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Trailers and Tow Vehicles


Horse Trailer Tips from the Arizona Air Stride Trailer Distributor Company Newsletter

Safety Issue

"Put an anvil in the same room with a horse and in two hours he will turn it into steel wool."

A horse whisperer friend tells us to point out how important it is to pay attention to every detail in your horse trailer. As you know, horses do the strangest things - things you would never expect. Some of these behaviors can seriously hurt the horse. A small change in your trailer can make a big change in your horses' safety.

In this issue, you will learn tips on how to make your trailer safer - these tips are so important that they could save your horse's life. Commit to yourself that if you are violating any of these safety tips mentioned in this letter, fix them this week.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use a friends' trailer, check each of these tips on his or her trailer, too, as a precaution to transporting. Also, this information can be used when inspecting an unfamiliar stable or other location where your horse is being kept.

There is a lot of text here, so you may want to print this out on your printer and then read it.

A hay rack could kill your horse...
A hay rack on top of the horse trailer makes a nice convenience and many people try to add it themselves by getting an old rack off of a station wagon or an older horse trailer. But we recommend not to do that because it could kill your horse.

What people seem to do is bolt the hay rack to their trailer with long lag bolts that stick down into the horse stall area of the trailer roof. Even if the bolts just extends down a couple of inches - they are a danger.

You see, if the horse rears up, and many do when traveling, that bolt will lodge into the back of it's head - the most vulnerable part - the horse is killed instantly. It is sad, but it has happened many times.

If you have bolts sticking down into your horse stalls - remove them today, before you forget. Otherwise, just leave the hay rack off and find another way to get the hay there.


Metal brackets...
Metal brackets have various uses in a horse trailer. If you have any in your trailer, make sure that there are no edges sticking out where a horse could be scratched. Brackets located on the roof and extending down into the horse stall area, pose a similar danger just like the hay rack bolts mentioned earlier.

If you have brackets that stick out, either change them out to smaller brackets or file them down so that there are no edges a horse could get hurt on.

Phillips head screws compared to hex head/flat head screws...
Check the inside of your horse stall area. There will be different parts of the trailer that may be screwed together. There is nothing wrong with having screws, but you want to make sure those screws have a rounded edge to them.

In most cases, the flat head screw (slotted) and the hex head (the kind you can put a wrench around) have heads that extrude from 1/8" to 1/4". Horses will try to scratch themselves on the edges of these screws and could hurt their eyes or muzzle.

Phillips head screws (they have an "x" when looking at them from the top) can have rounded edges and are less likely to scratch your horse. If your screws have rough edges to them, count how many you have total, take a couple screws with you to the hardware store, and get rounded replacements for them. Then just go through your trailer and remove the old rough screws with new smooth ones.

Be sure to take out only one screw at a time and replace it before moving on to the next screw. If you remove many screws at the same time before replacing them, it could cause a shifting of the panel or object that is screwed in.
To save on your favorite fly spray, mix apple cider vinegar on a 1 to 1 ratio to dilute it. Your fly spray will still work great. Apple cider vinegar also makes a great body rinse after a work out.

Side wall stall mats--rough vs. smooth...
Smooth side wall mats are better to have than rough or wrinkled mats. With the rough mats on the side wall, the horses love to rub up against them for the feeling they get. They can wind up rubbing the mat down to nothing in a short time. This leaves metal and welds of the trailer exposed to where the horse could rub and be scratched or cut.

Smooth side wall mats will not tempt the horse to rub on them and if the horse does, they will not wear down quickly.

If your trailer has rough side wall mats you may want to replace them. The cost is minimal and the hardest part is keeping the mats smooth when you glue them on. Finish off with black caulk across the tops and sides for a smooth beaded edge. Your local trailer guy can do this if you prefer not to do it yourself.
If your horse bolts it's food and gets some caught in it's throat, break up a peppermint candy and put it in a bucket of water. Then take a washcloth and dip it in the bucket and put it in the horse's mouth several times until the obstruction is gone.

Wooden floors--always inspect...
I do not recommend wooden floors in a horse trailer, but if you have them, pay close attention here.

Urine and manure will cause the wooden floor to rot and weaken. Always wash the floor after every trip and inspect the boards and even jump on each board to test the integrity of your floor system.

A weak floor board could break in the middle of transit, causing a horse to be dragged with a leg on the road. Death of the horse is likely should this condition persist for any length of time. Replace any weak boards and...always inspect.

Uneven floor mats...
Remove all foreign material that may get lodged under the floor mats. Keep them clean. Remember, when traveling, your horse has to straddle and adjust to every bump and turn. A smooth even surface on the floor mats makes it easier for your horses to adjust their position.

Metal edge story...
Make sure that there are no jagged or sticking out metal edges in the horse stall area of your trailer.

A gentleman I know of tells the story of how his friend's horse trailer had a strip of metal with a rough edge at about knee level.

On one trip, they stopped and noticed blood dripping from the back of their two horse trailer - the horse had cut his leg seriously during the trip. It was too late to find a vet, so they rushed to a store and got flour and a large towel.

They wrapped the towel tightly around the leg and threw in a handful of flour with each succeeding wrapping around the leg.

The next day they got the horse to the vet. The vet said he could not have done a better job himself and that the horse would be fine.

They were lucky. Just make sure that there are no rough edges in your trailer and this will never have to happen to you.
If your horse throws a fit when the farrier tries to pound the nails in, practice this by tapping the horses feet and getting him used to it. Your horse will get used to the sound and feeling of the farrier hammer and will make shoeing time much easier for both you and the horse (and your farrier will appreciate it also).

Michelin offers the safest tires
Michelin is the only tire known that can be balding on top and will still not blow a side wall. If you do not have them, I recommend going this route for truck and trailer. There is nothing worse than having a tire go bad in the middle of a trip.

You can check them out and find the right tire for you at


That's all for now.

Aaron Vaughn & Daniel Oberan

=================  + O +++++++ O +  ================
Aaron Vaughn & Daniel Oberan
Arizona AirStride Trailer Distributor
"The Most Horse Friendly Trailer"
Feel Free to Drop Me a Line
phone 480-833-6256

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