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New To Towing 

Before towing


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 so.


Towing 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.



Your trailer


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.


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