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Why OTTO Sport Base Mats Are The Best Horse Arena Base Product on The Market

By February 22, 2021July 14th, 2023No Comments

When it comes to designing a high-performance horse arena, selecting the proper footing product is just one step in the process. For a truly top-notch arena, selecting a horse arena base product is another important part of the equation. The right arena base enhances your riding surface by providing water drainage and creating a consistent, solid foundation. Consider the International Arena at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), for example: When Premier Equestrian helped upgrade the riding surface for the International Arena located at Wellington International (formerly PBIEC), we not only supplied our Premier ProTex Footing Product, but also our exclusive OTTO Sport Base Mats, the best horse arena base product on the market. 

Otto Base Mats

Lucky for you, OTTO Sport Base Mats aren’t just reserved for competition arenas or the world’s top equestrians—they’re available to equestrians of all levels and all disciplines, from showjumpers to casual dressage riders. Read more about why we love OTTO Sport Base Mats, their key features and benefits, and how you can use OTTO Sport Base Mats to create a world-class arena in your own backyard. 


OTTO Sport Base Mats have been installed in thousands of equestrian facilities throughout the world. The mats are made from high-quality, recycled synthetic material that is specially designed for equestrian sports. These resilient, all-weather base mats are used in horse arenas, as well as paddocks. The mats are placed underneath the layer of footing to provide maximum drainage, water conservation, concussion mitigation, and stability for horse and rider. 

Horse Arena Footing

OTTO Sport Base Mats create a proper and durable separation between the horse arena footing and the substructure. This ultimately increases the lifespan of your arena—stones will not migrate up from the drainage layer into the footing, and sand will not migrate down into the drainage later. All OTTO Sport Base Mats come with a 20-year warranty (when installed according to specifications), so you can ride on them confidently for years to come. 



Got puddles? Get OTTO Sport. When combined with a suitable sub-base and water-permeable footing, OTTO Sport Base Mats drain excess water quickly, so you can say sayonara to soggy patches and muddy puddles in your arena. (Your horse will thank you!) Traditional arena bases are designed for water to flow over them, which can slow down the drainage of your arena base. But OTTO Sport Base Mats are designed to allow water to flow through them: Each mat features 252 holes that provide fast drainage, even after a heavy storm—a lifesaver in wet, rainy climates. 


Not only do OTTO Sport Base Mats get rid of water in your arena when you don’t want it, they also help you retain water in your arena when you do—which is especially helpful in dry, dusty locations. OTTO Sport Base Mats keep your footing dust-free thanks to a unique system of water cups on the top side of the mats. These cups store enough water to consistently supply the footing with moisture for an extended period of time. Each mat holds up to one gallon of water—that equals 1,200 gallons of water for a standard 20 x 60 dressage court, which means less money spent on water and more money in your pocket. 


One of the most important benefits of OTTO Sport Base Mats is that they enhance safety, health, and performance for both horse and rider. Horses apply a considerable amount of force to the surface, especially in showjumping. When you consider a horse’s average weight is approximately 1,300 pounds, that means up to five tons of force may be applied on the surface when a horse and rider land after a jump. OTTO Sport Base Mats help absorb a large part of this force to prevent short-term and long-term injuries of your horse.

According to a scientific study by the German Association for Technical Inspection (TÜV), OTTO Sport Base Mats absorb more than 40 percent of the force applied on the surface. In other words, a large part of the force is absorbed by the surface instead of traveling back into the horses’ legs and causing considerable strain on joints, tendons, and ligaments.


In addition to shock absorption, an ideal riding surface also needs to be able to return a part of the applied force. In doing so, the surface provides the horse with increased stability and enhanced performance. OTTO Sport Base Mats are specifically engineered for this purpose. Thanks to the ideal density of the recycled PVC material used to produce OTTO Sport Base Mats, the mats not only absorb a large part of the force applied on it, but also provide the horses’ legs with the optimal amount of rebound. Your horse will be ready for takeoff every time! 


Horses accelerating and making sharp turns need especially good grip to avoid slipping. OTTO Sport Base Mats are designed to prevent horses from slipping and sustaining serious injuries. The upper side of the mats feature a system of traction-knobs in varying heights, which guarantees a secure surface that offers high stability. 


OTTO Sport Base Mats are suitable for all climates, from the Sahara to Siberia. Most any material tends to expand when warming and contract when cooling. For large areas like an equestrian arena or paddocks, even a slight expansion has a great impact on the surface. With that in mind, OTTO Sport Base Mats are installed with an expansion gap of approximately 1.5 inches between each mat. During strong temperature changes, the mats can expand and shrink without any trouble. Along with the locking rings and weight holding them in place, sand cannot get under the rubber horse mats, eliminating bulging and shifting of the surface.

Alternatively, less superior base mat systems that interlock or install edge-to-edge will bulge when warming. This can lead to sand trickling down into emerging cavities, forcing the mats up and dislodging them from their initial position. 

OTTO Mats covering with fill 700x395


OTTO Sport Base Mats provide a durable, trusted solution for your riding arena that will keep you and your horse happy and healthy for years to come. With OTTO Sport Base Mats, you can maintain a lasting all-weather horse arena that’s worthy of any equestrian discipline. Even if the footing layer in your arena must be replaced down the road, the entire base including the OTTO Sport Base Mats can be left untouched. After just replacing the top layer, your arena will look and ride as great as it did on day one!  

OTTO Sport Base Mats are relatively simple to install, whether you choose a DIY or turnkey option. We’re happy to provide a detailed installation manual when you purchase OTTO Sport Base Mats, or we can connect you with one of our Premier Preferred Builders to help you with installation. 

To learn more or order OTTO Sport Base Mats for your arena, call us at 800-611-6109 or shop online.  


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