Buying a Used Horse Trailer, Things You Should Know

Are you considering investing in a used horse trailer this year? If you are then take these simple tips into consideration.

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Inspect the Trailer Thoroughly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Identify the purpose of your trailer. Is it for shipping your horse to horse shows, or will you consider using it as a means of income to ship others to shows as well. If you are considering using it as a ‘for hire’ then review your insurance options as well as the condition of the trailer for ‘hiring’ purposes.

How much can you invest in a trailer.

This will be the limiting factor regarding the trailer you can purchase. If your funds are limited then you will have to be more vigilant with the trailers you are reviewing for purchase.

Although a conservative budget may reduce your choices, a thorough search can net you a great trailer for a good price.

Things to check before purchasing a trailer

Check the structural integrity of the trailer supports.

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Check the Structural Integrity of the Trailer [source:]

This may involve getting on your hands and knees, with a flashlight to inspect the frame of the trailer. If you are unsure what to see, ask a knowledgeable friend, or hire a mechanic to inspect it for you.

Check for rust near the wheel wells of the trailer.

Dust suppressants used on gravel roads are notorious for breaking down steel and causing them to rust and rot. As well, if the trailer was used in colder climates where they salt the roads during the winter months, the salt will eat away at the steel.
Ask if the trailer has been in any accidents. Check the frame for any warping.

Remove the floor mats and inspect the floor.

Trailer floors get pee-ed and pooped on regularly and often trailer owners do not take the time to air out the floor to prevent them from rotting. The urine and manure gets trapped under the mats and may cause the floor to rot. Remove the trailer mats so you can test the integrity of the floor.

The important places to check are next to the trailer walls. This is where the moisture gets trapped and can cause boards to rot.

Check for rotting boards by gently tapping on the floor boards with a hammer. The boards should sound dry and hard. “Punky” sound or rotted splintered wood is a sign that the floor may not hold your horse.

Inspect the Electrical Connection

All connections should be working well and turning lights, brakes and brake lights are functional.

Inspect the Hitch

Look for signs of wear and tear. Any bent bars or off kilter parts may indicate the trailer has been in a ‘situation’. It may not have been an accident, but it may have been jack-knifed, or bumped when being reversed.

Inspect the trailer suspension

There are leaf springsfor suspension located near the trailer wheels. Check the suspension

A picture of a traditional leaf spring. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to ensure the leaf’s’ are in excellent shape and not broken. If there are other methods of suspension (rubber torsion suspension for example) check the suspension for wear.

Check Driveability

Hitch it up to your trailer and take it for a test drive. You may like the look of it but it may not ‘pull’ well. Don’t be afraid to ask to take it for a test drive.

Buy from a reputable dealer.

What is one thing you would like to give as a tip for first time trailer purchasers?


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About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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