Horse Trailer Hitch & Tires

Trailer Classifications

Trailers commonly used to haul horses fall into one of four classes based on Maximum Gross Trailer Weight (MGTW). MGTW is equal to the load weight, trailer weight and tongue load.

Class 1: MTGW Not exceeding 2,000 lbs

Class 2: MTGW Over 2,000 lbs but not exceeding 3,500 lbs

Class 3: MTGW Over 3,500 lbs but not exceeding 5,000 lbs

Class 4: MTGW Over 5,000 lbs but not exceeding 10,000 lbs

Trailer Ball Classifications

This may sound very common sense but make sure that the place the trailer ball is attached on the towing vehicle can safely carry the trailer’s weight.

Consult a professional towing expert about the capacity of your vehicle before towing. Automobile manufacturer factory specifications could possibly be misleading.

Class 1: 1 7/8” diameter

Class 2: 2” diameter

Class 3: 2” diameter

Class 4: 2 5/16” diameter

Trailer Tongue Recommendation by Trailer Weight Classifications

Class 1: Weight Carrying Hitch or Weight Distribution Hitch
Max Static Tongue Load: 200 lbs to 300 lbs

Class 2: Weight Carrying Hitch or Weight Distribution Hitch
Max Static Tongue Load: 300 lbs to 500 lbs

Class 3: Weight Distribution Hitch
Max Static Tongue Load: 15% MGTW

Class 4: Weight Distribution Hitch
Max Static Tongue Load: 15% MGTW

Trailer Safety Chains Classifications

Class 1: 2,000 lbs min load & 3/16” steel link diameter

Class 2: 3,500 lbs min load & 1/4” steel link diameter

Class 3: 5,000 lbs min load & 5/16” steel link diameter

Class 4: 10,000 lbs min load & 3/8” to 7/16” steel link diameter

Trailer and Towing Vehicle Tire Selection
Ply Rating or Load Range is the first item for selection of a tire for a towing vehicle or trailer. The tires must be able to carry the load you desire to pull. Ply Rating term is slowly being replaced by the term Load Range. Ply Rating refers to the to the plies in the tire such as 4 ply or 6 ply. The higher the ply the higher the load capacity. Load Range is a similar term to Ply Rating but load range is more specifically based on pounds per square inch (psi).

Tread Wear Rating

The tread wear grade is a comparative rating based on the wear rate of the tire when tested under controlled conditions on a specified government test course. For example, a tire graded 150 would wear one and a half (1 1/2) times better on the government course as a tire graded 100. The relative performance of tires depends upon the actual conditions of their use, however, and may depart significantly from the norm due to variations in driving habits, service practices and differences in road characteristics and climate.

Traction Rating

The Traction Rating is expressed in letters in descending order, “AA”(highest), “A”, “B”, or “C”(lowest) based on wet skid tests on government-specified concrete and asphalt surfaces. The comparative grade letters represent the tire’s ability to stop the vehicle on wet pavement. Corning traction is not tested.

Temperature Rating

The Temperature Rating is expressed in letters in descending order, “A”, “B”, and “C”, based on indoor, extended high-speed wheel test. The comparative grade letters represent the tire’s resistance to deterioration from the effects of heat combined with high speed.

Tire Rotation

This is important to ensure even wear and may allow longer/safer tire life. You should rotate and balance your tires about every 5,000 miles. This is not an exact milestone if you have uneven tire wear you may want to rotate earlier. Rotating and balancing tires is often part of a purchase package when you buy tires. Many times the rotation and balance is free for the life of the tires. The periodic professional tire inspection may also help identify early problems that can be corrected before they cause an accident.

Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is also an important item that should never be overlooked. Tire pressure will change when the seasons change or if there are large differences between day temperatures and night temperatures.

Proper tire pressure reduces gas consumption, allows safer vehicle performance and the tires last longer.

The tire pressure will be listed on the tire wall. I like to check tire pressure before towing a vehicle and checking the tires at each gasoline filling.

Road Flares

Reflective Triangles

Tire Pump

Cell Phone

Spot Light

Tow Rope (Heavy Duty)

Jumper Cables

Chalk Blocks

Extra Lead Rope & Halter

Hydraulic Jack

Tape (Duct or Electrical)


Entrenching Tool (Small Folding Shovel)

Horse/Human First Aid Kit

Small Broom & Shovel

First Aid Container

Horse Trailer Extraction Tools

Hammer (Light sledge)

Hacksaw with blades

Pry bar

Pliers/Channel locks/Locking Pliers

Vehicle Road Kit

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