Our Choice For Stall Mats Is…..

| January 30, 2018 | 4 Replies

I realize it’s been a bit since I posted about our new barn and I promised an update on our choice for stall mats / liners in our barn.

If you’ve ever searched for (or are currently searching for) stall mats / liners, you know how overwhelming it can be.    We found the choices to be diverse in both the construction of the mats as well as the pricing.  We made a list of the things that were important to us and ordered catalogs and samples from every conceivable stall mat manufacturer.   We were methodical and thorough in our search and I think we did a good job of weeding out what would work..and more importantly what would not.

Our criteria was as follows:

  • Durability – horses are notoriously destructive and mischevious and we wanted a product that would hold up to their shenanigans. 🙂   We also wanted something that wouldn’t have to be replaced in a few months with very light use.  There are rubber mats, recycled mats, and a dizzying array of everything in between.
  • Drainage – like many of you, we don’t want our horses standing in pools of urine so finding a mat that allowed for proper drainage was key.
  • Safety – slick surfaces in stalls are dangerous for horses, riders, grooms and the individuals cleaning the stalls.   A non-slick surface was a priority.
  • Comfort – a surface that was comfortable for our horses to stand and lay on was also a priority.    During the winter months when temperatures can drop to -30+, our horses are generally in their stalls and preventing leg injuries and soreness was key.    If you’ve had horses for any length of time, you know that standing on surfaces that are too hard for long period of times, can be an issue
  • Affordability – the differences between prices for stall mats is huge and there is some truth to the old saying ‘you get what you pay for‘.    Prices ranged from hundreds to several thousand dollars for our 12 x 12 stalls.  We also wanted a product that would reduce the cost of bedding, if possible.
  • Ease of installation – we don’t have a big maintenance crew to help move and install stall mats so we looked for something that was easy to install and maintain.
  • Ease of cleaning – we clean our own stalls and were interested in products that streamlined the process.   We didn’t want stall mats that curled as a result of being wet or soiled.

As you can see, it was a long list.  After months of research, we finally made our decision:   we chose Stall Savers which is a stall liner as opposed to a rubber mat.

At this stage, it’s important to note that we have received no compensation from Stall Savers and are NOT paid to endorse their products.  This is just a simple, old-fashioned product review with no strings attached and it’s based specifically on our experience with this product.

What we love about Stall Savers:

  • Ease of Installation –   The product arrived via Fed Ex and each mat was individually boxed.  Our stalls are 12′ x 12′ so the boxes were a little longer, but 2 people could easily move them and put them in each stall.   Stall Savers recommend that you have a 2′ x 2′ ‘leach pit’ in the middle of each stall.   That was probably the most time consuming process as we had 6 stalls and incredibly hard soil.   We have the 2′ x 2′ leach pit (filled with gravel) in 3 stalls.   In the other 3 stalls, we decided to experiment and try a 3′ trench that is 1′ deep, also filled with gravel.  We do notice a little bit of a difference between two installations, but honestly it’s not much.  Installation was quick and easy:   You need a drill and carpet knife with a sharp blade and you need to follow manufacturers instructions on what goes UNDER the liner.   The longest part of the installation was getting the stall mat squared in the stall.  For consistency purposes, we wanted the amount of material attached to the stall walls, to be uniform.   (Yes, we were a tad bit OCD on that!)
  • Safety:  Stall Savers offers two finishes:  standard which is smooth and textured which has just a little bit of a rough texture to prevent slipping.   The texture is not enough that your fork orrake will snag or get stuck on it.  We chose the textured finished and love it because our horses (and the people who ride and care for them) do not slip.
  • Drainage:  There is NO urine that pools up on these mats.  We followed the manufacturers instructions (with the exception of our experimentation on leach pits as noted above) and have a solid dirt/clay base that is topped with 6 inches of a combination of limestone and crushed stone.  The drainage is great and we have had not noticed any massive pooling of urine because it simply flows through the liner.  Also, it’s important to note that with the drainage, the ammonia smell that can go with a closed-up barn in the winter, has been kept to a minimum.
  • Durability:  It’s been a cold, icy winter here in Iowa and our horses have been in their stalls a great deal for the past 4 months.   There are NO tears, no rips, no curling up (because it’s all one solid piece of material) and no noticeable signs of wear…at all.   The liner has not pulled away from the stall walls and.  The components of the material itself make it flexible enough to move around but sturdy enough to withstand all the things horses can ‘throw at it’.  We have several horses who are really ‘hard’ on their stalls but you couldn’t tell it by looking at these liners.
  • Comfort:   Our horses have had NO leg or body soreness/issues at all.     They aren’t super soft but they aren’t like standing on concrete either and our horses seem very comfortable standing in their stalls.
  • Ease of Cleaning:   We do NOT have to deal with mats that are curling, peeling or out of of place and that has reduced the time it takes us to clean stalls.   In addition, we are using less bedding because the drainage is really terrific.
  • Affordability:  Compared to other mats / liners we looked at, these were priced somewhere in the middle of the rest.   For our 12 x 12 stalls, we ordered the 13 x 13 liners which both we and the manufacturer recommend.  These liners lay flat on the stall floor and then are screwed to the stall walls so it’s important that you order a liner that is larger than your stall.  Total cost for our liner was about $250 per stall.   Stall Savers recommends using a good amount of bedding (6-8″) which seemed like a lot but the reality is that the drainage is so good, the more bedding you have, the less often you have to clean.  (That was a tough concept for us to grasp initially as that was not the case with other stall mats/liners we had used but ultimately, it is what we experienced).

We give Stall Savers an A, for all of the above-mentioned reasons.   Our horses are comfortable and dry and they haven’t been able to wreck havoc with these liners.  They’re easy to clean, were affordable and are saving us on bedding and helping reduce the smell of ammonia as well.

Again, we have not and will not receive any compensation for this review from Stall Savers… just like their product and wanted to share our experience with you.

For more information on these liners, visit Stall Savers, online or give them a call.  We also found their Customer Service people very helpful and friendly which was another bonus!

Until Next Time,

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Category: Health & Care, Reviews

About the Author ()

Cindy Corwin is the CEO/Owner of Horse Family Magazine and is specifically interested in giving back to equine communities and bringing families closer together in their love of horses.

Comments (4)

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  1. Karlie says:

    What type of bedding do you use on top of the Stall Savers?

    • admin says:

      Hi Karlie!

      We use small pellet wood shavings in our stalls. We have found the stalls are easier to clean and (knock on wood) we have not had any rips, tears, perforations or pulling away from the stall walls in the entire time we’ve had them installed. With the bad winter we’re having here in Iowa, our horses have spent more time than usual in their stalls. We find we don’t have to use as much bedding as we previously did and the bedding does seem to stay drier between stall cleanings.

  2. Jane Cleveland says:


    Thanks so much for this helpful article. I am considering using them for a large boarding facility in Wellington (60 stalls). Our natural base is fine sand. A friend used the GGT version of these (Polysols) and had multiple instances of tears from pawing. Have you had any trouble at all with this? And what would you recommend as a base on top of the naturally draining sand?


    • admin says:

      Hi Jane!

      I’m glad you found the article helpful! We have had NO issues with tears from pawing at all. Our natural base wasn’t sand, it was a hard, compact clay that was not going to be good for drainage or for our horses to stand on. We changed our base from clay by removing as much clay as we could (about 8 inches) and we added sand, dirt and lime screetings (which is crushed limestone that’s a little ‘grittier’ than sand). After that was done, we followed the manufacturer’s directions on digging the drainage trench. We filled that trench with gravel and covered the trench with a fine layer of the lime screeting and then the entire floor was covered in sand which we lightly packed, before we installed the mats. We actually packed and gently sloped the sand towards the trench. I was afraid that we’d see rips and/or tears where the gravel drainage trench was in each stall, OR in the corners where I thought the mat material might actually tear away from the wall for some of our horses that paw. None of that ever happened. We use a fine/med wood shaving in our stalls and the drainage is great and so is the comfort for our horses. I do think if the stall mats were pulled too tight OR left too loose during the installation, you could eventually end up with rips or tears. We just placed the mats in the stall (they are easy to handle compared to most), spread them out and made sure there were no wrinkles or too much tension anywhere and then attached to the walls. That’s probably more information than you wanted! Feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

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