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Choosing and driving a horse trailer

Choosing-and-driving-a-horse-trailer If you’re planning to transport your horses, whether to a show, a new home, a gymkhana or just a holiday, you’ll need a horse trailer. Before you buy, you’ll need to consider how many horses you’ll be transporting and how large they are. If you’ll be travelling with different sized horses, you’ll need one with adjustable breast bars to keep them secure in transit.

Vehicles

You’ll need consider what sort of vehicle you’ll be using to tow it your trailer. Check the maximum towing weight of your car or 4x4 and match it with the recommended laden weights on your potential new trailer. It's advisable to use a weight-distributing hitch which spreads the weight evenly using load-bearing bars to make towing safe.

Trailer types

Choose a single horse trailer if you’ll only ever need to transport one animal at a time, or if your pony doesn’t like to travel alongside another. These are handy because many can be towed by a regular car, rather than a powerful SUV. Double-horse trailers are available in a wide assortment of sizes while multiple horse trailers, capable of carrying three or more animals are useful for pony clubs who may need to transport a number of ponies.

Driving tips

When it comes to towing, you can’t just set off as though you’re going for a day out in your family hatchback. Make sure you’re fully aware of the length and width of your load and how your convoy will behave differently due to the additional weight. Because of the shape of a horse, the trailer will be top-heavy and unlike a load made up of hay or animal feed, horses can move around. Some enjoy travelling more than others, so keep an eye out for excessive movement in your trailer and on a long journey, make regular stops to check your horse is safe and comfortable.

Braking

It’s vital that you allow additional time for braking. Drive more slowly than you normally would to give you extra time to judge distances and stop safely. Your horse will be fine in the trailer and adjust its footing, but sudden, jerky movements could throw it off balance. Shift down your gears in plenty of time and make sure there’s nothing to distract you so you don’t find yourself in a position where you need to really stand on the brakes.

Turning

You might think that turning will be simple with a trailer, but with a longer, heavier load, every move you make needs more thought and planning. Give yourself plenty of room because your turning circle will have been extended by several metres and don’t be tempted to squeeze through gaps you’d normally go through in your car.

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