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Rubber vs EVA Matting: which is right for your stables?

Rubber Horse Stable Mat

Using matting in your stables is a simple way to cut down on the cost of bedding and add insulation. Both aspects are important for the comfort and safety of your horse.

Ensuring that your stable is a hygienic environment that is easy to keep clean, is essential. When you’re making a big investment into something such as flooring, you want to make sure that you’re choosing the right material for you.

This guide is here to help you decide if EVA matting or rubber matting is the best fit for your stable.

What is the difference between Rubber and EVA stable mats?

Rubber Matting

Rubber mats are made using heavy-duty material. Rubber matting offers a hard-wearing and sustainable option for your floors. Solid rubber stable mats are often heavy but they can handle wear and tear for over a decade.

EVA Matting

EVA stable mats are made from ethylene vinyl acetate – this a is a more foamy alternative to rubber. EVA stable mats are not as hard-wearing as rubber, but they are considerably lighter. This means that one person is able to move the matting on their own if needed.

Empty stables with bedding on the ground

Selecting the right matting

Choosing which type of matting is going to be most suitable for your stable can be overwhelming. There are different thicknesses, materials, prices and ways of maintaining them – and different situations might mean that you need a different type of stable floor. Hopefully, this guide will help you work out which is the right choice for you.

Type of Horse

Depending on the weight of your horse, you may need a different type of flooring. As rubber matting offers a thicker, more resilient, surface it is recommended for the larger horse.

If you have ponies or smaller horses you may want to consider EVA matting as the softer surface can be more gentle on their hooves.

Another thing to note is that if your horse wears road nails, EVA matting might not be suitable as the nails can tear through the stable flooring. In comparison, rubber is more durable and therefore can withstand the impact of the nails better.

Weather Resistance

Though EVA matting functions well in normal stable conditions, it does not perform as well when exposed to the elements. EVA floor mats are prone to slipping on the ground and can pose a slight danger in the rain or ice.

Solid rubber mats, however, are intended for use in all weather conditions. In the wet winter months, rubber matting can provide grip underfoot – these anti-slip properties can in many instances prevent accidents and ensure an extra level of safety for you and your horse. To increase these grippy properties and for shock absorption, some horse owners choose textured rubber matting.

Maintenance

Choosing to line your stable floors with some sort of matting reduces the need for bedding and in turn, reduces bedding costs. But, all mats need to be cleaned.

Cleaning EVA mats is simple as they are easy to lift and move when you need to muck out your stables. With EVA matting, as it does not have drainage channels, you will have to clean both sides of the matting regularly.

Cleaning rubber stable mats ensures that the environments within your stable are clean and safe. Though lifting the matting off the stable floor can be a two-man job, the surface of the matting is weather-resistant and easy to keep clean. As rubber matting can be fitted to be watertight, many stable owners report only needing to clean beneath them annually.

Durability

An important element to consider is the quality of your flooring – this can save you from having to replace your matting within the near future.

Due to the foam in EVA matting, it is softer underfoot and more comfortable for horses to walk on. However, the cost of this is that it is not as durable as rubber matting. EVA flooring is known to expand under the weight of animals and will need trimming to ensure it continues to fit in your stable correctly. As it thins, EVA matting often becomes more prone to tears and damage and is not recommended for high-traffic areas of your stable floors.

Rubber matting is heavy-duty, therefore, it is recommended for busy areas of your stable. A quality stable mat will often last over 15 years, providing protection for your floors for over three times as long as an EVA mat. It is also harder to damage rubber matting, meaning that they are more suitable for walkways and busy areas. Even if there is something stuck in a horseshoe, it is unlikely to cause damage to a rubber mat.

Installation

Installing floor mats can seem like a daunting task, no matter if you choose EVA or rubber matting. The lightweight elements of EVA matting could potentially make it seem as though it would be the easier thing to install. However, due to its tendency to slide, lack of drainage properties and that it expands under the weight of animals, it can become a bigger job than simply laying the mats.

Whereas, rubber stable mats are much easier to maintain once they are installed. Though rubber matting is heavier, once installed on your stable floors it doesn’t budge. Rubber mats also come with drainage channels underneath, when fitted correctly, this allows water to flow out from beneath your mats, preventing the growth of mould and bacteria and providing better protection for your horses against disease.

horses in a stable

Which matting is best for you?

In the end, it comes down to you and your needs. If you need a lightweight and cheaper option then EVA is probably for you.

If you need stable mats that are made to last, easy to clean and built for both bigger and smaller horses, then rubber matting is for you.

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