There’s a lot Riding on Your Trailer’s Floor

There’s a lot riding on your horse trailer’s floor. Whether you load up one average 1,000 pound horse or two or three horses into your horse trailer for a ride, that’s a ton (or ½ or more) of weight! What are you doing to be sure that your trailer floor can withstand all that weight and stomping, manure and urine, ride after ride?

The worst thing for your trailer floor happens just about every time you put your horses in for a ride. Yup, you guessed it – IT happens – manure and urine. Horse urine is very acidic which can break down either an aluminum floor or a wood floor easily. Manure piles hold moisture in one spot for awhile, breaking down the integrity of the materials that make up your horse trailer.

Jerred, formerly of “Jerred’s Horse Trailer Wash” in Arroyo Grande has seen over and over again the damage done to trailer floors by urine and manure left in horse trailers. So he and others recommend cleaning out the debris and urine after each ride. “While it takes some effort, cleaning out the floor will reward you in the long run,” remarks Jerred who also adds,

“In addition to every-ride cleaning of the horse trailer floor, Exiss Trailer manufacturer recommends power washing your trailer floor at least four times a year.”

Jerred went on to say, “Here is an example of an aluminum floor where the urine and debris had adhered to the extent that very hot, high pressure-washing, and wire brushing was needed to clean the floor properly because corrosion and pitting was setting in. In this case (pictured), the owner rarely cleans out the manure, or rinses out urine, or washes the floor.”


So what is a trailer owner to do to take general care of his or her horse trailer floor?

The first step is to remove any manure or soiled shavings left in trailer after each ride and then rinse out the urine. As you take the time to clean your floor, remember the hard to reach places and drain spots often catch the brunt of wear. The seams where the mats meet can be a concern. Also, the floor has to meet the structure of the trailer at some point, so getting urine off these spots will help in the long run.

With a little care your floor and trailer will serve you and your horse well!

Here are some additional recommendations for trailer floor care from Exiss:

  1. Raise the front of the trailer to ensure proper drainage.
  2. We recommend washing the floor with a power washer at least once every three months.
  3. If the trailer has rubber mats, remove them before washing the floor.
  4. Be sure that the floor has dried completely before reinstalling any mats.
  5. Before reinstalling the floor mats, you may want to treat the dry floor with an anti-acidic to reduce the affect of urine between cleaning.
  6. Baking soda is a readily-available anti-acidic agent.

Additional comments on floor care were found on The Trailer Specialist blog.

“What’s more important than whether the floor is made of wood or aluminum, is how it is cared for. Any floor should be regularly cleaned out, as horse urine is very acidic and can cause deterioration of either wood or aluminum. Regularly clean out the trailer, never allowing wet manure, straw or shavings to remain in the trailer after use. Periodically pull the mats to thoroughly clean and inspect the floor underneath. Probe the boards with a large screwdriver to find soft spots that indicate rot, particularly along the edges and corners. Don’t forget to get down on your hands and knees and check the underside of the boards and cross-members also.”

(Main photo Sharon Jantzen, trailer floor photo Jerred Jantzen)

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1 Comment

  1. I appreciate all of the different tips that your offer to make sure that the flooring stays intact. Because you have horses stand on the flooring for long trips you need to make sure that there is no rotting in the floor and that it gets cleaned out after every trip. Horses are big investments and so their method of transportation should be well kept to ensure their safety.

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