Imagine how uncomfortable it would be to stand on an uneven or hard concrete floor for hours on end. The strain it would cause to your body’s joints is similar in horses. Some horses spend much of their time standing in their stalls or barn and it is important for their health that they have the right flooring, insulating and cushioning from the ground and the moisture.
Rubber matting has always been very popular in all different kinds of stables for cushioning and a less slippery base. There are a number of different styles of rubber mats on the market. Flat on top, flat on bottom, barbells on top and groove on bottom are just to name a few. The rubber is pressed into the shape of a mat and then die cut to the desired size. The most common size is 4’ x 6’ x ¾’.
Installing quality rubber stall mats provides the horses with a more yielding and softer surface and creates a comfortable floor that is less likely to end with stress injuries. Traditionally, stall flooring is a very hard surface and in many cases, concrete, dirt, stone dust or wood. Unless there is a thick layer of bedding, this hardness can significantly stress their joints and even injure the horse’s feet or other sore points.
Interlocking mats provide the best protection as they fit tightly, preventing shifting between mats and are typically used in aisle ways, wash stalls or entrances. They provide your horses with the best security when walking as they remain non-slippery, even when wet.
Another style of matting is the Stable Comfort rubber mats, which provide unsurpassed horse comfort through a resilient stall surface. Stable Comfort was invented and patented over 15 years ago and has become an excellent option for bedding. The Equine Performance Industry reported that these mats result in less leg fatigue and actually reduce tissue fluid accumulation. While standing, these mats provide a supportive, even surface and while lying down, the flooring decreases the timeline of injury rehabilitation.
Stable Comfort mats are made up of two components. The first one is a multi-celled mattress filled with uniform sized rubber crumbs. These rubber crumbs give the mattress a high level of shock absorbency and comfort. The second component is a one-piece top cover that is made of an industrial strength geotexile and filled with a vulcanized rubber compound that adds to its durability in addition to creating a water proof system. Stable Comfort mats inhibit the production of bacteria because they are easy to clean and disinfect, while also creating a nice, classic look.
There are also economical advantages to putting down quality rubber stall mats. By doing so, these mats perform the function of bedding so there is much less needed (up to 75%). Additionally, these mats provide much better drainage which spoils less bedding. Therefore, considerably less time is needed to muck the stalls which in turn, reduces labor costs. Also, in the winter months as concrete tends to become very cold, rubber mats act as insulation for barns and can help maintain a comfortable atmosphere in any facility.
Comfort and safety are main priorities in all barns and for your equine friends. A horse should feel relaxed and at ease in their stalls, since that is where they live. Rubber mats help make the horse feel like they are right at home while preventing injuries, head to hoof.