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Buying Used Horse Trailers

If your budget won’t quite run to a brand new horse trailer buying second-hand is worth considering and, while dealers often have second-hand horse trailers in stock, there are plenty available for private sale. Whichever option you decide to go for, this section will provide you with tips on what to look to help ensure you get a fair deal and a good, safe buy.

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Classified advertisements including private and trade sales – search for the second-hand horse trailer you’re looking for by brand, type, suitability, age, price and / or location.
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What to look for

While there are plenty of second-hand horse trailers on the market, here’s some sound advice to ensure you know what to look for and can separate the wheat from the chaff.

check for perished or damaged wood
Look out for perished or damaged wooden side panels
check for perised or damaged wood
Inspect the floor under the rubber matting

Overall - Check the general condition of the horse trailer, including the walls, ramps and roof.

Floor - Inspect for soundness; lift any matting to check for signs of rot and kick damage and look underneath for cracks; pay special attention to the edges where the floor meets the horse trailer walls.

Ramps - As with floors, lift matting and check for rot and damage – also pay attention to hinges for signs of wear and tear, and make sure the ramps are easy to lift and secure.

Balance - Park the horse trailer on a flat surface and view from all angles; it should sit level – any leaning or imbalance may indicate suspension problems.

Chassis - Look underneath the horse trailer and check the metal chassis for any unusual levels of rust or damage.

Hitching - Raise and lower the horse trailer using the jockey wheel to ensure it’s in working order; check that the electric connection cable and breakaway cable are present and in good condition.

Brakes - Test the hand brake to ensure it engages; ask the vendor to hitch the horse trailer up for a ‘test tow’ so that you can make sure it stops when the towing vehicle brakes.

Electrics - While hitched up check that brake, indicator and internal lights are in working order.

Roof - Check the roof carefully for any signs of leaking which can, in turn, cause rot. Also check that any ventilation lights or windows are in working order.

Doors - Check that jockey and over-ramp doors open smoothly and fasten securely, both when closed and when fastened open.

Tyres – Check that all tyres are in good condition (MINIMUM 1.6mm tread over the central 75% surface, although >3mm ideal) and that there is a serviceable spare tyre included (otherwise this will be an additional expense to add to the cost of your purchase!). Check tyre wear – uneven wear could be a sign of horse trailer imbalance or suspension problems.

Check it isn't Stolen

check for perised or damaged wood
Check the manufacturers' plate

Once you’ve decided that the horse trailer is safe and sound, remember that horse trailer theft is big business – make sure you don’t get sold stolen goods:

Alarm bells should ring if the vendor wants to meet in a public place rather their own premises, or if the horse trailer seems very cheap – in either case, be extra cautious.

Before securing a deal, ask the seller for proof of ownership.

Check that the manufacturer's plate is still fitted and readable; on Ifor Williams, Richardson and Rice horse trailers it can be found on the A-frame.

If you’re looking at another make of horse trailer and can’t find the plate, call the TER on The National Plant & Equipment Register (tel: 01225 464599) - they can tell you where it should be located.

Take a note of the model number and serial number.

Check the serial number against the police database of stolen horse trailers and find out who to contact to make further checks.

Request a signed receipt that includes the vendor’s address.

Last updated: 25/04/2010
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