Horse Stall Mats – Different Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

Horse stall mats are becoming increasingly popular, due to the advantages They Supply over other stall flooring surfaces:

The traditional concrete floor is very hard. Unless you provide a thick layer of bedding, this hardness may pressure joints, potentially injure toes, and cause sore points in which the horse lays down to rest or sleep. Mats offer a softer and more yielding surface which is more comfortable for horses and not as prone to result in impact stress injuries. The substances used to make horse stall mats are naturally insulating. That is more comfortable and healthy for horses, particularly in winter. Concrete and wooden floors can be slippery when wet; mats offer better grip and lower this risk to horses.

Smooth. Many mats have a smooth surface, which is much easier to clean than wood or concrete surfaces.
Sterilization. Stall mats are easily sterilized using a disinfectant, which is difficult with sterile surfaces like wood or earth. Especially in the case of a horse contraction a infectious disease, the ability to sterilize the stall floor is important.

Drainage. Usually this occurs at the joints between mats, even though a few kinds of mats allow the urine to drain through the gasket rubber sheet itself.
Bedding. Many owners find that less bedding is needed using stall mats, partially since the mats function the purpose of bedding (insulation, soft and comfortable surface, shock absorption, traction) and partly because the ability to drain off pee implies that much less bedding is soiled. This saves not just on bedding expenses, but also concerning the money and time related to stall cleaning.
A mat floor can be laid on top of any tough, non-moving surface such as concrete, asphalt and hardwood flooring. Therefore, mats are more a floor covering, rather than a stand-alone flooring. Some mats (the thicker and more durable ones) can also be laid on compacted rock, provided that stones don’t exceed a specific size (big stones can cause lumps or even rips in the mats). Soft surfaces, such as sand or earth, are unsuitable since they may move beneath the mats, resulting in depressions in the mats. Finally, this may result in separations involving the mats or even tearing of those mats.

Stall mats vary from forms, quality and performance features. Consequently, selecting a stall mat to get individual requirements demands consideration of a number of variables. The important differences between different stall mats are in terms of:

Material. The most commonly used material is rubber, although there are distinct kinds and qualities of rubber used (largely dependent on manufacturer). There are also non-rubber mats, made out of high tech materials like EVA. Premium excellent rubber tends to be more expensive, but is more durable. High-tech materials like EVA often have somewhat different performance attributes (e.g. more shock absorbent) and tend to be milder for a specified size.
Size. Mats generally vary in size from approximately 30cm square (a square foot) to approximately 2 square meters (3 square yards). But we’ve seen mats around 12 feet by 12 feet (almost 4 meters by 4 meters), designed to cover an entire stall with one piece (which weighs 600 pounds or nearly 300kg). Large mats are somewhat heavier (the bigger ones burden 100 Kg. Or 200 lbs each) that make placement more challenging. However, their weight and size is an advantage since it makes them less inclined to maneuver once put in place and also less inclined for corners or edges to curl up. Smaller mats are easier to work with. In case of a tear or other damage, it is cheaper to replace a little mat than a large one.

Thickness. The thickness varies from about 1 centimeter to over 2 centimeters. Thicker mats have 4 advantages: tend to be more durable, are somewhat less likely for the edges to curl, less inclined for the mats to maneuver, thickness is normally a sign of quality. However, as thickness increases, so do both cost and weight.
Weight. The weight is dependent upon the type of material (EVA is much lighter then rubberized) and the thickness of the mat. Heavy mats are more likely to stay in location, whereas milder mats are suitable if you’re frequently travelling along with your horse (e.g. involving horse shows and contests) and like to take a mobile mat with you. One of the benefits of a mat made from EVA instead of rubber is the fact that it weighs just about a quarter as much as rubber, so is more suitable if you need to move it frequently.
Interlocking. Some mats interlock, but others have direct edges and rely simply on their weight to hold them in position. All else being the same (size, weight, thickness), the interlocking mats remain in place better and are far less likely for borders to lift. Some mats are designer to lock and unlock easily (for easy transport if you move locations along with your horse often) while others are designed to lock securely in position (making transportation harder, but providing greater performance in static installments).