The trailer is packed, your route has been planned, and you are ready to load up and head out to your next competition. But, wait, not yet! In order to ensure safe arrival at your final destination, it is essential that you perform a trailer safety check before you hit the road.
Refer to our handy trailer safety checklist whenever you plan to travel, whether you are trailering to your lesson the next town over or hauling your horse cross country.
Make sure that the tires are inflated to factory specifications; this includes the tire pressure of the spare tire and the interior tire on dual wheels. Visually check for dry rot and confirm that the tires and the treads are in good overall condition; generally we recommend replacing your tires every three to five years. Finally, confirm that the lug nuts on the tires are properly torqued and ready for the haul ahead.
Before you hitch your truck to your trailer, double check that you have the correct size ball for your hitch and the hitch is properly attached to the coupler with the safety pins in place. After hitching to the trailer, make sure that the hitch is latched and secured. Ensure that the safety cables/chains and the emergency breakaway system are connected according to your trailer manufacturer’s recommendations.
Start from the bottom and work your way up when inspecting the interior of your trailer. Pull up the rubber matting and inspect your floorboards for any signs of decay; whether you have a metal or wood floor, this is an essential step, since it is literally all that is standing between your horse and the road.
Run your hand along the sides of the trailer to inspect the walls for any sharp areas that have the potential to lacerate your horse over the course of the trip. Then, turn your attention to the ceiling; wasps and bees frequently find trailers to be a perfect place to build their nest. Eradicate these pests with a suitable pest control product before you allow your horses near the trailer.
Walk around your trailer and do a thorough visual inspection. Look under the trailer and ensure that nothing is hanging from the undercarriage. Examine the frame and skin of the trailer, scrutinizing for any signs of rust and decay. Quickly scan the license plate, and confirm that it is properly secured and illuminated.
After you have confirmed that the electrical connection is securely plugged in and that no wires are hanging, it is time to validate that the electric is working. Enlist a friend or barn mate to watch the lights as you activate the brakes and turn signals; then, turn on your vehicle headlights and check the running and perimeter lights of the trailer. Before you pull out, you will also want to test the brake controller.
Finally make sure that your horse has everything that he or she needs for a comfortable trip. Lightly bed the trailer stall with shavings or sawdust to absorb moisture and reduce concussion on your horse’s legs (straw may become slippery on the rubber matting). If you use hay bags or feeder bags, have them filled and ready to go immediately after you have loaded your horse. Check your trailer ties for signs of wear and have them close at hand. Learn more about trailering your horse safely, specifically in warm weather, on our blog, Summer Trailering Precautions.
In addition to the visual inspection before each haul, regular trailer maintenance is essential. We recommend that you have a professional service your trailer at least once a year, with additional services before long road trips.
Before you head out on your next equine adventure, we encourage you to take a few moments and refer to our pre-trip checklist to keep you safely rolling down the road.
Our experienced trailer sales staff is always available to answer any questions you have about trailer safety and maintenance.
If your trailer isn’t up to your standards, we can help! We carry a full selection of new and used horse trailers in our Swanzey, NH, location. Need advice choosing the perfect trailer? Stop by our store and let the knowledgeable staff at The Cheshire Horse help you determine which option is best for you. For your convenience, our trailer sales staff can also be reached at 877-358-3001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.