Grant gives horses healthier space, new shelter

By Angelica Villarreal

The W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center is able to install
recycled tire mats and bark due to the CalRecycle Grant it recently

Director of the Arabian Horse Center and professor of animal and
veterinary sciences, James Alderson applied for the grant and had
the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center awarded the maximum grant
amount of $150,000.

The horse center has started its long awaited project to install
rubber mats and bark into its barns and arenas.

“We’ve needed these mats all along,” said Farm Manager Kate Smith.
“It helps the horses be safer.”

The rubber mats and bark are tire derived products. Since the
products are made from recycled rubber, they are durable and
environmentally friendly.

“The rubber bark is great cushioning for the horses and keeps
the dust down,” said Smith. “It looks cleaner and it is better for
the horses so they won’t inhale as much dirt when the run

Most of the stalls in the main barn at the horse center already
have the new rubber mats installed.

Fourth-year Food Marketing and Agribusiness Management student,
Jeanette Maner is part of the breed crew at the horse center and
has been helping with the mat and bark installation since the
project started approximately three weeks ago.

“The mats and bark act as shock absorbers for the horses,” said
Maner. “It’s easier on the horses’ legs, so they don’t get injured
as much.”

The recycled tire bark has been put into the main barn’s
courtyard, around the roses and in one of the arenas. The bark also
prevents the dirt underneath from breaking when it rains. It will
prevent horses from slipping and tracking too much dirt and

“There’s a lot more work to do,” said Smith. “We need to install
two layers of mats per stall.”

The horses at the center have been responding well to the new
mats and bark despite the huge changes to their living space.

“They like it,” said Maner. “Some of them were scared at first
because the bark is a different color but others were fine with the
change. One of the horses tried to eat the bark at one point; we
stopped it of course.”

The CalRecycle’s Tire-Derived Product Grant helps schools and
local governments utilize a marketable and renewable resource that
can help stimulate the economy and promote a healthier

“It’s going to be much more cost efficient and easier to manage
and clean,” said Administrative Support Coordinator Kelly

Piea said that the hardest part of the installation project is
getting enough help for the renovations. Most of the people helping
with the transition from dirt to mats are students and staff.

“Everybody has been participating in installing the mats,” said
Supervising Horse Trainer and Cal Poly animal science alumnus Mark
Stinson. “We install about 16 mats per stall.”

Each of the stall floors had to be jack hammered for leveling
before mats could be installed.

Stinson says the material in the stalls provides the horses with
a healthier and more comfortable living environment. Roughly 375
mats were installed in the main barn.

Faculty, staff and students will be moving on to install the
rubber mats and bark for the two other barns on site and the other
three arenas.

“There are thousands of mats,” said Stinson. “The project will
be ongoing for at least several months before we finish.”

Arabian Horse Center

Charlina Allen / The Poly Post

Arabian Horse Center

Arabian Horse Center

Charlina Allen / The Poly Post

Arabian Horse Center

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