Towing Safely: Part 3 - Towing Safely
By Ben Wall
Tack and equipment advice
10 September 2008 14:32
Towing a trailer is a cost effective solution to the problem of moving your horse without wearing out his hooves – but it’s not without its issues, complications and potential risks. Our guide tells you all you need to know.
First you’ll need to get your car and trailer hitched up, so do this without your horse on board. You’ll need to reverse up to the trailer, with it lined up centrally with the car. Judging the distance takes some getting used to and is best carried out with someone outside the car guiding you back. If you have a protector plate on the tow bar, you can nudge the trailer without damaging your bumper.
The process of hitching the trailer to the tow bar can be dangerous, so be careful not to trap your hand when lowering the trailer onto the towball. Don’t forget to connect the safety chain and electrical plugs, and some horseboxes also have a secondary wire that should be attached to the back of the car. This activates the brakes should the trailer become separated while on the move. Once connected, make sure the electrics (lights, indicators and brake lights) work properly, especially if the trailer hasn’t been used for some time.
If your trailer is wider than the car, it’s advisable to fit door mirror extensions (available from caravan suppliers) so you can still see what’s behind. If you’re carrying one horse in a double trailer, then in the UK he should stand on the right-hand side to counter the camber of the road. Towing is more difficult than normal driving. You’ll be going slower, so allow more time for the journey – at least one and a half times what you would expect in just a car. It’s a good idea to plan your route to avoid steep hills wherever possible, too.
Remember when towing that you’re not allowed into the fast lane on a three-lane motorway, and the speed limit is 60mph on motorways and dual-carriageways and 50mph on de-restricted roads.
See more on page two...