Backing Your Horse Trailer

If it has been awhile since you have pulled a trailer, or if you have never traveled with a trailer in tow, you should definitely practice backing your rig before hitting the highway. After all, backing a trailer may look easier than it actually is.

Practice Techniques

Use those highway cones that you set up in a parking lot or vacant lot for practicing turns. Follow the guidelines below for backing your horse trailer:

  • Grab the bottom of the steering wheel, with your hand in the 6 o'clock position.
  • Holding onto the steering wheel, move your hand in the direction that you want your trailer to go. For instance, if you want your trailer to go right, move your hand to the right. If you want the trailer to go left, move your hand to the left. Note: the more you move your hand in one direction, the more the trailer will turn in that direction.
  • When you want to straighten the trailer, move your hand in the opposite direction.
  • To make a sharp turn while backing, turn the steering wheel BEFORE pushing on the accelerator pedal.
  • To back in a wider arc, gently accelerate as you turn the steering wheel.
  • Always use your side-view mirrors to monitor your progress while backing.
  • Once you've gotten the hang of making a turn while backing the horse trailer, practice backing straight down the lane you have created with the highway cones. When you reach the end, back out of the lane. Try not to hit any cones!

While backing your horse trailer, be prepared for small changes in angle, so that you can make adjustments easily and as often as necessary to keep the trailer on course. With practice, you will get a feel for how much you need to turn the steering wheel when backing a trailer.

Now You're Ready!

You've practiced hard, and you now feel comfortable with backing your trailer when the need to do so arises. If you've practiced your turns and sudden stops with a horse trailer in tow, and if you feel confident in your ability to travel on roadways with your rig, go ahead and give it a try! But, remember, always drive defensively!

This horse trailer safety article is provided by EquiSpirit Horse Trailers.
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