Horse trailer safety - MSU Extension

2022-07-22 09:17:25 By : Mr. Louis Phang

Taylor Fabus, Michigan State University Extension, and Warren Van Overbeke, MSU - May 8, 2017

It’s easy to overlook simple horse trailer maintenance, but investing a small amount is crucial to ensure the safety of your equine friends.

Have you ever just backed up to your horse trailer, attached it to your truck, loaded your horses and drove on down the road without another thought? Well, I hate to admit it, but I have.

Time and experience have taught me that is not the best course of action. Sure, it is easiest to just hook up your rig and head down the road. Who wants to take the time to check the tires, look at the frame and floorboards, make sure the hitch operates correctly, the lights work and the doors latch the way they should? Although that seems like a daunting list of things to maintain, if you slow down just a bit, you can allow yourself the opportunity to more regularly check these important issues without much inconvenience or time spent.

Regular preventative maintenance for your trailer should be a part of a monthly or prior-to-use routine. Trailers, just like vehicles, are prone to breakdown. Consistent use and extended lack of use can cause a trailer to need repair. It is the operator’s responsibility to ensure the trailer is roadworthy.

The Equestrian Group, an insurance agency who insure us when stuff goes really wrong, recommends regular and annual maintenance checks, and have assembled the following checklist in an effort to keep us on the road and out of trouble. Regular maintenance consists of the following. This check should occur each time before you tow.

Annual maintenance checks can be just as, if not more, important as regular maintenance checks. Annual checks go further in-depth and look for items you may not easily see. The following is a list of annual maintenance checks provided by the Equestrian Group.

Note: If at any time you are unsure of the trailer’s condition or how to make a repair, seek the assistance of a trained mechanic in your area.

In the end, a little extra attention to your trailer yearly and prior to departing home may be the difference between a great day of riding the trails and an unfortunate day sitting on the side of the interstate. These things happen, but with good preventative maintenance you will be prepared for nearly anything the road may throw your way.

Be sure to check out this Michigan State University Extension article, “Take steps to travel safely with your equines.”

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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