Make a Clean Getaway!
Prepare Your Horse Trailer for an Outstanding Trip
Enjoying travel with your horse depends on making sure your trailer is in good shape. I am going to share with you a number of worthy ideas to help you and your horse have a safe and fun time together.
Before we get into the details, I think it’s a good idea if you take a look at the following questions. They may help you organize your thoughts about the trip you’re going to take.
1. If you’ve traveled with your horse before, can you remember what you promised to do differently next time?
2. Have you decided on a destination, and do you know where you’re stopping along the way?
3. Have you calculated how long your horse will be standing in the trailer, and the time between rest stops?
4. Will you be traveling by yourself, or will you have a companion to help? Has your companion traveled with a horse before?
5. Have you figured out what kind of gear you’re going to need?
6. Are you willing to put your horse’s welfare above your own?
Traveling with your horse isn’t hard or complicated, as long as you carefully plan for a safe journey. Good preparation is essential, and making sure your trailer is safe and properly provisioned will do a lot to ease your mind as you travel down the road.
Outside the Trailer:
You might consider taking your trailer to the dealer or your favorite garage and have it checked by a professional. Not every garage or mechanic is familiar with horse trailers, so if you’re going to have your trailer serviced, you should know what your mechanic needs to do; you might also want to give your mechanic a list so everything will be carefully considered. Of course, if you’re familiar with what to do, give the trailer a thorough review yourself.
You’re going to have to get underneath the trailer to take a look at the undercarriage. If you see some rust or corrosion, it needs to be fixed immediately. The concern here is that you may be witnessing structural damage, and that could prove ruinous for your trailer and for your horse. If all you’re seeing is surface rust and the metal and welded joints look unharmed, then you ought to clean off the surface rust and reapply a coating to retard continued rusting. While you’re down there, you should carefully check the welds and the joints to see if you can spot any stress fractures. Aluminum trailers sometimes have problems on the frame where the axles are attached. Check this area carefully for excessive wear and to see if anything has come loose. You should also check the frame where the coupler is attached.
This is also the right time to check your trailer suspension system. Look for anything that’s loose that shouldn’t be loose; tighten everything up. Notice if any bolt holes are widening. Any springs that are broken or look like they’re sagging should be replaced before you take your trip.
Stay tuned for more in tips in Part 2 of preparing your trailer for an outstanding trip!
Until then….this is Larry saying… Happy Trails!