Smart for Safe Hauling (Part 2)
Remember, trailers need maintenance just like vehicles.
It is advisable to have your trailer serviced annually. The service
should include a check of the wheel bearings (as they may need
repacking), wiring and lights, brakes, alignment, tire wear,
emergency brake box, and structural integrity.
Loading the Trailer
In general it is a good idea to balance the load in
your trailer. Your goals should be to keep the trailer level when it
is loaded and situate your horses in a manner that limits risks.
Remember to load your heaviest horse on the driver side of the
trailer. If you are only hauling one horse it should likewise be
loaded on the driver side. This helps keep the trailer from flipping
in the unfortunate instance that you run your passenger tire off the
In slant load trailers the heavy horse or single horse should go
into the first stall. Keeping your weight toward the front of the
trailer, rather than toward the back, helps avoid trailer sway.
Look at your trailer when it is loaded. If the trailer buckles down
at the tongue (and the truck is properly sized for the load), you
need to reconsider how your horses are distributed in the trailer
and shift some weight to the back. Similarly if the trailer buckles
up at the tongue (and the truck is properly sized for the load) too
much weight is in the back of the trailer.
Have you ever ridden in the back of a horse trailer?
Try it as it will completely change the way you drive. Things to
remember: speed up and slow down more gradually, take turns slower,
allow more stopping room (someone needs to tell all the other
motorists that part!), but when you’re on straight-aways you can go
as fast as is legal and manageable for your vehicle. How you drive
can make the difference in how willing your horse is to load into
When hauling livestock we have a duty to trailer smart by selecting
and maintaining appropriate vehicles and equipment, carefully
loading animals, and focusing on the safety of our human and
livestock passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.
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.
www.kamanimalservices.com to register for the next webinar
or sign-up to be notified when a new tip comes out.