Spring is finally here and perhaps you and your horse have had some winter rest, meaning your horse trailer has stood idle over the last six months. If you are heading to your first cross country trial or horse show this year, make sure you give your horse trailer a thorough check over before loading your horse and hitching up. Many accidents and incidents involving horse trailers are due to insufficient checks being made before travelling. We love our horses dearly so every effort should be made for our pride and joy to travel safely.
Here is our list of vital checks that you should make before using your trailer on the road with your horse:
Floors, Doors and Ramps: Open the ramp and check that it is easy to lift and hinges are all in good order. Make sure the jockey door opens and closes securely. Check the floor of the trailer and the ramp that there is no sign of any rot or damage. Lift all the matting and look at the floor especially looking at the edges where the floor meets the trailer walls. These can be prone to wear and tear over the years. Look underneath the trailer and check there are no signs of worrying rust or damage.
Tyres: Make sure all the tyres are in good order and filled correctly to the required levels. Check that there is no concerning wear to the tyres especially on one side which might indicate imbalance or suspension issues. Look at the trailer on level hard ground and if it is not looking level from the front or the back, take it to a specialist so that the suspension can be checked over.
Electrics and Brakes: Connect the electrics and check the connection and breakaway cables are all in good condition. When hitched up make sure the brake, indicators and internal lights are all working correctly. Check the brake engages and also ensure the jockey wheel raises and lowers easily. Do not travel without these vitals checks and arrange for them to be fixed if any of these things are not working.
If you are in any doubt that something is not right with your trailer, then don’t risk travelling your horse in it. Take it to a reputable garage that specialises in horse trailers for a professional to give it the safety checks it needs. Keep your trailer in tip top condition and clean it out after every journey. Leaving urine or spilled water can seep through and rot the floor of the trailer quickly. Remove all droppings and loose hay, keeping the matting as clean as possible. There is nothing worse than having to load a horse into a dirty trailer on your next trip to a show or sponsored ride!
Most of all, enjoy your trips out with your horse with the knowledge that you are travelling as safe as you can.
by Samantha Hobden