Horse mats are designed to make things safer for you and your horse. Most of the mats on the market are made of recycled rubber, but there are many different designs and features. An online search will give you lots of options to choose from.
Hard rubber is the most usual material, but there are lighter weight foam mats on the market. Most mats come with warranties of from five to twelve years, so check that part of the product description. You will find some with embedded mesh for longer wear, most have patterned surfaces for slip resistance, and some have special cushioning for humane treatment of horses that must be confined to a stall.
Mats come either in rolls, as standard size rectangles, or in interlocking tiles. A four foot by six foot, one-piece mat will weigh about 90 to 100 pounds. Those who are accustomed to carrying heavy feed bags may find that acceptable, but there is also the option of using separate tiles. These tiles interlock like jigsaw puzzles, are designed to be easily assembled and disassembled, and come with edging strips to make a flat edge.
Many stalls have clay floors, so the centers often get worn away and the floor becomes uneven. The depression takes a lot of bedding to fill, collects urine, develops odors and bacteria, and makes the stall less comfortable for the horse who lives in it. Using a mat protects the dirt from being raked out with the soiled bedding. If the stall has a concrete floor, a mat is even more important to keep the horse from the cold, hard surface and to give it a secure footing.
Experience has shown that there is a significant savings in bedding costs, as well as in the time it takes to keep a stall clean, when stall mats are used. The mats give the horse a comfortable surface to stand and lie on, are easily removed for periodic cleaning, and can be customized to fit any size stall. Stall mats come with patterned tops for safe footing and slick or ridged bottoms for better cleaning and sanitation.
Wash stalls generally have concrete floors, and special mats are made with diamond or button patterns for secure footing even when wet, which is safer for both you and your horse. Noise from horseshoes on concrete is also greatly reduced. The waterproof matting materials will not harbor bacteria or odors.
Aisles, trailer ramps, and trailer stalls are other places where mats come in useful. Secure footing will make your horse easier to handle, since his natural inclination is to avoid unsafe areas. Well-made mats will stand up to heavy traffic, even from steel shod hooves. Check for products that are guaranteed to lie flat, without curling up on the edges. The heavy weight of rubber mats means that they need no adhesive to stay in place.
Horse mats provide safety and comfort for you and your horse. A good mat will protect your barn as well as your horse from every day wear and tear.