How a Van Can Tow a Horse Trailer Safely

If you need to transport a horse trailer but only have a van, a van can do the job in most situations, even if it isn’t the best option. If you do need to transport a horse trailer with a van, it is best if that van is built sturdily and can handle the weight.

Having horses can be a great deal of work, especially when it comes to transporting them from one place to another. This is where having a sturdy and dependable vehicle comes into play and why towing with a van can come in handy.

Believe it or not, a van can indeed safely tow a horse trailer as long as it meets a few basic requirements. But you have to keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that go into making it work.

If you are going to be towing a horse trailer with a van, these are some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself before doing so. You want to make sure that you are fully prepared, when towing such a heavy rig.


You Can Safely Tow a Horse Trailer With a Van

In most instances, it is perfectly safe to tow a horse trailer with a standard van. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that most vehicles can safely tow a horse trailer.

The most important thing to remember when towing with a smaller vehicle like a van is that it has less power. Because a van has less power and bulk, you will have to be extra careful when preparing it to tow.

Make sure the towing hook is safely attached and will not fall off or be torn off, make sure it is the right size for both the vehicle and the horse trailer. You might also consider mapping out your route to find the smoothest and safest driving route possible.

Planning ahead is vital as you do not want to be driving in areas that are overly taxing on your van. Excessive bumps and hills could lead to your van losing control of the horse trailer and lead to a dangerous situation.

Overall towing a horse trailer with a van is perfectly safe in most instances, you need to be aware of the risks and be fully prepared.


Smaller Vans May Not Have the Towing Capacity

Most if not all vans can pull a horse trailer to some degree, the smaller the van, the less likely it can pull a trailer, however. Most vans are built with the capacity to haul since they are generally used for packing things around.

There are some vans that stand out from the rest, however, giving you a much better chance at being able to tow a horse trailer.

It is a good idea to use a van with a high towing capacity that is capable of pulling a significant amount of weight. You can find these kinds of vans with some simple searching and study up on van types.

Some great vans to choose from with the capacity to tow a heavy horse trailer include:

  • 2021 Ram ProMaster
  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
  • 2021 Chrysler Pacifica
  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris
  • 2021 Ford Transit

These are just a few of the most popular vans that have the capacity to easily tow something as large and heavy as a horse trailer. But most vans have a capacity capable of doing such a task even if they aren’t necessarily built for towing.

Generally, a horse trailer is relatively light and can be towed by most vans without experiencing any issues. It is when you are towing horses inside of the trailer that you have to start thinking about vehicle capacity.

It is considered to be unsafe for a vehicle to tow something over its capacity, this could lead to dangerous accidents or pressure on your van.

A van with a capacity of 7,500 is ideal, but you might be able to get away with a capacity of 5,000 if you don’t tow more than two standard-sized horses. Some vans can even pull up to 10,000 lbs.

If your van capacity is limited, you may have to tow a few horses at a time to remain within your van’s safe capacity to tow. This is why it may be worth investing in a high-capacity van built to tow heavy objects.


The Number of Horses Can a Van Safely Tow

How many horses your van can safely tow will depend entirely upon your van’s towing capacity. You do not want to exceed this, or you risk endangering yourself and your horses as well as damaging your van.

Generally speaking, the larger the van, the higher the towing capacity, but it also depends on make, model, and year. To be completely certain of your vans capacity, a quick google search should be able to help you if you have your vans information.

Doing some research on your van is an important step to take before actually transporting your horse trailer. It is a good way to make sure that doing so will be safe and that your van can handle the extra weight of a trailer on the back.

The average-sized adult horse weighs 890 lbs to 1,100 lbs, so you will have to do some math to figure out how much the entire horse trailer will weigh. Every horse trailer will weigh a bit differently depending on the size.

Larger horse trailers can hold up to 8 horses, but most vans will not be able to carry this amount of weight plus the weight of the trailer. That is why it is best to keep your haul a bit lighter and not tow any more than 4 to 5 horses depending on your van.

Most small vans can tow at least one horse, while a larger van can safely carry multiple horses. It all depends on your van’s capacity and how big your trailer is. If you have never used your van to tow horses and a trailer, it is best to start out far under your van’s capacity to be safe.

There are several other factors that come into place when it comes to transporting horses safely with a van. If your van is an older model, it may not be able to tow as much as it should since it is older and has been driven a great deal.


Types of Horse Trailers Best for Vans

Horse trailers can vary from weighing as little as 2,500 lbs, to weighing as much as 12,000, depending on the size and make. When using a van to haul a horse trailer, you will want to avoid getting a very large trailer.

Many standard-sized vans have the capacity of carrying up to 5,000 lbs. Heavy-duty vans are often made with a higher capacity and can haul a larger load.

Most vans can easily tow a horse trailer by itself as long as it isn’t very large, but you also have to take into account the weight of your horses.

If you plan on transporting 2 to 3 horses, you will need to invest in the right size of trailer. Even smaller-sized trailers can usually hold up to 2 to 3 horses safely, making your load a bit more balanced for a van.

You will need to add up the weight of your trailer with the weight of your horses to determine how much weight you can take on. If you do not know your van’s capacity, make sure you research the make and model to find out. This is very important, so you do not want to skip this step.


Advantages of Towing with a Van

The advantages of towing with a van are pretty obvious since it allows you to tow a horse trailer with the vehicle that you have. I know that I don’t have a heavy-duty truck to use for towing, and you probably don’t either so being able to tow with a van is convenient.

It can help you save money by not having to invest in buying a truck or heavy capacity vehicle. Vans can be considerably more affordable depending on what you buy.

Vans are also often smaller and can be easier to maneuver, making them more efficient as a vehicle than a truck. Not only are they easier to drive with a horse trailer, but they can also be used for several other uses as well.

Vans are great vehicles for day-to-day needs, whether you need a basic vehicle to get around in or plan on hauling things regularly. They can also have better mileage than most trucks since trucks are known for being gas guzzlers.


Disadvantages of Towing With a Van

One of the biggest disadvantages to towing a horse trailer with a van is that you are limited in how much weight a van can tow. This can limit the kind of trailer you use or how many horses you can safely transport.

Towing a horse trailer with a van can also be very taxing on your vehicle, meaning it will have a significantly shorter lifespan. Heavy-duty vans meant for hauling will most likely hold up better, but the average van might start to become less effective.

Hauling a heavy load like a horse trailer can put a great deal of stress on a van and lead to the tires wearing out much faster and its mileage going down significantly. It may also require more tire alignment and checkups to make sure it is running as it should. This can add up over time and become quite an expense.

Towing a horse trailer with a van can also put you at a greater risk of having some kind of accident on the road. Hauling with a van is generally considered safe as long as you do everything correctly.

Going over your van’s capacity, hauling too many horses, not having the right bumper pull, or not driving with high-quality tires can all lead to accidents. That is why it is so important to follow certain safety precautions when hauling a horse trailer with a van.


Basic Safety Precautions When Towing a Horse Trailer

Besides what we have already talked about, there are a few basic safety precautions that you will need to take when towing a horse trailer with a van. There are a few more risks involved than if you were towing with a truck.

Because it can be a little riskier, it is a good idea to be extra prepared and take extra safety precautions.


Check Your Tires

Before you use your van to tow a horse trailer, it is always a good idea to do a checkup on your tires. Driving a horse trailer is a lot of extra weight on your van, which will put more strain on your tires, this is why you want to make sure they are in tip-top shape.

You can do this by making a quick trip to a car area where you can often get free checkups on your vehicles. Make sure to let them know why you are getting the checkup so they can look at your tires with the strain in mind.

If your tires are a few years old with lots of wear, it might be worth investing in a new set for safety measures. Or, if they are still in good condition, you will want to make sure that there are no weak spigots or spurs.

Getting your tires filled to the right pressure is very important and will help your van to have the needed power to tow a heavy horse trailer.


Have the Bumper Pull

You will need to buy a bumper pull that will fit your van, as well as be able to manage the weight of a horse trailer. If you are unsure about what kind of weight you need, you can always ask the store staff to help you out.

It is important to get the right size so that it will fit snugly on your van, this can prevent any serious accidents from happening. You will also need to make sure that you know what you are doing when you hook up the bumper pull to your van.

If you have never done it before, either do some research online, or you can pay to have it done at a local car service.


Secure Your Horses

This is a very obvious step that you should take no matter what vehicle you are towing with, and that is to properly secure your horses.

Make sure that they are calm and well situated, with plenty of room inside the horse trailer. Every trailer is different, but they should all have some way of securing the horses in the stalls. Make sure you do this to keep them safe while driving so that they are not thrown around.

You may also decide to tie your horses as well, but this is a personal decision if you think it will help them to stay safer.


Have Enough Gas

Having enough gas is a safety measure for any trip, whether you are hauling a trailer or not, but it is especially important when towing a horse trailer with a van. You may think that half a tank of gas will get you to where you need to go, but you have to consider the added strain on your van.

Towing anything that is heavy is going to put a strain on your van even slightly. This will make your van work harder and result in it using more gas in a shorter amount of time than usual. This is why it is best to have a full tank of gas just to be safe.

If you are driving a long distance and there aren’t many gas stations along the way, you will need to bring spare gas to add yourself just as a precaution. It is impossible to know how much extra gas your van will eat up, so it is always best to be safe rather than sorry.


Know Where You’re Going

Like we mentioned above, it is important to map your driving route for the best path possible. This will mean that you need to do some research beforehand to know what directions will be the safest and fastest.

Try to do this beforehand to avoid having to make unnecessary stops or getting turned around. If you lose track of where you are going, you can not only waste time but put extra stress on your horses and use up your gas.

Doing this beforehand is also important in helping you to avoid dangerous areas that can be hard on your van. This could be high-traffic highways, bumpy roads, or steep hills, all things that can make it extra hard for your van to tow a horse trailer.