Horse Loose boxes

The study compares horse loose boxes managed in the full bed system (taking out muck and wet bedding on a daily basis and maintaining the bed at around 8-10 cm with shavings) and loose boxes with soft rubber matting (approx. 3 cm profiled rubber) on which the bedding material is reduced to 1 cm. In the latter the rubber mats offer softness and heat insulation, therefore the bedding is merely necessary to absorb fluids.


Air quality & stable hygiene

Overall, the management system using rubber mats plus reduced bedding material was drier, which constituted conclusive evidence for all results:

• concentration of ammonia: in both systems very low (far below the critical value of 10 ppm)

• particulate matter: both systems more than 150 times lower than the critical value of 4 mg/m³

• germs (enterobacteria, yeast, mould fungus): rubber mats tend to result in lower pollution

Source: Prof. Dr. B. Benz et al. (2013): Weniger Einstreu bei gleichem Komfort. In: Pferde Zucht & Haltung 1/2013, S.


Working hours needed for maintenance of the loosebox

rubber + reduced bedding

full bed 8-10 cm

winter & summer

To what extent do horses change their lying behaviour because of the flooring system?

How much deformation and littering height do both systems have?

At the end of the test the horses lie slightly longer on rubber mats with straw pellets than on straw

Rubber mat + straw pellets:  consistently high deformation

Horses react sensitively to new floors and substrates

• After only a brief period they resume their usual lying positions confident lying behaviour
• Littering height does not determine the deformability of the flooring system

• In nature, horses select their lying places more for their dryness and less for their softness

Heat insulation and slip resistance are also important factors.

Source: Project report Prof. Dr. B. Benz et al. (2014): Comparing the use of “straw mattresses” to “rubber mats with straw pellets”

on the experimental farm Jungborn

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