By Dr. Mike Guerini (www.dunmovinranch.com)
Spring (yes, it is coming) is a great time to check out your horse trailer and make sure it is ready for hauling. Many of us use or rely on our horse trailer being ready year round but we do need to stop and think about a trailer check-up.
Here are some important ideas we need to check out on our trailer…at least once a year. Sometimes it is best to check on these before we haul…each and every time.
1) Make sure the lights work. Not just the turn signals but also the running lights and especially the brake lights. Make sure when you hook up your vehicle the lights all function correctly.
2) Grease the ball that you use to connect to your trailer (either gooseneck or bumper pull hitch. You do not want to over-grease and leave gobs/messes to stain your jeans or pants…but just a little grease helps the metal on metal of the ball to the coupler have reduced friction and make for easier hook-up and turning.
3) Check your tires. Make sure they are properly inflated (good to do before each haul) and have good tread. Look for cuts or wearing that might cause a blow-out or loss of tread. One of the least enjoyable aspects of hauling horses comes with being stopped on the side of the road and trying to do repairs — it is not safe.
4) Clean up that tack room. Make sure you can easily use and access everything you need in your tack room. To much clutter can cause damage to your saddles, tack, and possibly you if you fall in the “mess.”
5) Check the trailer floorboards and mats. Makes sure the flooring is sturdy and not rotting, make sure the mats are in good shape and provide safe footing for your horse. To properly check the floor boards it is best to pull out the mats and give the boards a good visual inspection. In some trailers, boards are not in place…so check out the flooring and make sure it is sturdy.
6) Check that your tie straps are in good shape. Not everyone uses tie straps or breakaway or quick release ties…but if you do, make sure the quick releases work and that the ties are not worn out.
7) Check your emergency medical kit (both human and horse). Each trailer should have an emergency medical kit for you (the human) and for the horse. Check to make sure these are stocked with what you might need until you can get additional help.
8) Visually inspect he trailer for rust or other sigs of damage or corrosion. Let’s face it friends…we spend lots of money on horse trailers and so we need to take the time to protect the investment and stop rust, corrosion, or any damage from spreading. In many cases we will have a horse trailer for 20+ years, longer than we might have the truck that pulls the trailer.
I hope some of these ideas will be good reminders for how best to care for your horse trailer and keep you and your horse safe when hauling.
Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician, author of multiple Horsemanship books, co-inventor of the Equine Hydro-T and specializes in western performance based instruction and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at www.dunmovinranch.com. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).