Checks before you travel
Always have your trailer professionally serviced at least once a year and don’t take it for granted that they’ll look at the serviceability of the inside/underside of the floor, always double check that this will be examined. These checks are not exhaustive and you should refer to your manufacture handbook.
Ensure trailer body, floor, ramp, hitch/jockey wheel, tyres, brakes/bearing and lights are fit for purpose(in no particular order).
Look around the outside for any obvious signs of damage. Have the trailer parked on level ground and if the trailer leans to one side, seek some professional advice.
Don’t forget to look inside the trailer for signs of damage starting at the top, signs might be daylight peering through areas that it shouldn’t be there. Look for water damage around any seals. Partitions and breast/breech bars - check all pins are in place and there are no sharp edges or rips in the partition.
While checking pressures and tyre tread depth, give the rest of the tyre a visual inspection. Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any bulges, lumps or cuts. When not in use cover the wheels to help prevent the UV light from defecting the tyre wall. For further information have a look at the horsebox and trailer tyres advice leaflet plus look at your manufactures handbook for tyre pressures for both your vehicle and trailer.
Lightly grease tow-bar roughly every 3 months or more often depending on use. It’s a good idea to check the security of the tow hitch by carefully winding down the jockey wheel and if secure, the rear of the vehicle will raise slightly. With the tow hitch connected, fully wind up the jockey wheel and secure. The jockey wheel must be secured when fully up with a safety pin to lock it into position.
Brakes and breakaway cable
If you’re leaving the trailer for a prolonged period, securely place wheel chocks either side of the wheels and then release the trailer parking brake (It may not be suitable if the ground is not level), remembering to pull the brake handle back on before you hitch up next time.
Breakaway cables are a legal requirement; activating the trailer brakes should the trailer become detached. The cable must be attached to a purpose made tow bar ring or a substantial part of the vehicle. Visual checks - make sure there is no wear and tear along the cable and the fixings is all in working order.
If your brakes are ceased or you have problems with the cable then contact a professional mechanic.
Check that all your lights are clean and in working order both externally and internal when connected. Use a buddy to assist you when checking all of your lights and signals.
Lift up the rubber matting to check the floor for any signs of rot, corrosion or damage and look from underneath the trailer. It may be obvious but do not travel your horse and pony until it’s been looked at, preferably by a professional.