Rubber Mats: Which Floor Covering in the Stable?

Our horses are no longer just farm animals, but friends and loyal companions. So it’s no wonder that we want to make their lives as beautiful as possible. This also includes the right floor covering in the barn. You can now find out what distinguishes concrete, wooden floors, and rubber mats in the horsebox and what is ideal!

Building a Horse Stable – But Which Floor?

If horse stables are built or renovated, the flooring is always a decisive factor. A distinction is made here between the most diverse variants, but the most common are without question the concrete floor, the laying of stable or rubber mats, the wooden floor, and the liquid rubber.

Each of these rubbers has different advantages and disadvantages. We want to focus here primarily on comfort for animals and humans, the health advantages and disadvantages, the care properties, and the price.

Concrete – the Simple Solution

Most often we find the concrete floor in riding stables. In most cases, it is simply poured in and then roughened a little with a broom or something similar. This is important because otherwise, it is extremely slippery for a horse’s hooves. In addition, it is ideally also poured with a gentle slope – this allows excess water to drain off easily.

Concrete paving stones are also often used. With both variants of this floor covering for the horse stable, there are still a few things to consider.

Concrete vs. Horse’s Hoof

Concrete is a relatively hard, durable material. However, this also means that it can be harmful to the horse’s hooves. If a horse steps too often, pressure points and abrasions occur. Barefoot horses in particular often suffer from high levels of abrasion.

In order to avoid this wear and tear on the hooves, we recommend shodding the horses on the one hand. The horseshoes prevent abrasion. On the other hand, it can also help to line the box with a thick layer of hay. This creates a soft, cushioning surface. A similar effect is achieved with rubber stable mats (which we will come back to later).

For the general comfort of your animals, it is advisable to have appropriate bedding in the boxes anyway. The concrete is more of a cold and damp surface that does not exactly make horses feel good. Rubber mats, hay, or other bedding are therefore a must!

Easy to Care for and Inexpensive

Compared to the following floors, the concrete floor is definitely the cheapest option. It’s also easy to care for – a simple sweeping and perhaps occasional wiping is enough to keep it clean. The only problems are the grooves, but these are necessary to guarantee the slip resistance. A bit of scrubbing may be necessary to remove leftover food and dirt.

Wooden Floor in the Horse Stable – the Traditional Variant

The advantages of wood – its warmth and softness – were recognized early on, but nowadays the price is a deterrent for many farmers and horse farmers. We explain below why a wooden floor is still worthwhile.

An Oasis of Well-being for Horses

Wood is a real feel-good floor for horses. The natural material stores the heat and insulates against the cold. In addition, it is relatively soft and therefore harmless to the horse’s hoof. Of course, there should still be some litter in the boxes – if only to protect the floor – but not nearly as much as on concrete, for example.

Another advantage of wood is that it is harmless to health. Since this is a natural material, there is no danger to the horse or rider. All you have to do is pay attention to what the wood was stained with. Natural paints and fabrics are clearly to be preferred here. It is best to find out in advance whether the paints used could harm the horses.

Is It Really Worth the Work?

Unfortunately, wooden floors are not that easy to care for. As wood starts to mold when there is too much moisture (water and urine), it must be kept as dry as possible. On the one hand, the right litter in the boxes and on the other hand, regular, extensive cleaning (including wiping) of the floor helps.

The wooden floors, wooden tiles, and wooden blocks that are frequently used today also inevitably have interfaces. If these are not (no longer) perfectly sealed, food residues and dirt collect here – this attracts small rodents.

A wooden floor for the stable is also an expensive undertaking. As beautiful and good as the natural soil is, it often fails because of financial resources. If you consider that it often has to be replaced after 5 to 10 years, the decision is quite difficult.

Rubber Mats in the Horse Box – a Modern Solution?

Rubber floors have been used in industry and in the household for a long time. On the one hand, they are easy to care for and, on the other hand, they are robust – so why shouldn’t they also be used in stables?

Stable Mats – Comfortable for Humans and Animals

As already described, the rubber pit mats are often placed over a simple concrete floor. They have the advantage that they are heat-insulating, non-slip, and, above all, soft. So the horses can stand and run safely and comfortably.

In addition, the rubber mats in the horsebox are also harmless to health. There are special stable mats that are designed precisely for this area. These do not release any dangerous chemical substances – not even when worn.

The rubber mats also make it easy for people – especially when it comes to caring. They simply repel liquids instead of soaking them up like wood. This means that a quick sweep and an uncomplicated mopping are enough to clear the floor of any dirt and odor. Just like with wood, you just have to pay attention to possible joints, if they exist.

Long Live Rubber

The stable mats offer another advantage: They are extremely durable and long-lasting. Compared to the natural material wood, they still look almost like new even after 10 years. Of course, the soft rubber does not replace the litter – this has to be there for hygienic reasons alone, as it absorbs feces and urine.

By the way: The rubber mats are also suitable for outside. Here they are particularly suitable for a shelter because they are resistant to wind and weather. Even the harshest winter cannot harm the paddock mats.

Also a Variant for the Single Horse

Are you “only” a horse owner and want to make your favorite box as good as possible? Then pit mats are also a good choice because you can easily retrofit them. These are already available in the standard sizes and simply have to be placed on the existing floor covering.

The Liquid Rubber Floor – the Non-plus-ultra?

The newest variant of the stable floor is liquid rubber. It is, so to speak, the upgrade of the pit mat. Just like them, it is extremely non-slip, insulates heat, and is soft and extremely resistant. The advantage over the mats is that it is poured in like concrete – so there are no joints in which dirt could collect.

As with the concrete floor, ideally, a small slope is poured over the entire surface, so that the water can drain off easily. Before that can happen, however, the surface must be completely free of grease, oil, and dust, as this is the only way to prevent damage.

If there are dents or small holes, they can simply be touched up and filled. Cleaning is also very easy: a broom, mop, water hose, or high-pressure cleaner are the simplest methods. Only acidic cleaning agents should be kept away from the rubber.

Conclusion: Which Flooring Should It Be?

As you will have noticed while reading, there is no such thing as a non-plus-ultra solution. Instead, the choice of floor covering in the barn depends on various factors. Concrete is always an inexpensive option, but it must be covered with thick litter in the box itself. Rubber mats or liquid rubber offer many advantages but are a bit more expensive.

If you have a higher budget, you should definitely consider a wooden floor. The natural material has many advantages for horses and riders and simply enhances the overall atmosphere in the stable enormously.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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