Rubber stall mats make a great surface for stall floors. They’re cushy for your horse and easy to clean. And even our local gophers, which don’t seem to be stopped by anything, haven’t been able to chew through them.
There are some issues with them, though. The first one you’ll likely encounter is that they are hard to move. The standard size is 4’x6′ and they are 3/4″ thick solid rubber and weigh in at around 100 lbs. They are not only heavy but awkward and hard to hold on to.
I discovered a great tool called a Mat Grabber. There are a few companies that make these and they all seem to be plastic. They have a toothed upper and lower surface. Slide them on the mat and when you pull back, they grab the mat. They have handles so you can just pull back on the mat to move it, and there is a handy release button. Many ranch supply stores stock them, or you can order them online (I got mine through Amazon).
A few tips on using these things. Pull STRAIGHT back to lock them in place. Also, clean up the mats as much as possible as dirt and moisture will cause them to slip. Keep the grabber surfaces clean as they will slip if dirt or mud build up between the teeth. You can use a screwdriver to clean them out between the teeth. These things take a little getting used to but when you get the hang of them, they are worth their weight in gold!
The next issue is that the mat may not fit exactly in your stall. They are sized so that six of them will surface a 12×12 surface, but if your structure has footings, as my new barn does, and you want the mats to fit inside the footings, you may need to trim them. NOTE–trimming is a good idea, as if the mat sides slide up over the footings, you can trap moisture and worse in between the wall and the mat–not good for the wall surface.
I had hoped that there was a slick power tool for this but it seems not. The toothed surfaces of circular saw blades apparently make a mess and generate a lot of heat when used on rubber. I read about a special jigsaw blade for the purpose but was not able to actually locate one. The generally accepted practice is to use a heavy-duty utility knife (a fixed blade as opposed to retractable is recommended). Measure carefully (you don’t want make these cuts more than once) and mark the line. I snapped a chalk line. Lay the mat over a board with the cutting line resting on the edge of the board. This way, the trimmed portion will fall away as you cut it, making it easy to see the cutting line and reducing friction on the blade.
Using a straight edge (such as a board) get a good first cut so you can easily see the cut mark and then try the best tip I found online. Spray the cut with WD40. This will really make the cutting process much easier. With that tip, and keeping a sharp blade in the cutter, It took me about 3 or 4 passes with the knife to get through the mat. Not bad for a thick piece of heavy rubber. The WD40 will pretty much erase your chalk line, so be sure to get a good first cut and use the board so you can see where you made the cut. Otherwise you are likely to get a lot of random cut marks, making for a sloppy cut line and a lot of extra work!