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First Time Trailer Owner - a few questions

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  • First Time Trailer Owner - a few questions

    Apologies for new thread - my first post

    First time horse trailer owner I have a 2008 ADAMS 2 horse straight load ramp.

    Quesiton 1:

    What's the best way to keep (or clean) poop/shavings in between the hinge area of the trailer and ramp? I am OCD and even a stiff bristled broom (while my best cleaning tool to date) still doesn't get all the debris out. Suggestions?

    2. Any other first timer tips? I have a first aid kit, a wheel jack on order for flats, extra trailer ties, lynch pins, buckets, etc.

    3. Anyone use Coir or CoCo mats for unloading on a ramp? Feedback?

    4. Any preliminary maintenance you do on Adams (Steel Frame/Alum. shell) - I want to make sure I treat any surface rust that may occur properly moving forward.


  • #2
    Congrats on your purchase. Don't apologize! I'm still not a trailer owner so I can't help. But welcome to COTH.


    • #3
      In terms of things to always have with you, US Rider provides a pretty comprehensive list. Here's a link: http://www.usrider.org/safety.html

      Also, instead of a jack, have you seen these? http://www.horsetraileraccessorystore.com/jacks.htm. Fantastic for having to change a tire.


      • #4
        I find that a leafblower (like we use for the aisle) does the best job on the hinges.


        • #5
          Ramp mats can be useful for the steep incline of a ramp up into a semi, but for a standard 2 horse not necessary at all, a waste of space and effort to haul around.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks guys! Great suggestion about the blower and the USRider list - a few biggies that would be helpful to have on hand


            • #7
              We have cleats, which are lumber strips across the ramp. They are about an inch tall, two inches wide, go down the center of the ramp. Horse can get a hoof solidly anchored to take the next step back or up, while exiting or entering the trailer. We installed these ourselves, but you probably could have the dealer put them on if you don't want to.

              We had one horse slide all the way down on the wooden ramp, with just a mist in the air. That was ugly! Cleats went on that day when we got back home. We have since seen the same thing happen on rubber lined ramps without cleats.

              Wood strips are just cut from a used board we had, screwed onto the ramp. If the cleats get worn or even broken, you just cut another piece and put the new cleat strip on the ramp.

              Cleats are simple, horse figures them out after the first trip loading and unloading. His hooves can't slip very far before he catches on one for an anchor point. They work for barefeet or shod hooves. Cheap and ALWAYS in place for horse to use them. Cleats add very little weight to the ramp, so ramp is not any heavier to lift into position. Our horses like cleats, like having firm footing going in or out, which makes them easy, HAPPY loaders.


              • #8
                Congratulations! I take mine back to the dealer once a year for maintenance and have everything checked and repaired if needed. As for supplies- not safety related - but I now carry old human towels in the dressing room, the full size ones. You never know when you or other things may get caught in the rain! I also carry water for me as well as my horse.

                Enjoy the freedom that comes with having your own trailer :-)
                Rule 1- Keep the horse between you and the ground.


                • #9
                  Make sure you carry a tire iron that is the correct size for the lug nuts on your trailer tires. Some models of trailers have larger lug nuts than those used on your truck, so your truck tire iron will not work.

                  "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
                  - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


                  • #10
                    You can cover the ramp hinges. Mine has a thin piece of textured rubber over the hinges (6 years old and hasn't torn yet, knock wood) and I've seen trailers with a slightly bent piece of metal over the hinges. The metal is fixed on the trailer side but not the ramp so when the ramp is up the metal slides to a more vertical position.

                    I have duplicates of some items in my trailer: halters, lead ropes, longe lines, brushes, helmets, fleece/wool cooler, fleece coat (for me), sun hat, etc. Most of the time when I replace something the old version goes in the trailer as a safety back up. I don't want to be down the road with a broken (fill in the blank) and be stuck or in a dangerous position.

                    I bought a bag of cheap, white hand towels from Costco (there were at least 50 in there when it was new) that have lived in my trailer forever. They're great for any mishaps and most of the time I wash them & re-use but they are so cheap they could be disposable.

                    Someone said it above, but have your trailer serviced annually. Mine rarely has issues that need real work, but having a professional set of eyes on the brakes, electrical, floor, etc is a good idea. I'm not sure how people can enjoy hauling out in a barely-maintained trailer.

                    Congratulations! Your trailer will open a whole new world for you.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ShotenStar View Post
                      Make sure you carry a tire iron that is the correct size for the lug nuts on your trailer tires. Some models of trailers have larger lug nuts than those used on your truck, so your truck tire iron will not work.


                      This!!! I ran into this problem myself with my first flat trailer tire. Totally thought the tire iron for my truck would work, but it did not, so I ended up having a very nice gentleman go TO HIS HOUSE to get one for me! Thank goodness for kind citizens.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ShotenStar View Post
                        Make sure you carry a tire iron that is the correct size for the lug nuts on your trailer tires. Some models of trailers have larger lug nuts than those used on your truck, so your truck tire iron will not work.
                        Found this out the hard way.

                        If you have a wood floor, make sure you pull up the mats regularly to check it, before you get poo stuck underneath there eating away at the wood. And look at the boards from underneath the trailer (like, crawl under there and look up).

                        Other than pulling up mats for the winter and packing wheel bearings every couple years along with a general overall inspection (in which they've found nothing so far), I haven't done really any maintenance on mine since I bought it new in 2004. I take that back, I've changed the tires (strictly for my peace of mind) and replaced the light/brake plug because I was getting sick of fiddling with it every time I hitched to get it to actually connect.


                        • #13
                          Some things that have served us well, especially if you are new to trailering.
                          Always walk around the entire rig/trailer before just before climbing behind the wheel. Check trailer lights with a helper.
                          You may wash and wax your trailer; that will extend its life.
                          You may have to de-OCD on the spring hinge issue, or skip riding and just clean the ramp. I have powerwashed but it takes forever and lasts only as long as the next horse loading. Get used to "broom clean".
                          Never partially hook up your trailer, no matter how short the haul unless you want to replace the 7 pin connector. You will replace the 7 pin about every 3 years regardless.
                          The Trailer-Aid ramps do work very well. Keep hard missiles like trunks, shovels, wheelbarrows, bicycles out of the horse end of the trailer.
                          US Rider is the only "trailer with horses rescuing" outfit that I know of. AAA etc will only save your truck, not your loaded trailer on the highways.
                          Most truck tire changing equipment/ wrenches do fit most trailers, but do check beforehand as previously suggested.
                          Correct Trailer tires run about $125 each for a two horse. Only use trailer tires.
                          Do have your wheel bearings greased and trailer brakes checked at least once a year...it is worthwhile insurance.
                          Enjoy the travelling!


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks guys appreciate the advice and suggestions


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ShotenStar View Post
                              Make sure you carry a tire iron that is the correct size for the lug nuts on your trailer tires. Some models of trailers have larger lug nuts than those used on your truck, so your truck tire iron will not work.

                              And actually try to take one off and replace it. Fun things you may discover:

                              - You thought you knew the socket size, but you were wrong.
                              - The wrench is not long enough for you to loosen or tighten the bolt.
                              - The socket is not deep enough to allow the lever of your wrench to clear the tire.

                              Get a tire pressure gauge that goes up to the PSI rating of your tires on both the truck and the trailer. I like the kind where it remembers the reading until you clear it.
                              If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket