Trailer Smart for Safe Hauling (Part 1)
all been there, right? A truck that is really not quite large enough
to haul that heavily loaded bumper pull gets pushed around when the
horses bicker over the hay bag. The old trailer doesn’t have any
brakes or tail lights, but it’s only a few miles down the road so
you haul it anyway. Your brakes lock, but it’s only on one wheel and
you’re a good driver, so you think you can handle it.
Ignoring these limitations and hauling your horses regardless is
dangerous and can cause injury and maybe even death to you, your
horses, and other people.
The following is a check-off list you should keep handy:
Is the truck correctly sized to haul the loaded trailer? It is
best to get an outside professional opinion on matching the truck
Does the vehicle have a correctly installed frame hitch, rated to
tow the loaded weight of the trailer?
Is the ball correctly sized for the coupler? A 2” ball is
correctly sized for a 2” coupler. A trailer with a 2-5/8” coupler
needs a 2-5/8” ball. Choosing the wrong match could easily result in
your truck and trailer separating.
Does your truck have the right electrical outlet for the trailer
wiring? All livestock trailers should have working brakes and lights
which requires a proper electrical connection.
Does the trailer have a solid floor? Make sure you check under the
floor mats, where moisture can become trapped and can cause wood to
rot, steel to rust, and urine causes aluminum to corrode. Aluminum
floors may also crack, which could be covered by floor mats.
Is the trailer appropriately sized for the animals you intend to
What are the benefits and limitations of a tow behind versus a
gooseneck trailer? Which is most appropriate for your use and
hauling vehicle? Generally a gooseneck trailer is more stable and
less likely to sway when hauled. A gooseneck has a smaller turn
radius and will track inside the curve when following the truck
through a turn. Tow behind trailers track behind the hauling vehicle
even when on a turn. An anti-sway bar can be used to reduce sway
when hauling a tow behind trailer.
Before you drive away check-off list:
The lights are all working
The ball is properly attached to the draw bar
The correctly sized ball for the particular trailer you are towing
is on the draw bar
The draw bar is properly attached to the hitch receiver – check
The trailer coupler is properly secured to the ball. Most tow
behinds have a clasp that needs to be closed or a pin that needs to
be placed. Failure to secure the coupler may result in the
separation of the towing vehicle and trailer.
The safety chains are correctly attached. Tow chains should be
crossed under the trailer tongue and secured to the towing vehicle
using the hooks next to the ball.
The trailer floor is sound
The trailer is properly ventilated for the season and number of
animals being hauled
Tire pressure of both the truck and trailer tires
Tire tread of the truck and trailer
Emergency brake box is charged and properly connected
In a joint effort to help educate the horse world, this tip is
brought to you by the Kentucky Horse Council (www.kentuckyhorse.org)
and KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE
monthly webinars and weekly tips. The Kentucky Horse Council is a
nonprofit organization dedicated, through education and leadership,
to the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community.
Go to www.kamanimalservices.com to register for the next webinar
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