Checklist to Make Sure Your Horse Trailer Is Secure


Are you traveling with your horse? Most horse owners, at some point, must trailer their horse for competition, medical needs or trail riding. Whether you have been transporting your horse via trailer for years or are new to it, there are many things you need to do and consider to ensure your horse trailer is secure. Poor planning for and preparation of the towing vehicle and horse trailer can cause a simple, pleasant transport to become a horrible experience for you and your horse. Learn more about the basics of trailer safety and security so that transporting your horse goes off, figuratively, “without a hitch.”

Trailer Security and Safety Checklist

  • Check the Trailer Hitch. A properly sized hitch that’s regularly maintained is vital to secure horse transport. Likewise, the ball size must match the size of the hitch for a secure fit. Once the hitch and ball are brought together, use a pin or other included mechanism to ensure the two parts stay together. Use a long-shanked locking pin to ensure that no one can alter the security of your hitch while you’re away from the trailer.
  • Tire Pressure and Condition. The condition of the tires on your tow vehicle are important to ensure a safe, smooth transport. Prior to leaving for a competition or trail ride, check tire pressure to make sure your tires aren’t low. It’s also important to know the age of your tires. Even though they might look fine and the tread may not look worn down, older tires can develop dry rot and other conditions that compromise their safety. The tires on your trailer shouldn’t exceed five years of age, and the tires on your tow vehicle should be changed as often as needed, according to use and wear.
  • Brakes and Lights. Traveling with your horse will eventually lead to driving that requires you to brake suddenly or turn on your lights as you make your way home after sunset. Check the lights on both the tow vehicle and trailer, as well as the brakes on your tow vehicle. Having both in excellent working order is critical to safety. Not only do you want your brakes to be able to make a quick stop, you also want them to function properly without making a lot of noise or vibration — which can cause a horse that’s sensitive to noise or sudden movement to become frightened during the ride.
  • Check it All Once, Check it All Twice. You’ve checked the hitch, the brakes, the lights, the tires and anything else you can imagine. Your horse is in the trailer and you’re ready to go. Before you pull out, check it all once again or ask a trainer or fellow rider to look over the horse trailer and towing vehicle. In your efforts to get your vehicles, your horse and yourself ready to travel, it’s easy to forget something. A double-check will serve to ensure that a thorough maintenance and security check has been conducted before you hit the road.

Have No Doubts Where Horse Trailer Safety and Security Are Concerned

When it comes to preparing for travel with your horse, the last thing you want to skimp on is checking the security and safety of your trailer. Use this checklist to assist you in preparing for your journey and to give the trailer and tow vehicle another check before departing. The time you spend ensuring that your horse trailer is secure will result in an enjoyable, stress-free ride for you and your horse.


Carrie Yaeger of Curt Manufacturing, the leading provider of towing accessories for the equine industry, has been riding all of her life. She started showing quarter horses when she was 2 years old around Eau Claire. With the help of her older cousin, she rode in a class known as “Lead Line”. At age 5, she finally got to ride by herself, riding Western and English. She showed Quarter horses and P.O.A.’s (Ponies of America) all over the country until she turned 16 and retired from the show ring. These days you can find Carrie at Oakland Percherons, her family’s farm west of Eau Claire, WI. We own and show Percheron Draft Horses; 12 Mares (Molly, Kylie, Cleo, Faye, Kate and Darcy just to name a few) and 3 Stallions (Tim, A-Rod, and Darth), along with 2 Quarter Horse Mares (Peanut and Storm). Carrie and her family show at the Wisconsin State Fair, the Minnesota State Fair, and many others fairs around the Mid-West.

  • Maxine Wilson

    My husband and I finally bought horses. We are so excited, and we can’t wait to get them loaded up and taken them out to the trails. This was a good reminder of all of the things we need to do before we load them up in the trailer. I love your last tip, about double checking everything. Like you said, that will ensure that you and your horses will travel safely.