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How Are Foaling Mats Different From Other Stall Mats?

Take a look at cushion, traction, coverage and durability



By Paige Cerulli

Jan. 12 - 2018 - Is your equine facility expecting a foal this year? Congratulations! Now, you've got work to do. The needs of foals are very different from the needs of adult horses, and special consideration needs to go into creating a safe foaling stall. Foaling stall mats are an essential aspect of keeping your foal safe, and they're one item that you simply can't do without.

Why Foaling Stall Mats Matter
What makes foaling horse mats so different from traditional horse stall mats? A foaling stall mat is actually designed differently than a traditional rubber stall mat, so it can appropriately support and cushion a foal.

Foaling stall mats are strong enough to withstand the weight of an adult horse, but they also have to be forgiving enough for accident-prone foals which are easily injured. It's a sure thing that a foal will tumble, fall, and scoot around on the stall floor during its first days of life, so appropriate foaling stall flooring can go a long way toward keeping the foal safe.

Greatmats offers foaling stall mats which are designed to help keep foals safe. These mats have a lightly textured surface which allows the mare to get traction during foaling, and which helps to give the foal grip as he learns to stand and walk. The mats are made from 100% recycled rubber, so they're both durable and strong, and won't be damaged by moisture or urine.

Our foaling stall mats feature interlocking edges, so they can be fit together to create a smooth, unified stall surface. The waterjet cut interlocking system makes for the tightest, most secure fit possible, so the mats won't pull apart and you won't have to worry about bedding working its way down between the mats. Installed properly, there won't be any uneven areas or curling edges to push an already unstable foal off of his feet.

But there's one additional feature of foaling stalls that makes all the difference when it comes to a foal's safety and comfort.

Why Foaling Mats Have a Waffle Bottom
Foaling mats are built on a waffle bottom. This design significantly adds cushion and flexibility to the mats for improved safety. Whereas solid rubber stall mats are dense and really have nowhere to go when a horse stands on them, this waffle bottom design allows the mats to flex and move. It's like adding an extra cushioning system into your foaling stall flooring.

Whereas adult horses spend relatively little time lying down, foals spend far more time napping and resting in their stalls. They're also just learning to walk and balance, and if you've spent any amount of time watching a foal play, you know how dramatically they fall. Foals are, unfortunately, injury-prone, so the waffle bottom of the mat is a valuable way to add safety to the stall. Whether the foal is just an hour old and is learning to stand, or is a rambunctious three-week-old, foaling mats can help to prevent potential injuries.

Don't forget, too, that the comfortable cushion provided by the foaling mats is also beneficial to the mare. It makes for a more comfortable foaling surface, and can help to keep her more comfortable when she's spending more time than usual confined to a stall.

Designing The Safe Foaling Stall
Foals usually spend much of their initial lives in a foaling stall, so you'll want to put some serious thought into how you design your foaling stall. Factors such as determining an appropriate foaling stall size and selecting an appropriate bedding may appear to be minor choices, but they can have major implications on your foal's safety and health.

The below tips can help you to design every aspect of a safe foaling stall.

- Foaling stall size - Foaling stalls should measure at least 12x12 feet, though larger is better. The larger the stall, the less chance there is of the mare stepping on the foal. You may need to adjust the foaling stall size if you're working with larger horses.

- Subfloor design - The subfloor is an important factor in any foaling stall. Take the time to make sure that your subfloor is level. Fill in any holes so that you're starting with an even, smooth foundation.

- Stall mats - Always use appropriate mats designed specifically for foaling. Be sure that the mats cover the entire floor of the foaling stall.

- Stall door - Look for a stall door with a solid design. You'll want to avoid slats or holes where a foal could potentially catch a leg. If you opt for a mesh door, make sure that the mesh is strong, in good condition, and that the holes are small enough to prevent a foal's hoof from getting stuck.

- Overall safety - Nails, sharp edges, and other protrusions can be dangerous for foals. Carefully inspect your stall, including feed buckets and waterers, to make sure there are no sharp edges or other dangerous items.

- Lighting - You'll need a source of lighting, especially when monitoring the mare during the foal watch. While you're working with the electrical system in your barn, take some time to make sure that all outlets and cords are well out of the foal's reach.

- Ventilation - You'll want a source of ventilation for the stall, such as a window. However, make sure that there aren't any drafts, especially if you're expecting a foal during the winter months.

- Disinfecting - Remove all bedding from the stall and disinfect the walls, buckets, flooring and feeders. Allow everything to dry thoroughly before moving the mare into the stall.

- Bedding - Generously bed your foaling stall with a safe and appropriate bedding. Straw is a popular option, both in terms of affordability and safety.
Setting up a foaling stall correctly takes time, but it's an important part of breeding and raising a foal.

What to Look for In Foaling Stall Flooring
Are you planning to outfit your breeding facility with new stall mats for foaling horses, or do you just need mats for one foaling stall in your barn? Either way, you'll want to choose the right stall mats for your needs.

It's important to remember that foaling stall mats aren't like typical stall mats. Your average rubber stall mat will give the foal some traction and some protection, but it won't give them the same cushion and shock absorption that a foaling stall mat will provide.

When looking for stall mats for foaling stalls, the following factors are important:

- Shock absorption and cushion - Look for a mat that creates a forgiving surface. Our waffle bottom foaling mats are designed to do just this.

- Traction - While you'll be putting plenty of bedding on top of the mats, look for a mat that has a surface designed to provide traction to the mare and foal to further prevent slips and falls.

- Durability - While the mat needs to be forgiving enough for a foal, it also needs to be durable enough to withstand the weight of the mare.

- Interlocking design - Straight edge stall mats can curl up and create an uneven surface. Always opt for interlocking mats when you're working with a foaling stall.

Greatmats offers quality foaling stall mats designed with all of these features, and more. Backed by a 12-year warranty, these mats have the waffle bottom design that creates a safe and forgiving surface for both mare and stall. The mats also interlock to create a smooth, cohesive surface.
What's better, is that we even offer stall mats for foaling horses in pre-sized kits. Each kit contains the mats that you need to mat a stall of one of the following sizes:
- 8x12 feet
- 8x18 feet
- 12x12 feet
- 12x18 feet
- 12x24 feet

When you order a mat kit, you'll receive a set of mats that have been pre-cut to fit the specific dimensions. There's absolutely no cutting required on your part; all you have to do is fit the mats together. The mats are numbered and a corresponding diagram shows you just how to lay them out. It saves time and energy, and is a must-have option for any busy foaling operation.

Ordering Your Foaling Stall Mats
Foaling season is right around the corner, so don't delay in ordering your stall mats for foaling horses. Mats ship via freight delivery, and will arrive shrink wrapped on pallets.

Be sure to contact our excellent customer service team if you have questions about the mats, are unsure about which product is right for your stable, or if you'd like a shipping quote. We would be happy to help you find the right product so that your foaling stalls are ready to go when you need them.
We wish you all the best with the upcoming foaling season! Don't forget to send us photos of your farm's new additions!

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