Top Tips To Get Your Horsebox Or Trailer In Perfect Condition For The Spring The first few weeks of a new showing season are always the worst. There are just so many things to check over. We thought we might give you a hand with the transport side to avoid that dreaded early season breakdown. Here is the OHTO check-list to ensure your horsebox or your car and trailer is totally road-worthy to start the new season . Horsebox Engine Check oil levels Check power steering level Never use start gas as a starting aid e.g. Easy Start Never race a cold engine Avoid labouring and high engine speeds on cold engine Fuel Filter - Drained of water Drive belts check tension and condition Cooling System With a cold engine the coolant level should be between minimum and maximum Check for leaks on hoses and engine Brakes Check fluid levels Check brake lines for corrosion Drain condensation water from air tanks Take unloaded horsebox for a test run to make sure brakes are working correctly Lighting And Electrics Check battery and connections Check lights Check reflectors, indicators, wipers and washers Check warning lamps are working correctly Wheels and Tyres Check tyre pressure Check tyres for side wall damage Check wheel nuts Check spare wheel Check there are no stones jammed between rear twin wheels Horse Area Check Floor Check partitions for security Check door hinges and locks Check ramp for security Check ramp hinges Check horse ties Check vent windows Check fresh water system ( lines, tanks and pumps) Check chassis and body lubrication Living Area Check for gas leaks Check for bolts on living doors Ensure there are adequate seat belts for children when traveling Trailer The average trailer may stand unused for months on end, winter is the usual drop-out time. We often get asked for advice on trailer maintenance and storage, so we thought a check-list on that would be a good place to start. If it has not been used for any length of time the trailer should have been left clean and dry inside. In order to avoid rotting of the floor the rubber mats should have been lifted up so that any damp dried out. The trailer should have been supported on axle stands never bricks or jacks which can split easily and without warning.. The wheels should not have touched the ground. Tyres remaining on damp ground for long periods of time are likely to perish and the bearings can seize up. The jockey wheel should have been dropped to provide extra stability. Hinges and wiring should have been greased and sprayed with WD40. Now to get us back on the road: Wheel bearings need re-greasing about every two years otherwise they wear out and may overheat or seize. While the trailer is still on stands, now is a good time to get the bearings and brakes checked and freed off. Test the whole floor area for rotting using a screwdriver. Do not forget the ramp. These areas are perhaps the most important part of all! The socket connecting your car and trailer's lights are prone to corrosion due to muck sprayed up from the road and it is also a hiding place for insects. Clean out the dirt and spray the sockets and plugs with WD40 which helps to prevent corrosion and give a better contact Grease all hinges and moving parts like the balance springs and tow hitch. The BLUE CROSS have produced a small booklet in Adobe pdf format on Trailer safety and maintenance. Please click on the logo on the left to download a version in ADOBE pdf format. Robert Webb-Bowen, Director of Equine Welfare at the Blue Cross says: “Fatal injuries to horses caused through unsafe trailer transport are more common than you think. Unlike other countries in Europe, the UK has no trailer MOT test, so making sure your own trailer is safe and legal is entirely your responsibility. Yet many horse owners remain unaware of how to keep their trailer in safe working order. This leaflet will play a vital role in making horse owners aware of what is necessary. “The ground pressure exerted by a 550kg horse through its shoes is 3.05kg per square centimetre, which is exactly the same as that of a fully laden military Land Rover Defender weighing six times more. The big difference is that the Land Rover is supported by all four wheels as it moves, but the horse walking into a trailer always has one foot off the ground, creating even more, ever changing, stress on the floor." Please remember, it is not just weakened floors which endanger horses. Regular maintenance of the trailer's brakes, wheel bearings, tow hitch and lights are all essential to avoid accidents that could endanger the horse, tow-car occupants and other road users. Andy Bathe MA VetMB CertES(Orth) DipECVS MRCVS RCVS & European Specialist in Equine Surgery, University Equine Surgeon at The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge said "I see at least two serious horse injuries per year caused by travelling. I would expect this figure to be similar for a lot of equine vets around the country, which would roughly equate to a national figure of about 1000 injuries resulting from travel every year."
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