Best Horse Stall Mats
Many horse owners turn to rubber stall mats for a cushioned, easy to clean flooring, and there are many options on the market for just that. It is important when choosing a mat to consider the particular needs of your horse. How much time per day does he spend on the mat? Is it in a stall where the horse will be for hours at a time, or simply a comfortable lining for a lean-to or walk-in barn? Does your horse usually keep his stall fairly tidy, or is it a big clean-up job every day?
One of the biggest expenses for ordering stall mats online is the shipping cost. Stall mats are heavy materials, and the heavier the order, the more the shipping costs. One way to avoid this is to visit your local farm store, such as Blain’s or Tractor Supply for example. These stores usually stock ¾ inch rubber mats at 4 feet by 6 feet. They are generally on the low end of the price scale, incur no shipping costs, and can be purchased and installed short notice whenever you get started on your project.
The downside to these mats is that, while durable, they may not hold up for as long as some of the higher quality products. In addition, they usually do not have a system to interlock, and so are more susceptible to movement and may allow urine to seep between the cracks. This can be a good thing if your stall has good drainage underneath, but will quickly become a smell and hygiene problem if not. These mats are also very heavy and difficult to carry, although there are products made that can help alleviate this disadvantage.
Iron Company offers stall mats that are extremely similar to those found at your local farm store, at a higher price. The difference being that Iron Company backs their mats with a 15 year limited warranty against defects in their products – among the longest offered warranty for stall mats on the market today. If you want to ensure the longevity of your purchase, a steeper purchase price will give you the assurance of the warranty.
Summit Flexible offers a stall mat of 3×4 feet, still plenty large, and slightly thicker even than the average mat at 7/8 thick. However, these mats are significantly lighter than your average stall mat, which can be a bear to handle, carry, and arrange, particularly if you are on your own for the installation. While more expensive than the local options, the delivery price is not exorbitant, and they feature an interlocking system to hold the mats solidly in place. An impermeable surface keeps urine on top of the stall for poorly drained stalls, and a slip resistant surface protects your horse from missteps.
If you may need to move your mats after installation, such as traveling with them to show grounds or moving from stall to trailer, Greatmats offers a similar, interlocking mat tile that is only 2×2 feet and therefore easy to maneuver and re-position. It will also not absorb urine and offers a non-slip surface. Coming in packs of fifteen, they are also reasonably priced, though be sure to pay attention to the amount of coverage they provide as they are significantly smaller than the average stall mat.
Humane Rubber Flooring Solutions actually provides rubber mats for a variety of sports, both equine and non-equine. Their stall mats have received high praise from buyers for their years of durability, and they offer several customizable styles that match with particular equine disciplines. A twelve year limited warranty backs their products, another benefit to the consumer.
Particularly for those horses that spend many hours in their stalls or have a predisposition to joint pain, both SoftStall and StableComfort offer competitive products that combine a mattress filled with uniform rubber pieces underneath a rubber lined top cover in order to simulate real outdoor turf and provide an even, soft surface for your horse to stand on. The systems are lightweight and easy to install, and give unparalleled comfort. However, it has been noted that horses that tend to paw may be able to damage these flooring systems. In such cases, a firm rubber mat may be the better option.
Every horse’s individual needs vary according to their living situations, health and soundness, and personalities. It is important to take all of these factors into account, as well as considering the main goal for the human in getting new stall flooring and the structure of the barn being floored before choosing. Be sure to balance the pros and cons carefully and find the mat that suits you and your horse.
What stall mats have you used in your stable and what have been the advantages and disadvantages? Would you use the same product again?