You’ve got the horse, you’ve got the trailer, now you need the right car to tow it. Something strong and sturdy that will get you up that steep hill, potentially across muddy ground and absolutely not let you down. Here are our tips on what to look out for.
Firstly, if you’re having to regularly tow horses, you’ll need to make sure that you’re doing so legally.
Your licence must allow you to tow a horse trailer. If you passed your driving test before 1 January 1997, you’re automatically qualified to drive a vehicle and trailer that together weigh up to 8250kg.
For those drivers who passed their test in 1997 or later, you can only tow a car and trailer up to 3500kg, if you’ve also passed a special car and trailer test.
You’ll also need to fit towing mirrors to help you see beyond the trailer, which are a legal requirement.
The speed you can travel at is also different: no more than 60mph on a motorway, or 50mph on A-roads.
Secondly, the key issue, as with towing anything, is weight – the weight of your trailer and the weight of your car.
Best cars for towing horse trailers
The budget option: Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento is a relatively inexpensive large SUV – but it’s a lot a car for not a lot of money (relatively).
It has a proper all-wheel-drive system that will help when hauling a horse trailer to off-road locations. There’s also a hill-start function and a trailer stability function to help with safety when towing.
As with the whole Kia range, it comes with a good level of equipment, whichever trim level you choose. There’s only one engine option though, a 2.2-litre CRDi diesel, but this is powerful enough to tow a trailer without feeling as if it's struggling.
With prices starting at just over £30K, the Sorento offers genuine value for money.
The traditional one: Land Rover Discovery
Seeing a Land Rover Discovery towing a horse trailer is a pretty common sight if you spend any time in the countryside.
The Discovery is the workhorse for many farmers – and for good reason. In common with everything built by Land Rover, it is as much at home on a muddy track as it is on a piece of tarmac. The four-wheel-drive system can take the Discovery so some inhospitable places – almost anywhere a horse needs to go.
The Discovery has a very comfortable interior with lots of practical features, including lots of storage and stowage options. The fold-down bench in the boot is also a handy feature, which allows you to sit and watch the equestrian events when you arrive at your destination.
The pickup: Toyota Hilux
If you want something more rugged, with an open bed to carry extras such as hay bales, the Toyota Hilux will do the job.
Powered by a 2.4-litre diesel engine and coming with all-wheel drive, all versions of the Hilux are also available with features such as trailer sway control and hill-start assist. Some better-equipped trim levels also have a downhill assist feature, to help when going down slippery slopes.
You can also choose between single or double cab options, which means you can have one or two rows of seats.
All in all, there are plenty or variants to suit a wide range of horse-towing needs.
The premium tower: Audi Q7
The Audi Q7 is another large SUV that can fulfil a number of tasks with ease – and do so offering a comfortable experience to anyone inside the car when towing.
All versions can tow trailers up to 2800kg, but Q7s fitted with the air suspension system (which makes the car even more comfortable over uneven surfaces) can pull up to 3500kg.
All Q7s have a 3.0-litre diesel engine that provides strong performance. There’s also an e-tron variant, a plug-in hybrid that adds an electric motor to engine and has an electric-only range of 34 miles.
It also comes with plenty of other technology and safety features, such as the obligatory trailer-assist system.
The newcomer: Mercedes-Benz GLS
The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is massive, luxurious and more than capable of towing a horse trailer to a three-day event.
This is a seriously sized SUV. It has seven proper seats, each of which is suitable for a six-foot-tall adult – and all the occupants will be riding in luxurious levels of comfort. And as it's brand new for 2019, it's full of the very latest technology, including a widescreen display for the instrument panel and infotainment.
Buyers can choose between two strong diesel engines, or a turbocharged V8 petrol mild hybrid, all of which will produce plenty of power to not only shift the GLS’s bulk, but also have enough left over to pull a horse trailer.
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