Demystifying Mats and Bedding

Choosing the right mats and/or bedding for your barn will help keep horses comfortable and stalls clean.
Choosing the mats and/or bedding most suitable for your stabling situation will help keep your horse cozy and your stalls clean

Let’s face it: Horse stall maintenance is not the romantic part of horse ownership. Urine and manure reek, and an excess of these two waste products creates unsafe and unhealthy conditions for the animals in our care. There are a variety of opinions about the different mats and materials available to help keep our stalls clean and our horses comfortable–let’s dig a little deeper and look at our reason for these materials.

The average 1,000-pound horse produces approximately 30 pounds of manure and 2.5 gallons of urine for a total of roughly 50 pounds of waste per day. That equates to about a cubic foot of material, before taking into account the soiled bedding removed with it. If the horse is turned out a portion of every day, not all of this waste will be deposited in the stall, but a big mess will likely still be waiting for you at stall cleaning time.

Another problem to keep in mind is the unnatural condition that stalls create for the animal. Long periods of confinement reduce blood circulation and stress his complex and fragile suspension system, resulting in "stocked up" legs and other health problems. A stalled horse might lie down, taking advantage of the sense of safety that a stall seems to give him. But repetitive lying down and getting back up in a confined space places additional stress on joints, tendons, and ligaments, and it can also cause scrapes and friction burns. Therefore, you might decide to install mats and/or bedding suitable for your stabling situation to help keep your horse cozy and your stalls (relatively) clean.

The Foundation: Basic Stall Floor

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

David Preston, president of Preston Construction Group, specializes in unique commercial and equine projects. A horse owner and sportsman, he has built and remodeled several barns in Kentucky and Illinois ranging from development of complete Thoroughbred farms to small horse barns.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

How often do you buy blankets for your horse?
125 votes · 125 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!