Car Reviews

What Kind of Truck Do You Need to Pull A Horse Trailer?

By TheCarzingTeam February 4, 2022 | Car Reviews

Car Reviews

One of the hardest parts about owning horses is figuring out how to transport them. Bringing them to shows, events, or even a local trail can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. The key to traveling safely with your horses is purchasing a truck that is capable of pulling the weight of a horse trailer.

What kind of truck do you need to pull a horse trailer? What trucks can tow living quarter horse trailers? Fortunately, there are many options to choose from, which is why it’s important to know what to look for when searching for the right truck. Here are the main factors you need to consider when deciding which truck to purchase:

What Kind of Truck Do You Need to Pull A Horse Trailer

Towing Capacity

The first factor you need to consider when evaluating your options is the towing capacity. A truck’s towing capacity is the maximum amount of weight that the vehicle can safely tow. You need to look for a truck that can safely tow the weight of your horse trailer, so start by figuring out how much your horse trailer weighs.

Look online or in the owner’s manual to find the weight of your horse trailer. Then, add the weight of your horses and any other items you plan on towing inside the horse trailer. This will give you the total amount of weight you plan on towing with your truck.

The truck you purchase should have a towing capacity that is greater than this number. In fact, some experts recommend that you avoid coming within 10% of the towing capacity. For example, if a truck has a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds, it’s best to never tow more than 9,000 pounds.

What Kind of Truck Do You Need to Pull A Horse Trailer

Curb Weight

You should also consider the curb weight when choosing a truck to pull your horse trailer. The curb weight is the total weight of the truck, including a full tank of gas and all standard equipment, but not including passengers or other cargo.

In the past, many people thought that a truck had to be heavier than the trailer it was towing. However, that’s not the case. Many of today’s trucks are designed to be lighter than ever in order to improve fuel efficiency. Even though they aren’t as heavy, they are still capable of safely towing a significant amount of weight.

But in general, the heavier the curb weight, the better the truck will be able to control the weight of the horse trailer. Choosing a truck with a slightly heavier curb weight could provide more stability when towing a large horse trailer. When in doubt, choose a truck with a curb weight that is close to the weight of the horse trailer.


A truck’s wheelbase is the distance between the front axle and the rear axle. There’s no rule that states the precise length that a truck’s wheelbase needs to be in order to safely tow a horse trailer. However, the greater the wheelbase, the safer it will be to tow your horse trailer.

A longer wheelbase provides more stability and control. A longer wheelbase also reduces the risk of the front end of the truck lifting in the air as a result of the weight of the horse trailer pushing down on the hitch in the rear.

A truck with a shorter wheelbase may be capable of safely towing a horse trailer. However, because the wheelbase is shorter, the horse trailer may bounce around or sway back and forth throughout the trip. If you want the smoothest ride possible, choose a truck with a longer wheelbase.

What Kind of Truck Do You Need to Pull A Horse Trailer

Drive System

There are four main types of drive systems: front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive. If you are planning on pulling a horse trailer, it’s important to choose a truck with the right kind of drive system.

A rear-wheel drive system, which delivers power from the truck’s engine to the rear wheels, is ideal for towing. This is because if you are towing a horse trailer, the rear wheels are carrying most of the weight, so a rear-wheel drive system will give your vehicle more traction and better handling.

However, if you frequently drive over rough terrain, snow, or ice, you may want to choose a truck with a four-wheel drive system instead. Most trucks with four-wheel drive give you the option of switching this drive system on and off. When it’s turned off, the vehicle may use a rear-wheel drive system, which is ideal for all types of towing. But if you are traveling over ice, slippery roads, or rough terrain, you can turn the four-wheel drive system on for added safety.

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission

Some consumers still prefer a manual transmission over an automatic transmission. Driving a truck with a manual transmission does offer several benefits, including the ability to shift into a lower gear when traveling downhill, which can make coming to a complete stop easier.

However, if you are planning on towing a horse trailer, it’s best to choose a truck with an automatic transmission. This way, you won’t have to think about shifting gears when driving. You can focus solely on the road ahead and safely pulling your horse trailer behind you.

Plus, trucks with an automatic transmission typically have higher towing capacities than trucks with a manual transmission. It’s also much easier to find a truck with an automatic transmission since it’s rare for a truck to be designed with a manual transmission. 

Structural Design

You should also pay attention to the design of the truck’s chassis, or structural framework. If you want to pull a horse trailer, look for a truck with a “body-on-frame” design rather than a “unibody” design.

A body-on-frame design consists of the body of the vehicle mounted directly onto the chassis, or framework, of the truck. In other words, the body of the vehicle and the chassis are two separate pieces. On the other hand, the body and framework of the vehicle are manufactured as one piece in a unibody design.

Why is a body-on-frame design better for towing? With this design, the hitch is attached to the frame of the truck rather than the body. Attaching the hitch to the frame provides more stability and better handling.

What Kind of Truck Do You Need to Pull A Horse Trailer

Tow Package

Ideally, the truck you choose should come with a factory-installed tow package. Some people think that a tow package is just a trailer hitch, but that’s inaccurate.

A vehicle with a tow package will be equipped with everything you need to safely tow your horse trailer. This includes the tow hitch, electrical connections, upgraded suspension and braking system, and more. It may also include a more powerful transmission and a larger radiator that is capable of keeping your engine cool even when you are towing a significant amount of weight.

A tow package will increase the total weight of your truck, which could decrease its fuel efficiency. However, the benefits of a tow package outweigh the costs, especially if you plan on frequently using your truck to tow your horse trailer.


You should also consider the type of gas that is required when choosing a truck to pull a horse trailer. Every truck is powered by either diesel or regular gas. You may think that the only difference between the two is what you pay at the pump, but that’s not the case. The type of gas can affect a truck’s performance, including its ability to safely tow a horse trailer.

Diesel trucks can typically generate more torque than gas-powered trucks. The more torque an engine generates, the greater the truck’s towing potential. In other words, diesel trucks can usually tow more weight than gas-powered trucks. 


What’s under the hood of your truck could also impact how well it is able to tow a horse trailer. Remember, diesel trucks can produce more torque than gas-powered trucks, so a truck with a diesel engine will typically have more towing power.

But a turbo diesel engine is even more powerful than a standard diesel engine. A turbo diesel engine is a diesel engine that is equipped with a turbocharger. The turbocharger increases the airflow into the engine’s combustion chamber, which can increase the engine’s compression, improve the engine’s efficiency, and generate even more torque. This allows the truck to safely pull and carry more weight, which is why the vast majority of large commercial trucks are designed with turbo diesel engines. 


Most passenger vehicles have four wheels: two in the front and two in the back. But some trucks are designed with a total of six wheels. These “dually” trucks have two wheels in the front and four in the back.

The additional two wheels in the back provide a number of benefits, including better stability and more sway control when towing a horse trailer. Dually trucks also typically have higher payload and tow capacities, which means you can safely carry and pull more weight with one of these trucks. 


The final thing you need to decide is whether you want a ½ ton, ¾ ton, or 1 ton truck. In the past, this classification was used to clarify how much weight a truck could safely carry. For example, a ½ ton truck’s payload capacity used to be about half of a ton, or 1,000 pounds. But this is no longer accurate. Even a smaller, ½ ton truck is capable of carrying far more than 1,000 pounds. So what type of truck is best for towing a horse trailer?

If you plan on driving your truck every day, even when you aren’t pulling a horse trailer, a ½ ton truck might be best. These trucks have lower towing capacities than ¾ ton and 1-ton trucks, but they are still capable of pulling a horse trailer.

If you plan on frequently pulling a horse trailer, however, you may want to purchase a ¾ ton truck instead. These trucks are ideal for people who regularly need to tow or haul heavy loads.

One-ton trucks are the largest and most powerful pickup trucks. They have higher towing capacities than other trucks, so they are ideal for drivers who need to pull a significant amount of weight. They are also designed with more powerful engines, which can make it easier to safely pull a horse trailer up a steep hill or over rough terrain.

Keep all of these factors in mind when searching for a truck so you can ensure you find the right vehicle to safely pull your horse trailer. Now that you have the right truck, traveling with your horses can be a far more enjoyable experience!

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