Horse show season is coming up, and you will want to tow your companion safely. Now is a good time to visit Ron’s Hitch N Tow to check your trailer hitches in Eugene, OR and see that they are ready to do their job through show and trail riding season. When you tow horses and other livestock, there are elements you must consider that are not always relevant with inanimate cargo. Here are five tips for towing horses:
- Consider total weight: Besides the weight of the horses, you also must consider tack, hay and water supplies. These can add to the total towing weight significantly. People may shop for horse trailers and consider their animals’ weight, but forget about all their other stuff. In fact, only semi-trucks will tow more weight on the highway than you will this summer. So, when you choose a tow hitch, err on the side of going with a higher rated one just to be sure.
- Know weight distribution will matter: Most cargo will stay in one place or adjust only slightly. It will also concentrate close to the ground. The weight of horses, however, concentrates four feet above the trailer floor, which causes more shifting. Also, horses tend to squirm as they travel, and that affects stability, too. The best solution is to drive a tow vehicle with a wide wheel base so it will remain steady even when your animals are not. Also consider a higher tongue weight on your hitch and bars to help more.
- Ratings mean everything: The rating on your hitch is important, but all your other equipment has ratings, too. Hitch balls, slide-in ball mounts and couplers have ratings, and those must match the rating assigned to your hitch. If your parts are mismatched, you will have an unstable and nerve-wracking towing experience that could turn your horse off to riding in a trailer entirely.
- Choose the right tow vehicle: Midsize SUVs and small trucks are not good for towing horses. In addition to barely being able to tow the weight of your trailer, they are also unsteady and may place horses in danger. You may be excited to take your horse to a trail ride or show, but if your vehicle cannot handle it, that is a tragedy in the making. Assess wisely whether your vehicle can handle this job before you install the giant tow apparatus. You may be better off begging for a trailer space than taking this risk.
- Add safety measures: Start by installing safety chains. Choose chains rated for your trailer so they can prevent a breakaway and keep your trailer near while you find a place to pull over safely and re-secure your attachment. A brake controller will signal a trailer to brake if it separates from your vehicle. There are other safety measures you may want to consider, too. Ask your tow installer.
There are many options for trailer hitches in Eugene, OR, and Ron’s Hitch N Tow can help you find the one you need. Call us today to learn about options and have the ultimate setup for enjoying your equestrian activities this year.