Towing a Horse Trailer Safely

Towing with a horse trailer can be much more stressful than towing a trailer or caravan as you are responsible for a live animal in the back. It's not just your life you have to worry about, but that of your horse as well. That's why it is crucial to make sure your towbar is inspected and maintained regularly and in full working order before you attach your horsebox and set off. To help you along the way, we have covered the following tips so you can tow safely with a horse trailer:

  • What vehicle do I need to tow a horsebox?
  • What towbar do I need?
  • Maintaining your towbar
  • Towing regulations
  • What to do before setting off

What vehicle do I need to tow a horsebox?

To safely tow a horsebox, your vehicle needs to have a towing capacity that can safely pull the horsebox. Generally, horseboxes weigh between 2000kg – 2700kg when loaded, so a vehicle that can legally and safely tow this weight is advised.

What towbar do I need to tow a horsebox?

Fixed and detachable towbars are suitable for most vehicles and are designed to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications on towing. For example, if your vehicle can tow a 2750kg braked trailer, then the towbar will be designed to do this safely.

Whatever type you choose, having the right towbar fitted is extremely important. It should be a new towbar, not second hand, and it is never advisable to use a towbar from another vehicle as its history is unknown. The towbar should be designed for the specific make and model of your vehicle along with the towbar electrics kit. These work in sync with your vehicle's towing related safety features and it is essential that they are correctly installed by a professional fitter in line with manufacturer guidelines.

Maintaining your towbar

Whether you have a fixed or detachable towbar, it is important to maintain your towbar. Detachable towbars require more regular care but either type should be well maintained. Make sure to keep your towbar clean along with getting it inspected at a Witter Approved Service Centre.

Towing regulations

From September 2021, the weight limitations on towing that previously applied to those who first qualified to drive after 1997 were scrapped.

Previously, a driver whose licence dated from before 1 January 1997 were allowed to tow a horsebox weighing up to 3500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) without taking an additional test. Anyone who qualified after 1 January 1997 could tow up to 750kg and be required to take an additional trailer towing test if they wanted to pull anything heavier.

Now that towing restrictions have been removed, there is no longer a requirement for anyone to take an additional test.

What to do before setting off

  • Check you have hitched the trailer correctly
  • Check you have attached the secondary coupling (breakaway cable)
  • Plug-in the electrics (you may need an adaptor to correctly plug-in) and then test they all work correctly
  • Raise the jockey wheel and secure in place
  • If you have applied the handbrake, check you have released this before moving
  • Give the horsebox a good walk around to make sure everything is secure and you are happy to begin your journey
  • Check your mirrors before you move off and be aware your vehicle is now a lot longer with a trailer attached. Tight corners should be taken wide and slow

Your horsebox also needs maintaining on an annual basis which should be carried out by a qualified trailer specialist. This helps to keep your horsebox in top condition, giving you the confidence to tow for many years.

And that's it - all you need to know to get your horsebox on the road. We hope you found that useful. If you're looking for towing equipment, feel free to take a look at Witter Towbars' wide range of towbars, electrical kits and accessories. Happy towing!