1. What should people consider when choosing barn flooring?
There are many things to consider when choosing barn flooring for your horses. Quality, duration, and cost, are the 3 biggest choices your have. They might seem like just a few but together they pose the biggest problem. You can not always have all 3 at once. Which are the most important? My suggestion is to pick the 2 you think are the most important and try to get the best 3rd you can.
Do you want something that is going to support your animals for years without breaking down and causing constant headaches? Or do you need a quick fix that will last a few years before you need to repair it again? My father always told me to do it right the first time so you won’t have to find time to fix it again.
What is your barn flooring subbase? Is it concrete, stone or dirt? Do you want or need drainage? How do you want to clean it? Are bacteria a concern? Who is going to maintain it? Who is going to install it? The floor is the last thing put in the barn and often the most important but the most often forgotten.
2. What types of barn flooring do you suggest? Why?
For both stalls and aisles, Abacus Sports and Abacus Surfaces, Inc. offers a simple solution: slip-resistant and bacteria-free rubber flooring. The seamless, textured rubber flooring is used by top breeding barns, equine hospitals, vet clinics and elite barns where concern for bacteria is paramount. Abacus Padenpor™ DLX and Abacus Padenpor™ FDP Equine Systems are top of the line, seamless textured rubber equine systems originally designed for thoroughbreds, sport and performance horses.
Rubber Stall Mats
Humane Rubber Stall mats are guaranteed for 12 years. They do not curl up and cause you to hit the edge every time you muck out your stalls. When the rubber mats are installed correctly there are no gaps for debris to get in and to start the unraveling process that affects many other mats.
Regupol Rubber Pavers are made with 100 percent recycled rubber. Regupol is the original inventor of the rubber paver. Rubber pavers provide long-lasting safety and comfort in many different equine and residential applications, including winner’s circles, wash bays, breeding sheds, horse paths and sale venues. Rubber pavers are shock-absorbing and slip resistant and provide a decorative dimension and color to driveways, walking paths and patios.
3. What types of barn flooring do you urge people to stay away from? Why?
I would actually urge people to stay away from pavers in stalls. Of course they are beautiful but there are crevices to hold bacteria and unless they are in a wash stall they are difficult to clean. I would also suggest staying away from stone/concrete aisle ways. Some of the stone pathways can be absolutely beautiful but just as dangerous. What if your horse slips or twist his foot. Concrete aisle ways can easily be converted to pavers or a seamless system creating a beautiful safe environment.
4. How can the various barn flooring options effect your horse?
Rubber mats in stalls can curl up as everyone knows. How often have we jammed the pitch fork into the mat to pull it up instead of the debris we were trying to remove? It is imperative to get either mats that have interlocking, non curling edges. It is also very important to get quality mats if you are not installing a seamless system. There are inferior mats that breakdown and start to develop tears and holes. This can cost you time later down the road. It could actually cost you more money down the road due to excess time in repairing, replacing, and filling earth holes created by the mats/animals.
You horses can develop injuries with the wrong floor. The wrong floor can cause joint stress. Bacteria can flourish in a poorly chosen floor causing huge veterinary bills. Bacteria can be especially important to watch for in a clinic environment or foaling/breeding area.
One of the major breeding farms down in Kentucky had a few problems with some foals passing away and they asked us to step in and see if we could come up with something that would help reduce the bacteria that crossed from one mare to the other. So we refined the system that was already in place and we put the rubber seamlessly up on the walls and they’re still using the same floor we put in over twenty years ago. On this particular farm, the University of Colorado was privately asked to come in and independently study the flooring’s effectiveness. Although the research is kept privately by the owner of the farm, this makes a statement about the impact this seamless system has made on the industry. We install this system in zoo floors and equine facilities across the country. If you can hold an elephant, you can hold just about anything.