Horse Trailer Safety Check List

Horse Trailer Safety Check List

At Trailers West, we know how important your horses are. Make sure you are keeping them safe when hauling by doing periodic safety checks of your trailer, especially to your trailer floor.  This 60-minute safety check can help alleviate any potential problems and keep your horses safe this season. With spring just around the corner, now is the best time to get your horse trailer ready for hauling.

Never done a floor safety check before? Here is the step-by-step guide with all the tools you need to do your own floor safety check.

Here’s what you will need to get started:

  • Vise grip
  • Broom
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight
  • Knife

Now Let’s Get Started!

Step 1: To get started, make sure to have your trailer windows and door open for ventilation. Then, using your vice grip, start to pull your mats out. To save yourself some time later, make sure that as you pull your mats out, to arrange them in the order they came out of your trailer. This way, you know exactly where each mat fits you put them back in later on. Next, be sure to inspect your mats to see if any need to be replaced or repaired. Then, give your mats a good wash and let them air dry.

Step 2: Check the integrity of your trailer floor. Give it a good sweep and once it’s clean, start to inspect the floorboards. Using a screwdriver or a dull knife, see if there are any spots where the blade sinks into any of the wooden boards. If it does, they need to be replaced. Keep an eye on the floor edges or any areas where water may collect as these would be areas that rot faster. While inspecting your floor, look for areas where your horses may typically stand during transport. These boards are typically under more stress due to the weight of the horses. Once you have identified any questionable areas, give your floor a good power wash and let dry.

Step 3: Next, with your flashlight, use a mat or a piece of cardboard to slide underneath the trailer so you can inspect the entire floor, including the structural beams. Oftentimes, rust can accumulate on support beams from urine, manure, and road salt. This is another opportunity to check the floor for any areas of sagging or rot that you may not have seen from inside the trailer. If you find any metal that has been corroded, it has to be replaced to ensure the integrity and safety of your trailer.

Step 4: If you find rot anywhere on your trailer floor, know that the floorboard is compromised and therefore, needs to be sure to replace it immediately. When replacing your boards, it is best if you use Douglas fur or a well-cured oak as opposed to pressure-treated or plywood. While the other options may be cheaper up front, they will cost in the long run as pressure-treated wood tends to rot quickly and plywood creates splinters that will injure your horses.

Step 5: Now that your trailer floor is clean, dry, and inspected now would be a great time to treat it with a waterproofing sealant such as linseed oil or oil-based paint. This extra step helps to ensure the integrity of your floor for the upcoming season.

Step 6: Once your trailer floor is dry from the sealant, now it’s time to put your mats back in! Making sure each one is going back into its correct spot and fits tight to alleviate any gaps which may cause your horse to trip.

Now your trailer is ready to be loaded up with your horses!