Mud mats for horses are one way to keep your paddocks from getting completely cut up in wet weather or the winter.
But are they really worth the expense and time to install them?
I decided to take a closer look at mud grids for horses to see their benefits and cons of them.
So, let’s see what I found out!
What Are Paddock Mud Grids?
Mud grips or mud mats are super strong plastic squares that are around 20 inches by 20 inches in size. They contain holes and are around 2 inches deep.
You place them in high traffic areas of the paddock such as around the gate, field shelter, or water trough. You can also install them in horse runs.
When installed correctly they prevent mud from forming and give your horse a cleaner, safer, and more solid surface to stand on.
The mats interlock so you can adjust the size of the space covered without too much effort.
RELATED: How to Fix Muddy Horse Paddock Areas
Mud Mats For Horse Fields: Pros & Cons
Mud is a nightmare. It strikes in the winter or when there is a lot of rain. It can also happen around your horse’s water trough.
Not only does it ruin your paddock, but it also isn’t particularly nice for your horse either. Mud can also cause health problems for your horse and is a safety risk.
Pros Of Mud Mats For Horses
There are some great benefits to horse paddock mud control grids. The pros really make it worth it to think about investing in them for your turnout areas.
So let’s take a closure look at why they are worth it!
1. Improved Safety
Mud can raise all kinds of safety issues for your horses and even yourself. Deep mud can easily strain tendons and ligaments or injure them more seriously.
It is also slippery. Your horses can easily slip on the wet ground and they don’t have a solid footing to walk in. Plus, you can also slip and hurt yourself when you are out doing barn chores.
Mud mats for horses will eliminate this risk in problem areas.
Check our guide about the best footing for round pen.
2. Prevent Health Problems
Horse, mud, and too much water don’t mix well. If they spend too much time on wet ground, you’re asking for trouble.
Wet and mud can cause ‘scratches’, otherwise known as ‘mud fever’ and pastern dermatitis. This is hard to clear and can lead to more serious infections. 
CHECK: Outdoor Hay Storage Ideas
Learn more about ‘scratches’ and why you want to avoid them in this video.
It can also lead to thrush and make the hooves too soft which can cause tender feet.  Another thing to consider is when mud freezes it leaves the ground very uneven and hard.
This can bruise feet and strain tendons and ligaments.
3. Keeps The Ground Level
Mud will churn up the ground and when it dries out it will leave lots of ruts and reduce grass growth. Mud mats will ensure your ground stays level.
4. Long Term Solution
Paddock mud grids are very strong and designed to last. They provide a long-term solution to mud problems.
And while they are more expensive initially, they will work out cheaper in the long run than other solutions, like wood chips, that you have to keep replacing once or twice a year.
Cons Of Mud Grids For Horses
While there are more pros than cons for horse paddock mats, the cons might be enough to put you off getting some.
The biggest con of mud mats for horse fields or runs is the cost. To do it properly, you will need to buy enough all at once. Prices start at around $16 per grid, some are over $20 per mat!
Considering they are usually around 19 inches x 19 inches in size, you will need quite a lot to cover even a small area.
However, after the initial outlay, you shouldn’t have too many maintenance costs if you install them correctly. So, if you have the budget to do it, they are definitely worth it as the benefits outweigh the cons.
Installation isn’t a huge con but it will take some time and effort. The ideal way to install them is to clean and level the ground where you want to put them.
Though many brands say you can just lay them directly on the ground. However, this can potentially cause issues with individual mats popping up or mud seeping through the holes.
The best way to install them is to do it at a dry time. Prepare the ground and lay your mats. Then fill the holes with fine gravel or sand. This will improve drainage, and keep the surface area cleaner.
If you do it by just placing them on the ground with no prep or stone, you risk mud seeping onto the surface making it slippery.
Types Of Mud Grids For Horses
There are several types of grids available. They are very similar but each has its own unique style that you may prefer over another.
Here are some popular options to investigate
This option stands out as it is a bit different from the others. Instead of coming in a smaller square, this grid comes in a panel that stretches out to 6 feet x 12 feet.
The panels cost $200 each and it might work out cheaper to use these in some spaces over the smaller versions.
2. Horse Paddock Mud Control Grid – HAHN Plastics Ltd
These are ultra-reinforced mud panels that are interlocking. Each grid covers 2.69 square feet. This mat is pretty each to find as all lot of business sell them.
See the manufacturer explaining these grids in the video.
I’m combining both of these together as they are sold by the same company. HIT DrainGrids create great drainage as it sends the water down and horizontal. They have holes and should be topped with sand or stone.
EURO Horse Paddock Mats are slightly different in that they don’t have holes. Instead, they are rubber mats with raised bumps and a slight slow that allows drainage.
READ MORE: Cheap Indoor Riding Arena Ideas
How Much Do Horse Paddock Mud Control Gid Cost?
Paddock mud control grids are sold in sections that cost around $16 to $25 per square. You can expect to spend several hundred, if not thousands on laying mats, plus sand or stone. It will depend on how big a space you want to cover.
What kind of gravel is good for horse paddocks?
Many equestrians recommend pea gravel in a smaller size for horse paddocks. This size will make a good filler for your grids.
So are mud mats for horses really worth it? Yes, absolutely! At least think so. Muddy ground is awful. It is not only messy it is unhealthy for your horse.
If you worry about the cost, and I understand, as I’d love to create proper winter paddocks with grids, make a savings plan. Put aside a bit each month until you’ve saved up enough to install the mats.
These mats really do help keep pasture management easier and healthier, making for happy horse owners and horses!
- 1. Scratches: a skin problem in horses [Internet]. extension.umn.edu. [cited 2022 Aug 11]. Available from: https://extension.umn.edu/horse-health/scratches
- 2. DMV MA. Dealing with Mud [Internet]. Allossery Equine Veterinary Service. 2016 [cited 2022 Aug 11]. Available from: https://aequine.ca/dealing-with-mud/
Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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