Horse Trailer Safety as seen on The Horse Show with Rick Lamb
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Horse Trailer Safety as seen on The Horse Show with Rick Lamb

August 12, 2019


Research tells us that the number
one concern that horse owners have about trailers is safety. So we are here at
Cresco Iowa. The headquarters of Featherlite Trailers along with Mr. Justin
Queensland who is the national sales manager of Featherlite. We’re gonna learn about some things that you can look for in a trailer that do pertain to safety.
Justin, welcome to the horse show! Thank you! Excited to be here! You know
Featherlite’s been kind of a leader in this field for a long time but they did
something special back in 1973. What was that? We did! The biggest change came with
the construction, or the overall material in the trailer and that was introducing
aluminum. Why is aluminum good? To start with, it’s lighter weight. A lot less
weight going down the road. That means a lot less weight that you’re having to
stop. But also, it reduces corrosion compared to traditional steel trailers.
That material isn’t as likely to fail on you, I suppose. Is it still a rigid structure
like a steel trailer would be? It’s a very strong and well put together
unit. There’s a lot of engineering that goes into these products, but it’s not
the steel rigid feel that we we’re accustomed to years ago. The new Featherlite Legend that
we’re gonna look at here in a little bit is all aluminum, but it is designed as a
unibody construction and therefore does flex going down the road. It flexes? Yeah,
you don’t want it too rigid cause when it’s too rigid things crack, things break,
and and fail over time. What about the inside of a trailer should we look for
that affects the safety? It all starts with the floor. The comfort of the ride, cause
going up and down the road, you’re gonna want to make sure you have a nice soft cushion
ride. This trailer we’re standing in now has three quarter inch mat. Not too soft, not too
hard. Correct, correct! What about the walls? Behind what we call the curbside
wall, there’s actually a kick plate and that’s specifically put in place for the
horses safety. Because the last thing you want is that horse to kick and have its
leg actually go through the outside of the trailer. That could actually happen? Yeah, that can happen and then you know that the real damage is done when the typical
reaction is to pull it back through right away. You’ll notice it is covered with the
rubber matting. Moisture can create mold and different things like that. So
every thing you notice here in this trailer it is trimmed out to prevent moisture
getting back side there. Everything is smooth, sleek, no sharp edges.
I know in barns ventilation and light are very important for the
welfare of the horse, the health of the horse. The same thing with the trailer? It is. That same thought process flows right into the transportation of the animal as
well. So you want to have a significant amount of natural light, air flow and you
want that trailer to be inviting to reduce the stress of travel. So is it
safe to say bigger is better Where the windows are concerned? It is. You want to be able to maximize not only your natural light but but also the airflow. What
about at night time? When you’re looking to purchase a trailer, make sure you have
adequate interior lighting. And lighting that’s very inviting and calming. You
know, imagine standing in that trailer going on the road and it’s very dark on the inside, but every car you pass is a bright light. So there’s multiple options for
interior lighting and and one of those options is the new LED lights systems
and what that does is actually gives a consistent light on the inside and it
reduces that that shock factor of that bright light. One thing we have to keep
in mind is a horse trailers engineered and designed specifically to carry
horses. So therefore it’s different than a livestock trailer or the way a cargo
trailer would be designed. You have a lot of wieght inside so it’s critical that
the axles are placed properly. So it would not be good from the safety
standpoint to haul a horse in any old trailer. I would not recommend that. Ok, ok, I got that. The tires. That’s a place for some people try to save money, but that’s
really one of the most critical places on a trailer. You don’t wanna be stranded
on the side of the road when it’s hot out on the interstate. Look for a good
name brand tire. The other things are the brakes. Brakes are critical in in
stopping. Especially the bigger the horse trailer the more weight you have to stop.
so this trailer here specifically comes with an electric brake system. But the
great thing about it and what you’re going to want to look for is, these are
self adjusting brakes so they take care of themselves. That’s unique. The other
thing is our bearings. This trailer itself has EZ Lube hubs. Even you and
I could make sure before we head out that they’re well lubricated. Let’s take a look at these windows here. These are a little different from what I’ve got on my
Featherlite. Mine are kind of rounded. Correct. This is something new
for Featherlite. We’re excited about it and it comes standard on our Legend
Edition trailers. Ok. Is there any safety advantage to a squared off window like
that? Not necessarily. The concept, the design, engineering, the structural piece
of it, it’s all the same, so it’s more of a personal preference – the radius vs.
the square.So you’ve got three different states of the window here. This
is completely open. That horse could stick his head completely out of that
window. Correct! It’s not recommended to have it this way when traveling, but
if you’re gonna stop for fuel or something it’s a great way to let that horse stretch a
little bit and stick its neck out. This is more of the desired or standard
travel position that you’ll see. With the open bars to protect the horse from any
road debris. But yet allow them to get that airflow in.Yeah, it’s angled out I can see so he could probably get a little bit more of the
air in his face. Yep, they’ve just got that few extra inches there too to reach out. And obviously this one is in
the completely closed position. Correct. Traditionally what we see is 2 to 3 horse
trailers – more of the bumper pool style. But as you start going up in the number
of horses, we see a migration to the gooseneck version of the trailer. The
bumper pull trailer – all that weight is concentrate on the back side of that
vehicl… whereas a gooseneck, like this one here, allows the percentage of
weight transfer to be greater over the axle of that vehicle. Giving me a little
bit more control which is needed when you have more weight. What about backing and and turning these things? I’ve got my own opinions… Yeah, there is a difference between the
way a bumper pull trailer and a gooseneck trailer maneuver. The gooseneck is gonna allow you to you know get into maybe a little bit tighter area but can
also create some difficulties when backing up. It’s a little bit different
with that bumper pull. It tends to give you a little bit more control while backing up.
But when you’re going forward it doesn’t let you turn quite as sharp. So there’s some
pros and cons to watch out for there. You know, I do have a little pet peeve with
some trailers. I have to be honest with you. It has to do with the door not
opening all the way. Now this one goes all the way back. And to me, that is safer.
That is a big win from a safety standpoint. The hinges that we use on
this trailer here allow it to fold all the way back. That’s one thing your going to want to watch out for
when purchasing a trailer. Take a look at the hinge set-ups on the rear doors.
Because if it doesn’t allowed it to fold back all the way, it actually creates a gap.
Which can be a danger zone if your loading a horse and it gets spooked and
shoves a front leg through or something. Plus this is back far enough he’s not going to be running into the edge of it or I’m not gonna be running into the edge of it.
So I think that’s kind of an important thing. This one has quite a few lights on
the back. Is it is it better to have more light? Yes, in my opinion and most of the
consumer research we did on safety, more lighting is better. And in this case, you’re
looking at this trailer. These are LED lights. They last longer – which is important, too, because failure
can be a safety issue for going on the road. And your blinker doesn’t work for
example. These are recessed as you can see, they’re flush. Which also is a key win – something you’re gonna want to look out for. In case you happen to just back into the barn or get a little too close. (That never happens!) It’ll keep it from knocking off the caps. And also the placement of
the rear taillights is key. You never know if it’s going to be a car,
a pickup or a semi behind you, and it’s really important that they know if
you’re going to switch lanes or come to a quick stop. The visibility is is key to
safety. I have one last question for you. I know
this is partially personal preference Ramp or no ramp? Ramp or no ramp? That is
a constant debate that goes round and round. Now you can get a ramp on this
trailer. And that is something to look for. But a lot of it comes back to your personal
preference, your horse and the way they like to load – and not just load, but
unload. Because that first step can be somewhat tricky, to some. So you wanna go after the preference of your horse well. A horse could be trained to
safely use either. They can, correct, yep! Alright my friend, thank you very much. You
did a great job. Rick, thank you, I appreciated it!

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