horse trailer safety tips

Horse Trailer Safety Checklist

Equine Trailer Safety Checklist

  • You should always assess your horse for its health and fitness prior to trailering.
  • Only trailer a fully healthy horse, unless it’s going to a vet hospital to get treatment.
  • Be sure your trailer is of proper size for the horse in question in terms of both height and width.
  • Learn how to haul the trailers safely prior to loading your horse. Also, inspect the whole trailer prior to each trip.
  • Avoid traveling alone anytime that you can do so.
  • If you’re hauling somebody else’s horse inside your trailer, then make arrangements in advance to determine who is going to be held responsible should the trailer get damaged or the horse injured.
  • Train the horse to both load and unload safely and calmly ahead of time.
  • Use a helmet, boots, and gloves whenever you load or unload horses.
  • Be sure that there aren’t any hazards near your horse trailer, such as ditches, fencing, or farm machinery, whenever you load or unload horses.
  • Apply both a head bumper and leg wraps prior to the horse getting into the trailer.
  • Never put your horse into an unhitched trailer. Also avoid unhitching a trailer that still has a horse remaining inside it.
  • Should the trailer be dark inside, first open the doors and then turn lights on in order to increase the visibility.
  • Never start loading a horse into a trailer if you’re missing an easy potential escape route.
  • Anytime you are loading a single horse, do so on the left side. Alternatively, tie on the trailer’s left side for slant loads, since roads get ‘crowned’ in the middle.
  • If you are unloading multiple horses from your trailer, be sure that least one of the horses is in sight of the last horse until they are all unloaded safely.
  • Never open the trailer door or get into the trailer when the horse is spooked or panicked. You should get assistance instead.
  • Be sure that you are carrying all the right certificates and you have all the current inoculations.
  • Include a comprehensive emergency first aid kit, one that works for both humans and horses. Also, know how to use it.
  • Be sure your trailer has snug-fitting and proper mats, as well as good ventilation.
  • Verify that all trailer doors have been locked and secured before you set out. Also, check them again after every stop.
  • Make sure that your trailer has sufficient reflective tape on the sides, top, and bottom.
  • Always drive defensively. Leave at least twice the normal braking distance, and always travel at slower than normal speeds.

horse trailer

Safe Trailering Checklist

You should do a good walk around of your trailer prior to any trip to ensure everything is in proper working order.

Your horse trailer should have the following:

  • Two flashlights. One should be a portable spotlight or large Maglite. The other one should be a headband flashlight.
  • Two spare tires.
  • Disposal bags, broom, and shovel.
  • Sponges and buckets.
  • Electrical and duct tape.
  • Emergency flares or triangles.
  • First aid kit for both human and equine needs.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • A hydraulic jack capable of jacking the whole trailer when loaded.
  • Knife.
  • Lug wrench.
  • Portable fencing, or just a roll of construction fencing.
  • Spare bulbs for any of your lights.
  • Spare lead ropes and halters.
  • Water.
  • WD-40.
  • Wheel chocks, which are wedges to keep accidental movements from happening.

The following are needed for your tow vehicle:

  • Trailer and vehicle registration.
  • Roadside assistance membership and proof of insurance.
  • Gloves.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Spare tire, tire iron, and jack.
  • Tool kit which includes spare hoses, belts, fuses, and wiring.
  • Tow chain.
  • Map book or GPS device.

horse trailer walkaround

Doing A Horse Trailer Walkaround

  • Be sure you’re within your gross vehicle rated capacity.
  • Your tires are in great shape.
    • This includes wheel bearings serviced in the last 12 months.
    • You lug nuts are good and tight.
  • Verify the tire pressure of all of your tires, which includes the inside ones.
  • Be sure that your trailer hitch has been secured to the vehicle frame, rather than the bumper.
  • Be sure your ball size is proper and that the ball has been secured tightly to the ball mount.
  • Make sure your hitch is lubricated and in sound condition without showing any obvious signs of wear and tear.
  • Verify the hitch has been properly seated onto the ball and also locked. You should be able to feel the clamp that’s around the ball bottom if the coupler is properly connected.
  • Confirm that any safety chains are connected appropriately underneath the hitch.
  • Your trailer jack should be fully removed or retracted.
  • The electrical connection is both the correct one and connected properly.
  • Make sure that the emergency breakaway system has also been connected right.
  • Verify that the breakaway battery has been charged.
  • Be sure that all the trailer rights are functional, including turn signals, running lights, brake lights, and perimeter lights.
  • Your interior lights should have safety cages around them to give them protection from the heads of the horses.
  • Be sure your brake controller is functional.
  • Your trailer should be sitting level.
  • Make sure you have tight-fitting mats on the floor and that they’re in good condition.
  • Check out the trailer for hazards like rough edges, loose wiring, butt bars/chains which don’t close right, door locks that won’t lock or are hard to open, or chains which don’t open properly.
  • Every horse gets a head bumper and leg wraps.

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