I must have been about 9 or 10 yrs old

The first time I became aware that not all horses would willingly agree to climb into a box on wheels I must have been about 10 years old, a typical horse crazy girl that had no horse.

Well yeah, I did have a horse, my grandpa's plow horse, or mule, whatever he happened to have I claimed was mine. On some springtime Sunday visits out to the old homeplace, grandpa would let me sit on his horse or mule as he walked behind, plowing rows. A few other times I would ride bareback down the driveway. My sister rode down that driveway too, 'til the horse took off in a dead run and out the road. Parents, grandparents and siblings were screaming "JUMP!" And jump she did, rolling off into the ditch. The horse was caught in a backyard on down the road sometime later. This is probably one reason to explain why I have the horse bug and my sister does not. Of course, the tree limb incident likely contributed but that is another story.

At the end of a culdesac, about a mile or so as the crow flies then through some woods, past a pond and another neighborhood from my suburban home, was a small farm. Small as in probably 5 or 6 acres with a home. A seemingly distant country area where a lot of the homes were on acreage and quite a few had small barns with horses. Development of homes on smaller lots in the area signaled the beginning of the end to keeping horses near town.

What drew me to sneak off and through the woods? The pull of the old barn behind the home and the pasture to the side where a chestnut horse and a larger, probably much older gray gelding grazed.

I remember the old barn well with its moldy tack room and a couple of moldy old western saddles, there must have been halters, bridles and such. The wood feed troughs, dirt floor and step-down to the shed are still fairliy vivid to me.

I never saw or met anyone that lived in the house on the farm. I do remember the last
name of a girl about my age who lived across the road, Uldrich. Perhap I asked her if I could ride one of the horses, I had seen her ride in the pasture I think.

It would horrify a parent these days to find that their young daughter had just wandered off and entered a barn on a distant farm to pet some horses, and worse, put a saddle on one and rode away. At the age of about 9 or 10 I did just that. It would horrify and anger any barn owner too.

The old grey gelding must have been a kind and knowing soul. Maybe he had years of experience putting up with and packing kids, those kids had grown up and left him behind with his chestnut friend. My favorite place to go was down the road, through a field to a small pond. I would urge the grey into a trot hoping he would hop a fallen log near the pond and not stop to step over. The day I showed up in my own back yard riding the grey was the day my mom found out about my adventures. I do not remember getting scolded or mom expressing any concern, maybe the reaction was "that's nice dear".

One Saturday I was invited by the Uldrich dad to ride the grey horse in a walk trot class at a horse show being held in another town. Uldrich daughter would ride in an English class on the chestnut. There is no memory of how I got to the show grounds. I do remember realizing I was poorly dressed compared to the sequined western attired kids on spiffy horses. The class of kids was huge, when we were told to line up I knew there was no chance to place but I was proud of the grey horse.

My most vivid memory of that morning is of entering the show barn to look for Uldrich daughter, the chestnut and the grey. There was no chestnut, the chestnut had put up a heck of a fight, no way it would load in the trailer, even with the grey friend on board so the chestnut was left behind.

I remember very well how dissapointed I was, selfish kid I guess. I would have to share "my" gray horse that day. I wonder if Uldrich daughter felt the same way.


Help! One of my clearance lights stopped working

Most trailer companies these days use "sealed" lights, either standard or LED's. This prevents water from getting in to the actual light. There are 2 parts to these lights, the bulb portion and the bracket portion. To change a light you remove the bulb portion, which just plugs in, but the bracket portion remains on the trailer.

In the past, standard trailer lights had a red or amber cover that was removable, with a small replaceable plug in bulb. Some trailers on the lower end still come with this type light. Evidence of moisture under the cover eventually would be seen as drops of water / condensation allowed for mold growth under the cover, inside this type light it is common to see black or green gunk. I suggest you remove the light cover and clean out the cover and clean off the base periodically.

If one day you turn on your trailer lights and one or a few fail to light the likely culprit is the ground wire, lack of ground wire contact to metal. Remove the colored bulb portion of the light. Look for the ground wire on the right side of the bracket that remains on the trailer, it is attached ( usually by a screw ) to a small metal flat plate. Carefully loosen the screw, inspect for any corrosion, clean it off if need be, carefully tighten the screw. In my experience, 99% of the time once the ground wire is again making good contact your light will work again.


Correct tire pressure?


Many problems with tires result from insufficient attention to ensuring tires have the CORRECT air pressures.

Tires are designed to have an optimal deflection (the amount the tire compresses when loaded), which is controlled by the load and air pressure. One of the simplest ways to get the best out of tires is to have the correct air pressure. This affects the tread profile shape and contact pressure across the tread surface. Any change in air pressure will alter how the tire will function on the vehicle.

This is very simple in cars, SUVs and pick-ups as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards require the vehicle manufacturer to display a placard on the vehicle indicating the correct tire size or sizes and air pressures recommended for that particular vehicle. This is usually found inside the glove box draw or on one of the front doors or jamb. Sometimes there is a different air pressure recommended for the front and rear tires. It is essential that you heed this differential, as it is the manufacturer’s way of fine-tuning the vehicle to give the best steering and safe handling.

When towing, some of the weight of the trailer is supported by the towing vehicle’s rear tires (tongue weight). An increase in air pressure (on the towing vehicle’s REAR tires only) of up to 10% may improve handling, but NEVER exceed the maximum air pressure allowed for any tire, as indicated on the sidewall of the tire.

All tires by law must have molded on the sidewall the MAXIMUM ALLOWED load carrying capacity and maximum air pressure for the tire. For example it may say “Max load 1985 lbs at 50psi” (pounds per square inch). This means that 50psi is the maximum air pressure, which should be in the tire if it is carrying its maximum load of 1985 lbs. It is not necessarily the correct running pressure. This maximum load and air pressure should never be exceeded, except for specific specialized use approved by the tire manufacturer. Additionally, NEVER run any tire below the MINIMUM air pressure as indicated in the tire’s load/inflation table, however light the load.

It is not possible to have a specific air pressure for tires when in use on a trailer, because the load on the tires is generally different for each trailer. It is necessary to find the weight being carried by each tire to obtain the correct tire air pressure. Tires can be overloaded in two ways, by not having sufficient air pressure, known as “overload by underinflation” or by having a tire on the vehicle whose maximum load and maximum air pressure is insufficient to carry the load, known “as overload proper”. Some LT tires of the same size have extra load carrying capacities available, which allows them to carry a higher load at a higher air pressure if necessary. It will not improve tire life and durability to buy “Extra Load” tires if the higher loads are not being carried.

These “Extra Load” tires are marked Load Range C (LRC), Load Range D (LRD) or even Load Range E (LRE). The higher the letter the more load the tire can carry. The standard tire is usually Load Range B (LRB) though not necessarily marked as such. Some metrically marked tires use an ISO marking (international standards organization) called Load Index; the higher the number the greater the load capacity of the tire.

To find the correct air pressures for your tires go to the Load and Inflation tables and check for the size of tire on the trailer; then calculate the maximum load the tire is carrying. (To find the maximum load, include payload and trailer weight minus tongue weight, and divide by the number of tires on the trailer). This gives the load per tire. Above the indicated load weight in the tables is the correct air pressure. Always round up to the next highest weight, when reading the tables. Note: If you have dual tires the carrying capacity of the tires across the axle is reduced due to the uneven distribution of weight across the axle. This is noted in the load tables.

IMPORTANT: Many tire users look at the maximum load and air pressure molded on the tire sidewall and run this maximum pressure. This may be harmful to the tire as overinflation can affect the tire’s performance and safety. It reduces ground contact area, reduces grip and increases casing fatigue, as well as giving the trailer and load a harsher ride. Remember! NEVER go below the minimum air pressure shown in the load/inflation tables, even if the load is lighter than the minimum calculated load. Tire pressure and load carrying tables can be found on most tire manufacturer’s web sites or contact the tire manufacturers authorized dealer.

Correct air pressure is the most important factor in safe running and optimal performance of tires. Tire pressures should always be checked cold, as air expands when the tire warms up. It generally takes about three hours for a tire to totally cool and it will start to heat up again even if driven for 1 or 2 miles This is normal and expected. NEVER, NEVER, bleed out air from a hot tire, because when it cools the air pressure will now be below the correct pressure; this will cause the tire to run even hotter. A good rule of thumb is: if a tire’s air pressure has risen more than 10% from its correct cold air pressure, it may be overloaded or underinflated, and you should re-check the pressure in the tire, when cold. It could be an indication of a slow leak. Always use a good quality metal valve cap as this protects the valve core and reduces the possibility of a slow air leak from the valve stem.

Remember! For safety reasons tire air pressure should be checked cold at least once a month, and ALWAYS before making a long trip. Don’t forget to check the spare tire too!

Speed is also a factor in tire wear as it makes tires run hotter - the hotter they run the faster they wear. In addition, there is an increase in fuel consumption. Never exceed the maximum speed rating of any tire.

This information is given to assist with the proper air pressure maintenance in tires. Always consult the tire manufacturer or its authorized dealer for more detailed information.

Click here for GoodYear Tire Inlation Chart http://www.goodyear.com/rv/pdf/rv_inflation.pdf

( This article has been graciously contributed by John Hoffen. John is a retired executive from Michelin NA. )

Financing your horse trailer purchase

Yes, it would be great if we all were flush enough to pay cash! For most of us however some sort of financing will be needed to purchase a new trailer. There are some options.
  • 1) Your local Credit Union: Local Credit Unions typically offer members a little lower interest rate than other lenders. They typically have shorter terms such as up to 5 years making for a higher monthly payment in spite of a lower rate.
  • 2) Your local bank: Local banks do not usually loan on horse trailers though it is possible to get a personal loan to cover the cost. Personal loans usually carry a higher interest than secured loans and are for shorter terms, typically up to 5 years.
  • 3) Lease Purchase Programs: Lease purchase is typically reserved for commercial or business borrowers. Such as farms. The lease would still be in the individual purchasers name but the leasee must also run a business. Terms are usually up to 6 years. you make a set payment for the term of the lease and own the trailer at the end of the lease outright.
  • 4) Indirect RV Lender: Most dealers offer financing programs that they have arranged through lenders. Terms can be as long as 10 - 15 years, this depends on the amount borrowed. Down payments are usually required of 10%. Rates can be competitive based on your credit history and income. There should be no prepayment penalty for paying additional principle or paying off early. This loan option has the lowest monthly payment but the longest term, so when you can pay a little extra!

What route to take really boils down to whether desire and are able to pay a higher payment for a shorter term or a lower payment for a longer term. Click here to apply for your trailer purchase www.happytrailstrailers.com/financing-leasing.php


Generally speaking, your towing vehicle liability insurance will cover your trailer while you are towing. The catch is, you will only have liability insurance up to the amount specified in your insurance agreement. In other words, you are likely covered for damage you do to someone else up to your policy limits, after your deductible, but NOT for damage done to yourself! Damage to your trailer, loss from theft, loss or damage from some other event such as a storm would NOT be covered. Loss from theft MAY be covered on your homeowners policy but you will need to verify this with your homeowners insurance to be sure.

Consider adding collision and comprehensive insurance to cover your trailer. It is usually a fairly inexpensive addition to your auto policy. This way you will be protected against loss.

If your trailer is financed your lender will require you keep collision and comprehensive insurance on your trailer for the duration of the loan.

If you have an older less expensive trailer you may not be worried about loosing the value of it, but for most trailers today, the cost of comprehensive and collision insurance is worth the peace of mind. Check with your insurance companies to verify and to be certain of what coverage you may or may not have.


First Aid Kit Basics

Be prepared! The list below is my recommended minimum number of items to keep in your horse trailer at all times. The list could be expanded into a seemingly unlimited number of items. Probably there is no way to be totally prepared for any and all potential accidents, injury or illness but we can try to be as prepared as possible. Keep these items in a water proof case if possible. Keep a lamenated waterproof card prominently displayed in your trailer with your contact information, your "in case of emergency" contact numbers, your veterinarians contact information.

* quilted bandage, disposable diapers or maxi pads
* wet wipes
* antibiotic cream or ointment
* roll of vet wrap / stretch bandage
* eye wash / skin wash
* PVP iodine solution
* rubber gloves
* adhesive tape / duct tape
* scissors / bandage cutter
* gauze bandage / gauze wound pads
* hoof boot correctly sized for your horse / horses

It seems a good idea to keep a horse health care / first aid hand book as well and to familiarize yourself with normal vital signs for horses. Consider:
Dr. Kellon's Guide to First Aid for Horses by Eleanor Kellon


Exterior Care

Your new Hawk trailer has a beautiful poly coated UV protected finish. Because of this there is little to do for exterior care. I recommend:

* Wash with a mild car wash detergent or Simple Green diluted as per label. I like to use a long
handled soft car wash type brush so I can reach the top. Clean one section or area at a time and
rinse well before moving on to the next section.

* When your new trailer is about 3 months old it is a good idea to give it a wax job. ( or let a neighbors kid, your kid or auto detail shop! ) wax the trailer with a good quality auto wax. Be sure to wax the top of the roof as well as the body.

*All trailers of all types get black streaks, this is caused in part from the aluminum top rail strip and the rubber window seals. It is best to wipe these streaks off with a cloth as they appear, if you leave the trailer dirty with black streaks for a prolonged period of time you will have to use a product such as "Streak Master" or other black streak remover and elbow grease to remove them. If you want your trailer to keep it's new appearance over the long haul I think it is best to keep it clean and give it a wax job once in a while! Streaking will lesson as the trailer ages.

*Lubricate all moving parts IE hinges and coupler latch with a light spray of WD 40. This will help keep things moving freely and provide a liight protective coating.

That is it for exterior body care!