It's important to hitch up to your horse trailer safely and correctly.
January 11, 2009
When you're hitching up your horse trailer to a towing vehicle, safety should be your first consideration. Make sure the area between your tow vehicle and trailer is clear of people, especially children.
And don't let hitching up become a mindless process. Especially if you travel on a regular basis, it has probably become routine to you and is approached with a relaxed attitude. But never forget about the precious cargo - and people - involved in your towing expedition. Take care to perform each step carefully and safely.
The first time you hitched up your towing vehicle, you checked out the size of the ball and coupler you were connecting together. (Each coupler has the required ball size written or stamped onto it.) After making sure you had the correct ball on your vehicle, you lightly greased the ball and dropped the coupler into place.
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Every time you hitch up, you must take extra care to be sure the coupler is completely seated and locked on the ball - whether you are connecting a gooseneck or bumper-pull trailer. If you have safety chains, attach them. Also connect the emergency breakaway switch (if applicable) and the wire plug for your lights to the towing vehicle. An often forgotten - and very important - task to remember is to raise the jack leg. If you forget this, you can create a noisy, embarrassing and dangerous situation.
Always check your trailer lights before you start out. It will help you avoid problems down the road. Look for burned-out bulbs and wiring problems. The compatibility of your truck and trailer plugs is something you probably determined long ago, but you must always keep an eye out to make sure the lights are functioning properly.
Hitching problems and poor hitch maintenance are two of the most common causes for accidents when towing trailers. So be safe, take your time and think about what you are doing when you hitch up.