If you’ve ever searched for stall mats or liners for your barn, you know how overwhelming it can be.
When my family was building a barn and it came time to shop for stall mats, we found the choices to be very diverse. We were methodical and thorough in our search, compiling a list of the things that were important to us as we began ordering catalogs and samples from every conceivable stall mat manufacturer.
Our criteria were as follows:
- Durability – Horses are notoriously destructive and mischievous. 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 – We didn’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 -30ºF, our horses are generally in their stalls. 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 periods of time can be an issue.
- Affordability – The differences between prices for stall mats are huge! 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, our list of requirements was lengthy!
After months of research, we finally made our decision: Stall Savers
Author’s Note: We have received no compensation from Stall Savers and are NOT paid to endorse their products. This is an unpaid product review based on our personal experience with this product.
What we love about Stall Savers:
Ease of Installation
The product arrived via FedEx. 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 recommended that we 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, however, it’s not much.
To install, you will need a drill, a carpet knife with a sharp blade, and the manufacturer’s instructions regarding what goes under the liner. Getting the stall mats square in each stall took the longest. For consistency purposes, we wanted the amount of material attached to the stall walls to be uniform all around. (Yes, we were a tad bit OCD on that!)
Stall Savers come in two finishes: standard which is smooth and textured which has just a little bit of a rough texture to prevent slipping.We chose the textured finished and love it because our horses (and the people who care for them) do not slip.
Urine does not pool up on these mats! We followed the manufacturer’s 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. With the drainage, the ammonia smell has been kept to a minimum.
Our horses were in their stalls a great deal for the first winter with these liners. There are NO tears, no rips, no curling up (because it’s all one solid piece of material), and no noticeable signs of wear. The liner has not pulled away from the stall walls. We have several horses who are really ‘hard’ on their stalls but you couldn’t tell it by looking at these liners.
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 are no longer dealing with mats that are curling, peeling, or come out of place. This has reduced the time it takes us to clean stalls, and in addition, we are using less bedding because the drainage is really terrific.
Compared to the other mats and liners we looked at, Stall Savers fell in the middle of the typical price range. We ordered the 13′ x 13′ liners for our 12′ x 12′ stalls, which both we and the manufacturer recommend. These liners are screwed to the stall walls, so it’s important that you order a liner that’s larger than your stall.
The total cost for our liner was about $250 per stall. Stall Savers also recommend using a good amount of bedding (6-8″). This may seem like a lot, but the more bedding you have, the less often you have to clean. This proved to be true despite our initial skepticism!
We give Stall Savers an “A” rating!
Our horses are comfortable and they haven’t been able to wreak havoc with these liners! The material is easy to clean and saves us on bedding costs while reducing the smell of ammonia.
For more information on these liners, visit StallSavers.com or give them a call. We also found their Customer Service people very helpful and friendly which was another bonus!
This post originally appeared on January 30, 2018. Updated on July 24, 2020.