USRider Calls for Improvements on Trailer Wiring

USRider has publicly urged horse trailer manufacturers to improve their electrical wiring practices. "Trailers flex and move constantly when being towed, so it is imperative that proper wiring techniques be used to ensure the proper and continual functioning of a trailer's electrical systems," said a USRider press release. 

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COURTESY USRIDER 

During a large animal emergency rescue training session, Dr. Tomas Gimenez discusses the removal of horse from a simulated trailer wreck. In the foreground, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, with the help of a cooperative trained horse, "Aerial," demonstrates how to handle a horse during an emergency. Part of this hands-on training involves having the participants right an overturned horse trailer and evaluate the trailer's construction and structural integrity.

USRider manages the Equestrian Motor Plan, a roadside assistance program designed for those who travel with horses. The organization has adopted large animal emergency rescue education as its philanthropy, and through these endeavors, USRider representatives have observed a trend of horse trailer wiring failures.

Mark Cole, USRider managing member, said, "Most people never see the underside of their horse trailer. But this is essential for examining the wiring. Through (large animal rescue) training, we've had the opportunity to inspect numerous brands of trailers, including some that were brand new. It is a unique perspective from a wiring standpoint, especially since we have yet to see one with good wiring practices."

Based on his firsthand experience inspecting trailers, Cole notes these examples of wiring deficiencies:

  • Wires coming into contact with sharp metal edges; 
  • Improper materials used to secure wires; 
  • Wires fastened to trailer flooring; 
  • Minimal or no use of convoluted protective tubing; 
  • Underrated or incorrect wiring; and
  • Poor routing of wiring, e.g., the wire is installed in loops or left hanging, or the length of wire is so short that it often disconnects with the slightest movement.

While wiring issues are not the leading cause of roadside troubles, they do generate numerous service calls from USRider members. "In simple terms, we are encouraging improved protection of wiring through better wiring practices at the manufacturing level," says Cole.

Additionally, USRider urges consumers to be more aware about wiring issues. Regardless of a trailer's age and condition, USRider encourages horse trailer owners to have their trailers thoroughly inspected for inferior wiring by a competent professional.

It is vital to have all lights functioning properly on a horse trailer. Adding reflective material on the back of a trailer is a good safety consideration, so even if the lighting fails, the trailer will be visible in the dark.

If the wiring that controls lighting malfunctions, it could also affect the lights on the tow vehicle. Lacking the ability to properly signal turns and stops puts owners and their horses at a greater risk for being rear-ended by another motorist. In addition, if the wires connected to the brakes malfunction, the brakes could lock, causing an accident. 

Owners "should always check proper function of marker lights, turn signals, brake lights, and other electrical connections prior to trailering and periodically during trips," Cole added.

For a list of trailer maintenance recommendations, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider web site at www.usrider.org.

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