If you've recently become the proud owner of a horse, you're undoubtedly looking forward to long trail rides on gorgeous summer days and perhaps even sleigh rides during times of winter snowfall. You're probably aware that horse ownership comes with many responsibilities, one of which is to have the best accessories and equipment that you can afford. It's perfectly fine to keep costs down by purchasing a used horse trailer as long as you know a few basics about selecting the right one. Following are four things that you should know about buying a used horse trailer.
It Should Be the Right Fit for Your Horse
The biggest mistake that most first-time horse trailer buyers make is purchasing a trailer that is too large for the size of the animal.While it only makes sense to buy one that doesn't cramp or otherwise overly restrict the movement of the horse, a trailer with too much room poses a potential safety hazard. Large spaces will allow the horse to shift around too much during travel, which could lead to it falling and getting stuck in a painful or even damaging position. The trailer should have enough room for the horse to stand squarely on all four legs and ample head room for proper balance.
It Should Have Adequate Ventilation
A trailer with adequate ventilation will help protect your horse from becoming overheated during transport. The trailer should have overhead roof vents and sliding windows that can easily be opened and closed depending on outdoor temperatures. Exhaust fumes and gas caused by manure and urine can cause severe breathing problems in horses, so never completely close the windows and vents even if it's cold outside. Mold spores may also be present in hay, which can also cause some animals to experience respiratory distress.
The Flooring Should Be Sturdy
Faulty flooring in a horse trailer can have disastrous consequences, so be certain to inspect the trailer's floor thoroughly before making a final purchasing decision. Most horse trailer floors are made of wood because it provides a softer surface for the horses to stand on than metal, but wood is prone to decomposition, warping, and can even harbor mold and mildew colonies. When inspecting the floor, look at the corners first, paying particular attention to the rear corners for signs of deterioration because this is where the floor will first begin to show wear.
Some horse trailers will have aluminum flooring, which is perfectly acceptable provided appropriate mats are in place to ensure that the horse can stand without pain or discomfort. Lift the mats and check for signs of chalky white discoloration, holes, and general deterioration.
The Riveting Should Be Intact
Both the exterior and interior riveting on the trailer should be tight. Rivets that are loose indicate that the trailer has seen a lot of miles, has been used pretty hard, and is just about at the end of its natural life. Although you can always continue to patch together an old trailer when it begins to develop serious structural issues, it's better to spend a few more dollars and purchase something that's isn't likely to fall apart while on the road. After all, a live animal is precious cargo, and you'll want your new horse to be a part of your family for a long time.
Don't be afraid to ask a knowledgeable professional for assistance, such as an experienced horse owner or a representative of a company that sells new and used horse trailers during your quest to find the best possible horse trailers. It's better to ask for advice than make a costly mistake that could also cause your horse to suffer.