If you own a barn, sooner or later you’re going to have to think about investing in some horsepower. And unless your hobby is old-fashioned draft-horse farming, you’ll need some motorized muscle on your side.
All trucks might seem similar, but when you’re thinking about hauling a trailer filled with horses, you need to make sure you’re buying the right vehicle. As a general rule, Cherry Hill, author of Equipping your Horse Farm: Tractors, Trailers and Other Implements (with Richard Klimesh, Storey Publishing), said that there are rules of thumb to follow.
"A full-size half-ton truck can pull a two-horse tagalong weighing 5,000 pounds fully loaded; a three-quarter-ton dually can pull a two-horse tagalong with dressing room or a three- or four- horse gooseneck weighing 7,000 pounds fully loaded," she said. "A one-ton dually can pull a five- to six-horse gooseneck weighing 10,000 pounds fully loaded."
Adds John Estep, spokesmen for Sundowner Trailers, "One-ton duallys are rated to pull a fully loaded gooseneck weighing from 14,000 to 16,000 pounds depending on truck’s axle and transmission, and anything at or above that needs a bigger tow vehicle, such as the Ford F-450 or one of the increasingly popular medium duty trucks by International or Freightliner. But I always urge people to choose a heavier vehicle because a six-horse trailer full of Arabians or Quarter Horses will weigh lighter than that same trailer full of warmbloods or drafts."
Note: the term ton denotes load-carrying capacity, but safety and suitability depends on the vehicle’s Maximum Trailer Weight Rating (MTWR), the weight rating of the hitch, and the overall combined weight of the fully loaded vehicle and trailer.