Horse stall mats are usually made of durable rubber, come in various textures and finishes, and can be purchased in various sizes, or they can be made to measure. Alternatively the stall can be decked out with interlocking rubber tiles that cover the floor. Smaller sizes are lighter, more portable, and thus more versatile as they can be used in other areas, such as in the horse trailer to prevent slipping, and to provide comfort under-foot when transporting a horse long distances.
There are many advantages of using rubber matting as a floor covering in the stable.
Firstly, it provides a great deal of comfort to the horse. The rubber has a soft cushioning effect, which is comfortable to lie on and is not likely to cause the horse any injuries resulting from stress or strain to the joints or pressure points.
Secondly, rubber matting is a good insulating material, which provides warmth, as apposed to a cold concrete floor or damp earth floor, which do not retain heat and can be very cold, especially in winter.
Stable matting can be purchased with either a textured finish or smooth finish, or alternatively a reversible mat which offers smooth finish on one side for easier cleaning, with a textured finish on the other for safe use in wet areas. The textured finish offers excellent traction to prevent the horse from slipping, and thus increases safety.
Rubber stable matting is very hygienic as it is easy to keep clean, and unlike wood or earth flooring, it is easy to sterilize.
Drainage is an important issue to consider when you are looking to purchase rubber stable matting. Some of the rubber flooring options available are porous, allowing urine to drain through them, whilst rubber flooring made up of smaller sections or tiles allows drain off in the joints.
A mat that will drain easily will allow urine to pass through, keeping the stall nice and dry, but it is essential that the underside of the flooring is grooved to allow liquids to drain away. A well drained system will also save you a great deal on bedding costs. However, it is important to consider where the urine will drain away to. If there is a permeable substrate, such as compressed stone, underlying the matting, then this is not a problem, the urine will soak away into the ground below. With concrete flooring it is best if there is a slight slope to assist runoff of accumulated urine. Alternatively, the mats will need to be lifted periodically and the floor underneath hosed down, and in this case lighter matting should be selected for ease of lifting. If the urine does not runoff and is allowed to build up underneath the matting, it can release ammonia into the air, which can be detrimental to the horses health. If drainage is going to be problematic, then it may be best to go for a solid rubber non-porous system with few or no joints, and use conventional bedding to absorb urine.
Rubber stable matting is an economical alternative to conventional flooring as far less bedding is required as the mat provides a comfortable, warm, well cushioned sleeping pad for the horse to lie on. It not only saves on bedding material, but also the time and cost of labour involved to muck out a stable lined with conventional bedding material.