Ensure that your
driver’s licence allows you to tow. Basically, if you passed your
driving test before 1st January 1997 you should find that your
licence categories will allow you to drive a motor vehicle and tow a
trailer up to a combined weight of 8.25 tonnes.
If you passed your test
after 1st January 1997 you are only allowed to tow a trailer with a
maximum gross weight up to 750kg. If this is the case, you will be
required to undertake a further test to provide you with the
grouping that will allow you to tow a horse trailer.
Full information can be found on
Check your tow vehicle’s
insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for third party
liability/public liability for the towing of trailers. This is a
legal requirement. Insurance guarding against the theft or damage to
the trailer is a separate issue and can be provided by many
reputable equine insurers.
Your tow vehicle
Ensure that it is
roadworthy and importantly that the tow bar and ball are in good
condition and that all the electrics function.
Check the tow vehicle’s towing capacity. You will find this in the
handbook provided with your vehicle. The basic principle is that you
must not attempt to tow anything whereby the maximum gross weight of
the trailer and its load may exceed 85% of the tow vehicle’s weight.
It is always better to be cautious, so the greater the leeway the
better. Remember that if you exceed the recommended towing weight
for your vehicle you could be liable to prosecution if caught doing
for the first time?
If you have no previous
towing experience, practise driving your tow vehicle in various
weather conditions, and on different road surfaces without having a
trailer attached. This will help you become familiar with the
capabilities of your tow vehicle prior to introducing the trailer.
Introduce your trailer (see
Hitching and unhitching and
Travelling tips) and again practise both on road and off road
before introducing a horse to your trailer.
You may also consider obtaining one or two basic sessions with an
approved instructor or other tutor.
Before you load your
horse into your trailer, check it thoroughly and ensure that it is
safe and roadworthy. Check the floor is sound, that the brakes
function correctly and that the electrics work.
Our thanks to Horse & Rider Magazine for allowing us to reproduce
this article that we compiled for them.