Af­ter­mar­ket Ac­ces­sories

Trail Rider - - CONTENTS - BY RE­BECCA GIMENEZ, PHD

AAfter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories are all those handy items you buy for your trailer after you drive it off the lot. They range from lights and locks to floor mats and hay nets. Here, I’ll give you a run­down of a few af­ter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories on the mar­ket to­day, in­clud­ing my tips and prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tions.

Break­away Bat­tery

De­scrip­tion: Your trailer’s break­away sys­tem is de­signed to stop your trailer via elec­tric brakes in case your trailer and tow ve­hi­cle be­come dis­con­nected. It’s pow­ered by the break­away bat­tery. Ex­pert tip: One of the big­gest steps for­ward in safety in the last few years is a break­away bat­tery with a re­li­able charger. As soon as your tow ve­hi­cle and trailer are con­nected, the break­away bat­tery starts charg­ing. Older mod­els just came with a bat­tery, which quickly loses its charge. Rec­om­mended: En­gager Break­away Bat­tery Kit; Pro Series Push to Test Break­away Kit with Pre­mium In­te­grated Charger; Tekon­sha Push to Test Break­away Kit with Pre­mium In­te­grated Charger, all avail­able from eTrailer.com.

Cou­pler Locks

De­scrip­tion: Cou­pler locks thwart trailer thieves by mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for them to at­tach a ve­hi­cle to your trailer to drive it off. The lock fits into the hitch and is se­cured with the turn of a key. Ex­pert tips: Cou­pler locks are avail­able for tag-along (bumper-pull), goose­neck, and fifth-wheel hitches. Choose a steel model that has the lock­ing in­ter­face in an ac­ces­si­ble po­si­tion for lock­ing and un­lock­ing ease. Also find one you can eas­ily lu­bri­cate with graphite or white grease to keep it from rust­ing. Look for a high-qual­ity lock, and make sure it has two keys. Rec­om­mended: Blay­lock EZ Lock Trailer Cou­pler Lock; Blay­lock EZ Lock Goose­neck Cou­pler Lock; Master Lock Trailer Cou­pler Lock, all from eTrailer.com; Gus Hill In­dus­tries; Heart­land Lock, LLC.

Drive-On Jack

De­scrip­tion: A drive-on jack is one that you can drive one tire onto while you change a dam­aged tire. This type of jack can be made from plas­tic, wood, alu­minum, or steel. It should be at least five inches high and have a ramp. Ex­pert tips: Use this sim­ple tool if you’re re­plac­ing one tire at a time. When you shop for a drive-on jack, pay at­ten­tion to its weight rat­ings — you’ll need some­thing in

Here’s the run­down on eight es­sen­tial af­ter­mar­ket trailer ac­ces­sories.

the 10,000 pound to 15,000 pound weight range. Keep in mind that the en­tire half of your trailer will be rest­ing on the jack. En­list a helper, so one per­son can place the jack while the other drives onto it. Rec­om­mended: Blay­lock EZ Jack and Wheel Chock, avail­able from eTrailer.com; The Orig­i­nal Jiffy-Jack (Steel); Trailer-Aid, both avail­able from Trail Pals Horse Trailer Ac­ces­sory Store.

Hay Nets

De­scrip­tion: Hay nets hold for­age for your horse to eat in­side and out­side of your trailer while you’re trav­el­ing. Ex­pert tips: Vet­eri­nar­i­ans rec­om­mend that your horse has ac­cess to for­age while trav­el­ing to re­duce his stress and help keep his di­ges­tive sys­tem func­tion­ing smoothly. Keep­ing your horse’s gut mov­ing can lessen his risk for colic. Look for a hay net with small to medium open­ings, which slows down his eat­ing to mimic a nat­u­ral graz­ing pace. Rec­om­mended: Hay Chix; NAG Bags; The Nib­bleNet from Thin Air Can­vas, Inc.; Pro­fes­sional’s Choice; SmartPak Equine, LLC; State Line Tack.

Hitch-Up Help

De­scrip­tion: There are nu­mer­ous prod­ucts that help you hitch up your trailer to your tow ve­hi­cle. Hitch cam­eras (which al­low you to see the hitch as you align the ball with the cou­pler) fall in this cat­e­gory, as do prod­ucts that ease the wiring con­nec­tion from your tow ve­hi­cle to your trailer and those that of­fer other align­ment help. Ex­pert tip: When shop­ping for a hitch cam­era, look for one that’s bat­tery-pow­ered or that plugs into your tow ve­hi­cle’s 12volt power sup­ply, for ease of in­stal­la­tion. Rec­om­mended: iBall Wire­less Trailer Hitch Cam­era, avail­able from Out­doors In­sight, Inc.; EZ Con­nec­tor; Quick Cou­pler by Trailer Gear, Inc.; Swift Hitch Wire­less Por­ta­ble Back Up Sys­tem, avail­able from the Equine Net­work Store.

Re­flec­tive De­cals

De­scrip­tion: Re­flec­tive strips, de­cals, and signs on your trailer in­crease your vis­i­bil­ity to pass­ing mo­torists and let them know you’re haul­ing live cargo. Ex­pert tips: Re­flec­tive de­cals en­hance your trailer’s vis­i­bil­ity day and night. You can’t use too many re­flec­tive de­cals on your trailer. Think feet of de­cals. You want to be seen in all light­ing con­di­tions, even when your brakes and lights aren’t work­ing due to elec­tri­cal fail­ure or pulled-out wires. The words “Cau­tion Horses” let oth­ers know you’re haul­ing live horses.

Rec­om­mended: 3M Di­a­mond Re­flec­tive Con­spicu­ity Tapes, avail­able from Uline; CAU­TION HORSES Safety Prod­ucts; Equine Net­work Store.

Stall-Floor Cov­er­ing

De­scrip­tion: Trailer-stall floor mats and floor­ing are de­signed to pro­vide your horse with trac­tion and cush­ion­ing. Mats also dampen some trailer vi­bra­tion and help make the ride qui­eter. Mats also pro­tect your trailer floor from wear-and-tear, as well as cor­ro­sive urine. Ex­pert tips: In­vest in high-qual­ity, non­slip mats to ab­sorb shock and en­cour­age grip. If your floor mats be­come dam­aged, re­place them. Holes al­low urine to col­lect un­der­neath, caus­ing rust, rot, and other cor­ro­sion. Cut the mats to fit, or or­der them from the man­u­fac­turer of your spe­cific brand and type of trailer. You can also up­grade the floor­ing it­self. Rec­om­mended: Flex Mats Inc.; Lin­ear Rub­ber Prod­ucts, Inc.; Ore­gon Rub­ber Mat; Poly­last Sys­tems, LLC; Stall Savers.

Trailer Lights

De­scrip­tion: LED and ana­log lights that mount in­side and out­side of your trailer to en­hance vis­i­bil­ity. Ex­pert tips: I pre­fer LED lights over ana­log lights, be­cause they last longer, use less en­ergy (thus don’t drain your bat­tery as quickly), and are much brighter. Why stum­ble around in the dark? Be­fore you buy lights, make sure you have ei­ther the skills to run wiring for the spe­cific lights you choose, or take them to a pro­fes­sional to in­stall. Also con­sider your power source; you can only run so many lights with­out hav­ing a con­verter or re­lay for ad­di­tional wattage, which is pro­fes­sion­ally set to han­dle the load­ing on your elec­tri­cal sys­tem — and, of course, your al­ter­na­tor/bat­tery — es­pe­cially when your tow ve­hi­cle is turned off. Rec­om­mended: LED Rec­tan­gu­lar In­te­rior/Ex­te­rior Light; Tow-Rax Re­cessed LED Light, both avail­able from eTrailer. com. TTR Re­becca Gimenez, PhD (an­i­mal phys­i­ol­ogy), is pres­i­dent of and a pri­mary in­struc­tor for Tech­ni­cal Large An­i­mal Emer­gency Res­cue (www.tlaer. org). A Ma­jor in the United States Army Re­serve, she’s a dec­o­rated Iraq War veteran and a past Lo­gis­tics Of­fi­cer for the Amer­i­can Ve­teri­nary Med­i­cal Association’s Ve­teri­nary Med­i­cal As­sis­tance Team, which serves as first re­spon­ders to en­sure high-qual­ity care of an­i­mals dur­ing dis­as­ters and emer­gen­cies. She’s an in­vited lec­turer on an­i­mal­res­cue top­ics around the world and is a noted equine jour­nal­ist.

Af­ter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories are all those handy items you buy for your trailer after you drive it off the lot. Thwart trailer thieves with a hitch lock, avail­able for all trailer types, in­clud­ing goose­necks (shown).

En­gager Break­away Bat­tery Kit, avail­able from eTrailer.com.

Master Lock Trailer Cou­pler Lock, avail­able from eTrailer.com.

RE­BECCA GIMENEZ, PhD

Day Night Re­flec­tive de­cals avail­able from CAU­TION HORSES Safety Prod­ucts and the Equine Net­work Store.

Small Hole Hay Net, avail­able from SmartPak Equine, LLC..

Swift Hitch Wire­less Por­ta­ble Backup Sys­tem, avail­able from the Equine Net­work Store.

EZ Con­nec­tor trailer plug, avail­able from EZ Con­nec­tor, Inc.

iBall Wire­less Trailer Hitch Cam­era, avail­able from Out­doors In­sight, Inc.

LED Rec­tan­gu­lar In­te­rior/Ex­te­rior Light, avail­able from eTrailer.com.

Poly­last trailer floor­ing, avail­able from Poly­last Sys­tems, LLC

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