stall flooring can be handled easily by using horse stall mats.
Traditional Flooring Options for Horse Stalls
Wooden floor is the most traditional stall flooring option. It is sturdy and warm. The problem with wooden floor is that it is difficult to clean manure and urine completely from it. The solid and liquid wastes cause the wood floor to rot quickly. This problem can be solved to a great extent by using proper floor mats. Concrete is the next choice for stall floor. Bare concrete floor is not recommended because it is hard on the legs of the horse. Concrete floor can be made usable by installing right type of mats that provide proper cushion to the horse’s legs. Mats make concrete floor non-slippery. Using dirt as barn floor is the third option. This type of stall is difficult to clean. Old dirt must be replaced frequently with fresh dirt to remove the unpleasant urine odor.
Why Use Mats?
Installing proper mats for horses is the best way to solve all such problems. A mat is inexpensive, durable and easy to clean. Horse stall mats help reduce the cost of bedding. There is less cleaning time involved and horses find it comfortable to lie on the mats. The biggest advantage of installing mats in horse stables is that there is less risk of injury to horse hooves. It is mainly because the top surface of the stall mat is clean, warm and comfortable. Mats can be sterilized easily with disinfectant. This is important because urine odor is harmful to the respiratory health of a horse.
- Better cushioning to the animal’s legs
- Easy to clean and disinfect
- Non-slippery, secure, solid footing surface
- Warm and comfortable
- Efficient drainage
- Less need for expensive bedding
- No damage to the floor by horse pawing
- Easy to replace and install
- Increased safety
- Remains level
- Low maintenance
Different Types of Mats
Horse stall mats are available in many sizes, styles, materials and quality. There are simple flat edge mats that are most common and can be found easily. This type of mats are generally placed side-by-side. The next option in this range is interlocking mats. As the name suggests, these mats can be interlocked to each other easily and quickly. Such mats look similar to interlocking puzzle pieces. This type of mats absorbs urine in a better way, facilitating hygienic environment in the stables. Owners who travel with their horses should choose portable mats. These mats require less amount of bedding. Ring stall mats let the water and liquids drain off easily. Efficient drainage feature makes ring mats suitable for use near grooming and washing areas. Horse owners who need specific size mats should choose custom mat. It can be cut according to the required sizes. It is suitable for stalls that have non-standard floor size. Custom mats installed at such places help cover all corners of the stall floor. These mats are expensive compared to other types of mats. Rubber mats are the most common type in use. Some special and proprietary high-tech materials are also available.
Underneath Surface Requirement
Horse mats for stalls can be laid on any hard surface like wooden floor, asphalt and concrete. Mats can be placed in stalls that have earth or sand floor but a mat installed on such a floor has shorter life. The depressions in the floor cause the mat to tear off easily. For this reason, mats should not be used as stand-alone flooring but mainly as floor covering.
Factors to Consider When Buying Stall Mats for Horses
- Type of Material
- Straight edge or interlocking system
- Flat, footed or grooved bottom
- Type of top – flat or textured
Different Sizes and Weight
They can be found in different sizes. The largest size can go as high as 12×12 feet while the smaller ones are a square foot in size. Mats for horse barns are also available in 2×2, 4×6 and 6×12 feet sizes. It is important to know that larger size mats are heavy in weight. It can be difficult to install such mats without support of many people. Mats for stalls are available in the thickness of 3/8″, 1/2″ and 3/4″. Thick mat lasts longer but it is expensive and heavy in weight.
Stall mats for horses must meet certain performance and quality characteristics. Longer guarantee period from the manufacturer indicates better mat quality. Stall mats made with mixed materials should be checked for quality issue. Weight and thickness in a mat can be achieved by mixing inferior quality material. Type of hard floor beneath the mat should be considered when choosing type of bottom for the horse mat. Urine can get trapped under a mat that has flat bottom so this type should be selected only for stalls that have suitable flooring with easy drainage feature. What happens to urine after it drains through the mat is an important factor to consider when buying stall mats for horses0. Any buildup of urine odor can be detrimental to the health of horse. The solution is to use footed or grooved bottom mat, or the flooring should have good drainage.
Water hose or pressure jet can be used to clean the mats that have grooves or feet underneath. Small size, lightweight and thin mats tend to move. Thick, heavy and large mats do not have this issue. There are advantages and disadvantages of each type of mat. All these things should be considered carefully before buying.