The day has finally come, after all the restrictions and cancellations you are heading out to your first competition in a long while. So now is the time to finally get back into the swing of things, like most of us our floats haven’t had much love recently so it would be more important now than ever to go over things before you load your precious cargo on board and head down the road. Here is a little pre-departure checklist to make sure you have a safe and fun journey.
- Tyres – make sure you have the correct and recommended tyre pressure, check for any damage to the tyre, that it hasn’t perished in any way, got uneven wear to the tyre and that it has plenty of tread depth left. While you are doing that, cast an eye over the wheels nuts and make sure they are tight and rust-free. Don’t forget this also includes your spare tyre. Make sure it’s in good condition and with the correct pressure also.
- Lights – check your light plug is inserted correctly clean of dirt and dust. Make sure the lights are operating properly, indicators, brake and taillights, also any sidelights or reflectors.
- Brakes – check your brakes are functioning correctly and adjust the in-car dial if you have electric brakes fitted. Any trailer over 2000kg must be fitted with a breakaway system which is important to take note of. Don’t forget to release the hand brake when hooking the float to the car and remove any wheel chocks
- Dividers/Rump Bar – make sure any dividers or head dividers are secured and in the correct position or height for your horse. Turn any pegs or pins away from the horse.
- Access doors – check any access doors are closed and latched
- Float Flooring- check float flooring for any signs of rust. Walk up and down the flooring and listen for any hollowness or peculiar sounds- floorboard damage can come from underneath and can be the cause of serious float accidents.
- Tailgate/ramp – Before loading, check the ramp for any damage or faults, upturned rubber, or rust, which may be an indication of larger, hidden issues underneath. Is the footing ok? If the matting has worn, it may be time for repair as there is nothing worse than a slippery tailgate! Once loaded, check that it is latched correctly and securely
- Hay Nets/Feeders – if using hay nets or feeders while travelling make sure they are safe and secure, no lower than chest height
- Tying points- replace with fresh twine, and check that snaps and buckles on leads or tie up chains, are easily operated and not in need of replacement
- Safety Chains – that they are of the correct loading weight and are correctly attached. This includes D-latches!
- Tow Ball and Hitch – check they are secure and properly connected and locked down
- Jockey Wheel – raise jockey wheel or remove and place in car or float
- Number Plate – is clean and visible
- Registration and insurance – check that both are current and fully paid
- Windows/Vents – are opened or closed depending on weather and ventilation required during the trip
- First Aid kit- both horse and human! Check that it is full, and all stock is in date
- Water- refill travelling water buckets, replace perished buckets if needed. Check tank operations, and refill.
It is always a good idea to have your float regularly serviced and checked to make sure there isn’t any rust or structural issues that are of concern. It is also important to know the towing capacity of your vehicle and if it is correct for your float. Some floats can be quite heavy, and your car may not be rated to tow it safely.
Remember have a safe and fun journey take plenty of breaks, drive at a safe speed and stay alert, everyone wants to arrive safe, happy and well. And most importantly enjoy your day out!
Written by Selena. P