Check Your Trailer’s Safety

You're about to load your horse in your trailer and hit the highway. Here are two checklists--one to make sure your horse and trailer are ready, and another to keep your trailer in top form.

Make sure your horse is healthy and your trailer is safe with this simple checklist:

A few precautions before you leave help ensure safe hauling. | H&R File Photo


  • is eating and drinking normally;
  • has left the same number of manure piles as usual;
  • is within normal range for temperature, pulse, respiration and gum color (How to Check Vital Signs);
  • checks out OK while on the road (monitor his temperature, food and water intake and number of manure piles);
  • has leg/head protection. (Most injuries occur while loading and unloading.) If you’re inexperienced at bandaging, apply shipping boots. (Improperly applied bandages can cause leg injuries or a safety hazard if they unravel.) If you have an open stock trailer, apply a fly mask to prevent eye injuries from flying debris and insects.


  • hitch is locked around the ball (check again at end of driveway);
  • emergency brake, safety chains and electrical cord properly attached (check again at end of driveway);
  • trailer lights, brakes, and turn signals working properly (enlist a helper to watch each light and signal);
  • butt bar or divider is securely fastened;
  • breast bar is securely fastened, if applicable;
  • trailer doors, access doors and tack room doors are all securely fastened once horse is loaded.

Once you’re on the road, stop and investigate any strange sounds and double check everything again whenever you stop along the way. 

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