If you are a horse owner or horse transporter, then you know that every horse needs to be transported at some point in its life. You could have a show horse that is routinely hauled to shows or you may only use your trailer to take your horse to the vet for regular checkups. It does not matter what the circumstances are, you always want to make sure that the horse is safe while they are in the trailer. There are many simple things that you can do to ensure that both you and the horse are safe during loading, travel, and unloading.
• If it is possible, use two people to load the horse.
• Never stand directly behind the horse when loading or unloading.
• Train the horse so that it can be sent into the trailer by itself.
• Make sure that the ground around and behind the trailer has good footing before loading or unloading a horse.
• Remove all equipment (saddles, bridles, etc.) before loading. The only thing that should be on the horse is its halter.
• Always speak to a horse that is in a trailer before attempting to handle it. You want to make sure that your horse knows you are there; this will keep him from becoming startled.
• If you are having trouble either loading or unloading a horse, seek professional help.
• Always secure the butt bar or chain before tying the horse. Make sure that you use care when reaching for it to avoid being kicked and always gently let it down when you unfasten it so that you do not accidentally bump the horse’s legs.
• When you are unloading a horse, always untie the horse before you open the door.
• Use some type of bedding or matting in the trailer floor. This will keep the floor from getting slick and prevent the horse from falling.
• Always check the trailer regularly for rotten or weakened floorboards, weakened door hinges, broken hitch welds, and worn or broken wheel bearings and spring shackles.
• Make sure that your trailer meets all state requirements for brakes and lights.
• When driving, double check all connections like lights, brakes, and safety chains and always drive in a defensive manner.
• If you are only hauling a single horse, it is safest to load it on the left side of the trailer.
• You should always check on the horses and the trailer hitch at every stop.
If you are careful and observant, you will ensure that both you and the horse are safe no matter how far you have to travel.