|Photo taken by: Virginia State Parks|
Whether you show, trail ride, or simply take your horses to the vet for their annual Coggins test, horse owners need a trailer. As horse folks, we often talk about travel safety (stopping every 100 miles, making sure all doors are secure, no sudden stops or turns, ect) and trailering horses. These are important topics, however, how much thought do we give to maintaining and inspecting our trailers?
Regular maintenance checks should be preformed on a horse trailer every time it is used. Routine items include:
- Tires - tread should be 1/4" or more, and tires should be properly inflated with no signs of dry rot. Don't forget to check the spare tire too!
- Make sure jacks and safety triangle are in working condition in case of breakdown.
- Check for any loose screws, bolts or nails.
- All lights (marker, tail, brake, directional and interior) should be in working condition and bright.
- Hitch ball should be greased as needed.
- Safety chains and snaps should be in place and in good working condition.
- Replace any rotting or broken floorboards. To increase the lifespan of your trailer floor, mats should be lifted after use and the floor swept. Yearly applications of a weather sealer is also helpful.
|Photo credit to Joanna; video on how to replace your floorboards HERE|
Yearly maintenance checks include:
- Inspection of frame for cracks, and wires for loose connections and frayed covering.
- Repair or replacement for rotted or rusted metal.
- Inspection of ramp hinges and springs for weakness and cracks.
- Wheels should be pulled and bearings checked and repacked.
- Inspection of brakes and emergency break-away cable, pin and control box.
Another good tip is to plan ahead. Don't wait till the day of to inspect your trailer, do it the a day or two before when things are a little less hectic. And always remember, keeping your trailer in working condition is an important first step in keeping your equine pals safe on any road trip. Happy trails!