Check the lights. This is most easily done at dusk or dawn when the lights
on your trailer are easy to see. Make sure all the running
lights are on, both turn signals are in working order and the brake lights work.
Check the electric brakes on the trailer by letting your vehicle roll
slowly forward while depressing the lever on the electric brake box.
To check the brake lights without assistance, wedge a small length of board
against the brake pedal to keep it depressed while you look.
Keep your foot off both the accelerator and brake pedals in the tow vehicle.
You should feel a slight tug as the trailer tries to stop the truck.
Check the hitch. Make sure it's well-seated on the ball and locked into
place, that the chains are hooked securely to the tow vehicle, and the
breakaway switch is attached.
The hitch should be checked every time you leave your rig unattended,
even for just a few minutes while you run inside to pay for gas.
Before you load, make sure the windows and vents are adjusted to give
your horse the most comfortable airflow for the weather conditions.
If it's extremely cold, bed the floor with an absorbent material such as shavings.
Urine that doesn't run off may form a thin film of ice that will turn bare
rubber mats into something resembling a skating rink.
Check to make sure you haven't left anything else in the trailer that your
horse can step on, or that will roll against his legs during transport.
Finally, after your horse is loaded, don't forget to raise the ramp if
your trailer has one, and make sure all the latches on the ramp and doors
are securely fastened.
If your trailer has a tack room, check that door, too; you don't
want to leave tack all over the highway.
Susan Konkle is a freelance writer who lives near Rockville, Va.