Whether your horse was an added bonus of your home purchase or you've simply let someone else do all the towing to and from the vet and farrier during your horse's life, you may be facing the thought of your first solo towing journey with trepidation. Towing a nervous or excited horse can be an unpleasant experience for both driver and passenger, and you'll want to be able to focus all your attention on your driving rather than on keeping your passenger calm. Read on to learn more about ways you can keep this inaugural trip safe and comfortable for both you and your horse.
What should you keep in mind when preparing your trailer for towing?
Before you embark on your trip, it's important to ensure you've got a safe towing setup. Attempting to tow a live, unwieldy animal on a hitch (or with a vehicle) not rated for the weight you're pulling could cause you to have an accident. When selecting a hitch rating capacity, you'll want to keep in mind not only the weight of your horse, but also the weight of the trailer itself and any associated cargo (like food or water). Assuming a 2,500 pound trailer hitch can easily haul your 1,500 pound horse could be a costly mistake if your unloaded trailer weighs 2,000 pounds by itself.
After ensuring you've chosen the correct weight rating, you'll want to select a hitch that's solidly attached to your towing vehicle's frame. A frame-mounted receiver hitch is usually the best option for most horse towing setups. These hitches directly weld the weight-bearing ball to the frame of the vehicle, minimizing the risk that the hitch will detach and the trailer will go rolling free.
How can you safely and calmly load your horse?
Taking the above steps can ensure that your vehicle and trailer will safely transport even an agitated horse. However, having a calm passenger can make the trip much more enjoyable for both of you. Before attempting to load your horse, make sure the trailer is fully stocked with tack and water. If your horse trusts you, you may be able to coax him or her into the trailer simply by walking in yourself. Especially nervous horses may need to be offered a special treat once they're fully loaded. Quickly close the door behind your horse once he or she is in to avoid any last-minute escape attempts, which can quickly lead to panic.
For more information about the trailer and what is best for towing a horse, contact shops that supply utility trailers and horse trailers.