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Best Rubber Mats for Horse Stalls

Best Rubber Mats for Horse Stalls: Proper Thickness

If you are a horse owner or thinking of owning a horse, providing a safe and comfortable stall is a high priority. You want your beautiful investment to be protected from harm and to stay healthy.

Evolution of horse stall flooring

In the past, horses were only kept on dirt-floored stalls. Straw, mulch or shavings were used to create more comfort for animals to lay down on. However, there are some downsides to these horse stall flooring options. While dirt is cheap, it gets muddy and dirt can get thrown up by your horse, into the bedding, making it hard to keep your horse clean. Since dirt is also easy to move, horses can create potentially dangerous ruts and puddles. Urine can soak through the bedding, creating a wet spot that can take a long time to dry and can smell. Mold can also grow in the bedding. This makes mucking extremely important, which can be a tough and time-consuming process.

One alternative to dirt floors is concrete floors. However, concrete alone is too hard on a horse's feet, legs and body. Wet concrete can be slippery, and slips and falls are dangerous for horses and their owners.

Over time, many people began to utilize rubber mats in their horse stalls. Horse stall mats continue to increase in popularity. Mats solve a lot of the problems mentioned for both concrete and dirt stall floors. Horse stall mats are made of rubber, a natural material that is non-absorbent, easy to clean and durable. Rubber mats can also be disinfected. Mats are placed on top of the dirt, gravel or concrete floor, and bedding is then placed on top and replaced as needed. Buying a good quality horse stall mat is a smart investment for you and your horse.

For the best rubber mats for horse stalls, however, it is important to choose just the right thickness.

Horse Stall Mat Thicknesses

Horse stall mats need to be the right thickness in order to yield the benefits. Thin or cheap mats can shift, and mounds of dirt will build up in the seams. Low-quality, flimsy mats will tend to wear in the corners, in the center of the stall, causing the corners to bend back, which then break when the horse steps on it, leaving bare spots or divots.

On the other hand, thick mats will save on bedding costs - sometimes as much as half or more. A thick mat also produces some cushioning, which is especially important for horses with laminitis or arthritis in their backs and hocks. Thicker mats also tend to yield better traction. Good traction prevents dips in the floor and mats are easier to clean and keep your horse cleaner. Thicker mats also provide a thermal layer, keeping your horse warmer on cold days. Having heat insulation makes horses more comfortable and happy and also decreases the effects of arthritis.

So how thick are the best rubber mats for horse stalls?

3/4 inch is the standard. Newer mats even go up to 2 inches. The main downside to thicker mats is that they are more expensive. Because they are heavier, shipping costs are more. Plus, heavier mats are a harder to install. However, the extra work and cost end up being worth it for the reasons listed above. Plus, heavier mats will stay in place better. They are less likely to shift around due to movements caused by horses.

Rubber Stall Mat Recommendations

Besides thickness, there are several other factors to look for in the best flooring for horse stalls. For example, you want mats that fit tightly together, otherwise, they could shift and dirt could pile up in the seams or urine could pool underneath the mats, creating an unsanitary situation that could damage concrete. You want the urine to soak into the bedding, which you will muck out as usual.

In addition, the best rubber mats are designed with a textured top that will yield slip-resistance even when they are wet. Mats with grooved or corrugated underside help with drainage and prevent curling. Covering a subfloor will cost around $350 to $400 for a 12x12 foot stall when using a high-quality mat.

4 x 6 Foot Mats

Many retailers sell 4x6 foot mats, which horse owners then cut to fit their standard 12x12 foot stall. You will need approximately 6 mats to cover a standard 12x12 foot stall. Cheaper mats may not be a uniform thickness, or even a full 3/4 inch thick. You will want to butt the edges together for a tight fit. Many high-quality 4x6 mats come with 12-year warranties. This is a great choice if you might want to expand or change locations.

Horse Stall Kits

Horse stall kits are another popular and easy option. Kits come with mats that fit tightly together with a sturdy interlocking system. Gym Rubber carries kits in over 20 standard sizes, while custom kits are also available. The kit contains 3/4 inch thick mats that interlock for the tightest fitting mats possible. The interlocks are cut with a water jet. These kits have been rated to use some of the best quality mats on the market by a leading horse magazine. The mats are made in the USA from vulcanized, 100 percent recycled rubber content and feature a non-slip surface designed for durability. They feature a 12-year warranty.

Diamond Surface Traction

For those interested in extra traction, consider a Diamond Surface Traction horse stall floor. Diamond surface traction mats are guaranteed not to roll, buckle or curl, providing less stress on the leg joints of horses. Made by the same Wisconsin factory as Gym Rubbers' horse stall kits, these mats are also made from one hundred percent recycled, vulcanized rubber. This kind of rubber yields a waterproof barrier, which is extra important in climates with freeze and thaw weather conditions. The mats are also anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and nonporous. These mats have been tested and approved by the American Farrier Association (AFA) to be used for all hot or cold shoeing processes and the AFA even uses our mats at all AFA competitions.

Tru Stall Mats

Another of the best rubber mats for horse stalls are the Tru Stall Mats. At 17 mm thick, these mats are just slightly thinner than the above mats. Thus, they are a logical choice for those less interested in cushioning and more interested in solving failed and leaky floor seams. Mats are available in three sizes including the popular 12x12 foot size. Tru Stall mats have the highest traction rating in the industry and are the solution when a watertight floor is required.

Save on Shipping

One thing to bear in mind when buying horse stall mats is shipping costs. The downside to the durability, density, and weight of rubber is that when it comes to shipping, that weight ends up costing. A kit for a 12 x 12-foot stall of 3/4 inch rubber can weigh 600 pounds. Shipping can add up.

Luckily, there are easy ways to save on shipping costs. Mid-USA and east coast residents can save money on shipping by ordering Humane mats as the mats are made in Wisconsin. West coast will get the best shipping rates on Cascade mats, which are a comparable high quality and come with a 15-year warranty.

Another option is punter top stall mats and kits. These 3/4 inch mats are shipped from 6 locations across the US and feature a 5-year warranty. The durable mats are an affordable choice when the smell of rubber is not an issue.

Find the Best Rubber Mats for Horse Stalls

Each of the above mat options and more are available at Gym Rubber. There you can find an array of incredible horse stall mats in addition to mats for wash bays, foaling stalls, aisleways, and trailers.
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats, Equine Rubber product page.