We have just added several new Ifor Williams Horse Trailer Parts to our stocklist.
These include Ifor Williams Horse Trailer Rubber door seals for the 505 and 510 Horse Trailers. These often become detached and worn and without them your rear trailer top doors can rattle which can disturb your horse during transportation.
We have also added many smaller parts as well, including anteluce fasteners for jockey doors. These become worn and go very rusty and fitting new ones is a simple task and really smarten the appearance of your horse trailer. Another new product are the spring loaded ramp securing pins as fitted to the new Ifor Williams Horse Trailer models 506 and 511.
Take a look at our web site and view our extended range of Ifor Williams Horse Trailer parts and spares.
Cast announced for E4′s original new drama series, Glue
E4 has brought together some of Britain’s brightest young talent from film, TV, stage and music to star in its brand new original series Glue – created and written by BAFTA-winning writer Jack Thorne (This is England, Skins, The Fades).
Yasmin Paige, star of critically-acclaimed feature Submarine; Jordan Stephens, one half of ‘Down With the Trumpets’ and ‘Lost Generation’ platinum-selling hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks; Callum Turner who recently starred opposite Helen McCrory in ITV drama Leaving; Charlotte Spencer last seen as Carly Kirk in BBC Two’s Line of Duty; Faye Marsay, who stole Howard’s heart as new housemate Candice in Channel 4’s Fresh Meat; Jessie Cave, best known as Lavender Brown in Harry Potter; ; stage and screen actor Tommy McDonnell, currently in cinemas in acclaimed British prison film Starred Up; Bristol Old Vic graduate Billy Howle, currently on screen in Channel 4’sNew Worlds; and Waterloo Road and The Sarah Jane Adventures actor Tommy Lawrence Knight lead the exciting young cast.
Kerry Fox (Bright Star), Jonny Owen (Shameless), Kierston Wareing (Luther), and Steve Oram (Sightseers) join them in the brand new original series.
Overton. A tiny village in the English countryside. Farming is its beating heart. Race-horses are its bread-and-butter. But beyond the rolling hills and behind the stable doors lies a green and not-so-pleasant land…
Bored kids play chicken on top of silo machines that can cut your hand to slices no thicker than the ham in your sandwich. The same kids play at grain-barn-jumping – deadly, if your lungs fill up with the tiny bullets of wheat. Now someone has played murder.
When the body of a local teenage boy is found underneath the wheels of a tractor, the villagers in this remote community – his friends – are forced to open up their world and watch their secrets spill out. Secrets that will change their particular brand of country life forever.
Twisted and wayward, tragic and comic, Glue will take E4 audiences on a wild and thrilling ride as the mystery of his murder unravels.
Sophie Gardiner, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, says: “The team at Eleven have pulled together an incredible cast for Jack’s thrilling scripts – the line-up reads like a roll-call of some of the brightest up-and-coming talent around. We can’t wait for them to bring our bold new series to life. Brace yourselves for a trip to the countryside…E4-style.”
The 8x 60’ series, commissioned by Head of Drama Piers Wenger, marks Thorne’s return to E4 and is from production company Eleven Film. For Eleven, Joel Wilson produces, Jamie Campbell executive produces.
Shooting has begun this week and will take place around Berkshire. TX is scheduled for Autumn
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
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
Safely Towing you horse trailer is paramount when taking to the road and there are some basic principles to follow
Having your own vehicle and trailer is probably the most cost-effective way of transporting your horse, but are you travelling safely?
Having safe equipment is the first step to successful towing, so ensure…
… your trailer (and vehicle) are both road-worthy. Trailers need servicing annually, but check the floor is safe regularly. Mark Unsworth from Horse Trailer Parts Direct recommends trailers with alloy floors not wooden ones. “Wooden floors can rot from the elements and horses’ urine does not help” he says.
Tyres must have enough tread (at least 1.6mm) and check the electrics work… your tow vehicles maximum towing weight (you’ll find this in the vehicle’s handbook or by contacting a dealer) isn’t lower than the weight you are going to be towing.
… the trailer’s weight (with the heaviest load you’ll be towing) does not exceed 85 per cent of the car’s un-laden weight (you can get this information from the vehicle’s handbook or manufacturer). To work out your towing load, weigh your horses with a weigh tape and add it to the weight of the trailer, which you’ll find on the chassis. “By law trailers must be marked with their maximum gross weight in kg, and the police have the right to make you take your trailer to a weighbridge at any time,” says Mark.
… you are legal to tow a trailer – you must hold a full driving licence, and if you passed your test after 1 January 1997, you’ll have to take a separate towing test. And make sure you do because you won’t get let off lightly if you get caught.
… you have adequate insurance. Your car insurance may cover the trailer third party when towing, but this won’t include theft or damage. Always check with your insurers, do not take any chances.
… the trailer has a partition, if you are towing more than one horse, has a breast bar set at the correct height for the horses, and a floor and ramp with good grip. If you’re only towing one horse, travel it on the right to allow for the camber of the road. If you are travelling two horses always load the heaviest horse to the offside stall.
If you’re happy that you’re road-worthy, then you’re ready to go. Hitching up takes a bit of practice, but there are ways you can make it easier for yourself. It sounds obvious, but never load a horse into your trailer before you hitch up.
1) Make sure that the trailer’s handbrake is on, and the tow bar is higher than the tow ball. Line your vehicle up so you can go back in a straight line towards the trailer, and then reverse slowly. You will find it easier to judge your distance if you have a helper.
Top tip: You may find it easier to look through the rear window of your car rather than using the wing/rear view mirrors or looking out of the driver’s window. If so, Position your head so you look through the centre of the rear window in line with the tow hitch.
2) Once you have the tow ball lined up under the tow hitch, start to lower the hitch onto the ball by turning the jockey wheel (in the right direction). Some tow hitches will automatically hitch up, but most need the handle to be held up You’ll hear it click into place as the two become connected. You can purchase a i4eye Hitching Mirror to assist with this procedure follow our link.
3) Undo the jockey wheel by turning the lever at the side, and raise it up as high as it will go. Then tighten it securely so there is no chance of it coming down when you’re driving.
4) You’ll see your trailer has a piece of wire with a hook on the end. This is the breakaway cable, and it must be attached to an eye or looped through a main brace of the tow bar, not over the tow ball. The idea of the breakaway cable is that, if the trailer and vehicle become separated, the wire actually takes up the tension and applies the trailer’s handbrake.
5) To connect the electrics, line up the gap of the car’s electrical socket with the gap in the tow hitch socket.
6) Release the trailer handbrake and check everything is working (lights, indicators and brakes). For the brake lights, ask someone to stand behind and check for you. Do a last check to ensure everything is safe before you load your horse, and never travel with the hitch lock on, because if the trailer should flip over, it is likely to turn the car over, too!
Top tip: Help prevent electrical cables becoming faulty by spraying them with WD40 (to prevent rain getting in) and pull them out before you drive your vehicle away from the trailer after unhitching (to prevent them being stretched). Keep tow balls well greased, too
Park your trailer on as flat a surface as possible and then apply the car’s and the trailer’s handbrake.
Disconnect the electrical and breakaway cables.
Undo the jockey wheel until it is touching the ground, and tighten it.
Hold up the tow hitch handle and wind the jockey wheel higher until the vehicle and trailer disconnect.
Lock your trailer so it’s secure. To avoid the brake shoes sticking to the drums, leave your trailer parked with the handbrake off, but wedge the wheels to prevent it rolling.
Back It Up
Reversing a trailer well will impress anyone who’s watching, whereas doing it badly will attract attention for the wrong reasons! Don’t forget that plenty of practice makes perfect, so find a nice big area and do just that. The first thing to remember is to take it very slowly – you’ll have a lot more chance of getting it right than if you try to do things in a hurry.
Before reversing, you need to find out what your trailer’s jack-knife point is. The jack-knife point is the point at which the trailer reaches a certain angle and you are no longer able to get your vehicle out of this angle by reversing. Do this by driving your vehicle forwards in a tight circle on full lock – that’s your jack-knife point!
1) First, make sure there is nothing behind you, and preferably have a helper to see you back. Where you start from will have a big influence on where you end up, so if you want to reverse around a corner, start straight and about a vehicle’s length from the area you are reversing into.
2) The main thing to remember when reversing is that whichever way you turn the steering wheel will send your trailer will go in the opposite direction. So, if you steer the wheel left, your trailer will go right. To straighten the trailer up, simply turn the wheel back the other way. Often if you get the angle wrong, you are better to go forwards again rather than trying to correct it.
Straight Line Reversing
The easiest way to do this is to use your wing mirrors. If you can see more of your trailer in one mirror than the other, then you need to straighten up. If things start to go wrong, pull forwards and correct your line.
Driving Around A Corner
It goes without saying that you should take corners slowly when towing a horse, so give yourself plenty of time to slow down. Your trailer will follow a tighter corner than your vehicle, so swing out wider on turns to allow for this. When using a roundabout, the same applies, and be aware that vehicles pulling onto the roundabout may not judge how long your vehicle is, so don’t take any chances!
Breakdown cover for your vehicle probably will not cover your trailer, so you will need additional cover for this. Again, do not compromise on this. Just imagine leaving a show and a mile up the road you suffering a major breakdown and you are stranded with car, trailer and two horses, that’s when things become expensive
To Buy or Not To Buy
If you don’t transport your horse very often, then hiring a trailer might be a better option than buying. There are lots of companies which offer this service at a good price. Ensure who you hire from are an established company with liability insurance for undertaking their business as if something goes wrong and it is not your fault but say a result of a major defect on the trailer you will be looking for recourse at the company. A reputable established company will know this and will keep their trailers in tip top condition ensuring they are regularly inspected and they will hold records to show this.
If you’d rather buy one, then buying in winter can be cheaper than in summer. “Ifor Williams trailers that normally retail around £3,300 can be bought for as little as £2,950 in winter,” says Mark Unsworth, “so it’s worth considering.” He also has the following advice: “Make sure you can get your trailer to a dealership easily for repairs and servicing, and if you buy second-hand, be really careful. I can recount many horror stories about dangerous trailers, so don’t take the risk. Always test tow a trailer before buying and if you have any doubts, forget it,” he adds.
Would you know what to do if something goes wrong when you’re towing? We offer some solutions to common towing problems
Q What should I do if my trailer starts snaking on the road?
A trailer will ‘snake’ for many reasons, such as the towing weight being too heavy for your car, big vehicles overtaking you, wind, poor roads and uneven tyre pressure. If it happens, ease your foot off the accelerator and keep the steering steady. Do not try to accelerate out of it – it doesn’t work! Drive straight home and try to find out what the cause was so you can eliminate it.
Q What should I do if I break down with my horses on board?
Try to avoid getting the horses out of the trailer, especially on busy roads. If you are a member of a breakdown service, call them immediately (the OHTO offers a full breakdown service for £72 a year). Switch off the engine and if you have one (we advise you do), place a hazard warning triangle 50 metres behind your trailer. Alternatively, put your hazard warning lights on.
On a motorway, get passengers out onto the verge, and note the number of your nearest roadside marker to tell the breakdown service. Non-members will still get help, but they’ll pay more.
Q What if my trailer gets a puncture?
Mark recommends unloading the horses if it is safe to. “You can change a tyre with horses on board and a sturdy jack, but horses are quick to sense something is wrong and may get distressed,” he says. If you do change the tyre with horses on board, be careful that the horse’s movement doesn’t knock the tyre off the jack, and check the tightness after 30 miles or so.
Speed Limits for Towing Trailers
Urban: 30 mph
Single carriageway: 50 mph
Dual carriageway and motorways:60 mph
Remember that trailers are largely governed by the rules which apply to HGV vehicles, and one of these rules states that you only have access to the inside and middle lanes.
If you have any questions on towing or any aspect of horse trailer ownership or purchase then Mark Unsworth from Horse Trailer Parts Directs who maintains this blog is happy to assist you.
Hitching on to your horse trailer – Mark Unsworth provides some great advice and tips
Hitching up can take a bit of practice.
The key factor is never rush and keep calm! Well at least try!
Ensure that the trailer’s handbrake is on and that the jockey wheel is wound so that the trailer is at the right height, in readiness for engagement with the vehicle’s tow ball. Ideally you should have the tow hitch wound so that it is about two inches (5 cm) above the height of the vehicle’s tow ball.
Ensure that there are no obstructions on the ground which you will drive over and importantly ensure that no one is between you and the horse trailer especially children!
Try and line the vehicle up so that you will be reversing in a straight line, this is much easier than starting off at an angle.
Reverse your vehicle slowly towards the trailer. You may find it easier to look through the rear window of your vehicle, rather than through your mirrors, to help you line-up the tow bar with the trailer. If you have someone to help see you back, encourage them to stand at the side of, and not behind, your vehicle while you are reversing. Some trailers are so light that you can actually move the trailer by hand to your tow vehicle, thus avoiding moving the tow vehicle at all. Having a Hitching Mirror fitted to your trailer will also help and the i4eye Hitching Mirror is a great accessory to fit.
Once your hitch is directly above your tow ball, you can then wind the jockey wheel ensuring that the hitch properly engages and secures onto the vehicle’s tow ball. Wind your jockey wheel up, ensuring that it is well clear of the road surface for towing. Ensure the jockey wheel handle which secures it is tight so that there is no chance of it dropping down onto the road surface whilst driving.
If your horse trailer has a locking hitch never lock it to the towvehicle whilst you are towing. The locking hitch is for use when the vehicle is stationery only, or when the trailer is not hitched to your vehicle.
Breakaway cable and electrics
You can now connect the breakaway cable of the trailer to your vehicle’s tow bar eye and plug in the trailer’s electric socket into the car tow bar socket. Check your electrics on both your tow vehicle and horse trailer to ensure that all the lights are working correctly.
Park your trailer on as flat a surface as possible and then apply the tow vehicle’s and the trailer’s handbrake. Place wheel chocks (if you have them) both in front and behind your trailer wheels.
Next, disconnect the electrical and breakaway cables. Wind the jockey wheel down and then release your hitch handle as you wind, allowing the trailer to become un-hitched. Then, lock your trailer so it’s secure.
To avoid the brake shoes sticking to the drums, you can leave your trailer parked with the handbrake off, but leave your wheel chocks in place to secure the trailer. Only leave the trailer with the handbrake off if it is in a safe place to do this and there is no danger to others by the trailer moving.
Mark Unsworth from Horse Trailer Parts Direct answers a question from a reader who was worried about buying a second hand horse trailer and potential problems with the flooring
I would recommend that when you buy a second hand horse trailer, regardless of age, you get not just the floor checked but also the whole trailer by an authorised dealership or by a suitably qualified individual. The older the trailer the more thorough the inspection should be and this should highlight any safety issues or areas of concern.
Most modern horse trailers are now fitted with aluminium floors or thermoplastic/resin floors. Aluminium floors normally take the form of sheet or planked aluminium strips that run from the front to rear of the trailer. The chassis of the trailer is normally made from galvanised steel and supports these aluminium strips. Some older horse trailers have been manufactured with a steel chassis but will have a wooden planked floor. The normal life expectancy of such a floor, dependant on various factors, would be around 8 years before the floor will require some attention. Wood will rot so many owners then opt to have the wooden floor replaced by an aluminium one.
The most common causes of damage to your alloy floor are likely to be caused by your horse. This can occur if the horse becomes unsettled and either stamps or rears, or if your horse loses its balance whilst in transit and struggles excessively to regain it. The wearing of studs in the trailer is also a cause of damage, and it must be stressed that travelling the horse with studs in is extremely bad for both the horse and the trailer floor, with safety issues arising for both.
I would recommend that you have your aluminium floor checked annually when you have your trailer serviced. Your dealership will check the internal aspects of the floor to ensure that none of the floor has become damaged or dislodged. They will check on the inside that the alloy strips of the floor run true and are interlocked and that the securing bolt heads are tight. Most manufacturers secure the alloy planks with bolts towards the front and rear of the trailer floor. These can work loose, especially if the horse does stamp or move around heavily, which then leads to strips of the floor becoming dislodged. This can be dangerous as your horse is then at risk of putting a hoof through any dislodged strips.
The dealership will also check for any signs of corrosion within the floor. If this occurs there will normally be signs of this at the outer extremities of the floor or around the natural drain points. External checks will be a visual inspection of the underside of the trailer floor to ensure again that the sheeted aluminium runs true and that the bolts securing the floor in place are tight and have not started to work loose. They will undertake checks to see if the floor has become damaged from beneath. This can occur if a trailer has run over something on the road, which is then thrown up and has caused damage by hitting the underside of the floor, or driving the trailer over very uneven ground can also cause damage.
Some simple procedures will significantly enhance the condition and life of your trailer floor.
After each use:
Sweep out the trailer floor mat with a stiff brush and power wash or hose out
Clean the floor’s drain holes out with a screwdriver – most trailers have natural drain holes built into the lower body and floor at the front and rear of the trailer
Hose off the underside of the floor to remove road and field deposits especially during the winter months when salt is being used on the roads
Every 12 months:
Remove the trailers rubber mat completely
This is generally secured at the front and rear of the trailer and once the securing clasps have been removed two people can normally remove the rubber floor. Once removed power wash the both sides of the mat. Undertake a visual check of the mat and check for signs of wear or holes (always buy and use good quality matting as the mat helps spread the load carried and also absorbs impact. Don’t buy cheap mats as they are often made from re-cycled tyre shreds or crumb, which are moulded together with urethane and quickly disintegrate.) Power wash the trailer floor and drain holes and ensure the drain holes are clear. Remember the area beneath your mat can become a breeding ground for bacteria due to the build up of horse urine, feed, horse hair and mud which can then also cause corrosion. Use a anti-bacterial spray or wash an example can be seen on our site http://horsetrailerpartsdirect.co.uk/rider-and-yard-accessories/horse-rider-and-yard
The floor of your horse trailer is one of the most integral and important aspects of your trailer and although it cannot be seen you must not ignore it. A well maintained floor is a significant contributing factor in the safe transport of your horse and if ignored it could become your most significant financial drain as well! If your floor is maintained well it will ensure that the investment you have already made in your trailer will be protected. If you ignore it then be prepared to spend in the region of between £500 and £1000 to have it replaced.
The majority of Horse Trailers that are stolen in the UK tend to be stolen by:
A Casual Thief
This is someone who takes advantage of an opportunity that arises, who has not pre-planned the theft of your trailer, but who has usually come across a trailer that has no security measures deployed.
The opportunity is present, they have a tow vehicle and they do not need to circumvent any security measures as none are in place.
In other words they see your trailer, like it, hitch it on and drive away with it.
It can be as easy as this or you can make it harder for this type of thief.
Tips to guard against theft
Park your horse trailer up within a secure gated compound or yard where it cannot be seen by passing traffic.
Fit a Hitch Lock and Wheel Clamp.
If you keep the trailer at your yard, tell the other liveries and the yard owner that no one else has authority to remove the trailer.
Do not leave valuables inside your trailer no matter how tempting the storage solution is
If you are at a show and someone asks you about your trailer do not tell them where you keep it.
If you take your trailer to a show lock it to the tow vehicle using the locking coupling head and fix your wheel clamp to one of the trailer wheels. Believe it or not horse trailers are often stolen at shows!
If you keep the trailer at home on your drive, consider using two wheel clamps or attach a heavy duty chain through the trailer towing arms and secure this to a object that cannot be moved.
Park your vehicle across the trailer or in front of it, nose to nose preventing another vehicle from accessing the hitch and secure your own vehicle as well.
Fit a hitch cover – a potential thief will not know if you have a good quality hitch lock fitted underneath it or a cheap lock. They will first have to remove the cover which some will be reluctant to do.
What else can assist?
Fit a data tag transponder to your trailer – this is concealed within the shell of the trailer body and can be located and identified by a dealer with reading equipment
Fit a Tracker to your trailer – these have come down dramatically in price and can be linked and operated from your mobile phone
Fit a Wheel Clamp and Hitch Lock – these can vary from £30 up to £160 dependant upon the brand you purchase – we sell a Stronghold avonride hitch lock which will fit Ifor Williams and Equitrek trailers and these cost just under £70. The Avonride Hitch Lock we sell also allows you to secure your trailer to your tow vehicle when unattended which is useful at shows and on long journeys especially if you stop at service stations etc view these products at http://horsetrailerpartsdirect.co.uk/horse-trailer-accessories/security/hitch-locks
If you own an Ifor Williams or Equitrek Horse Trailer manufactured since 1999 then you will have the benefit of the key operated hitch lock – these are good but you can increase the security of this for as little as under £8 by fitting a Hitch Security Ball. This fits into the mouth of the hitch and you lock it in using your key and this will prevent a thief part hitching your trailer and stealing it. Without the Ball your trailer even with the hitch locked could still be towed away with little effort! See this product also at http://horsetrailerpartsdirect.co.uk/horse-trailer-accessories/security/hitch-locks
You may also wish to consider making your trailer a little more personalised by fitting for example logo’s or Decals. If your trailer is unique to you then it is easily identifiable on the road and a thief is less likely to take your trailer. Many of these will not detract from the value of your trailer and are vinyl and is a simple DIY job to fit them. Some ideas of these vinyl stickers can be seen on our site http://horsetrailerpartsdirect.co.uk/horse-trailer-accessories/reflectors-and-stickers
Post Coding – many owners do this and have their post code in vinyl letters fixed to the roof of their trailer. This is a good idea but remember these will only be seen from the air and you have to know what area to look for your trailer in before these become beneficial.
Smart Water – This is method whereby using a clever pen applying a invisible paint you can mark your trailer both inside and outside and if your trailer is stolen and then located the paint has a unique special code within it which will identify it as being yours. But again, you have to locate the trailer first.
Permanent Marker – a cheap effective method is to mark the underside of your trailer using a permanent marker pen with your house number and post code. You can also mark the floor of the trailer beneath your mats. Again though this is only of use if your trailer is found after being stolen.
Serial Number – make sure you keep a note of your horse trailer serial number as you will need this if it is stolen or if you try to insure it
To give you peace of mind consider insuring your horse trailer, the newer your trailer is the greater consideration you should give this option. There are many companies offering horse trailer insurance and my advice is shop around and read the small print before buying a policy. Check what it covers and who it covers and where, the cheapest policy may not be the best option. Also check for security stipulations on the policy, many will insist on certain types of hitch locks or wheel clamps being fitted. If you have any questions on locks or clamps we are always happy to give advice to you and what may be right for your trailer and circumstances.
Mark Unsworth a director from Horse Trailer Parts Direct has written this article on Horse Trailer Security and will be contributing more information on security in the coming weeks.
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.