The Importance of Regular Checks

Without regular checks the trailer can become unsafe and cause your horse unnecessary suffering.

Trailer-Safety Checklist
Hauling your horse down the highway? Check off these safety points before you go, and have a trouble-free trip.

  • As a matter of course, clean your horse trailer out after every use. Even with rubber mats, the urine and droppings will take their toll on the floorboards if they are left to sit.
  • Regularly washing the exterior of the trailer will give you the opportunity to check for rust, leaks in the roof, broken windows etc.
  • Check the wooden floorboards, the ramp or tailgate, divider etc. for signs of rot. Also check the hinges, springs and latches to make sure they are secure and in good working order. Replace any parts that are rotten, broken or missing.
  • The trailer hitch itself should be kept well lubricated and should be checked for missing parts. Make sure the chains are in good repair.
  • Without the trailer jack, it would be impossible to lift your horse trailer on to the little ball on the bumper pull of your truck. Keeping it lubricated and cranking it every now and then, when it's not being used, will stop it from seizing up and becoming useless, just when you need it most.
  • The brakes should be checked every time the trailer is hitched, to make sure they are working. Regular professional maintenance is recommended.
  • Correct tire pressure will make it easier to tow the trailer and will save wear and tear on the tires. Replace any worn tires.  Make sure pressure is correct. Iíve had new tires blow <on a hot day>due to not enough air.  
  • IMPORTANT if you have a gooseneck trailer when turning around DON'T pivot your trailer < don't allow your the wheels on the inside to just sit and turn in a circle> This will cause the treads to break lose in your tires and eventually you'll blow a tire.

Each time you hook your horse trailer up:

 Before Hitch Up Ė Make sure your vehicle is rated to tow the weight.  Check hitch     carefully.     Check balances of trailer, make sure rig is level, make sure lights and brakes work, if not, remove rust on hitch. , you should make sure the lights and turn signals work. Check the wiring and replace any bulbs that need replacing.

Before You Load Up - Check trailer for bees, remove any moldy hay, put fresh hay in trailer, and prepare horse to be loaded. Take last bathroom breaks, etc. Load horse.

Before You Leave - Walk all the way around the rig, check that all doors are secured, Iíve found doors not shut and several times had to stop folks for this reason. The hitch is really done-up and the plugs are all in order, remove wheel chocks.




maintenance up to date
tires - air/condition/lugs
spare tire - air/condition
brakes - truck/trailer
hitch- foot up/plugs/pins
trailer floor (2x year)
doors closed
cell phone
tire gauge/lug wrench
wheel chocks
jumper cables
flares/warning triangles
spare fuses

Horse Supplies/Equipment

halter - extra
shank - extra
coggins/health papers
Duct tape, for covering sharp edges in a damaged trailer and other uses
Tool kit-crowbar, hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers.
Fire extinguisher

First Aid

non-stick pads/s. napkins
vet wrap
bandage cutters/scissors
cotton sheeting/quilts
track/polo bandages
First Aide  - horse/rider medications <Banamine, butte>
cleaning solution/saline
fence tool/hoof pick





Regular Maintenance Checks each t you use the trailer:

Tires and Wheels

  •  Check the tire pressures and the tread are correct.

  • Check the condition of the tires. Include the rear tires of the towing vehicle in your inspection. Make sure that you are carrying a spare tire and that it is roadworthy.

  •   Make sure lug nuts are tight on all wheels.


  •  Check the floorboards for any rot or general weakness.

  • Ensure drainage holes are unblocked in order to lengthen the life of a trailer floor, lift the rubber mats after use and sweep or hose out the floor. Make sure the floor is completely dry before replacing any mats as this may cause rotting.

Inside the Trailer

  • Check carefully for any loose or protruding screws bolts and nails inside the trailer.

  • Check for bees or wasp.

  • Check the partitions and all locks and bolts.

Outside the Trailer

  • Safety Chains: Make sure chains are crossed and hooked to vehicle frame (not bumper).

  • Hitch: Look for loose bolts, hairline cracks, and other signs of wear. Check for proper hookup. (In conventional trailers, the socket should be seated on the ball and locked in place.)

  •  Check that all lights are in full working order including the marker, tail, brake, indicator and interior lights.

  •  Check that jacks and safety triangles or reflectors are in good working order in case of a breakdown.


Yearly Maintenance Checks:

  •  Check the brake pads and brake discs for wear and adjust or replace as necessary.

  • Inspect the frame of the trailer for cracks.

  • Inspect all wires for loose connections or frayed coverings.

  • Repair or replace any rotted or rusted metal.

  • Grease all hinges, springs, ball hitch etc.

  •   Check the trailer ramp and its hinges for any weaknesses or cracks.

  •   Wheels should be pulled and bearings checked and if necessary repacked.

  • Check the floor for any rotting or major weakness, which may need repairing and if it is an aluminum floor, check for any large dents or corrosion.

  • Check all the internal and external lights


  •   Take tools for repair. <Pliers, hammer, electric tape, screw driver,>

  •   Cell phone and phone numbers.


Trailering: Safe Driving Strategies
when hauling your horse, his safety and comfort should be your main concerns. Here's how to accomplish those goals.

Anyone who's ridden in a trailer knows how bumpy the ride can be for the horse.

Some thoughts on safe driving.

  • Make slow takeoffs and stops.
  • Work your speed up slowly.
  • Travel five to 10 miles under the speed limit, especially on bumpy and winding roads.
  • Double the distance you would normally keep between your rig and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Watch and plan as you drive down the road to reduce the chance that you will need to make a sudden stop.
  • Take extra time as you drive around corners. One rule of thumb to keep in mind: If you can "feel" the turns that you are making with your body, you need to slow down.

Almost all hauling is a matter of common sense and good horsemanship. With safety in mind and some careful planning, you can help ensure that your future travels will be safe and enjoyable.



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