Preparing a horse stall for rubber floor mats
Most horses are turned out during the day and spend a substantial amount of time in their stall when they aren’t being ridden, checked by the vet, or going to horse shows. They need a comfortable, flat space to sleep.
Using rubber floor mats in a horse’s stall makes the stall easier to clean, prevents slipping, reduces the amount of shavings or other bedding and provides support for the horse’s joints and hooves.
Although floor mats can be laid on top of concrete, asphalt, wood or any level well-compacted surface, hard surfaces aren’t good for horse’s hooves. And rubber mats shouldn’t be used on a surface that will be affected by freeze and thaw conditions.
If you do not have concrete, asphalt, or wood, then the sub-surface preparation is the most important factor for a safe, low maintenance stall. Also avoid using soft sand in your horse’s stall, since the sand will drift when the horse moves around in the stall or paws, and cause low, uneven spots.
Before laying down the mats, rake the floor surface to level the floor out and dig out 4-5” inches of existing material. Small gravel, roughly 1/8” inch each, is the best material for the floor. Granite or limestone gravel is easy to work with, provides good drainage, packs well, and can tolerate freeze and thaw conditions. Soak the gravel after putting it in the stall floor so it becomes compact. When the surface levels out, rubber floor mats can be installed.
Stalls vary in size, but are usually 10×10, 10×12 or 12×12 for larger horses. One or two mats can be used in a stall but many people think one thick rubber mat is better then two smaller overlapping mats. Since rubber expands and contracts, it’s best to leave ¼” to ½” inch between the edge of the mat and stall wall. Straight edge or interlocking mats can be used; some people prefer interlocking mats placed over small gravel, like granite or limestone.
There are many types of rubber floor mats to choose from. It’s best to do some research first and talk to your local veterinarian and find out what they recommend.