Do you own a horse trailer? Since the trailer itself isn’t drivable, you always need a towing vehicle to transport your horses to and from the farm or wherever you’re going. If you recently bought an RV, you wonder if that can become your towing vehicle going forward. Can an RV tow a horse trailer?
RVs can tow horse trailers, but given the weight of the trailer itself and the horses when the trailer is full, you’ll need an RV with a higher towing capacity such as a class A or, in some cases, a class C RV.
If you’re new to RVs and you don’t know the differences between class A, B, or C motorhomes, then this is one post you’re not going to want to miss. We’ll talk about the weight capacity of all three RV classes as well as delve into the intricacies of towing a horse trailer with an RV.
Let’s get started.
What Is a Horse Trailer’s Measurements and How Much Does It Weigh?
Before we can determine whether an RV can tow a horse trailer, we need more information on the trailer itself, such as its measurements and its weight.
Horse trailers–also referred to as horse floats, horseboxes, or horse vans depending on which part of the world you hail from–are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some horse trailers are made for up to two horses, others for three, more still for eight, and some trailers for over eight horses.
Let’s take a closer look at the varying sizes of horse trailers.
One-Horse to Three-Horse Trailers
Single trailers for just one horse are the most compact horse trailers available. EquiSpirit, a horse trailer manufacturer, has a one-horse trailer called the SoleMate that we’ll use as an example.
On its own, this trailer weighs 2,780 pounds. It’s 14 ½ feet long and 7 feet, 6 inches tall inside. The trailer has a tack area that’s 24 square feet. Its rear door measures 20 inches by 24 inches and the SoleMate’s maximum axle capacity is 7,000 pounds.
What about a horse trailer for up to two equine animals? If you need a standard-sized two-horse trailer, that might be 6 feet wide and 7 feet, 6 inches tall. A trailer of this size is 10 feet long for the tack and 2 feet long for the wedge nose , which adds up to be 14 ½ feet long altogether. This two-horse trailer might weigh 2,800 pounds or more.
If you have bigger horses, you might need an XL two-horse trailer with a taller interior height of 7 feet, 8 inches. This trailer might be longer at 15 ½ feet and boost the overall weight to something like 3,030 pounds.
For even bigger horses, an XXL two-horse trailer would be wider at 6 feet, 8 inches without changes to the length or height of the trailer. This trailer would weigh more due to its wider stature, maybe around 3,230 pounds.
As for a standard three-horse trailer, this may be 7 feet, 8 inches inside with a width of 6 feet, 8 inches and a length of 29 feet, 6 inches. Adding the extra heft increases the trailer’s weight to 6,300 pounds.
Smaller one-horse to three-horse trailers are towable by some SUVs and pickup trucks.
Once you have more than three horses, you need to look into a larger trailer. A four-horse trailer may have an overall box length of 21 feet, 6 inches and a total length of 29 inches with the gooseneck. The height of this trailer would be between 7 feet, 4 inches and 7 feet, 6 inches with a stall width of 40 inches and a stall length of 117 inches. A standard four-horse trailer will weigh 6,300 pounds or more.
What if you have twice the number of horses as in a four-horse trailer? Then you’ll require an eight-horse trailer, which is usually towable via gooseneck or a fifth-wheel trailer as well as dual-style pickups capable of towing up to a ton.
A trailer for eight horses from 4 Start Trailers is 7 feet tall, 44 feet long, and 8 feet, 6 inches wide. The trailer listing doesn’t mention the weight, but we’re assuming somewhere in the ballpark of 10,000 pounds, maybe a little less.
If you have a trailer of this size, you can still use a gooseneck for transport. You can also try a semi-trailer, which is hefty enough for the job too.
Can an RV Tow a Horse Trailer?
Now that we’ve examined horse trailers in more detail, we can get back to our main question. Can you use an RV to tow a horse trailer?
You can, but the size of the horse trailer you can safely tow depends on your RV class, be that class A, B, or C. If you need an introduction or a refresher on the types of RV classes, keep reading, as we’ll talk about that in the next section. We’ll also get into the towing capacities per RV class.
More often than not, the horse trailer won’t be empty, so you have to add the weight of the horses into your overall weight capacity as well.
How much does an average horse weigh? That varies based on the gender, age, and the species of horse. The weight range of an adult horse is 840 pounds to 2,200 pounds. That leaves us with lots of wiggle room in between.
Given that a one-horse trailer weighs about 2,780 pounds, by adding an 840-pound horse, your overall weight is 3,620 pounds. You’ll need an RV that can pull at least that much weight then, preferably more.
An XL two-horse trailer is about 3,030 pounds, and with two 840-pound horses, now the weight goes up to 4,710 pounds. A four-horse trailer that’s 6,300 pounds weighs 9,660 pounds when full.
You can only imagine how much astronomically higher those weights would be if you had a horse weighing 2,200 pounds.
What Is the Towing Capacity for a Motorhome by Class?
To help you determine which type of RV you need to tow a horse trailer (with the added weight of the horses included), as promised, let’s discuss the three RV classes as well as the max towing capacity for each.
The largest and burliest RV class by far is the class A. One of these hulking motorhomes may be as long as 45 feet. Even smaller models are about 26 feet each, which is plenty generous. Given their size, you can fit every amenity you can ever want on a class A RV, including a living space, kitchen, sleeping areas, maybe even a bathroom with a shower and a toilet.
All this luxury comes at a price, as you won’t find an RV more costly than the class A. The average price for a class A RV is $50,000 on the lower end and $200,000 on the higher end. You may be able to get a slight discount with a used class A motorhome, so that’s worth trying. Otherwise, you’ll need a budget nearly as big as this RV to afford a class A.
On average, a class A RV can tow 10,000 pounds. That should be sufficient for transporting most horse trailers with horses included.
Related Reading: 21 Pros and Cons of Class A Motorhomes
Although you would think that alphabetically a class B RV would be the next biggest, it’s actually the smallest of the three RV classes. They sort of look like vans, but a class B is far nicer than your average van. Inside, class Bs can be quite luxe, with far fewer amenities than a class A due to size constraints, but still a nice, cozy atmosphere for you and a small group of your favorite people.
The shortest class B motorhomes are 17 feet long and the bigger ones are 19 feet. They weigh 6,000 to 8,000 pounds depending on their size. Some models of class B motorhomes can expand due to the inclusion of extended ceilings and/or wall slide-outs. These features afford you even more room to stretch your legs or invite another friend onboard.
The price of a class B RV is reasonable, between $60,000 and $90,000. Even at their most expensive, they still don’t crack into the same price ceiling as a class A. You get half the towing capacity too, only 5,000 pounds.
You’d be able to pull a horse trailer with one or two horses in it with a class B RV, and the two-horse trailer would need to be standard size, not an XL or XXL.
You can think of a class C RV as the in-between of class A and class B motorhomes. This RV is 21 to 41 feet long, so it more than outsizes a standard class B. You can fit plenty of amenities into a class C RV, and much more comfortably at that. You might not have a full shower here, but you’ll get dedicated sleeping and eating areas or those that can convert from one to another.
Their posh quality does come with a price tag more reminiscent of a class A RV. You’ll pay $50,000 for a cheaper class C RV and between $100,000 and $250,000 for a bigger, longer one. Only Super C Class RVs cost $200k and up.
What is a Super Class C, you ask? These diesel motorhomes boast more power thanks to their chassis, which is a reconfigured Ford F-550.
If you have a bigger class C or even a Super Class C, you can easily tow 10,000 pounds with your RV just as you can with a class A.
Related Reading: 21 Pros and Cons of a Class C RV
Common Towing Language
The following terms are ones you need to know when wanting to poll a horse trailer with a motorhome. The numbers will be listed in the owner’s manual.
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, gvwr: This refers to the max amount of weight of a vehicle or motorhome. It includes the weight of the motorhome itself, plus cargo, passengers, and anything it is towing.
- Gross Combined Weight Rating, gcwr: Determined by the manufacturer. It is the combination of the vehicle’s curb weight, payload and trailer weight. GCWR is the combined maximum weight limit of both the drive chassis and the tow vehicle when they are attached.
- Tongue Weight: The force the trailer tongue exerts on the hitch ball.
Horse trailers weigh 2,500 to 10,000 pounds depending on how many horses they tow. Considering that an adult horse may weigh 850 pounds or more than 2,000 pounds, you’d need the towing power of a class A or class C motorhome to pull both the horse(s) and trailer. Good luck!