It is mid-summer and hopefully you've been able to get in some horse time. This week's challenge is to think about your horse trailer safety savvy! (If you are interested in horse trailer play time, please refer to my November 5, 2009 blog post:Weekly Task Challenge: Trailer Loading and Assessment.)
To begin, you should check your trailer and equipment for damage, safety, and reliability. Here is a checklist to start your assessment process (this is not an exclusive list).
- Make sure your vehicle is the appropriate size to safely pull (and stop) your horse trailer
- Check tire pressure & wear on both truck and trailer (horse trailer tires are heavier than regular tires)
- Check your spare tires on both truck and trailer and be sure they are inflated
- Check your brakes
- Check your floorboards for rot & cracks
- Check gates and latches for damage (grease is necessary)
- Check your hitch for wear
- Check your brake lights and turn signals
- Look for any sharp edges or rust holes
- Make sure your trailer is clean before hauling (don't forget to check for and remove wasp or bees nests)
- Determine if you need your trailer wheel bearings packed
- Ensure that the mats on the trailer floor are in good condition
- Fuel up before you load if possible (and don't forget to check the oil and other fluids in your truck)
- Put bedding in the trailer to soak up any urine or horse manure -- it will help to keep the floor from becoming slippery (have a shavings fork and manure bucket on hand for any cleanups to keep footing as dry as possible)
- Purchase hauling insurance should you break down
- Have a first-aid kit in your trailer and truck
- Have an extra halter and lead line for each horse in your truck should you be in an accident
- Carry a sharp utility knife in your truck should you need to cut a halter off of a horse
- Have shipping boots or other wraps and fly masks for all of the horses being hauled
- Make sure all horses being hauled are able to load and be comfortable in the trailer (there is nothing wrong with practicing not only loading but hauling...take your horses for rides around the neighborhood!
These are a few resources you may want to read about horse trailer safety!