My Epiphany Paradise Farm – Robin Broughton

Portable and Permanent Stall Mats fitting the bill for multiple uses

By Brett Hart

After more than 50 years in the horse industry, ranging from rodeoing to jumping to reining, Robin Broughton, is sharing her paradise with hunter/jumper and dressage horses. My Epiphany Paradise Farm Robin Broughton Greatmats

Her farms, My Epiphany Stables in Wadsworth, Illinois, and My Epiphany Paradise Farm in Kidder, Missouri, offer spaces for retirement and rehabilitation for these equine companions.

The current focus of My Epiphany Paradise Farm, a spinoff of her other farm which was founded in 2004 and focuses on rehab, is being a long-term retirement facility for horses.

My Epiphany Paradise Farm Horse Pasture Greatmats

”Because not all horses are able to be rehabbed due to their injuries, my clients were always asking for referrals to retirement farms for their horses,” Broughton said. ”Many of them had asked why I did not start my own retirement facility. They knew me. They trusted me; and it would be a natural transition for those horses who were unable to make it through rehabilitation at my Illinois farm to transition to a retirement farm owned by me.”

In the spring of 2012, Robin sat down with her parents, Keith and Arlene Wilcox, and came up with a plan to turn their family beef farm into a long-term retirement farm for hunter/jumpers. That September, they opened their gates and formed an LLC with officers that included Robin’s husband, George, and sister, Niki McCabe.

Arlene became the primary caretaker of the horses while Keith handled pasture management and maintenance among other duties. Five years later, My Epiphany Paradise Farm is the home to 30 retirees, ranging from 11 to 33 years of age. Last year, it also began accepting young horses that needed a place to grow up before beginning their performance life.

The Need for Stall Mats
In the early years of My Epiphany Paradise Farm, the crew worked out of an older cattle barn with dirt floors. When Robin began researching portable stall mats online for the limited times in which they would need the barn for veterinary or farrier work, or inclement weather, she kept coming back to because if its in-depth information and apparent quality.
My Epiphany Paradise Farm Horse Barn Greatmats
As the farm’s popularity grew, Robin decided to build a new barn and arena on the back side of the farm. At that time, she began researching permanent mats and again chose Greatmats, this time going with pre-sized Horse Stall Mat Kits due to their ability to be easily installed over limestone without slipping over time.

My Epiphany Paradise Farm Horse Barn Greatmats Interlocking Horse Stall Mats

”They are built to last, great quality, came numbered so that we just followed the schematic to install,” she said. ”There was no cutting, cursing or overheating in putting them in. … Awesome!”

With her new 3,800-plus square foot barn housing 10 stalls and featuring run-out all-weather paddocks off each stall, Robin plans to move the entire Illinois rehabilitation program to the new barn where the bigger stalls, runs, round pen and additional paddocks will be able to service even more injured horses dealing with suspensories, tendon tears, ligament injuries, etc. And with its new 80×184 foot indoor arena, Robin and her staff can work on the fitness rehabilitation of the horses after they’ve recovered from their injuries.

My Epiphany Paradise Farm Horse Stall Greatmats Horse Stall Mats

With that being said, the retirement program will continue is its current form, only more acreage will be added, bringing the total area of My Epiphany Paradise Farm to 200 acres.

Even with the new permanent mats, Robin is still making use of her Greatmats portable horse stall mats for all the same uses as before, along with entryways on the ground for her living quarter trailers, in her stock trailers for short hauls, and in temporary stalls with concrete floors when she brings her horses to shows.

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Robin Broughton
My Epiphany Paradise Farm, LLC
Kidder MO 64649
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.
Quarter Moon Acres Equine Therapy with Greatmats stall mats

Wisconsin Horses and Volunteers Turning Disabilities into Abilities

Quarter Moon Acres Equine Assisted Therapy Center

Quarter Moon Acres Equine Therapy with Greatmats stall matsPolk County Wisconsin’s first-ever Equine Assisted Therapy Center didn’t just come together by chance. Two of the three founders had been contemplating the idea for many years. For one, it was a childhood dream, and for another, her own experience using horses to cope with disorders led them to help others turn disabilities into abilities.

“Horses helped me through the years,” said Quarter Moon Acres Equine Therapy Center co-founder Patti Andersen. “I have ADD myself. I have massive depression, and the horses themselves have helped me through that.”

Greatmats Interlocking Stall Mat Kits Horse Hooves and Cowboy BootsFellow co-founder Kristi Hart and a childhood friend had worked out plans for a future equine therapy center as pre-teens. That friend passed away far too early, but Kristi never forgot their plan to help others through horses.

In 2014, Patti, who had served as a second mother for Kristi through her teenage years, approached Kristi about opening an equine therapy center on Patti’s farm in rural Amery, Wisconsin. Kristi jumped on the opportunity, moved back to the area, and the duo quickly asked Karole Lee, a boarder at Patti’s farm, to join in the venture.

With all three still working full time jobs, they began offering therapy sessions one day per week in the Spring of 2015 with a crew made entirely of volunteers.

“Our clients range from 6 to 86 and everywhere in between,” Patti said. “Some clients with dementia are the 86 group. And the young ones – many times it’s not an anxiety disorder that they have, it could be just social skills – even at that age – or no core strength, which equine therapy helps with that too.”

The Need for Quality Stall Mats

Greatmats Interlocking Stall Mat Kits Horse Hooves and Cowboy BootsWith the average age of Quarter Moon Acres’ therapy horses being about 17, maintaining their comfort is essential to keeping them ready to serve.

“They’re in stall for quite a bit of the day,” Patti said. “They need some cushion on their feet and under their legs. Without stall mats, we would not be able to do what we do because – No legs on a horse, no feet. No horse, no therapy.”

Kristi pointed out that not all horse stall mats work the same, noting that some of the mats they’ve used have had a tendency to curl, exposing seams, creating a tripping hazard for the horses and making the mucking process more labor intensive than necessary.

“When God created horses, he did not make them the most graceful animals, so if there’s something to get caught on, they will get caught on it,” Patti said.

“We have to have sound horses,” Karole added. “If they aren’t sound, we can’t have them out in the program at all…. They’re not going to be sound if they trip over uneven mats.”

“These horses are our life,” Patti said. “With the mats from Greatmats, they are standing straight and tall.”

Greatmats Rubber Interlocking Stall Mat Kits installedWith Greatmats stall mats, Kristi says they are able to keep their therapy horses comfortable and they’re stalls dry and clean much easier, saving the volunteer QMA staff a lot of time, effort and frustration.

Each rider requires at least three volunteers to help them through each therapy session, so its important for the staff to be able to spend as much of its time as possible focusing on the riders.

The three founders thoroughly enjoy watching the progress their Greatmats Rubber Interlocking Stall Mat Kits installationclients have made over the past three years as well as the reaction on the faces of the clients and their parents as they discover new things about the horses and confidence within themselves.

“Seeing the clients and parents is awesome, but I also think that watching the volunteers that come out here and support us is awesome,” Karole said. “We can’t do this program without them.”

“We’ve seen what horses can do for us, or the people that are close to us, not only physically, but emotionally as well, and we’re lucky enough to have this right at our fingertips,” Kristi said. “So to be able to take what we have and can use every day, and share it with people who don’t … is amazing!”

Patti Andersen, Kristi Hart, Karole Lee
Quarter Moon Acres Equine Therapy Center
Amery WI 54001
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.

Gracie Shepherd – Barrel Racer

Portable Horse Stall Mats keep horse healthy for weekly competitions

By Brett Hart

Having ridden horses as long as she’s been able to walk, 16-year-old Virginia barrel racer Gracie Shepherd got her competitive start showing halter horses.

Gracie Shepherd barrel racing horse Greatmats

”I’ve only been barrel racing a year and that’s a completely different ball game for sure,” Shepherd said. ”I’ve always wanted to barrel race.”

So she jumped in head first and drove 17 hours to Texas to purchase a 4-year-old barrel horse named Rosie.

”A ton of people thought I was crazy for not only going that far, but buying such a young horse,” Shepherd said. ”People always said ‘don’t buy a green horse for a green rider,’ but I’m stubborn and did it anyways. I wanted a horse I could grow and learn with.”

Gracie Shepherd Barrel Racing competition Greatmats”I took matters in my own hands and with God, my horse, and my family I made that dream my reality.”

Now Shepherd competes in a barrel race or rodeo virtually every weekend – sometimes as many as 4 shows in a weekend.

”There are very few weekends that Rosie and I are at home,” Shepherd said.

In her short barrel racing career, Shepherd has gotten the biggest thrills from competing in the Forth Worth Stockyards Championship Rodeo and two trips to the AQHYA Youth Worlds.

”Rosie actually wasn’t far off of placing against the big dogs,” Shepherd said of the Fort Worth Rodeo.

She’s also made the finals a few times at No Bull Barrel Races.

”My biggest accomplishment really is just being where we are within a such short amount of time,” Shepherd said. ”I would’ve never thought we would be where we are in a year.” Gracie Shepherd Barrel Racing Greatmats

Greatmats Portable Horse Stall Mats
With all over her and Rosie’s time on the road, Shepherd discovered found pulling big, heavy stall mats out of her trailer to put in the stalls to be a major inconvenience.

”That was not very easy at all,” she said. ”Those suckers are heavy. I really wanted something just easier to get to her stalls with lots of comfort. A lot of the shows are pavement stalls, so it can make her pretty sore.”

When Rosie was sore, Shepherd she would be stiff in her hind end and wouldn’t perform well.

”Pavement stalls can do that to a horse,” she said.

Then, while looking for stall mats to take to the AQHYA World Show, she came across Greatmats’ Portable Horse Stall Mats.

Gracie Shepherd barrel racing horse on Greatmats Portable Horse Stall Mats

”I love how portable and easy they are to set up.” Shepherd said. ”They don’t take up a lot of space in my trailer. And they are light and easy to get to my stalls at shows.”

Rosie has been happy with the new Greatmats Portable Horse Stall Mats as well.

”She definitely never feels stiff since we’ve used Greatmats, and she performs better since she’s not stiff,” she said.

Pleased with the progress she and Rosie have made with the help of Greatmats, Gracie Shepherd plans to continue chasing her dream.

”We are nowhere near finished yet,” she said. ”I really want to make it to pro rodeo one day and win the AQHYA Youth World.”

”I’d like to personally thank Greatmats for joining Rosie and my journey,” Shepherd said. ”Traveling down the roads wouldn’t be as good if we didn’t have them!”

Gracie Shepherd barrel racer with Greatmats Portable Horse Stall Mats
Gracie Shepherd
Glade Spring VA 24340
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.
Related Product: Portable Horse Stall Mats

13 Horse Trainers Compete for National Honor

Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year LogoMilltown, WI – They come from all different walks of life, but something these 13 horse trainers have in common is the fact that they are making a positive impact in their communities through their work with horses and beyond.

The following 13 horse trainers, representing 10 different states, have been nominated for the honor of National Horse Trainer of the Year, and award presented annually by Greatmats.

From Nov. 16 to 30, 2017, voting will be open to the public on Greatmats Facebook page as it weighs in on which two trainers will be named finalists for the award. The winner will receive horse stall mats, or a cash option, from Greatmats, which is in its third year of hosting the contest.

This year’s nominees are as follows.



Ashley Salter of iRide4U in Santa Ynez


Justin Dunn of Justin Dunn Horesemanship in Guffey

Frances Carbonnel of Mariah Farms in Castle Rock


Kelly Murphy-Alley of Striking KMA Performance Horses in Willmore

Beth Harris of Walnut Way Farm in Simpsonville


Bill Brown of Chase Lake Equestrian Center in Fowlerville

North Carolina

TR Potts of Potts Performance Horses in Fountain In


Chrystal Crispin of Crispin Unlimited in Jonesborough


Jeremy Dull of Jeremy Dull Horsemanship in Hempstead

West Virginia

Mike Hurst of Mike Hurst Horsemanship in Philippi


Sharlyn Fellenz of Mytalisha’s Dream Riding Center in Eau Claire

Bryanna Larson of Pony Tales Refuge and Rehab in Colfax


Learn more about the 2017 National Horse Trainer of the Year Award and how to vote for your favorite trainer at

As part of its 3rd annnual National Award Series, Greatmats is also presenting awards to to Martial Arts Instructors, Cheerleading Coaches, Personal Trainers, Dog Trainers and Dance Instructors. Learn more about the National Award Series at

Greatmats National Award Series Logo

Greatmats brings National Award Series into 3rd Year of Honoring Instructors and Trainers

Greatmats National Award Series LogoMILL TOWN, WI – Greatmats is in search of trainers, instructors and coaches from across the nation who embody the essence of community service, customer service, integrity and quality in the industries of dance, martial arts, personal fitness training, dog training, horse training and cheerleading.

If you know someone who fits the bill, nominate him or her for one of six awards included in Greatmats 3rd Annual National Award Series. The winner of the award will be given the choice of $250 in new mats/flooring or $150 in cash.

The Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award is part of Greatmats 3rd Annual National Awards Series, honoring instructors, trainers and coaches who have made a positive impact in their communities.

Greatmats Annual National Dance Instructor of the Year Award LogoThis year’s awards include:

National Dance Instructor of the Year

  • In its third year, the National Dance instructor of the Year Award contest has had nearly 2,700 votes cast over the first two years. Previous winners include Rosanne Vavasis and John Culbertson.


Greatmats Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award LogoNational Martial Arts Instructor of the Year

  • In its second year, the National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award Contest witnesses more than 1,300 votes cast in its inaugural year which resulted in Grandmaster Bryant Harrell being named the 2016 winner.



Greatmats National Personal Trainer of the Year Logo

National Personal Trainer of the Year

  • 2017 marks the first year for the National Personal Trainer of the Year Award Contest. In 2015, Greatmats offered the National Aerobics Instructor of the Year Award, which has been expanded this year to include all personal trainers and fitness coaches. The 2015 Aerobics instructor of the Year was Jeanette Raichle


Greatmats National Dog Trainer of the Year LogoNational Dog Trainer of the Year

  • In its third year, The National Dog Trainer of the Year Award Contest has also had approximately 2,700 votes cast in the first two years, resulting a back-to-back victories by Jeremy Joseph Brown.



Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year LogoNational Horse Trainer of the Year

  • Also in its third year, the National Horse Trainer of the Year Award Contest. The 2016 contest, won by Jessica Moctezuma, generated more than 1,400 votes.




Greatmats National Cheer Coach of the Year LogoNational Cheerleading Coach of the Year

  • In its second year, the National Cheer Coach of the Year Award Contest, has an overwhelming popular inaugural showing with 26 nominees and nearly 4,000 votes cast. Amy Beth Klopf was named to 2016 winner of the award.


Learn more about Greatmats National Award Series at

Cottonwood Riding Club Loving Interlocking Horse Stall Mats

93-acre Riding Club is Largest Horse Boarding Facility in Colorado

By Brett Hart

Tara Gandomcar-Hieb of Cottonwood Riding Club in Littleton, Colorado, has become a horse stall mat connoisseur of sorts after being in the horse business with her family for the last 35 years.

Cottonwood Riding Club horse boarding logo GreatmatsShe and her sister, Erica, recently took over the family business, the largest boarding facility in the state of Colorado, which is home to more than 170 horses on the riding club’s 93 acres.

”We’re second generation at this barn so a lot of what we’re doing now is updating the barns that were built 25 years ago,” Tara said. ”We’re a large boarding and training facility, so we have two box stalls,” Tara said. ”Those have the old non interlocking mats.”

cottonwoodWhen we revamping the breezeway barn, which has open sides, it discovered Greatmats’ interlocking stall mats.

”There are no shavings allowed in that barn,” Tara said. ”I needed something to protect the horses from laying on the gravel and still not slip around on the ice. The non interlocking mats peel up and curl up the edges, so the horses were tripping and people were tripping.”

They started with updating some 11.5×20 foot stalls with custom cut interlocking horse stall mats from Greatmats.

”I love the interlocking mats,” Tara said, which led her to use them again when they built a new barn in 2016. ”It’s easier for my guys to clean. It’s better for the ladies walking around. The horses – they’re not tripping and have less thrush and foot issues.”

Cottonwood Riding Club horse boarding GreatmatsNow, with four barns, Cottonwood Riding Club has equipped its newest 23-stall barn with a 12×12-foot mat stall mat system over chip gravel.

”Every stall has it’s own little drainage system,” Tara said, noting that the cleanliness of her facility is one of the reasons its become the most popular boarding facility in the state. Adding the interlocking stall mats has helped keep the reputation in order.

”Before, the stalls were not completely matted – Mats in front and dirt in the back.” Tara said. ”That definitely made that barn more sellable. Having the horses on a completely matted surface. It just looks cleaner so it’s more appealing. … Shavings and dirt and everything get underneath the corners of the non interlocking mats.

Tara Gandomcar Hieb owner of Cottonwood Riding Club horse boarding GreatmatsAnother big selling point for Gandomcar-Hieb was the fact that the Greatmats stall mats came with 12 year warranty.

”It was a dollar per square foot more expensive than the non interlocking mat, but worth the expense in the long run,” Tara said. ”It’s nice to have the new technology.”

”Our first barn was sort of the test for it and we’ve definitely noticed that that is an easier situation,” she added. ”You can go to a feed store and get mats that are a dollar a square foot cheaper, but you’re going to be fiddling around with it every year. It’s less labor. Labor is time and time is money.”

home gym
To learn more about Cottonwood Ride Club, read this article published in the Littleton Independent or visit its website.

Tara Gandomcar-Hieb
Cottonwood Riding Club
Littleton CO 80125
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.

Why the fuss over stall flooring? How comfortable are you sleeping in your bathroom?

Horse stall floor

Horse stall flooring can make a world of difference in health and happiness of your equine companion.

Sure, you can get by with topsoil, clay, sand, concrete or even asphalt as the flooring surface for your horse stalls. But don’t you think your equine companion deserves better? You want your horses in the right state of mind and physical condition when you ask them to carry you down the trail, in a competition or even in a parade. Making them comfortable (and healthy) in the barn can make a world of difference, and it starts with good flooring – in their stalls and even aisles and wash bays.

An ideal horse stall floor should be durable, easy on the horses’ feet and legs, dry, odor resistant, skid resistant, low maintenance and easy to clean.

When you consider that a 1,000 pound horse produces more than 30 pounds of feces and almost 2 ½ gallons of urine each day, “dry and clean” can be tricky to maintain. That’s where proper drainage and floor surfacing can play a big role. Water resistant or waterproof floors must be sloped to allow for drainage, and bedding is often used to soak up the rest of the urine. Porous floors allow the urine to seep away through a sand, gravel or crushed stone foundation.

Rubber or plastic grid mats, while expensive, provide all of the necessary requirements when used in conjunction with a compacted subfloor and topped with another material such as soil. This combination allows for drainage, prevents damage and wear from pawing and will not retain bacteria-laden odors that can cause respiratory problems in horses.

Impervious stall flooring

temporary interlocking rubber horse stall mat

Interlocking edges help keep stall mats in place – even during temporary installations.

If you don’t have the funds to create this complex, but highly effective, stall flooring system, rubber stall mats may just be your answer. Solid rubber mats are extremely durable and can reduce or even eliminate the need for bedding to provide cushion. They also provide solid footing, a long life span, low maintenance and easy cleaning. Installed over an even, compact surface, rubber horse stall mats should be textured on top for grip and grooved on the bottom to prevent moisture from becoming trapped. They can have straight or interlocking edges, but keep in mind that straight-edged mats may be difficult to keep in place and may need to be anchored to the floor. Rubber stall mats are easy to clean, but take care not to damage the surface if using a pitch fork.

Other solid surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt are durable, low maintenance, easy to clean and disinfect and will not retain odors. However, they are hard on the horses legs, can retain moisture and may discourage laying down, therefore, increasing the need for bedding or rubber matting. Improper installation can cause cracking, chipping and sanitation problems due to urine getting trapped in surface irregularities. They do add a unique benefit in that, in good condition, they are rodent proof.

Porous stall flooring

Porous flooring materials such as topsoil, clay and sand are easy on the legs and are non slip, but lack durability and can be hard to clean, disinfect and maintain. Each of these flooring solutions need to be replaced frequently, offsetting the initial benefit of low pricing. While topsoil and sand can absorb wetness, clay is questionable in that category. Although topsoil and clay do absorb moisture, they can also retain it too long and may freeze hard during the winter. Sand and clay both serve as noise buffers but vary greatly on their effects on horse feet. Clay keeps hooves moist while sand has a drying effect.

Two other common flooring options for horse stalls are wood and a road base mix. Wood is easy on the legs and warm to lie upon. Rough wood has good traction but can become slippery when wet. It also has a high initial expense, can be prone to insect and rodent damage and must be checked often for signs of wear. Wood absorbs odors and bacteria and is difficult to clean due to its porosity.

Road base mixes vary greatly in size of particles, but are generally made primarily of limestone or granite – the smaller the rocks the better. It is easily leveled and compacted and provides good drainage, but can become hard and unforgiving much like concrete.

Aisle flooring

rubber brick paver for horse barn aisles

Rubber brick pavers make are a stylish solution for alleyways at equine facilities.

Your horses’ comfort and safety doesn’t stop at the stall. It extends to the barn alleys and wash areas and, depending on the layout of your barn, may even include the feed and tack rooms. Much like the stalls, aisles should be durable, dry, skidproof and easy to clean. Wide aisles used for exercising horses should have a sandy footing much like that of a riding arena. Smaller aisles, where horses are simply walked to and from their stalls should be treated much like the stalls themselves. The exception is, alleyway floors should always redirect water instead of absorbing. Sloping is critical and drains are recommended along the sides. Once again, grid mats are a top choice if you can afford it. Another strong option for aisles are rubber paving bricks, which provide excellent shock absorption and make it easy to control dust and bacteria at a much lower cost than traditional bricks which can retain bacteria. While the aesthetic value of bricks is hard to beat, soil upheaval and/or poor installation of any brick surface can result in a uneven surface and tripping hazards. Solid rubber or rolled rubber mats eliminate the concern over uneven surfaces, assuming they are installed over a properly leveled and compacted surface. All other forms of flooring leave holes in one or more of the essential components of a proper horse barn aisle.

Wash bay flooring

buttontopWhen considering flooring for your equine wash bays, make sure the floor does not get slippery when wet and is impervious to water. Drains and grates are essential. The best wash bay flooring materials are rough concrete, textured rubber mats over concrete, and sealed, large aggregate asphalt. Again, the floor should be sloped toward a drain that is away from where the horse will be standing as drain covers may cause a safety concern.

When it comes to horse stall flooring, you get what you pay for. A little extra investment in time and materials up front can make for a happy and healthy relationship for years to come between you and your horse.