It is a legal requirement to ensure our towing vehicles are road worthy and have passed the mandatory NCT and advised regular service at the recommended intervals. Although Horse Trailers don’t require any form of NCT, it is the responsibility of the owner, or indeed the user, to keep them in a correct and roadworthy condition. Similar to the towing vehicle there are benefits of regular servicing, for example avoiding expensive repair bills, increasing the lifespan and resale value, and ultimately reducing the risk of causing an accident.
Apart from the suggested regular in depth service, there are routine checks which users should make before every journey;
Doors – this may sound like a given point, but always make sure all doors are correctly locked into position.
Lights – before setting off on a journey, always check your indicators and brake lights are working.
Tyres – should be regularly checked for any signs of wear and tear. Old or worn out tyres are more likely to cause a blowout and also monitor the tyre pressures. The legal minimum depth of tread for tyres is 1.6 mm across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre. The easiest way to measure the tread depth on your tyres is using a ‘20p test’. To do this place a 20p coin into the tread grooves in at least three places around the tyre. If you can see any part of the outer band of the coin, then your tyres are not only unsafe but they are illegal and need replacing as soon as possible.
Brakes – Your braking system should be tested to ensure it is functioning properly, and that the breakaway cable is used correctly every time you tow (it must be attached to an eye or looped through a main brace of the tow bar, NOT over the tow ball) .
Maximum Tow Weight – Check your maximum towing weight (you’ll find this in the vehicle’s handbook or by checking the chassis plate) isn’t lower than the weight you are going to be towing. To work out your towing load, weigh your horses with a weigh tape and add it to the weight of the trailer, which you’ll find on the chassis.
Did you know – it is an offence to supply or sell a trailer which is unroadworthy?
There’ve been cases when the owner of a trailer has lent it to a friend to use, and when the friend was stopped by the Police for the trailer not being in a roadworthy condition, they were fined for using the trailer and the owner of the trailer was also fined £600 and had points added to their licence for allowing the trailer to be used in an unroadworthy condition.