Written by Rachael Kraft
Finding the right tow vehicle to successfully haul your horse trailer can be tricky - but it’s essential for safe travel on the road. Trying to haul your trailer with a truck that doesn’t have enough towing capacity can put you and your horses in danger. It can impair maneuverability, quickly age both your truck and your trailer, and lead to costly repairs.
Before you choose the right truck or tow vehicle to haul your trailer, you’ll need to know what your horse trailer weight is, what your truck’s towing capacity is, and what your horse trailer GVWR is. In this article, we’ll cover all that, and help you find the best vehicle for towing a horse trailer.
How Much Does a Two Horse Trailer Weigh?
Your two horse trailer weight varies based on what type of trailer you have, what brand your trailer is, and what materials your trailer is made out of. It’s also important to note that horse trailer weight can come in two forms - loaded and unloaded. You should know both of these numbers before you hit the road.
Your horse trailer weight is specific to your horse trailer, especially if you have a custom-built trailer. But to help you get a general idea of how much two horse trailers weigh, here’s a list of average horse trailer weight for different trailers. Please note that the following horse trailer weights are average unloaded weights.
How Much Does a Bumper Pull Horse Trailer Weigh?
Bumper pull trailers are smaller trailers and weigh less than most horse trailers. For example, 2 horse bumper pull trailer weight is usually around 2,400 lbs without a dressing room, and 3,200 lbs with a dressing room.
How much does a three horse trailer weigh? Well, the average horse trailer weight for a three horse bumper pull trailer with a dressing room is around 4,100 lbs.
How to Find the Best Bumper Pull Horse Trailer
How Much Does a Gooseneck Horse Trailer Weigh?
Gooseneck trailers are bigger and heavier than bumper pull trailers. If it’s a gooseneck trailer, 2 horse trailer weight will be around 4,600 lbs. A three horse gooseneck trailer will weigh around 5,300 lbs and a 4 horse trailer can weigh 6,300 lbs or more.
Gooseneck Horse Trailers: The Best Horse Trailer for Draft Horses and Other Large Breeds
How Much Does a Horse Trailer With Living Quarters Weigh?
Horse trailers with living quarters are the heaviest types of trailers because of all the added comfort features and heavy appliances like air conditioning units, refrigerators, stovetops, and mattresses.
The average weight of a 2 horse trailer with living quarters with a 6 foot short wall is 6,300 lbs, and the average weight of a 2 horse trailer with an 8 foot short wall is 7,300 lbs.
The length of your living quarters area will greatly affect your overall horse trailer weight. For each additional one foot of living quarters space, add 500 lbs to your 2 horse horse trailer weight. And if your trailer is a full 8' wide, you’ll need to add another 1,000 lbs to your total horse trailer weight.
And how much does a three horse trailer weigh? A three horse gooseneck trailer with an 8 foot short wall weighs about 7,900 lbs, and with a 10 foot short wall, around 8,900 lbs. And the same applies for three horse trailer weight, if you have more living quarters space, your trailer will be heavier.
If you’re wondering how much a 4 horse or 5 horse gooseneck trailer weighs, you can figure out your trailer weight by adding about 240-250 lbs to your horse trailer weight for each additional horse stall. For example, if you have a four horse gooseneck trailer with a 10 foot short wall, just add 8,900 (three horse gooseneck trailer weight) + 240 to get your total horse trailer weight, 9,140 lbs.
Towing A Horse Trailer - What to Know
Before you hit the road with your beautiful new trailer, you’ll need to answer these important questions… Will my truck be able to pull my horse trailer? How much towing capacity do I need for a horse trailer? How do I find my horse trailer GVWR?
Horse Trailer GVWR
First things first, what is GVWR? Horse trailer GVWR is the maximum, fully loaded weight your trailer can support. This number includes the weight of your trailer, the weight of your horses, and the weight of everything else (gear, hay, tack) in your trailer. It’s super important to remember that the GVWR also includes the tongue weight of your horse trailer. You can figure out your horse trailer’s tongue weight with this handy calculator right here.
Every trailer comes with a GVWR - usually this number is printed on a sticker that you’ll find in one of your trailer’s escape doors or on the trailer frame. Always travel safely - know your trailer’s GVWR and never haul more weight than your horse trailer’s maximum weight limit.
How Much Does a 2 Horse Trailer Weigh Loaded?
While the average weight of a two horse trailer listed above can be helpful for getting a general idea of your horse trailer weight, to find out how much your loaded trailer weighs, you’ll need to weigh it on a scale.
You can weigh your trailer at a weigh station. Most weigh stations are located along interstates and freeways. Here you can find a weigh station locator to find one closest to you. This will give you the most accurate loaded weight.
What is My Vehicle’s Towing Capacity?
The next thing you’ll need to know is your truck or towing vehicle’s towing capacity. You can find this number in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or online on the manufacturer’s website. This number needs to be greater than the weight of your fully loaded trailer.
When towing a horse trailer, you also need to keep in mind that your truck’s hitch and your truck’s towing capacity are different things. A truck with a high towing capacity but a weak hitch could cause your hitch to break and lead to accidents on the road. Make sure your hitch is strong enough to support the tongue weight of your horse trailer.
Generally, there are five classes of hitches on trucks and towing vehicles:
Type of Hitch
Maximum Trailer Tongue Weight
up to 2,000 lbs
up to 3,500 lbs
Class III (weight carrying)
up to 6,000 lbs
Class III (weight distributing)
up to 10,000 lbs
Class IV (weight carrying)
up to 10,000 lbs
Class IV (weight distributing)
up to 14,000 lbs
Class V (weight carrying)
up to 12,000 lbs
Class V (weight distributing)
up to 17,000 lbs
Double check to make sure your truck’s hitch is strong enough to support your trailer’s tongue weight and successfully haul your 2 horse trailer weight with horses.
How Much Towing Capacity Do I Need for a Horse Trailer?
While you might think it’s best to find a tow vehicle that goes above and beyond, you just need to find a vehicle that’s a good match. If your truck’s towing capacity is greater than your trailer's loaded GVWR, and you’ve made sure your hitch is able to support your trailer’s tongue weight, you’re ready to go! But, it’s important to make sure both of these important numbers (tongue weight and GVWR) have enough towing capacity.
Here’s an example:
Darleen has a beautiful new two horse trailer with living quarters that weighs 6,800 lbs. She had a Ford F-150 truck that had a 9,000 pound towing capacity. At first glance, you might think that that’s a perfect combination.
But, when we took a closer look, we found that the hitch on her truck had a maximum gross weight of only 5,000 lbs and a maximum tongue weight of only 500 lbs. WHen Darleen saw that the tongue weight on her trailer was 1,500 lbs, she quickly realized that her truck wasn’t going to be able to safely pull her new trailer.
Keep Your Horse Safe While Towing with These Safety Tips
Buy Your Trailer First, and Your Towing Vehicle Second
Unfortunately, we hear too many stories just like Darleen’s. Many people buy their truck first, then hope and pray that it can haul their two horse trailer weight, only to find out that the numbers are a little off.
That’s why we always recommend buying your dream trailer first, then finding a towing vehicle to match. Your horse trailer will last you 15 to 20 years, while your truck or tow vehicle might only last 5 to 10 years before you sell it or trade it in for a newer model. It makes sense to invest in the horse trailer of your dreams, then find a good truck, rather than try to find a horse trailer that will match your truck.
Best Towing Vehicles for Horse Trailers
When searching for a truck or SUV that can pull a horse trailer, you’ll need to keep three numbers in mind:
- GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) - the maximum loaded weight (including trailer tongue weight, vehicle passengers, and weight of your tow vehicle) that your truck or SUV can support.
- GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating) - the maximum weight for the combination of your loaded trailer and tow vehicle.
- GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) - the maximum weight your truck’s axles are able to haul.
We call these the Magic G’s of towing. Your truck needs to comply with all three of these numbers to be a safe tow vehicle for your trailer. If you exceed any one of these numbers, you could put yourself and your horses at risk of an accident on the road.
Types of Cars That Can Pull Horse Trailers
Most people think of trucks when they think of tow vehicles for pulling a horse trailer. Trucks typically have higher towing capacities and are built to haul heavier loads. However, not all trucks are built the same.
RAM trucks, for example, usually have tow limits anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds. That’s a much greater towing allowance than Toyota Tacoma trucks that rarely exceed a 7,000 lb tow limit. But, even if a truck has a high tow limit, you’ll need to double check the hitch capacity, GCVWR and GAWR before determining that it’s a good match for you. Some pickup trucks recommended for pulling a horse trailer include: RAM trucks, Ford F150s, Toyota Tundras, and GMC Sierras.
But do you have to have a truck to pull a horse trailer? No, actually there are a couple different types of cars and SUVs that can support a two horse trailer weight. As long as you check the Magic G’s listed above and know your numbers, you’ll find that there are different options to successfully tow your new trailer.
Read More: Smallest Tow Vehicles: Is Towing a Horse Trailer With a Car Safe?
Best SUV for Towing Horse Trailer
There are a couple different brands of SUVs that are good options for towing a horse trailer. Ford Expeditions, Chevrolet Tahoes, GMC Yukons, and Chevrolet Suburbans are some of the best SUV to pull a horse trailer because they have higher towing capacities than most SUVs. But remember, even if your SUV has a high towing limit, you’ll need to double check the hitch capacity to make sure your vehicle is able to safely haul your horse trailer weight.
Can A Jeep Pull A Horse Trailer?
Jeeps typically don’t have a very high tow limit, and for that reason, they usually aren’t a great option for pulling a horse trailer. For example, Jeep Wranglers only have a tow limit of 2,000 - 4,500 pounds. However, a Jeep Grand Cherokee with 4WD has a tow limit of 7,200 pounds. With the right hitch and a high enough GAWR, this vehicle could probably haul a small two horse bumper pull trailer.
Taking the time to find the right tow vehicle for your horse trailer is important. Knowing the numbers and knowing that you are hauling a safe weight will put you at ease on the road and prevent accidents and tragedies. Don’t put yourself, your family, and your horses at risk, always tow safely and never exceed the weight limits.
Below, you’ll find downloadable towing guides with a list of vehicles and their tow limits, remember that these numbers are estimations and every vehicle is different. Always look at your vehicle manual to find out your vehicle's specific numbers.
FREE Horse Trailer Towing Guides for Download
|Double D Trailers2020 Towing Guide
|Double D Trailers2019 Towing Guide
|Double D Trailers2018 Towing Guide
|Double D Trailers2017 Towing Guide
Frequently Asked Questions
What does GVWR mean on a horse trailer?
Horse trailer GVWR is the maximum weight supported by your trailer. This includes the full weight of your loaded trailer, including horses, tack, hay, and gear. And it also includes the tongue weight of your trailer. You can find your horse trailer GVWR labeled on a sticker usually located in your trailer frame or escape doors.
What are pickup trucks recommended for pulling a horse trailer?
Some pickup trucks recommended for pulling a horse trailer include: RAM trucks, Ford F150s, Toyota Tundras, and GMC Sierras. These trucks typically have towing limits larger than 7,000 lbs, making them great options for pulling even heavier two horse trailer weights. They are some of the best towing vehicles for horse trailers because they can usually easily support a two horse trailer weight.
Can a Toyota Tacoma pull a horse trailer?
Toyota Tacomas are very popular trucks, but depending on your two horse trailer weight, they might not have enough towing capacity to safely haul your horse trailer. Toyota Tacomas rarely exceed a 7,000 lb tow limit, so depending on your horse trailer GVWR, you might need a truck with a higher towing capacity.
How much does a 2 horse trailer weigh?
On average, a two horse bumper pull trailer weighs 2,400 lbs without a dressing room and 3,200 lbs with a dressing room. A two horse gooseneck trailer weighs 4,600 lbs and a two horse gooseneck trailer with living quarters can weigh between 6,300 to 7,500 lbs.
How much does a 3 horse trailer weigh?
A typical three horse bumper pull trailer with a dressing room weighs around 4,100 lbs. A three horse gooseneck trailer weighs around 5,300 lbs. And a three horse gooseneck trailer with living quarters can weigh anywhere from 7,900 lbs to 9,000 lbs or more, depending on the size of the living quarters area.
What is the average small horse trailer weight?
Small horse trailer weight can range anywhere from 2,400 lbs for a small two horse bumper pull trailer, to 4,600 lbs for a small two horse gooseneck trailer. Trailer weight will vary depending on the number of horse stalls, the type of trailer, and the materials used in trailer construction.