Choosing bedding for your horse or pony used to be a very simple decision as it was either straw or wood shavin. These days there is a much wider choice of options available.
The options of bedding for horses and ponies is vast nowadays with shredded paper, cardboard, flax, hemp and rapeseed equine bedding as well as the aforementioned, old-school methods. Rubber matting for stables is becoming more and more popular in both private stables and livery yards as a form of bedding, though some are hesitant as they feel their horse would be sleeping on a hard surface.
This is not the case, as rubber stable matting is designed so that the horses weight compresses the rubber and makes it a comfortable surface for the horse. There is no risk of the horse going through to the concrete as the matting completely covers the floor, this is something that can’t be guaranteed when using more traditional bedding materials such as straw or shavings.
There are many health benefits to choosing rubber matting also. Firstly, the use of the rubber matting provides great support for the horse’s limbs and feet and because it covers the entire stable floor, it minimises the risk of injury from falls. The rubber matting also helps to protect the lower leg and hooves as it acts as a shock absorber so it makes an excellent choice if your horse is recovering from an injury as it can aid the rehabilitation process and prevent further injury. Other ailments can be prevented or aided by installing rubber matting, such as stiff joints, arthritis, tendonitis and ligament problems.
As with humans, horses are susceptible to illness in the colder months. The rubber matting adds an extra level of warmth and comfort for the stable, which in turn ensures that the cold, wintery weather is less of a problem. The chances of the horse picking up any germs or bacteria is lessened when choosing rubber matting as mucking out is a much easier process…simply hosing down the flooring or if you prefer to put straw down over the top, removing the straw level, sweeping and hosing. Another great health benefit is that the environment is less dusty, which also lessens the chance of the horse picking up any respiratory ailments.
Financially, picking rubber matting makes sense as despite an initial outlay on the matting and potentially getting it fixed to the stable floor, this can be offset as the amount of bedding used daily can be reduced greatly.