First time trailer owners are often a little uncomfortable actually using their trailers. There’s many articles out there about stories discussing safety issues and venturing into “unknown territory” can be intimidating.
Typical statements and questions from first time trailer owners include:
- I just bought my first Gooseneck trailer, but am somewhat apprehensive about getting started.
- What will it feel like to tow a trailer?
- Will I experience any changes once I add my horse’s weight to the trailer?
- What about adding a second horse?
These are all good questions because most individuals experience a little trepidation upon buying their first trailer and getting started using it. In fact, they feel this trepidation indicates a mature concern for not moving too fast or too soon in a new area where your safety and your horses can be affected. With that being said, we do want to keep moving forward. If you have felt this way and are somewhat concerned about going forward, this article is for you. Understanding what to do in the right way goes far to reducing fear anxiety about traveling in the road with your Gooseneck trailer for the first time.
Proper Tow Vehicle
The first thing your want to do is ensure your tow vehicle can safely pull the weight of your Gooseneck trailer and the number of horses you can place in it. Weight is affected by the size of your horses as well as the number of horses you are towing. This is something that should be considered before selecting and purchasing your trailer.
Once you have the proper vehicle and trailer for your intended load, the next thing to do is to connect your trailer. Make sure you do the following:
- Connect the trailer properly
- Secure the hitch
- Raise the jack leg
- Attach the safety chains
- Attach the electrical cable
- Attach the breakaway brake
Test Turning and Brakes at Slow Speed
Now, you can drive your rig slowly down the road while experiencing how your tow vehicle responds differently with the trailer in tow. You can try gentle and somewhat sharper turns in both directions, but don’t take any really sharp turns. Turns should be wider than when driving without a trailer attached. Next, apply the brakes. Do it gently, intermediately and try even some harder braking — still while at a slow speed. You will realize quickly that you’ll be safest when making gentle turns and gentle stops, which is even more important for your horse. You don’t want to be stressing your horse’s legs and throwing him into the front or side wall by the inertia of your action. The best way to reduce stresses on a horse and towing rig on any trip is not to ever go too fast. Going faster requires much longer turns and stopping distances and you never want to run out of space your need to turn or stop.
Speed Up and Re-Test
As you get more comfortable with driving with your trailer, try speeding up, as well as turning and stopping again. However, avoid sharp turns and hard stops, as these can become dangerous as your speed increases. Once you’re comfortable, then you can load your horse and drive slowly while gradually working up the speeds you will usually want to go. Typically, that’s not going to exceed 45-50 MPH. Risk of injury or worse increases quickly for you and your horse as you increase speed above that range.
You will notice that each increase in weight reduces the response of your tow vehicle and increase the time it takes to respond. If you are uncomfortable with the handling of your rig, talk to your trailer dealer about whether or not you can use a weight distribution system with your vehicle and trailer. A weight distribution system can significantly improve handling, even out bumps, reduce the effect of wind and keep your entire right more level.
These are just a few tips for first time trailer owners. Contact Gooseneck Trailers with the link below for more information!