The Benefits of Specialty Horse Breeding Mats for Mating, Birthing and Foaling Applications

It is important to design breeding areas with the utmost safety for the horses and handlers in mind. Too many times we see or hear about accidents and incidents where good horses and handlers have been injured (or worse) due to something being overlooked regarding the safety of the breeding environment. Considering the costs involved with any breeding program, it is critical to get the safety aspect right the first time and to be able to maintain that standard.

One of the most important considerations when it comes to breeding area safety is the flooring. Because of the increased levels of strenuous activity and fluids that are present in any breeding operation, the choice of flooring is critical. You need a non-slip flooring material that can maintain traction even when wet. Traction and non-slip areas are imperative when it comes to safety. Not only is the stallion, mare and perhaps foal at foot in danger should there not be adequate footings, handlers and veterinary staff are also at risk. The flooring should also allow for the stallions and mares to have optimum shock absorbency during this time, as the act of breeding can be intensely physical.

With these needs in mind, rubber horse mats are the obvious choice for this application. However, not all mats are created equally. When it comes to horses or any animals for that matter, it is better to choose a revulcanized rubber mat rather than a polyurethane bonded rubber mat. Revulcanized mats have an impermeable surface that will not absorb animal fluids which can result in bacteria and foul odors. Given the increased volumes of fluids present in a breeding barn, the need to clean these areas thoroughly in order to reduce the risk of bacteria and infection being transmitted is paramount. Depending on the number of mares coming to the stallion, the likelihood of infection is increased with the more outside mares attending for service. Revulcanized rubber mats can be cleaned with warm soapy water and will dry relatively fast. Using a neutral Ph cleaner is recommended for these areas. Unlike polyurethane bonded rubber mats, moisture and liquids will not penetrate the surface of revulcanized mats, and therefore will not harbor any bacteria. Revulcanized mats are also more durable than polyurethane bonded rubber mats which is an important consideration, particularly in these demanding applications. Even with all of this in mind, revulcanized rubber horse mats are most commonly designed for the application of standard horse stalls.

There is a unique solution available that is specifically designed for breeding applications including semen collection, mating and foaling. These ” interlocking revulcanized rubber breeding mats have a diamond traction surface combined with a waffle pattern underside. This advanced design offers the superior traction and increased cushioning that these applications demand without compromising durability. These mats interlock to create a virtual one-piece floor for maximum stability. These specialty breeding mats provide superior performance when compared to standard horse stall mats for these demanding applications.

Let’s look at each breeding application more closely. When it comes to semen collection, lubricant and semen can provide for a wet environment. Both the stallion and the handlers are at increased risk of slipping. The extra traction that these breeding mats offer is a necessary element for a handler’s safety during the preparation of the stallion and the actual collection of the semen. A negative experience for a stallion when collecting semen can influence future semen collections from that horse. It is therefore imperative that the breeding barn is set up in such a way that the stallion is able to enter and exit safely and without incident as well as provide a good quality semen sample.

Looking at mating, the surface of the matting should have a ridged surface so that a stallion is able to get maximum grip when mounting the mare. The mare will also need to have plenty of traction to endure the weight of the stallion. Both the stallion and the mare will benefit from the increased cushion of these mats when mating. This increased forgiveness also adds greatly to the traction when it comes to mounting. Even when wet, these mats are able to continue to provide the ultimate amount of traction for horses. This means that staff may therefore clean the area between services, and allow another mare to enter the barn whilst the mats are still wet. This will not jeopardize the mare’s safety or that of the handler or awaiting stallion. If there is a foal at foot whilst breeding the mare, then the foal will need to be in a safe area that will not allow for it to slip and be injured during the mating.

For foals, standard rubber horse mats do not provide the cushioning required as they are designed for much larger and heavier horses. The unique waffle bottom design of these breeding mats provides the perfect cushioning to young foals. They also greatly help foals gain their footing and help them to stand up.

In all three scenarios, these revolutionary revulcanized waffle-bottom breeding mats offer many benefits that traditional horse stall mats cannot. Waffle mats can allow optimum cushioning in order for a horse to get the greatest possible traction regardless of whether the mat is wet or dry. This means that a mat such as this is able to reduce the likelihood of slipping, sliding and stumbling by both mare and stallion as well as handlers and veterinary staff. This unique design of breeding mat can provide maximum longevity as well as comfort to the horse. These mats are easy to clean, will not harbor bacteria or cause infection and can be installed with ease. When it comes to the financial as well as the emotional investment of breeding horses, ensuring that you provide the best possible environment for a mare to be bred, or for semen to be collected is pivotal in this transaction. Unsafe and slippery flooring means an increase in the potential for injury to handlers as well as equines. For these reasons, it is best to use specialty revulcanized rubber breeding mats over standard horse stall mats for these demanding applications.