Towing Horse Trailers Advice Blog

Horse Trailer Parts Direct

Horse Trailer Parts Direct is a family run business with over 30 years’ experience in Horse Care, Horse Riding and Horse Transport including towing horse trailers

We have owned our own Horse Transport and Horse Trailer Hire Company and have now expanded to operating Horse Trailer and Horsebox Parts & Accessories supplies stores in the UK where we put to use the wealth of experience we have gained over the years.

We are also regularly commissioned by horse magazines to write articles and features for them concerning aspects of horse trailer ownership, the loading and travelling of horses and are widely acknowledged as being a leading authority on these subjects. We are always happy to share our knowledge and experience with you and to this end we have uploaded many of our articles onto our Blog. www.horsetrailerpartsdirect.co.uk/blog/

We are horse owners involved in riding and competing so continue to maintain close contact with a good cross section of people involved in all aspects of equestrianism.

We think we have a good idea what today’s horse trailer owner and horse rider wants and using our experience we aim to bring you:

  • Quality Horse Trailer & Horsebox Parts & Spares at reasonable prices
  • Parts & Spares for many makes and models of horse trailers including Ifor Williams, Equitrek, Cheval Liberte plus many universal parts which will fit most makes of horse trailer.
  • Knowledge that the majority of products have been Tried & Tested by us prior to listing
  • Horse trailer parts and spares listed that we know you want – no endless pages of parts you don’t want or could not possibly fit yourself
  • A site that is safe & secure to shop on
  • Approachable friendly staff who just want to help
  • Free advice via email or telephone on any aspect of horse trailer ownership without any obligation to shop with us
  • Free advice via email on any aspect of towing or problems you may be having on transporting your horse

To access our blog see  www.horsetrailerpartsdirect.co.uk/blog/

To view our horse trailer parts store and browse our products see  www.horsetrailerpartsdirect.co.uk

Checking your Horse Trailer after the storms

Hitching on to your Horse Trailer

A quick reminder to everyone of the importance of checking your horse trailer after the recent storms

This will only take a couple of minutes but will pay dividends when coming to make that first journey out in a few weeks time or even sooner!!

We always tell people that if at all possible and if it can be safely done to park your trailer up without the handbrake being in the up or engaged or on position

This recommendation is given providing you can safely chock or secure your trailer so that there is no danger of it moving whatsoever

With all the wet and change in temperatures we have had if your handbrake is on there is every chance that despite the fact you release the handbrake the brakes will remain on

This is because the brake shoes will adhere themselves to the brake drums

We suggest even if you have left the handbrake off that you simply release it and engage to several times just to keep the cables and shoes moving

We also suggest that you do the same with your hitch handle, raise it and lower it several times just to keep the internal mechanisms moving. If you have a key operated lock this is even more important and if possible a couple of squirts of lubricating spray is highly recommended and then lock and unlock the mechanism a few times.

Check the inside of your trailer and ensure the roof vent is closed, we suggest you keep it closed for at least another month till hopefully we have seen the end of the wet weather

If you have forgotten to close this and the trailer is very wet inside it is well worth dropping the ramps, sweep out an surface water and let it air for a couple of hours.

Finally and if you have the energy, raise and lower your side and rear ramp just a couple of times just to keep the springs and hydraulic struts moving.

For the sake of 2 or 3 minutes every month over the winter doing these basics can really prevent any serious problems arising.

 

 

Buying a Horse Trailer on a budget

Trailer_1

Buying a Horse Trailer on a Budget - by Mark Unsworth from Horse Trailer Parts Direct

Owning your own horse trailer can be a rewarding experience says Mark

It will give you the freedom to take your horse to places and events that previously you could only achieve by either relying upon someone else’s goodwill, or by handing over your hard earned cash to a horse transporter. It may also suddenly raise your popularity at your yard, as you become an attractive proposition for giving people lifts or lending them your trailer. This then raises other issues, which can be viewed as the downside of owning a trailer, as few people are aware of what legislation exists to cover such dilemmas. 

Before you even contemplate looking at horse trailers there are several things to consider.

 

  1. Will I use it? – I am sure that you have all seen trailers at yards that never appear to move week in week out. You need to assess realistically how often you will use a trailer as most people use it less than they originally thought they would. In some instances this can be as little as four of five times a year.
  2. Can I tow it? – You need to check your driver’s licence to ascertain if you hold the category that allows you to tow a trailer. Check the DVLA web site, which should confirm that if you passed your test before 1st January 1997 you should be able to tow using your existing licence. You may also have to consider your driving confidence and ability to tow.
  3. Is my vehicle suitable? – This is a major factor to consider. Check your vehicle handbook to locate its towing capacity. Always verge on the side of caution with regard to the towing capacity. It is better to under estimate this.
  4. Where will I keep it? – Keeping your trailer at home is not always an option, so people tend to keep their trailers at their yard. You then have to consider the cost implication and security.
  5. Insurance & Security – Allow at least £120 to insure your trailer and at least £100 for a good quality wheel clamp or hitch lock. Most insurers will stipulate that it needs to be of a certain standard and they may ask for the key number or proof of purchase in the event of a claim.  What trailer do I buy?Your budget and the size and number of horses you want to transport will probably dictate this. Most popular makes of horse trailer fall into two size categories being capable of carrying up to 16.2hh and over 16.2hh. The larger trailers tend to be the most sought after when buying second-hand.

Buying on a budget of £2500: 

There are many makes and models of horse trailers that you can purchase second-hand in the UK and you can buy from a dealer or private individual. The advantages of buying from a dealer is that they will be required by law to offer some form of warranty and they should have carried out all the checks necessary to ensure that the trailer is safe to use. Buying a trailer from a private individual may be a more risky option, but you can always have it examined by an independent body or person prior to purchase. If the seller is reluctant for you to do this then there may be a significant reason as to why they do not want this done.  

Which Trailer? 

There are numerous makes of horse trailers available, so my advice would be stick to the known popular manufacturers. Working to a budget of £2500 then this will eliminate certain makes of trailers.

Despite the current economic climate and the winter months the price of used horse trailers remains buoyant. There has been a noticeable shift recently from horse lorries to horse trailers mainly due to the rising fuel costs. This has resulted in the used value of some makes of horse trailers actually rising by as much as 15% in the past two years.

 

What to look for & ask when buying: 

  • It may appear obvious but look at the seller. Simply speaking to someone on the telephone gives you a good indication of what type of person you will be dealing with. The ideal scenario is if you actually know the person or a friend knows the person selling and this can provide some reassurance. Ask the seller why they are selling the trailer, how long they have owned it, do they have receipts for when they purchased it, do any security devices come with the trailer, and if the trailer has a locking hitch do they have both keys.
  • Always view the trailer in daylight. Looking underneath or inside horse trailers is hard enough when trying to spot tell tale signs of damage, repairs or erosion, but is near impossible in the dark. 

Outside the trailer:

  • Check the overall appearance and condition of the outside of the trailer body panels and roof. Don’t be put off if you notice faint green sap or watermarks on or down the side of the roof panels. This will come off by using the correct product and elbow grease.
  • Check the tyres. Look for a good tread depth that you can get your fingers into and check the walls of the tyres for cracking corrosion or signs of perishing.
  • Check all the ramps. Ensure that all the locking handles work easily and raise and lower each ramp individually. They should move easily without much effort. If you open it and have to bear the full weight of the ramp yourself and there is no resistance when lowering it, this may indicate that the ramp springs or gas struts require replacement. If the trailer has top doors open and close these as well ensuring that they engage in their retainers when fully open.
  • Check the trailer hitch and handle to make sure they operate and if it has a locking hitch fit both keys into the lock and operate it. At the same time examine the rubber ribbed cover on the hitch for signs of perishing or cracking.
  • Check the trailer jockey wheel operation and tyre. If the jockey wheel is hard to wind in either direction this may indicate that it is bent. The jockey wheel tyre is likely to be a one piece rubber one and if this looks frayed and chewed then it has probably come into contact with the road when the trailer has been towed and will require replacing.
  • Check the trailer handbrake operation. This should move freely and engage and release. If the trailer has been stood for some time with the handbrake applied you may find that the trailer brakes have seized on. To check if this is the case release the handbrake and gently move the trailer backwards and forwards. If one or all of the trailer wheels are stuck and don’t move then you may have to seek expert advice.
  • Check the spare tyre. If it has a cover remove it to do this.
  • Check all the trailer lights for damage or signs of water inside the lenses. Check the trailer front plug socket and curly cable for signs of corrosion or exposed wires. Then plug the socket into a tow vehicle and check the operation of all lights.
  • Check the underside of the trailer, this means checking the floor, the chassis and brake cables. For a budget of £2500 the trailers should have either an alloy floor or a thermoplastic floor. With the chassis you are looking for an even colour to the main body of the chassis and outer floor supports. If you see any signs of discolouration, paint applied or localised rust this could indicate that welding or a repair has been done so warrants closer expert examination. If you see areas of consistent rust seek expert advice. Check the underside of the floor for the same signs as the chassis and look for any gaps in the floor, in particular around the edges of the trailer where the sidewalls meet the floor. You should also see the securing fixings for the rubber matting – check these to make sure they are tight. You will see the cables that run to the brakes so check these for signs of breakage. It always good to take a large bright lamp with you when looking at trailers to use when checking underneath the trailer. If the trailer has a wooden or thermoplastic type material floor check this for signs of gaps, holes, repairs, rot or staining. If you locate such areas of staining or rot push them with your fingers and if they are soft or spongy seek expert advice. Finally, take a look at the springs on the trailer, which run behind the wheels and look for any signs of cracking to the metal or fractured springs. 

Inside the trailer

  • Look at the floor inside the trailer and look for standing water. Look at the roof for signs of rust or water ingress. If there is a leak it should be evident. Check the open & closing operation of the roof vent.
  • Examine the rubber matting on the floor. Ensure it has securing points to prevent shifting and look for holes or perishing. If the trailer has an alloy or thermoplastic floor lift the matting back where possible to check the condition of the floor. If the trailer has a wooden floor remove the whole of the rubber matting to examine the floor for signs of rot. Examine very closely the edges of the floor where the sidewalls of the trailer meet, as this is often where the initial signs of rot appear.
  • Check the side kickboards for damage and check their fixings. The kickboards should be flush to the trailer sides and secure and should not move. They may flex but this is normal.
  • Check the partitions and the centre pole. The pole should be securely fixed and the partitions should move freely. Check the front and rear breast/breeching bars and the securing pins. Often the bar securing pins get bent.
  • Check the front, side and rear ramps and matting. Close the ramps and secure them and then stand inside the trailer and look for light around the edges. They should form a good seal and if the doors and ramps do not close flush this may be a tell tale sign of buckling of the chassis. Stand on the ramps and check for signs of flexing, they should be solid like the floor. 

Test drive

  • The next step is to take the trailer for test drive to ensure that it tows well. All trailers have a different tow feel to them but you should be looking for a free wheel tow whereby you experience little resistance from the trailer performing it’s natural action of the wheels turning. You should also be able to feel any unusual tendencies for the trailer pulling left or right on a straight level road, allowing for the camber. Do a break test as well. When you gently apply the brakes of the car the trailer should stop in a natural manner. If the trailer brakes immediately lock on, seek expert advice.
  • Whilst the trailer is hitched on look at it from a distance to ensure that it looks even and level from both the front and rear. If possible also ask someone to watch the trailer by following behind you to ensure that it is travelling in a straight line and is not ‘crabbing’. This occurs when a trailer has a twisted chassis and it will not travel in a straight line. You should also check the trailer when it is stood on flat ground to ensure it sits square and level. 

Stolen Trailer Checks 

On the front of most horse trailers on the A Frame chassis you will find a small metal plate known as the VIN plate. The chassis number and serial number of the trailer will be on this plate. If the trailer has had this plate removed ask the owner to explain why this has been done and seek expert advice. 

Make a note of these numbers and most trailer manufacturers if you call their head office and quote them the numbers they will tell you from their database what model the trailer is, what colour it should be and when it was manufactured.  

If the trailer is fitted with Datatag you can call them and quote the serial or chassis number and they will immediately tell you if the trailer has been reported as stolen. They will also advise you on transfer/update of their records should you buy the trailer.

You can also contact the national plant and equipment register known as TER and do a further check to see if the trailer has been reported as stolen. This can be done via their web site.   

Paying 

Always ask for a receipt when you purchase your trailer and ensure that it contains the seller’s full name, address and trailer serial number. It is also worthwhile asking them to include on the receipt that the trailer is not subject to any finance agreement. If it is then seek expert advice on what action to take. Also, obtain the trailer handbook and a copy of the original sales receipt together with the registration book if it has one that shows the serial and chassis number. If the trailer is datatagged then ask for the paperwork for the datatag transfer. 

The perfect trailer 

Buying a good safe used horse trailer is not rocket science. It is well within the abilities of most horse owners and their partners/friends/relations to locate a suitable trailer and apply the principles in this article to ensure that your purchase is a good one.

If you have any doubts over your abilities or lack the confidence to do this then enlist the help of a mechanic from your local garage who will know what to look for if you go armed with this article. 

You will have to look hard with a budget of £2500 to find the perfect trailer, but what you will be able to find is a safe and serviceable trailer that will still give you many years of trouble free towing.

 If you have any questions in the future on buying or selling horse trailers then please feel free to make contact – we are here to help!!

 

 

 
Horse Trailer Parts Direct

Horse Trailer Parts Direct provide a comprehensive range of horse trailer parts online in the UK. Our horse trailer spares are all oraganised in to categories to help you find exactly what you want. Simply move your mouse cursor over the category links at the top of this page to see a drop down menu of our categories. We provide parts for Ifor Williams horse trailers in addition to other popular brands and setups. So, if you're looking for parts for trailers or any kind of trailer accessories please take a look at our website to find what you need. If you any questions please call us on 01305 269393 and we'd be delighted to help you.

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