Horse Stall Mats: Why You Should Reconsider Your Horse’s Stall Flooring
When was the last time you considered your horse’s stable flooring? Maybe you were strolling the aisles at the latest horse expo, or scrolling through social media or clicking on a seductive ad showing pristine horses in beautiful stables. If you didn’t buy new stable flooring then …
Here’s why you should reconsider your horse’s stall flooring: Return on investment. When was the last time anything you bought for your horse actually paid you back? Your horse’s stall flooring can produce a return on investment that pays you back year after year … if it’s the right kind of stable flooring.
Stable Rubber Matting: What’s Wrong with This Picture?
Conventional horse stall mats certainly have a lower purchase price than a padded and sealed stable flooring system. But a closer look reveals a different view of the big picture.
Horse stall mats made of rubber come in various sizes, thicknesses and densities. Some are almost literally hard as a rock – only 3% softer than concrete – while others are quite cushiony, at least in the beginning.
Hard rubber mats wear better than the soft and squishy versions, but trouble enters the picture when your horse repeatedly scuffs through the layer of shavings you’ve put over the hard rubber matting to lie down and roll. Result: hock sores, pastern rubs, even hip or shoulder sores. Ouch!
Soft rubber mats, some of them with interlocking pieces to keep them from shifting, show early promise but fall short when it comes to lasting comfort. Divots in the soft rubber from hard-as-steel horse shoes and compacting from horses standing in the same place are just two of the common complaints.
Here’s the rub: Hard or soft, rubber mats fall short of providing optimum comfort and durability, and because they require significant amounts of shavings for padding and protection, the everyday cost of maintenance adds up year after year.
Geotextile and Crumb Rubber: A Baffling Combination
It doesn’t end well, but let’s start at the beginning: on top, where the materials are supposed to prevent urine from penetrating through the geotextile topcover into the crumb rubber below. The best geotextile topcovers are coated with a rubber compound, which sounds fine on the surface. However, the hoof-steps and sheer weight of a horse over time can cause the coating to abrade, degrade, and wear out.
Eventually, the rubber-coated geotextile topcover’s impermeability is compromised and urine can soak through to the crumb rubber underneath. Take a sniff: Ammonia fumes from bacteria growth are telltale clues to this failure.
Look a little deeper at the crumb rubber itself. As with the materials used in stable rubber matting, the crumb rubber can be harder or softer, but manufacturers attempt to enhance its inherent properties and prevent the rubber crumbs from shifting. A mattress with parallel baffles, like the design of old-fashioned air mattresses, is filled with chopped up rubber. It’s uneven to walk over, even with a topcover sheet over the mattress.
Not only does this fail to provide the even and stable surface horses need in their stalls; even worse, all the nooks and crannies of the crumb rubber offer an ideal breeding ground for ammonia-producing bacteria when the topcover fails and urine seeps into the crumb rubber.
Why You Should Reconsider Horse Stall Mats: ComfortStall®
ComfortStall® Flooring System provides cushion AND support, as well as an outstanding return on investment. Consider that this stall flooring can deliver an ROI like no other stable equipment … ever. Here’s how it works:
ComfortStall ® IronClad™ TopCover is pliable enough to deliver the therapeutic benefits of the padding it protects, yet tough enough to outlast everything but concrete. Its single-piece rubber sheet includes five layers: two layers of tough, tightly woven polyester/nylon mesh sandwiched between three layers of dense, vulcanized rubber to offer unmatched structural stability, durability and an impermeable, waterproof surface.
ComfortStall® Precision Foam™ proprietary orthopedic padding delivers the ‘spring-in-your-step’ anti-fatigue benefit that completely mitigates the fatigue factor many horses experience when standing on concrete or traditional rubber mats which are typically only 3% softer than a concrete floor. Precision Foam insulates against cold and heat with a working temperature range of -70 to 175°F, absorbs vibration and shock, offers energy return, and is completely waterproof. Its chemically cross-linked PE foam is laminated for structural stability, creating a stable, level surface. The Precision Foam™ provides cushioned support for all horses but is especially beneficial to horses suffering from sore feet and laminitis.
ComfortStall® HDPE Anchor Strips seal the system around the stall perimeter, acting like baseboards to create an impermeable barrier. This prevents urine and other moisture from seeping through to the sub-floor, to prevent bacteria buildup and ammonia out-gassing common with individual rubber mats.
But Wait – There’s More
ComfortStall® Flooring System turns the purchase of stall flooring into a great return on investment. We call it “stable ROI”. In ComfortStall stables, stall bedding is needed only to absorb urine, so the cost of buying shavings, cleaning stalls and disposing of soiled stall bedding is significantly reduced. Cost savings from using less stall bedding typically recovers the cost of buying and installing ComfortStall within 6 months to a year. Then the savings keep on adding up, year after year.
Beyond the financial benefits of using less bedding, consider the improvement in air quality in the stable if less bedding is used. Of course different types of bedding contribute different dust concentrations to the stable environment but drastically reducing the amount of any bedding will have a positive effect on the quality of air your horse is breathing.
Never underestimate the importance of rest and a good nights sleep for your horse to recover from exercise and stay healthy.
Your time is worth saving, whether you clean a few stalls yourself or you manage a commercial stable. One stall that takes 15 to 20 minutes to clean can become a 5-minute wonder with ComfortStall. It’s true – customers swear by this statistic. In a 4-stall private barn, that’s a savings of about an hour a day. In a 30-stall commercial stable, the time savings exceed the equivalent labor of one worker.
When it comes to horse stall mats, ComfortStall offers a wealth of reasons why you should reconsider your horse’s stall flooring.
For more information, visit https://www.haygain.us/pages/comfortstall-flooring-system