What do I need to check on the inside of my trailer before I hit the road?
Your trailer is a lot of things - storage, transportation to fun and shows, insurance for an emergency situation. It can be ready to go at any instant - as long as it’s taken care of and you do some regular, routine cleaning and checking before you go. We have already talked about checking the outside before you go, now we can focus a bit on the inside. Before you load up, you want to be sure that you have the following things done well before your trip:
Is your horse trailer clean and safe?
- Mats pulled to inspect and clean the floor.
- Walls cleaned (most trailer manufacturers can tell you what type of cleaner to use). I like to do this well in advance so any smells can air out.)
- Hinges and moving parts checked and double checked. If they are rusty or squeaky or not smoothly operating, check with the trailer manufacturer for suggestions. Your local trailer service shop can help you, also.
- Windows operating well, all mechanisms to open and shut running smoothly.
- All screens in proper working order with no rips.
Under the mats. GROSS. This is why regular cleaning is necessary. After the mats go back in, fill with clean shavings so your rig can be ready to roll at a moment's notice.
Some thoughts on what every trailer needs:
- Add shavings to the horse compartment (the low dust variety). I can’t stress this enough for safely reasons. Manure and urine can be slippery, and your horse is already doing a lot of work to balance back there. Add mats and shavings to your trailer floor, even if you are going 5 miles down the road.
- All windows and slats and openings to the outside world need screens. The screens allow for ventilation, and protect your horse from road dust and debris. We all know what a rock can do to a windshield… I would hate to see that happen to your horse.
- You can easily purchase screens in all colors and patterns to fit the windows. For large slats and open sides, hit the hardware store for screen in rolls. I prefer to have a tiny ventilation window for the stall that my horse is in, to cut down on the wind hitting the hay net and blowing things all around. The other windows are fully open and have full size screens.
- Consider trailering with fly masks to add to the eye protection from dust and debris.
I like to remove nets that I'm not using from the horse area of the rig and store them in the tack room or a tack box.
What you can check before you load up:
- Do a last minute walk around of your rig.
- Lock the tack room door.
- Open all appropriate windows and roof vents. Even in colder temperatures, horses need fresh air circulating.
- Bring a broom inside to sweep for cobwebs and spiders.
- Remove hay nets that will not be used and hang ones that will.
- Plan where the horses go. A known kicker should not be next to another horse unless the divider goes to the ground.
- Fluff and redistribute the shavings.
- Dress and protect your horse with leg wraps or boots, and some horses also benefit from a tail wrap.
This will get you on the road safer! Happy travels!