Buying a used or secondhand Horse Trailer - what to check

horse trailer Buying a good second-hand horse trailer can be as difficult for the unwary as buying a used car.

Unscruplous or unknowing sellers may fail to mention hidden defects such as damaged suspension, rotten floors under rubber matting or faulty electrical systems. Our checklist gives you a guide on what to look for and check when buying a used horse trailer.

pony trailer As well as checking that the horse or pony trailer is in a sound and safe condition you must check the towing capability of the vehicle that you intend towing with - a trailer when loaded with a horse or even a pony can be very heavy.

Popular makes of horse trailer for equestrian use are Ifor Williams, Equi-trek, Rice, Rice Richardson and Wessex


  • Inspect the general condition of the Horse Trailer -sides, front and rear ramps, roof.
  • Look underneath for signs of woodrot or metal fatigue in the floor and ramp, especially the ramp top near the hinges. You don't want your horse to fall through the florr when he is travelling 
  • Check the condition of the metal chassis. This is very important as the chassis forms the foundations of the rest of the horse trailer - it could be badly rusted. 
  • Look at the way the trailer is sitting. Does it appear to lean to one side? This could indicate a fault in the suspension
  • If leaf suspension is fitted pay close attention to the spring fixing points.
  • Where spring hangers are fitted on a horse trailer check for wear in the bushes and bolt holes. 
  • Look for cracks in the springs and check their general appearance i.e are they too flat? Do they look as though all the spring has gone out of them?
  • Where box type suspension is fitted on a trailer check the linking arm - try to tell if all the movement has been used up. This could indicate wear inside the box. 
  • The only sure way to check the suspension on a horse or pony trailer is to persuade the seller to allow you to jack the trailer up. 
  • Try the handbrake. If possible have a test tow to see if the overrun operation is satisfactory - will the trailer stop when your towing vehicle does?
  • If a reversing arm or lever has to be flipped over to allow the trailer to be reversed check this. 
  • Test the lights. You will have to attach the trailer electrics to a car to do this. The law requires that the lights on a horse trailer are in good working order. 
  • Check the operation of the trailer ramp and spring assisters - look for cracks on the pivot bars on the assisters. 
  • If rear support legs are fitted check the strength and security of the fittings and ease of movement. Make sure that the clamp screws have not lost their thread and that they can be tightened. 
  • Check the floor inside the trailer, especially where it joins the sides. Water or dirty straw may have rotted the wood there. 
  • Check that the jockey wheel works correctly. 
  • Check that the trailer chassis mountings are secure. 
  • Check the roof very carefully for signs of leaks - this can cause a huge amount of damage to a trailer floor. A new roof for a horse trailer is very expensive.
Buying a used or secondhand Horse Trailer | checklist