Noble Life

Before You Go… Safety Tips for Hauling Horses


We’re concerned about the safety of all our vehicle occupants, both human and equine. Just as you’d never leave home with an infant unsecured in the car, you want your horses as safe as can be.

Put this list in your truck cab and use it every trip to ensure a safer trip for you and all your loved ones.

  1. Inspect floorboards for rotting or damage, inspect underneath the carriage for rust, damage, & road debris. If you have a ramp, check that the spring is strong and not rusted and weak.haulingSafetyTips_inspectFloorboards
  2. Check the tire pressure on all tires. Meanwhile, look for tire damage such as cuts, embedded nails, damaged valve stems, tire rot, damage to rims and excessive or uneven tread wear.haulingSafetyTips_checkTires
  3. Inspect the tow vehicle’s fluid levels: coolant, engine oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, steering fluid & windshield washer fluid.
  4. Inspect the trailer ball, making sure it is tight, lightly greased, and not heavily rusted or damaged. Then, inspect the hitch mechanism for proper function.
  5. Upon hooking up, check that your hitch is locked in place, the safety chains & breakaway cable are attached, and lights are plugged in. Be sure the trailer jack is raised and locked in place.haulingSafetyTips_checkHitch
  6. Have someone help you to check that all lights are functional on both vehicles.
  7. Check that the braking systems are operating correctly.
  8. Inspect the interior of the trailer, checking that the floor mats fit snugly and are in good repair, the stall partitions are properly affixed and that there are no protruding objects which might injure your horses. Open vents to allow for good air circulation, even in cold weather.
  9. For side-by-side horse trailers: If you load only one horse, place him on the driver’s side; if more than one horse, load the heavier horse on the driver’s side. Tie horses with quick-release knots or use ropes or straps that have quick release buckles in case of emergency. Affix butt bars securely.
  10. Remove and stow wheel chocks and make sure all stowed items in tack compartments and dressing rooms are secure before departing.

  11. Before you make your departure, make sure to do a “walk around” to check that all doors and fold down windows are latched and secured.

If you always think safety first, especially when hauling horses, you will make your trailering experience a stress-free, pleasant affair.  And check that gas gauge often while you are on the road.  Safe travels!

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The Author:

Gavin Ehringer is an award-winning equestrian writer and author of six books. He has over 20 years of experience writing news, sports, and features for national magazines like Horse & Rider and Cowboys & Indians. He lives in Langley, Washington, where he is working on his seventh title, Coming to the Fire: The Unnatural History of Dogs, Cats, Horses & Cows.

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