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What type of Horse stall mats should I choose?

When would you use straight edge, interlocking or perforated mats?



By Kim Butler

If you are ready to replace your existing horse stall mats, or thinking about an upgrade, you may be surprised at the the variety of options when it comes to choosing a horse stall mat today. Perforated, interlocking and straight edge are the main differences, and we'll explain why you might chose one over the other to meet your horse's unique needs.

The biggest initial choice is whether to go with interlocking or straight edge mats. The size of your horse stall, aisle, or hay area will predict this, as well as whether you have a horse that paws a lot. If you have an unusual size, an online company such as Greatmats.com can have a mat kit custom cut to fit your exact needs. All you do is provide the measurements. Each mat is water jet cut for the tightest seams available. There are a variety of interlocking mats available, made of different qualities and thicknesses of rubber and therefore, different price points. Mats with different surface textures, like punter top, diamond pebble top are also available.

Interlocking Stall Mats

Greatmats customers have said they like interlocking mats because ''they don't curl up in the corners and don't get packed with dirt between the mats.''

Other horse owners noted that their most playful horses couldn't ''get a bite on the interlocking mats'' and pull it around like other mats. In general, you will find that interlocking mats tend to stay put more than straight edge mats.

Another option is to purchase a horse stall kit. Greatmats carries kits in more than 20 standard and custom sizes. The kits 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 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.

Another type of interlocking stall mats is Greatmats Portable Horse Stall Mat. Since rubber is a heavy material, hauling stall mats becomes an issue. The lightweight EVA foam mats work great for a horse trailer, portable horse stall or temporary horse stall installation, like a show or fair. While made of a durable foam, these mats are not recommended for permanent use and will last only a few years under these conditions. These mats are also not recommended for outdoor applications. When used properly, portable mats are easy to take up and move around, and can increase your horse's comfort and health on long journeys and at shows and events.

Straight Edge Mats

If you prefer to stick with standard 4x6 foot mats, you can also find high quality 4x6 mat with 12 year warranties. This is a great choice if you might want to expand or change locations.

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. But if you have a horse that loves to paw, go with interlocking mats.

Diamond surface traction mats are guaranteed not to roll, buckle or curl, and provide less stress on the leg joints of horses. Made by the same Wisconsin factory as Greatmats' horse stall kits, these mats are also made with vulcanized 100 percent recycled rubber which provides a waterproof barrier in regions where there are freeze and thaw conditions. The mats are also anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and non porous. 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.

Punter top stall mats and kits are 3/4 inch mats that are shipped from six 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. Similarly, a pebble top mat offers cost savings on both the material itself and ships from eight locations across the county.

Another straight edge type are Equine Paver tiles. These dog bone patterned rubber tiles are the highest quality equine pavers available. Comfortable and durable, with shock absorbing qualities, these pavers make a safe space for riders, groomers and horses. Made of a special, clean recycled rubber, these pavers are available in several color choices including grey, green, terra cotta and black. Recommended for parade and saddling areas, barn corridors, service roads, breeding sheds and more.

If cushioning a concrete floor is not an issue, another option is a one piece TruStall mat. Available in three sizes including the popular 12x12 foot size, this mat is 17 mm thick and is the best solution to failed and leaky flooring seems. TruStall mats have the highest traction rating in the industry and are the solution when a watertight floor is required.

There are also special mats designed for foaling areas, with extra cushion. These mats are available in interlocking, beveled or straight edges. Foaling mats can also be used with senior horses.

Perforated Stall Mats

Perforated mats, also known as Ring Mats, are used primarily for wash bays, wash stalls, drain through floors and other other wet areas. Obviously, the holes allow liquids to drain through, while providing a waterproof, non slip surface, in both indoor and outdoor applications. Each mat is 3x3 feet by 5/8 inch thick.

These durable mats are made with rubber that has a higher smell and should not be used in enclosed areas with poor ventilation, or by persons with a smell sensitivity. In that case, a Wash Bay Button top mat might be a better choice. While not perforated, the button top texture provides extra non slip qualities for humans and horses alike.

They'll stand up to years of use, and as rubber is non absorbent, they will not harbor or promote bacterial growth.

Cut your Shipping Costs
One thing to keep in mind when buying horse stall mats is freight costs. Rubber is so durable and can withstand the weight of horses because it is dense and heavy. A kit for a 12 x12 foot stall of 3/4 inch rubber can weigh 600 pounds. Shipping can cost a lot, but you can save if you order from a location closer to you.

Speak with a Greatmats horse stall flooring expert to find out which options are best for your location.

All of these mats are available from Greatmats, along with a variety of other equine mats and tiles for wash bays, foaling stalls, aisleways, and horse trailers.

For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.