Before loading up your horse and heading down the road, include a horse trailer flooring check as part of your pre-trip inspection. A weak floor of any material can give out mid-trip. When the flooring crumbles, a horse’s leg or legs can come in direct contact with the road. The legs are then dragged along the hard surface at the speed the truck and trailer are moving. The result is a painful injury that in the worst case scenario requires euthanasia.
To prevent such a grim situation, frequently clean and inspect your trailer floors.
A thorough spring and fall cleaning is a good place to start. However, Brad Heath, of Double D Trailers in North Carolina, encourages those transporting horses to check their floors before every trip. Crawling under the trailer for a closer look is part of the inspection process.
The most common types of trailer flooring are lumber and aluminum. Heath offers advice for checking these flooring surfaces.
Some people assume that wood floors are a poor choice because of the potential for rot. However, hardwood flooring in horse trailers can last years with proper maintenance. Moisture is most problematic for wood flooring. Check the floor for spongy areas where moisture might have accumulated and the wood has rotted.
“It’s always a good idea to remove the mats, hose down the floor and let the interior fully dry before replacing the mats,” he said.
Aluminum doesn’t rot like wood, but it’s not foolproof, either. “Horse urine tends to have a negative reaction with metal when exposed for extended periods of time,” Heath said. “Eventually, metal will corrode from urine unless the metal is properly maintained and cleaned after each use.”
Remove the mats and conduct a thorough investigation. Look for “pitting,” white rust or oxidation. These are all signs that the floor strength has been compromised.
Heath has noticed an increased customer interest in Rumber flooring. Rumber flooring is a synthetic material made from recycled tire products. “Rumber isn’t affected by horse urine and since no mats are required, maintenance is minimal compared to aluminum or wood,” he said.
Rumber is an option that customers can choose when purchasing a new trailer from Double D and other horse trailer manufacturers who work with the third-party manufacturer that produces the material.
No matter what type of flooring you have in your horse trailer, you should inspect it regularly and make sure it is able to hold up to the job of carrying your horses safely.