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Horse trailers are the ideal solution for safely transporting your precious horses and can easily be fitted to the back of your car using a towbar. If you’re thinking about purchasing a horse trailer, consider our top tips for choosing and using your trailer.
1) Know the Law
Before you get started, it’s essential to know the laws and requirements for towing trailers. Firstly, you need to ensure that your towing vehicle is suitable for pulling the weight of your fully laden horse trailer, i.e. the weight of your trailer with your horse(s) in it. Refer to your car manufacturer’s handbook to find out the maximum load you can tow.
The second thing to check is if you have the appropriate license to tow your load. With a standard category B car license, you can tow trailers if the total MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) of the vehicle and trailer does not exceed 3,500kg. For larger loads, where the trailer’s MAM is up to 3,500kg, you’ll need a Category B+E, which requires you to pass a practical test.
Thirdly, know your speed limits. Unless signs show otherwise, a 30mph limit applies on all roads with street lighting, there’s a 50mph limit on single carriageways and a limit of 60mph on dual carriageways and motorways, and you should always keep in the outside line and never overtake.
2) Choose the right trailer
There’s a wide selection of makes and models on the market designed for different purposes and budgets, so do some thorough research before deciding on which one is right for you. In brief, there are four types of horse trailers: single horse trailers, double horse trailers, multiple horse trailers, and horse trailers with a tack room.
A single horse trailer is ideal for individual horses or horses who won’t travel in company. Due to their low weight, they can often be towed by a normal car and only require a B category license. There are makes of multiple horse trailers that can carry up to five ponies, but, due to weight restrictions, most will not carry more than two large horses. To travel longer distances, some horse trailers offer additional space for a tack room.
Some well-established makes of horse trailers are Cheval Liberté, Ifor Williams, Requisite by Robinsons, Bateson, Fautras, Pegasus, Rice, Richardson, Wessex, Titran Trailers and Equi-Trek.
3) Get to know your trailer
Your trailer is a large mechanism, and just like you would a car, you need to familiarise yourself with its functions and features, which will enable you to use it correctly and avoid potential problems. Most trailers have lockable doors, windows and ventilation, a ramp to the rear, brakes, and brake and indicator lights. However, each trailer is different, so refer to the user handbook.
Before each journey, you should check the lights are working, the brakes are off, and the trailer is securely attached to the vehicle. Other checks include your tyre pressure – consult your handbook for the correct laden pressure, and ensuring your matching vehicle registration number is securely fixed to the trailer.
Your trailer will need some general maintenance to keep it in good condition and prevent rot and rust which can cause long-term damage to the trailer. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition too and that its towball is well greased to avoid damage.
4) Insure your trailer
While not a legal requirement, it’s a good idea to insure your trailer for damage, theft, and breakdown. Firstly, call your vehicle insurance and find out what you’re currently covered for on your standard car insurance. You may be given the option to extend your insurance to cover your trailer or take out a separate policy for your trailer. Get a few quotes before you commit to a policy to ensure you’re getting a competitive quote that meets your requirements.
As a high value assets, trailers are prone to being stolen. However, there are various ways you can help secure your trailer from theft. The best way to deter a trailer thief is to give it a custom paint job. Paint the side of your trailer with a name, logo, picture or pattern of your choice that makes it stand out and, therefore, makes it a lot less desirable to steal.
You can protect your trailer further by investing in security devices such as hitch locks, tongue locks, coupler locks, trailer-wheel locks, alarms and tracking devices.
5) Choose the right towbar
Towbars are engineered specifically for the towing vehicle and the load requirements. It’s essential for the safety of yourself, your horse and other road users to choose a towbar that is right for your car. Bosal can help you find a towbar matched to your specific make and model.
Once you’ve bought and fitted a towbar on to your vehicle, familiarise yourself with your trailer’s coupling system that allows it to be hitched on to the towbar. Here are the five basic steps for hitching correctly:
- Secure safety cable
- Release handbrake
- Connect to towbar
- Lift and secure jockey wheel
- Attached electrical cable
If you need help with towing a horse trailer, contact Bosal’s friendly team of engineers that can talk you through it on 01772 771010, or get some advise via email at Sales.BAIC@eur.bosal.com