When you are transporting horses by trailer, keep in mind that the animals are dependant on the skill of their drivers, the safety of their trailers, and the reliability of the gooseneck hitches used to attach the trailers to towing vehicles. You need a gooseneck hitch to ensure safe transport because it is designed to pull heavy loads, minimize fishtailing during sharp turns, and reduce swaying, which helps maintain the smooth ride so essential to your horses’ tranquility and safety.
Give Your Horses A Comfortable Ride
1. A 10-hour trip is considered a long one for a horse, and horses tend to be claustrophobic, which means the more light, room, and ventilation provided in the trailer, the less stressed they will be during and after the trip.
2. There should be enough room for a horse to move its legs forward and sideways so that it can maintain its balance. It should also have enough room to lower its head so it can cough if necessary to remove dust and other debris from its airways. Construction of the trailer should be strong enough to hold a panic-stricken horse should something frighten it.
3. Make sure there are no protrusions and that the floorboards are sturdy – alloy floors are superior to wooden ones. Boards should run the length of the trailer, not the width, and ramps should be non-slip.
4. Before each trip, do a safety check of lights, brakes, tires, chains, hitch, and floorboards.
Why Gooseneck Hitches Are Preferred
1. Gooseneck hitches are installed under the middle of the truck bed and are very strong and allow for sharp turns. Some of them have a flip-over ball, which is a hitch ball that can be flipped in the socket. You rotate the handle to flip the ball out of the way to convert to a flat bed. Safety chains are always a good idea, and in most states, they are mandatory.
2. A fifth wheel hitch is designed for a fifth wheel trailer that is pulled by a pickup truck, and will provide safe transport for one or two horses, but is not as heavy duty as a gooseneck. A conventional trailer hitch is a ball attached to a car, truck, or jeep, etc., and coupler, or socket, at the tongue, which is attached to the front of the trailer. If you use the ball and coupler style, you need good safety chains and a stabilizer such as a hitch attached to a half-circle shaped rail, or equalizer bars to restrict the right-left movement between the trailer tongue and hitch bar. Again, this hitch can provide a safe ride and less expensive transport for one or two horses, but is not the best for long hauls and won’t do for transporting several horses.
3. The rating of the hitch is imprinted on it, and it will be rated “with” and “without” weight distribution bars (stabilizer or equalizer bars). The loaded trailer’s weight cannot exceed 85% of the towing vehicle’s unloaded weight. Your vehicle weight will be in the owner’s manual, and if you are uncertain about the trailer’s weight once it is loaded, take it to a truck scale. The hitch you choose – all parts of it – must have the same rating as the trailer. If the weight of the trailer and its load is 5000 pounds, the hitch, the ball mount, and the ball must all be rated for 5000 pounds also.
4. Many hitches are easy to install at home and will come with instructions on how to do it. You will know in advance if you need a professional installer to drill holes and look after the installation for you.
Find discount hitches, wholesale and sale prices on the Internet and order the trailer hitch of your choice to be delivered to your door. Check out reliable brand names like Draw-Tite and Super Glide. You can also conveniently order trailer hitch accessories like wiring harnesses and brake controllers.
Keep your horses safe when they are traveling, and remember that gooseneck hitches can give them the smoothest ride.
About the Author
Scott Gray is a trailer hitch specialist who provides useful information and money saving tips about truck and car hitches .