The 1,200 lb athlete…why choosing the right flooring for your horse is important.
What kind of athlete can carry a 120 lb person on their back, while jumping over hurdles, and running at speeds up to 50mph? You guessed it! Our 4-legged hoofed friend also known as the Horse.
I am from Kentucky. And anyone that lives in (or around) Kentucky knows that the 1st Saturday in May is Derby Day. And while attending the actual race is normally set aside for celebrities and the upper class (along with the 20 something that is ready to party…), the Kentucky Derby is a tradition. From Mint Juleps to Derby Pie, the derby showcases one of the greatest features Kentucky is known for- their Horses.
Horses are athletes too. Although not often thought of this way, sports involving horses go way beyond the KY Derby. In the US alone, over 5 million horses are involved in some type of sport including; racing, horse shows, rodeos, etc… For many, Equestrian Sports is a full time commitment. Training and conditioning for a horse can be just as intensive as a professional basketball player.
So what does sports flooring have to do with horses? For a variety of reasons, many of our 4-legged athletes are housed in horse stalls within a stable and can spend upwards of 50% of the day in their stall. Horses can weigh anywhere from 1,000 – 2,000 pounds depending on breed. This takes a significant toll on their joints, especially since they are standing most of the day and night. Health and safety are the highest priorities for horse owners. A poorly constructed horse stall floor can lead to a slew of health issues. Solid or uneven equestrian surfaces are hard on the joints, and will delay recovery time from injuries. Absorbent floors are harder to clean and promote bacterial growth, leading to respiratory problems and illness. Surfaces without good traction and comfort can lead to injury from slips and falls.
Spencer Proud of Abacus Sports Installations, is a specialist in the installation of equine flooring and has installed thousands of square feet for horse stalls, vet clinics, zoos, etc… I asked him what the biggest concern that Equestrians have when selecting the right flooring, “All equestrians are concerned about slip/fall protection, bio-security and cleanability. They want a system that provides a comfortable slip resistant footing, is both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and can be easily cleaned using most detergents. This benefits them- and the horses. And our systems provide that”.
Sports flooring is not a one size fits all for every athlete- even for the mammal variety of athletes. However, characteristics that make up a good sports floor for the human athlete, are very similar for our hoofed friends as well. When searching for the appropriate horse stall flooring, it is important to look for the features that will support the long term health and safety of your animals. There are several different rubber stall mats or seamless flooring features to consider including;
- Cushioned for Comfort & Energy– Easier on Joints & Safer during Recovery
- Easy to Clean– Maintains Proper Hygiene
- Durable & Resilient– Withstand Weight from Horse
- Good Traction & Slip Resistant– Prevents Falls when Wet or Dry
- Seamless & Non-Absorbent – Prevents Bacterial Growth
And while your horse may not be the next Secretariat – or the favorite to win this weekend, he or she is still your highest priority. Choosing the right flooring is not an easy task. But doing your research and making the investment in the right floor will benefit you- and provide the right protection for your horse- in the long run.
For more information on flooring for Equine, Animal Hospitals, Vet Clinics, Zoos, or other animal facilities, click here to view our rubber and poured polyurethane products specially made for animals.
Abacus Sports Installations of Lancaster, PA is the exclusive Pulastic dealer for Robbins Sports Surfaces in the state of PA . For more information on Abacus Sports Installations please visit their website http://www.abacussports.com/ or call them at 800.821.4557.