Tow and hitch safety takes on a new meaning when you are hauling horses and other livestock. Inanimate cargo may shift slightly, but animals move around, and sometimes they may even jump in the trailer. This makes stability and control more essential, especially when you are considering the well-being and security of your animals. Here are five elements you must consider in the setup of your tow and hitch in Eugene, OR when hauling horses and other livestock:
- Weight towed: The combination of horses, tack, hay and even water can make the tow weight add up quickly. Many people shopping for horse trailers consider the weight of their animals but forget about their accessories. In fact, you are towing more weight than everyone else on the road except the semi trucks. When choosing a class of tow hitch, err on the side of going higher rather than seeing how low you can go.
- Weight distribution: The distribution of weight is also a big consideration. While cargo will normally stay in one place and concentrate near the ground, most of the weight of horses is four feet above the trailer floor. Horses also shift constantly, which can affect the stability of the trailer. Weight distribution bars can prove critical if your horse tends to fidget during the ride or you drive a smaller SUV that is more vulnerable to shifting weight. This also proves helpful when you consider that towing live animals also means a higher tongue weight, and the bars are instrumental in supporting this.
- Ratings—of everything: Knowing your hitch rating is important, but you must also be aware of the ratings of every other component. Hitch balls, slide-in ball mounts and couplers are also rated, and they must match the ratings on your hitch. If you use a mismatch of parts, you are unlikely to enjoy a stable tow.
- Your vehicle’s capabilities: With all the different elements involved in hauling live animals, having a larger, steadier tow vehicle might be in order. Midsize SUVs and trucks are not optimal for towing horses, and can even put them in great danger. While you may be excited to take your horse to that next trail ride or show, assess honestly whether your vehicle can handle it. Even with the right tow hitch and weight distribution bars, you can still become a disaster waiting to happen.
- Safety measures: Safety chains can prevent a breakaway, but make sure they are rated for the weight of your trailer. They are made to hold the trailer to your vehicle until you can safely pull over and secure everything once again. You should also have a brake controller at a minimum, which will signal the trailer to brake if there is separation from your vehicle.
Ron’s Hitch N Tow can help you find the best combination for your needs related to tow and hitch in Eugene, OR. Call us today to begin exploring your options and learn more about how to make towing as uneventful for you as possible.