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Trailer Mats - Do you Really Pull Them Up?

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    Trailer Mats - Do you Really Pull Them Up?

    Best practice is to pull up the mats when a trailer is not in use but does anyone actually sweep out all of the shavings and roll up your mat every single time? Those mats are flippity flopping heavy. It also seems super wasteful to toss a whole bag of shavings each trailer ride.

    I'm the proud owner of a new to me 2 horse slant with stock sides. I want to treat it well but am trying to balance best practice and practicality.

    I don't haul further than an hour away, so don't bother with shavings; however, I do travel with a muck bucket and shovel to remove slippery piles of poop. I do clean mats after every use (poop), and if someone takes a pee, hose out.


      Many moons ago, when I had my 2 horse straight load, I pulled my mats up if the trailer was going to sit for more than a few weeks or immediately if there was moisture/pee -- but I was a kid, with her first trailer and the floors were oak. Yes, the mats were flipping heavy, but a friend taught me the trick of drilling a hole in the end of the mat and using a hay hook to drag them around. Made a painful job slightly less painful.

      If you're in a dry climate, don't have grass under where the trailer is parked, and use the trailer somewhat regularly, I probably wouldn't bother every time.

      I only used a dusting of shavings when traveling, less than a 1/4 of a bag for both horses, just enough to offer traction if someone peed and the mats got slippery.

      Always cleaned and swept the trailer after hauling, I never left shavings or hay or any organic matter in the trailer. But I live in a wet, humid climate where things mold right quick.
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


        My trailer mats are cut *right* where the geldings pee (when they built the trailer I meant to tell them to cut them in a different place, but I forgot.) I have found that a mix of fine shavings and pelleted bedding works best, but often times some pee still gets under the mats. So, every time they pee in the trailer (which is pretty much every time they're in there) I pick out all the poop and the wet shavings, move the remaining shavings up to the front of the trailer, and flip one side of the back mat over to clean out any pee that has gotten under the mat (spray with a cleaning spray and dry with shop paper towels) and let the underside of the mat dry. Then I do the same on the other side.

        Every now and then I pull out all the mats and hose or powerwash the floor and the mats. But that process is a pain in the butt.


          I pull them up about twice a year. They fit tightly, and it is rare that Bravo pees in the trailer. If he does, I pull them at the end of that trip.


            I pull mine once or twice a year regardless of how much use the trailer is getting, just to check the floor boards and put my eyes on things that might go unnoticed during normal hauling routines.

            If the trailer is getting semi-regular use (i.e. not sitting for months at a time), I'll leave clean shavings in there. Any mess gets promptly shoveled out (I prefer to shovel over picking... no leftover small bits!) and if there is pee then the mats all come out at the end of the trip so they can be sprayed down. The floor gets sprayed down too and once everything is COMPLETELY dry the mats go back in. I have, on occasion, saved the clean shavings and put them back in after this process, although that's probably not considered best practice.

            I've never pulled the mats and left them out for an extended period of time, except when I took the trailer to the shop for minor repairs and worked on some cosmetic touchups inside the horse area.

            This system has worked well for me and my trailer. Floor is original, and in great shape. Rest of the trailer is too. Congrats on your new rig. Enjoy your freedom!!


              I will lift the mats right at the seam and wedge a block of some sort under there, just enough to allow airflow. Saves the hassle of dragging mats around that never seem to go back together quite right!


                Nope. Once a year for a good power wash and check, but my trailer gets light to medium use. Address any issues, of course. I take the clean shavings and put them in a stall, so there's no problem with waste.


                  AND - get a C clamp or 2 for handles, makes it very easy to flip. move, roll or pull - on the occasions


                    My current trailer has a Rumber floor, so no mats.

                    My previous trailer had mats, but I only rolled them up once or twice a year. Never used shavings in the trailer. No problems with the floorboards,and the trailer was over 25 years old when I stopped using it for other reasons .

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.


                      I pull mine out about once a year. I don't use shavings unless we're going somewhere several hours away, and my horses generally never pee in the trailer.
                      I did the same thing with my previous trailer, which is now 20 years old, and the floor boards are still in perfect condition. It was even parked on grass for several of those 20 years.


                        No, but I also don't use shavings (textured mats). When my trailer was new, I pulled out all the mats & polyurethaned the wood, which has been a huge help. It's over 10+ yrs old now, still looks great. I pull the mats around once a year or so to get out the junk that builds up around the edges. Otherwise, I just sweep it out after every use.
                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                        We Are Flying Solo


                          Originally posted by Janet View Post
                          My current trailer has a Rumber floor, so no mats.

                          My previous trailer had mats, but I only rolled them up once or twice a year. Never used shavings in the trailer. No problems with the floorboards,and the trailer was over 25 years old when I stopped using it for other reasons .
                          Are you happy with the Rumber floor? Did it cost an arm and a leg to do? Have considered switching my floor out to it when it needs replacing.


                            Original Poster

                            The seller cut the mat into 3x3 ish squares that jigsaw into the trailer. I'm wondering if this is potentially more of a concern because they aren't super snug and thus more prone to let in water?

                            I anticipate my mare will be a bit of an anxious hauler and she's definitely an anxious pooper so I feel like it would be a poo slip and slide without shavings. So perhaps fine to leave clean shavings and then pull everything up if she pees and if I'm going to be storing it for a while. My hope is that I'll be hauling out 2x/month so I'd rather not pull out the mats 24 times a year!


                              Unfortunately a large percentage of the trailers we see for service, we always pull the mats, have some sort of corrosion that's started. If you see the white powdery stuff it needs to go away. Grinding or acid washing. We are installing more WERM all the time as a preventative to this. Rumber is also good. Aluminum doesn't rust but it sure does other things and it needs to be protected. With the cost of the trailers it pays to drag the mats out/in. We, too, use 'C' clamps. The suggestion to put a block is good. We'll put a 2x4 the length of the trailer to let some air get under the mats.


                                We flip mats up over the divider when not in use. Yes, trailer gets cleaned after each use. 2 muck tubs, one for wet or poop sawdust, the other for the swept up, clean sawdust. Clean tub sits in trailer until next use, then dumped back on the mats. More sawdust added if needed, to have enough under a horse/s to absorb pee. Even textured mats get slippery when wet, so our always travel with sawdust under the horses. I actually WANT horse comfortable enough to pee in the trailer. No telling how long he might be riding in there. Holding his urine is hard on his kidneys. They all actually go when the truck engine is turned off, the signal we won't be moving for a bit! Good horses about that.
                                Sorry, I disagree with those who think mats don't hold moisture on the wood floors. Even with our floor care, we have replaced boards in the trailer because they rot. Yep, pressure treated boards too.

                                Do you folks ever do a floor test on the boards? At least once a year? Especially where walls and floors meet? You have to move mats to do that. Plus those damp locations are where the under floor supports rust out. You won't know there is a problem until things break, unless you have someone checking trailer for problems eavh year.


                                  Originally posted by DinkyDonk View Post

                                  Are you happy with the Rumber floor? Did it cost an arm and a leg to do? Have considered switching my floor out to it when it needs replacing.
                                  Yes I am happy with the Rumber floor. My current trailer came from the factory with the Rumber floor. If there was a price difference for a non-Rumber (wood) floor, it was not significant.

                                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.


                                    I don’t pull the mats every time, but I do lift them up and put a bucket or something under them towards the back. My mare urinates every single trip home from wherever we go, so thorough cleaning is a must for me. If I’m lucky, I can bank the shavings just right so the urine doesn’t make it to the side wall or middle seam, but that’s not guaranteed. My floor would rot in no time if I didn’t clean thoroughly each time.
                                    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


                                      I do pull the mats up if someone pees in the trailer. Otherwise, I only pull mats and sweep out at the start and finish of the season. Most of the places I go to are 15-30m away, so I don't tend to use shavings much since I think they make the trailer dusty. If it's longer than 45m, I do add shavings -- but it's very rare someone pees.

                                      One thing that will contribute to the moisture (on top of the mats) is where you park. I try very hard to never leave my trailer unhooked on grass.
                                      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                                        I pull the trailer mats once a year. I use a lot of small shavings and clean pee/poop after every trip. I do not remove the shavings. I have a fully enclosed trailer versus a stock trailer so it stays dry inside when the windows are shut. The last couple of years I sometimes get water on the back part of the mat by the ramp if the driving rain is coming from the right direction. It is coming in over the top of the doors. I now keep the shavings swept back from there. We inspect the tops of the boards when I do the yearly pull the mats and powerwash and it is inspected yearly to get an inspection sticker. I know they at least look at the boards from the underside not sure if they peek under the mats. The boards are in great shape.

                                        My trailer has mostly sat on macadam or a gravel parking pad not grass. My trailer is a 2000. I have owned it since 2001.
                                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)