With the recent tragedy of a horse falling out of a moving trailer and being drug to its death, I think it’s entirely appropriate to talk about what to look for when inspecting a trailer and a few quick pre-trip checks, and double checks before you start rolling.
You can perform a thorough inspection of your trailer yourself or hire it out. Just make sure that all vital areas are covered.
· Floor – Is it free of anything that a horse could slip on, including manure? Remember that wood and metal floors can be slippery, especially when wet. Consider putting down rubber matting that is non-slip and provides some shock absorption.
· Latches and Hinges – Are they solid and operating properly?
· Secure Loose Items - Don't leave buckets, leads or other items loose in the front of the trailer where they could slide under the horse's feet.
· Make sure the hitch coupler is locked.
Loading your horses – This can be a point of contention
I personally do not tie my horses when in the trailer. I prefer to let them find their own footing and balance.
For those that decide to tie please keep these few thoughts in mind
· Use a trailer tie instead of a lead rope. Lead ropes can dangle out of doors and windows and become entangled with disastrous results.
· Don't tie too high or low. Your horse should be able to move its head up and down naturally. Tie too low and they could put a foreleg over the tie.
· Put the largest horse on the road side. Roads are higher in the middle so moisture runs off easier. The trailer will be more balanced with a single or heavier horse on the higher (driver's) side.
After the horses are loaded you’ve still got a few quick safety checks to perform. I’ll check these items a couple of times before I start rolling down the road.
· Make sure that all latches are secured and locked in position. Most trailer doors have a couple of locking mechanisms, use them.
I hope that these check points help prevent further accidents.