Pre-trip check list for horse trailers

Published 06-04-2010 3:01 PM

This information was provided by Mark Cole from USRider, a nationwide roadside assistance plan created especially for equestrians, providing roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more. USRider has an extensive Equine Travel Safety area posted on their website at This area contains a checklist of items you shouldn’t leave home without, a list of vet-recommended contents for first aid kits, trailer maintenance tips and much more. For more information about USRider, visit or call 1-800-844-1409.

Pre-Trip Checklist for Horse Trailers:

• Wheel bearings serviced? (service every 12 mos./12,000 miles, carry spare bearing)

• Tires in good condition? (look for dry rot, replace every 3-5 years regardless of mileage)

• Check tire pressure (including spares and inside tire on dual wheels).

• Hitch locked on the ball? Correct size ball?

• Safety cables/chains connected?

• Plug and secure electrical connection.

• Connect emergency breakaway system.

• Emergency breakaway battery charged?

• Test trailer lighting (brakes, turn signals, running, perimeter).

• Check/test brake controller (calibrate/adjust per manufacturer’s directions).

• Check trailer flooring for cracks, rot, rust, or damage, especially under mats.

• Prior to loading horse(s), check trailer for hazards (sharp edges, loose metal or wood, insect nests, etc.)

• Leg wraps, head bumper on horse(s)?

• If tying horse to trailer, include a breakaway link on trailer end (i.e., bailing twine).

• Secure and lock all trailer doors (use snap or carabiner to prevent accidental opening).

• Headlights on? For greater safety – get noticed.

• Drive safely - allow greater braking distance, and travel at generally slower speeds.

Page last updated: 7/30/2013 5:08:04 PM