Avoid Deterioration of Horse Stall Mats

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Question: I have some stalls that were professionally matted over crushed rock about 20 years ago and some that were done about three years ago. The older ones are beginning to get bedding in under them so that the mats lift and the corners curl. Is there something I can do to fix the mats? They were 3/4 and full 1" mats. I'd also like to prevent this in the newer stall mats. I have cleaned under them, but the corners are starting to lift.

Answer: First off, it’s great to see that you are doing several things the right way. Your mats are not too thin and you have them placed over crushed rock, which is the correct subsurface for the mat. It sounds as if you have gotten 20 years of life from the first installation, which is pretty good, although we can understand why the curling and heaving of the mat is detracting now from their usefulness.

We think that the primary reason that they’re curling is that they’ve broken down enough that the rubber is not laying flat any more. So even if you remove the shavings, they may keep doing this and you may need to replace them.

Here are some ideas for preventing the problem for as long as possible:

  • Keep using a professional installation--professionals can get the mats tightest to each other and the wall.
  • Use a reputable major brand--as not every rubber mat is created equal. Some are made from poorer quality materials that are more likely to curl. We like to go straight to the manufacturer to ask questions before purchasing the product from a distributor. These people can be a wealth of knowledge.
  • You could experiment with different types of footing. Very fine shavings are more likely to be able to get through and under the mats.
  • Make sure the mat is installed under the door frame. Horses will paw at the door area and begin to lift the mat there over time.
  • Never go less than ¾” in thickness.

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