Since the UK government scrapped the trailer test, more drivers than ever are towing trailers. For horse owners and riders, that means the freedom to take your horse where you want when you want — but many equine events take place in fields located on narrow country lanes and if you meet a bigger vehicle coming the other way, you might have to reverse back to a passing space.

If there’s one aspect of towing a trailer that brings many drivers out in a cold sweat it’s reversing, especially into a tight space, but don’t panic – with a bit of patience and practice, reversing a trailer isn’t half as tricky as you think. Ed Cobley from Land Rover Experience East of England offers his tips to help you nail it every time.

Tip 1: steer in the ‘wrong’ direction

What tends to flummox a lot of drivers is that you need to steer in what feels like the wrong direction at the start of the turn.

For example, if you want to reverse your vehicle and trailer to the left, you need to move the steering wheel to the right to begin with.

Why? Because the back of your car needs to move to the right to push the front of the trailer on the right, so that the back of the trailer swings to the left.

Tip 2: use small movements

Once your trailer is heading in the correct direction, don’t continue to steer in the same direction otherwise you’ll jackknife your car at a right angle to your trailer.

Instead, gradually turn the steering wheel back the other way. Only use small movements to fine-tune your direction.

If things don’t go to plan, pull forwards a short distance and try again. Remember that every movement of your steering wheel is the reverse of where you’d normally turn.

Steering right turns the trailer left; steering left turns the trailer right. Remember this!

Once you’ve got the trailer going backwards on roughly the right arc, you need to start turning back the other way.

It’s easy to over-magnify any movement, so keep your wheel movements small where possible.

More top tips:

  1. If you can drive through a space going forwards, you can reverse through it too.
  2. Don’t do too much steering – less is more.
  3. Be patient and take your time.
  4. Use your mirrors to gauge which way your trailer is going.
  5. Keep your vehicle speed low.
  6. Always return the steering to the centre once you have started to reverse.
  7. Don’t be afraid to pull forward and try again.
  8. The type of terrain can change your trailer’s turning speed.
  9. Own it – don’t let the trailer and fear of reversing own you.
  10. Invest in some professional training.

Your Horse’s top tip:

If you’re manoeuvring your trailer at home or at a competition, try to do this before your horse is loaded so that you can load up and then drive straight forwards and away.

This is good practice whether you transport in a trailer or lorry, because it means a shorter, smoother journey for your horse — if he or she is on board while you’re reversing or getting into a certain position, it can be uncomfortable, jerky and risks knocking their confidence.

It also means your trailer will be lighter, making it easier to manoeuvre for you too. Bonus!

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