Although it may not feel like it at the moment, spring is on its way, so now's the time to check your trailer
Many of us don't use our horse trailers much over the winter, and the weather this winter has been particularly uninviting, so you may not have used yours since last year. There's nothing worse than getting ready for the first outing of the season, only to find there's a problem with the trailer and you can't go, so now's the time to carry out some checks and get ready for spring.
Raessa Lea of Towing Solutions Ltd, an official training provider for the NTTA (National Trailer & Towing Association) and the Caravan Club, has put together a post-hibernation trailer checklist to help keep you and your horse safe on the roads.
By law, the tyre tread should be 1.6mm deep across the central breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference. While you're looking at your tyres, check them for damage, bulges or any signs of perishing, as well.
If the trailer has been standing in water, for example a puddle on the yard or a wet field, check that the tyres have not absorbed any water through small nicks or cuts. Tyres with water damage will appear deformed.
Check your tyre pressures are correct according to manufacturer's guidelines. Incorrect tyre pressures can make any trailer unstable, difficult to tow and also creates bad fuel economy, while over-inflated tyres can make the ride very uncomfortable for your horse.
Hitch your vehicle up, and ask a friend to check all the trailer lights are all in good working order. Legally, you must have a trailer indicator warning device fitted, which will warn you if an indicator light has failed by a buzzing noise or a small flashing light on your dashboard.
If your trailer hasn't been moved for a while, it's important to get the wheels, brakes and running gear checked professionally before first use. Remember to check the integrity of the floor, as well. This is particularly important if you have an older trailer with a wooden floor, as rubber mats can hide areas of rot.
Once hitched, always connect the breakaway cable. Not only is this important for safety, but an unconnected cable is also a driving offence which qualifies for three points on your licence if you are prosecuted.
For a list of trailer servicing companies in your area, visit the National Trailer and Towing Association's directory on their website.
Cheshire-based company Towing Solutions offer a range of courses including B+E training and specific courses for towing a horsebox.