One of the most important things you need to keep in mind is the fact that taking someone along with you to shop for a horse trailer can be helpful. Ideally, a person who is a bit mechanically inclined will work best, and you can take this article along too to make sure that you run through everything. Always make sure that the trailer is functional and safe first before checking anything else.
Where to search?
When searching for a horse trailer perhaps the best source is the local horse trading newspaper. There are many great horse stables and arenas that have a few bulletin boards stacked with information. If you see nothing posted then ask at nearby stables. You can also consult horse trailer dealers in your area too. The idea is to try and check as many trailers as you can before you decide.
Once you know exactly what type of horse trailer you want, there are 7 things you should check for, all of which we look at below.
Check no. 1: The tires
The tires need to be in excellent shape. Check for damage around the sidewall, wear patterns in the tire’s thread marks and ensure that the tires have the right weight rating for the load they are going to carry. The bearing caps should be freshly greased with no noises or even creaking when rolling from a cold start. Also load up the vehicle to check its suspension components.
Check no. 2: the brakes should be good
All vehicles need to have working brakes in good condition. Inspect the brake lines from underneath ensuring there are no leaks. You should also take it for a test drive to a paved parking area where you brake hard a couple of times to check if it stops properly.
Check no. 3: Wiring and lights
Your lights and wiring also need to work when you take a trailer on the road. There should be a compatible plug which can easily connect to your trailer. Also, check for cracked or worn out insulation on the wires. Worn out wires can be dangerous and in a horse trailer they can cause extensive damage to your animals too.
Check no. 4: Checking the Jack post
You should look very carefully at the Jack post to ensure that it is not damaged and that it works. The latching and other safety devices need to work smoothly, have no broken or missing pieces and have safety chains. Checking the hitch is paramount to your safety.
Check no. 5: All the doors need to latch securely
The doors need to work easily and be secure. The windows shouldn’t be cracked, plus they should slide open or closed very easily.
Check no. 6: The trailer needs to be the right size for your horse(s)
There are some horse trailers that are not robust to handle cross country trips easily, so you need to ensure that they are designed for the transportation you want to use it for.
Check no. 7: Look under the trailer
You should crawl under the hood of the horse trailer to see if there is heavy corrosion or other critical damage. The problem with horse trailers is that the flooring is susceptible to corrosion and damage caused by horse urine. But a strong flooring is critical to the safety of your animals during transportation.
There are basically 3 materials used for the flooring of horse trailers, and you need to inspect each for wear and tear before buying. There are some with an aluminum floor that has rubber laid over it for extra protection. So, lift the mat to inspect it properly. Check the corners for damage.
The most important thing as mentioned above is check the safety aspects of the trailer. You should familiarize yourself with the feel of your trailer prior to taking your horses for an extended trip on board. If you are not sure then get advice from folks who have prior experience with buying and selling trailers. They should be able to give you all the tips and tricks on how to keep your horses safe. They should also be able to accompany you on a buying trip.
License: Creative Commons
Mark is an experienced trailer repair person and seller. He has been in the trailer industry for more than 20 years whilst specializing in buying and selling a range of box to custom made traliers.