Spring Tips
Safe Hands in a Crisis
The Organisation of Horsebox & Trailer Owners        Tel: 01488 657651    Fax: 0844 8546681
© PRP Rescue Services Ltd 2018  
Top Tips To Get Your Horsebox Or Trailer In Perfect Condition For The Spring The   first   few   weeks   of   a   new   showing   season   are   always   the   worst.   There   are   just   so   many   things   to   check   over. We thought we might give you a hand with the transport side to avoid that dreaded early season breakdown. Here   is   the   OHTO   check-list   to   ensure   your   horsebox   or   your   car   and   trailer   is   totally   road-worthy   to   start   the   new season. Horsebox Engine Check oil levels Check power steering level Never use start gas as a starting aid e.g. Easy Start Never race a cold engine Avoid labouring and high engine speeds on cold engine Fuel Filter - Drained of water Drive belts check tension and condition Cooling System With a cold engine the coolant level should be between minimum and maximum Check for leaks on hoses and engine Brakes Check fluid levels Check brake lines for corrosion Drain condensation water from air tanks Take unloaded horsebox for a test run to make sure brakes are working correctly Lighting And Electrics  Check battery and connections Check lights Check reflectors, indicators, wipers and washers Check warning lamps are working correctly Wheels and Tyres Check tyre pressure Check tyres for side wall damage Check wheel nuts Check spare wheel Check there are no stones jammed between rear twin wheels Horse Area Check Floor Check partitions for security Check door hinges and locks Check ramp for security Check ramp hinges Check horse ties Check vent windows Check fresh water system ( lines, tanks and pumps) Check chassis and body lubrication Living Area Check for gas leaks Check for bolts on living doors Ensure there are adequate seat belts for children when traveling Trailer The average trailer may stand unused for months on end, winter is the usual drop-out time. We often get asked for advice on trailer maintenance and storage, so we thought a check-list on that would be a good place to start. If   it   has   not   been   used   for   any   length   of   time   the   trailer   should   have   been   left   clean   and   dry   inside.   In   order to avoid rotting of the floor the rubber mats should have been lifted up so that any damp dried out. The   trailer   should   have   been   supported   on   axle   stands   never   bricks   or   jacks   which   can   split   easily   and without   warning..   The   wheels   should   not   have   touched   the   ground.   Tyres   remaining   on   damp   ground   for long   periods   of   time   are   likely   to   perish   and   the   bearings   can   seize   up.   The   jockey   wheel   should   have   been dropped to provide extra stability. Hinges and wiring should have been greased and sprayed with WD40. Now to get us back on the road: Wheel   bearings   need   re-greasing   about   every   two   years   otherwise   they   wear   out   and   may   overheat   or seize.   While   the   trailer   is   still   on   stands,   now   is   a   good   time   to   get   the   bearings   and   brakes   checked   and freed off. Test   the   whole   floor   area   for   rotting   using   a   screwdriver.   Do   not   forget   the   ramp.   These   areas   are   perhaps the most important part of all! The   socket   connecting   your   car   and   trailer's   lights   are   prone   to   corrosion   due   to   muck   sprayed   up   from   the road   and   it   is   also   a   hiding   place   for   insects.   Clean   out   the   dirt   and   spray   the   sockets   and   plugs   with   WD40 which helps to prevent corrosion and give a better contact Grease all hinges and moving parts like the balance springs and tow hitch. The   BLUE   CROSS   have   produced   a   small   booklet   in Adobe   pdf   format   on Trailer   safety   and   maintenance.   Please   click   on   the   logo   on   the   left   to download a version in ADOBE pdf format. Robert   Webb-Bowen,   Director   of   Equine   Welfare   at   the   Blue   Cross   says: “Fatal   injuries   to   horses   caused   through   unsafe   trailer   transport   are   more common   than   you   think.   Unlike   other   countries   in   Europe,   the   UK   has   no trailer   MOT   test,   so   making   sure   your   own   trailer   is   safe   and   legal   is entirely   your   responsibility.   Yet   many   horse   owners   remain   unaware   of how   to   keep   their   trailer   in   safe   working   order.   This   leaflet   will   play   a   vital role in making horse owners aware of what is necessary. “The   ground   pressure   exerted   by   a   550kg   horse   through   its   shoes   is 3.05kg   per   square   centimetre,   which   is   exactly   the   same   as   that   of   a   fully laden   military   Land   Rover   Defender   weighing   six   times   more.   The   big difference   is   that   the   Land   Rover   is   supported   by   all   four   wheels   as   it moves,   but   the   horse   walking   into   a   trailer   always   has   one   foot   off   the ground, creating even more, ever changing, stress on the floor." Please   remember,   it   is   not   just   weakened   floors   which   endanger   horses.   Regular   maintenance   of   the   trailer's brakes,   wheel   bearings,   tow   hitch   and   lights   are   all   essential   to   avoid   accidents   that   could   endanger   the   horse, tow-car    occupants    and    other    road    users.   Andy    Bathe    MA    VetMB    CertES(Orth)    DipECVS    MRCVS    RCVS    & European   Specialist   in   Equine   Surgery,   University   Equine   Surgeon   at   The   Queen's   Veterinary   School   Hospital, University   of   Cambridge   said   "I   see   at   least   two   serious   horse   injuries   per   year   caused   by   travelling.   I   would expect   this   figure   to   be   similar   for   a   lot   of   equine   vets   around   the   country,   which   would   roughly   equate   to   a   national figure of about 1000 injuries resulting from travel every year."