Stable Mats – Good Management Suggestions
While every horse and pony has their own little quirks, you as the owner will know how often you need to clean out, and what to expect when you change your animals diet for instance.
In the same way, using rubber matting is a learning exercise, and may differ from horse to horse depending on how active they are in the stable, how often they pee (and how much!), if they lie down, roll about, eat their bedding, like to kick and make a noise, etc etc
Here are some good tips on basic management of your stable and rubber stable mats.
Laying Mats – before laying your mats we suggest that a powder disinfectant is spread on the floor (which should be dry) before laying.
Fitting – see our fitting instructions to ensure the best fit in your stable.
Cleaning Mats – sweeping mats in situ is best with a short, stiff bristled broom – for picking up muck use a round tined fork and light-weight plastic shovel. Solvents or undiluted disinfectant should not be used (if in doubt please contact the manufacturer for dilution instructions). To clean, non-biological washing powder mixed with warm water is often more than adequate!
Keep Mats Flat – ensure that no bedding becomes tucked under the edge of the mats – this can happen if a horse turns on a seam – simply lift the edge of the mats, sweep any bedding out and press the mat down into place.
Complete Clean – depending on how wet your horse makes the stable, mats should be dragged out (note where each mat is fitted in the stable to ensure they go back in the same place) and clean down with warm water, detergent (to de-grease) and disinfectant. Check the floor to ensure there are no problems (some older concrete – especially when there is no damp-proof membrane – can deteriorate over time). Clean the floor thoroughly – allow both floor and mats to dry and replace into original positions.
Drainage – where mats are used in especially wet stables, or where they are laid to allow fluid to drain under, they should be checked regularly to ensure free drainage. Sediment accumulates under the mats and clogs up the drainage channels – this needs to be washed away. With mats cush as Croctop mats, designed for floors with a good drainage fall, this can be aceheved by pressure washing under the mats by simply lifting a corner and directing the water jet under the mat.
Check Walls – with non-porous mats, fluids may run to the wall edges and it is a good idea to check these – especially where plywood lining is taken to the floor, to ensure that the wall material is not rotting. Typically stud-work walls should be fixed onto a course of engineering brick which is non-porous, but where wood has been fixed direct to the floor, this should be regularly checked.
Wear – being flexible, rubber will wear on the top surface (in the same way that the tread on your tyres wears). While the pattern on rubber may wear down, the slip resistance is not normally affected and in many cases is actually enhanced as the surface gains a more matt finish. This is normal wear and as long as the correct mats have been installed initially, will remain effective for at least 10 years in use. You shuold however check for cuts in the mats – typically from sharp nails in shoes. We can offer advice on mending cuts and tears – simply contact us with details (and pictures) and we’ll get straight back to you.
Follow the general adice given above – however in the case of horse walkers/exercisers, wear may be consistent in one area of your walker following continuous usage. This wear will be greater depending on how much use the walker gets – a single horse doing an hour a day, will show much less wear than a 6 horse walker being used 10 hours a day ! Again – in the same way that your car tyres wear, the more mileage you do, the quicker they’ll wear!
Wear in one area can be reduced by forcing your horse to take a different line – some customer have used straw bales to change the line – this distributes the wear on mats and concrete and will help give you longer wear.
Road studs should not be used on a rubber floored walker, irrespective of the type of rubber used – we have seen 43mm tiles worn through in just 3 weeks on a standard Claydon 4 horse walker!
Surface wear will occur naturally on both crumb tiles and solid rubber mats – gradually the bubbles for instance will wear down producing a matt finish on the mats – as the mats will still continue to compress under hoof weight, this means that the mats still offer a much better slip resistant surface than concrete !
It is difficult to put a working life on mats due to the many different criteria – they could last for 10 years – but in high use liveries, could be worn out in a matter of months! We’d normally expect a minimum of 10,000 horse hours wear – so around £0.20 an hour in solid mats or £0.40 an hour in crumb pavers (per horse). However, with show prices from £20.00 per shoe – this money can be saved almost solely in savings made on shoe wear !