Rubber Matting for Horses
There are many brands of rubber matting, sold as flooring for horses. There are several circumstances in which the AVMC recommends the use of rubber matting:
Floor covering for stables, in which the horse otherwise scrapes through bedding, to reach bare concrete flooring. The concrete flooring can create abrasions, pressure sores and a slippery surface, on which the horse cannot grip to rise from lying. This can result in the horse becoming ‘cast' or in serious back and pelvic alignment problems, from the sudden forces that are generated when the horse slips and saves himself.
Floor or yard covering, by doorways and gateways, if a horse stands on concrete in one place for any length of time. The rubber matting can prevent the type of RSI-type (repetitive strain injury) of problems, sustained from prolonged standing on an unyielding concrete surface.
Floor or yard coverage for a laminitic pony, if that pony has to be kept on concrete for any length of time or for a horse on ‘box-rest'* or confined in a small area, for veterinary reasons.
Rubber matting can replace bedding (which can be messy) or can be used under bedding. It must be durable, resilient, springy, self-draining and easily cleanable, to make a satisfactory flooring material. It is protective not only of feet but also of limbs and spine.
*By and large, the AVMC does not recommend ‘box-rest' for horses and ponies, preferring to apply methodologies more suited to this species and more able to promote healing.. In very exceptional circumstances, e.g. in case of a fractured limb, it may be a necessary measure.