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Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet FS607

Horse Trailer Maintenance and Trailering Safety

  • Margie Margentino, Former Program Associate, Animal Sciences
  • Karyn Malinowski, Director, Equine Science Center
  • Sara Malone, Teaching Instructor, Department of Animal Sciences
  • Carey Williams, Extension Specialist in Equine Management

Horse owners will usually find it necessary at some point in time to trailer their horses. Trailering may be necessary at time of purchase, for horse shows, trail riding, or a medical emergency. Whatever the need, it is important to be prepared and knowledgeable about trailering safety. Poor preparation of the horse, trailer, or towing vehicle can turn a pleasurable outing into a horse owner's nightmare. Poor truck and trailer maintenance can result in traffic accidents or breakdowns. In more extreme cases, broken welds can cause a trailer to become detached from the towing vehicle. Perhaps the most serious problem that can result from improper trailer upkeep is having a horse fall through rotted floorboards, especially during travel. This fact sheet will discuss the basic concerns involved in horse trailer maintenance and trailering safety.

When Purchasing a Horse Trailer, Consider the Following Needs:

Regular Maintenance Checks

Regular maintenance checks should be performed on a horse trailer every time it is used.

Routine Items Include:

Yearly Maintenance Checks Include:

Preparing the Horse for Travel

Considerations Before Traveling

Loading the Horse

Figure 1.

Figure 1. Quick release knot.

Traveling Safety

Unloading the Horse

Other Safety Precautions

Trailering your horse is often a necessity and should be an uneventful experience. As long as common sense is used and the safety guidelines above are followed, trailering accidents are less likely to occur.


This publication was made possible in part by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Program on Agricultural Health Promotion Systems for New Jersey.

June 2019