- Examine the hitch, chains, and electrical connections.
- The condition and air pressure of all tires–including the spare–should be checked.
- Look for weak spots in the trailer floor, whether it’s aluminum or wood.
Before purchasing a new trailer or embarking on a long journey with your horse in tow, there are certain components you need to check for safety. Ben Eversole from Sallee Horse Transportation in Lexington, Kentucky explains what to look for when inspecting a horse trailer.
[The hitch and receiver are] critical in the safe operation of this equipment. The first thing you want to check is be sure the ball is the right size for the receiver. The receiver and the ball are both identified with what the measurements are.”
“Secondly is the safety chains. Make sure they’re properly secured to the bumper of the truck. Make sure they’re not dragging on the ground.”
“The next item we want to address is electrical. The cable coming from the truck to the trailer…sends all of the electrical signals for our lights and our braking system. This is a critical component that we want to make sure is in safe working condition. If there is damage to the cable that’s something that you’ll want to get addressed immediately.
Check your air pressure. There will be a designation on the tire itself telling you what proper inflation should be. This is critical to the safety and proper maintenance of the tire. Make sure you’ve got good tread depth. Check the sidewall and make sure there are no abrasions or cuts.
Same rules apply on the spare tire. Make sure it’s got good tread, no damaged sidewall, wheel in good condition, and proper inflation. It doesn’t do you a lot of good to have a flat spare tire.
When we check our lighting system, we turn our four-ways on. That allows us to know if our marker lights and our brake and turn sign signal lights are working. If any aren’t working, get that addressed prior to hitting the road.
If you’ve got a trailer that was built in the last 10 years, chances are it’s got an aluminum floor. Alumnium will not rust, but it’s not as structurally sounds as steel. If you’ve got an aluminum floor, get in and walk around the trailer to feel for any inconsistencies. That can be an indication of where the floor has separated from the cross members of the trailer. If you do find that, that’s something you definitely want to get taken care of.
Use the same process for a trailer with a wood floor. “Walk the floor to feel for any looseness or loose boards. It is possible for a screw to break, which will give you a loose board feeling.” Wood floors can also rot over time. “Typically your boards are going to rot around the edges of your trailer, around the seam.”
Get more about safe trailering resources in our Horse Trailer Guide >>