Spinoff - Stall mats under roundbale area

Right now we’ve gotten a lot of rain, so the roundbale perimeter is churned up frozen mud. Ugh! I was intrigued to read this solution in another thread:

“Under and immediately around your round bale, instead of rock, I would lay out stall mats. I’ve got 6 mats for my bale area, and it makes it a cinch to scoop up the waste hay even in wet + frozen conditions. And stops the horses from constantly churning the ground around the bale into mud.”

Sounds so much easier than geotextile fabric and stone! anyone done this? Pics? thanks!


So I purchased a place that did this with obviously no maintenance. The stall mats are basically half buried and off on the the ground.

I had to use a tractor to yank them up. If you use them, move them around from time to time to prevent the earth from eating them.


Ideally these are set up on a slight slope or yes, it will be a mess.

I’ve done this! You can lose the mats under the debris easily, so I was mucking the round bale area and kept it swept as well. It was worth the extra effort for me as I only had 3 mini donks and a large pony.

I was the commenter above with the 6 mats. Yes, you have to regularly clean them off, just like you would pick up the waste hay and manure from around your bale anyway. There’s no difference in the amount of scooping you have to do. The difference is that it’s super easy to do this, you just scrape your pitchfork along the smooth mat. Sure beats trying to pick up hay that’s been smushed into the ground, or inadvertently grabbing a bunch of gravel that you don’t want in your compost pile or spreader.

Agree that they’ll get embedded in the ground over time, so I do push them with the tractor every now and then to a slightly new location (like, once or twice a year).

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My husband thinks the lighter type mats will be easier for us to work with. Any problem using the lighter mats?

Also, i’m guessing we put the rectangular mats around the edges of the bale feeder, not under it. Sort of like a circle of mats around the feeder.

Is your bale feeder rectangular?
I worry that having gaps will lead to a mess that will be difficult to clean up.
I would probably make a pad that is large enough to include the bale feeder and where the horses stand. Clearly this is more mats so more expensive.

I think the bottom line for keeping things not gross around a bale feeder is cleaning frequently. Manure and hay pulverized into the ground makes more mess, holds moisture and leads to the gross mud pit problem you are not liking.

i have enough mats down that there’s room for the bale, the square bale hut that sits over it, and about 2ft space around the bale hut. It’s plenty of overhang (underhang?) to catch/hold the waste hay until I have time to pick it up, and the horses’ front hooves are on the mat / out of the mud when they eat. In my setup, it’s enough to just have their front hooves on mats. I of course get some muddy areas around the mats from time to time, but it’s not persistent. It’s not like this setup changes your drainage patterns or relocates water. It’s just something that greatly reduces the cleanup efforts around a round bale.

None of this requires precision engineering, and none of it is permanent. You can rethink your setup with every change of the roundbale if you want.

I would expect the mats to get really slippery when wet. Is that the case?

No issues with them being slippery at all.