How Much Do Different-Sized Trailers Weigh?

What is a horse trailer weight?

When I first got involved with horses, I didn’t realize how important this is!

I’m glad, you’re asking this great question.

You’re on your way to giving your horse the best care possible!

Let’s take a look at my ultimate guide to the different types of trailers and what they weigh.

CHECK: Best Horse Trailers With Living Quarters

How to Weigh Horse Trailer?

To weigh a horse trailer you need to follow several steps using a weigh station. I’ve put this process in an easy-to-follow 4 steps below.

A lady accompanying her horse into a trailer

The actual weight of a trailer will vary depending on its size, the brand, materials, and any extras you add to it. It will also change with the amount of gear you put it in and the weight of each individual horse.

Right, so how do you weigh your horse trailer?

It isn’t hard, I promise!

But I do admit that it is a bit of a tedious chore to work out your maximum load capacity.

However, I can’t stress enough how essential it is that you know the trailer weight when it is empty and when it is full.

This is one of the most important safety considerations you need to make in order to ensure you use the correct tow vehicle.

To weigh your trailer, hitch it up, fully loaded, and go to a weigh station or some other type of public scale. Once there carry out four different weighs to get a full weight understanding.

For safety reasons, use a substitute weight instead of loading your horses [2].

#1 Place your vehicle only on the scale but leave the trailer hitched.

Your results need to be less than your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

#2 Unhitch your trailer and weigh just your vehicle again.

This will give you the tongue weight when you subtract the figure you get from #2 from #1. So #1 – #2. Your result must be less than your hitches’ indicated max tongue weight capacity. 

#3 Put your entire rig, truck, and trailer, on the scale and take the combined weight.

This gives you the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight. The result needs to be less than the GVWR of your towing vehicle.

#4 Place only your trailer on the scale, leaving it hitched.

You want this figure to be lower than your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity. For safety, don’t push this to the limit.

Note, that it is a good idea to do this exercise with your trailer empty as well.

Well-known horse trailer manufacturer, Lakota Trailers, shows you how they weigh their trailers and explain why it is important to know the tongue weight.

Check it out, they know a lot more than I do!

Importance of Knowing Horse Trailer Weight

Expert manufacturers, Double D Trailers,  explain that pulling a trailer for horses puts a huge amount of stress on your vehicle.

If you are towing a trailer that is too heavy it affects your steering, brakes, causes trailer tire failure, damages axels, and even can snap your hitch. [1]

These are major safety concerns and I’m sure, like me, you will want to keep the risks to your beloved horse to a minimum.

This is why it is essential to understand the limits of your vehicle and know your trailer weight.

Brad Heath, who owns Double D Trailers, makes it clear and simple:  “It’s up to the individual owner to know their tow vehicle specs, and ensure the vehicle is rated to safely carry the load of their horse trailer.”

I found this a great video to learn more about the importance of trailering safely, including weight limits. If you plan on towing a horse trailer, I really recommend it!

This guy really knows what he is talking about.

How Much Do Horse Trailers Weigh?

Horse trailers weigh between 1,300 and 14,600 pounds before you add any horses and equipment.

Let’s take a look at how much the different-sized trailers weigh.

1 Horse Trailer Weight

An empty horse trailer

A one-horse is the smallest type of trailer you can get. It can only carry one horse and is the least commonly used. A single horse trailer can weigh anywhere from 1,300 to 3,000 pounds when empty.

The lightest type of single horse trailer is made from fiberglass, such as the Brenderup Solo.

Steel is usually the heaviest but you will find that some step-up steel stock trailers weigh less than a one-horse aluminum trailer with a ramp.

Just a little tip to note is that 1 horse trailers are always bumper pulls. If you have a small car, such as a sports utility vehicle you will want to look at lightweight trailers like the one horse.

2 Horse Trailer Weight

A 2 horse trailer weight can vary greatly.

Once you get into these trailers you can find anything from the basic models that have no tack areas to those that integrate living accommodation. A living quarters trailer will be the heaviest.

Two horse Bumper-pull trailers range in weight from 2,150 to 3,000 pounds before you add your horse and equipment.

You can also find a two horse gooseneck trailer. These are the type that usually includes living quarters and can weigh as much as 10,580 pounds empty.

3 Horse Trailer Weight

A 3 horse trailer weight starts at 2,920 pounds and can go up to as much as 10,000 pounds once you add a living area.

Some 3 horse models are bumper-pull trailers. These are lighter than their gooseneck horse trailer cousins.

4 Horse Trailer Weight

4 horse trailer weight can start at 3,000 pounds, but mostly the average weight is 4,000 pounds.

A four horse gooseneck with a living area can weigh as much as 14,230 pounds.

Once you put your horses and gear in any four horse standard trailers, you can see that the weight will require a tough, strong vehicle.

5 Horse Trailer Weight

Once you come to five horse trailers, your only options are goosenecks.

They are either gooseneck stock horse trailers or fully enclosed. These trailers weigh anywhere from 4,600 pounds when it has no extras to 14,600 pounds.

6 Horse Trailer Weight

A horse trailer carrying horses

6 horse trailer weight starts at 8,000 pounds and can go as high as 14,800 pounds when you include living quarters.

How to Determine GVWR Of Trailer

To determine the GVWR of a trailer you need to locate the manufacturer’s sticker which is on the inside of one of the escape doors or on the frame.

GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is one of the most important numbers to know when it comes to trailering your horses.

This number applies to the capacity of your trailer. It is located on the sticker within the trailer itself. It is essentially the trailer weight rating.

Your vehicle will also have a sticker with its GVWR. It is extremely important that you have the proper vehicle to deal with the load capacity of the trailer you will be using.

I was mortified when I found out a vehicle I had used wasn’t correct. Learn this, so you don’t have the same anxiety and guilt I had!

A female horse ownrer moving her horse into trailer

Take note that this is the generic GVWR provided by the manufacturer. It will not include the weight that extras, such as floor mats add. Thus it is important to weigh a fully kitted out trailer and subtract the extra weight from the generic to get your true GVWR.

Now you will know how much weight in gear and horses your trailer can take.

If your trailer’s GVWR is 6,000 pounds you will need a vehicle with a towing capacity higher than this.

A vehicle with a towing capacity of 6,000 leaves you no room for miscalculating the accurate weight and will put too much pressure on the hitch, trailer tongue, and truck.

READ MORe: 5 Choices of Horse Trailer Flooring Material

Horse Trailer Weight FAQs

Purchasing a trailer is a big investment. Not only financially but also for your own and your horse’s safety. To help you navigate this confusing process, I’ve answered several questions that I hear often.

How much towing capacity do I need for a horse trailer?

How much towing capacity you need for a horse trailer will depend on the trailer size. Also, you will need a higher towing capacity than the trailer’s max capacity.
So, for example, if your trailer has a max capacity of 7,000 pounds, you need a truck with the ability to tow at least 7,500 pounds, 8,000 is even better and safer.

Do I need extra insurance to tow a horse trailer?

two repo horse trailers parked on the road

You will need to add on to your current car insurance policy to tow a horse trailer to cover you. It can usually be an extension on your current policy without the need for extra insurance.
It is however a good idea to get trailer insurance to protect you against damage or theft.

How much does a stock trailer weigh?

A stock trailer weighs from 2,300 pounds to 4,000 pounds The weight will depend on the size of the trailer and the construction material.

What is a Featherlite horse trailer weight?

A Featherlite trailer comes in several models. They can weigh from 2,700 pounds to a maximum weight of 10,660 pounds for the gooseneck model with living quarters.

What is a Lakota horse trailer weight?

A 3 horse Lakota Charger horse trailer weighs just over 8,000 pounds. A 4 horse living quarters trailer weighs around 10,600 pounds.

What are the heaviest material trailers for horses are made from?

rusty repo horse trailer

The heaviest material trailers for horses are made from is steel. Steel horse trailers are becoming less popular due to their weight and also due to aluminum horse trailers having longevity.

Conclusion

I’ve covered all the horse trailers weights you will come across most frequently.

I suggest you take a good look at the figures of the trailer and your towing vehicle before making a purchase.

If in doubt speak to the trailer manufacturer directly. If buying new, many dealers offer a tow package.

It’s not worth risking your safety to save a few dollars. I know how that is tempting, considering the cost of a trailer. It is a big investment whether you are buying brand new or used. But it’s not worth the risk.

To finish up, don’t assume every two horse trailer weighs the same, and so on.

That’s a mistake I made early on. The true weight will depend on the individual trailer, the brand, model, fittings, and what it is made of.

Don’t hesitate to ask the seller or bring in an expert or ask the right questions before you take the leap into horse trailer ownership.

References

  • 1. How to Find Your Horse Trailer Weight: Why Does this Matter for Safety? [Internet]. Double D Trailers. [cited 2021 Dec 12]. Available from: https://www.doubledtrailers.com/how-to-find-your-horse-trailer-weight-safety/
  • 2. Nadeau J, Professor A. Effective Horse Management -Horse Management Series Safely Trailering and Loading Your Horse [Internet]. Available from: https://animalscience.uconn.edu/extension/documents/Safely_Trailering_and_Loading_Your_Horse.pdf
horses in a trailer

What do you think of this horse trailer weight guide? Let us know in the comments below!

Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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