Turning Radius for Horse Trailers
(Trailer Dimensions and Maneuvering Your Trailer)

The turning radius of a horse trailer is widely determined by its length and width. The size of the tow vehicle should also be taken into consideration when deciding the turning radius.

It is very important to be aware of how much vehicle and how much trailer you have to control when towing your horse trailer. You should also be aware of the roads, parking lots, and driveways that you'll be traveling through. After all, your tow vehicle and trailer must maneuver around and through turns, bridges, overpasses, signposts, gas pumps, gates, etc., without doing damage to vehicle, trailer, or other property.

Horse Trailer Sizes

Average sizes of tag-a-longs:
2H non-dress tag-a-long - 14.5 feet
2H dress tag-a-long - 17.5 feet
3H slant tag-a-long - 21 feet

(Note: The most common length of a tag-a-long trailer is 17.5 feet.)

Average sizes of gooseneck trailers:
2H straight-load gooseneck - 21 to 23 feet
2H slant-load gooseneck - 22 to 24 feet
3H straight/slant gooseneck - 28 feet
4H slant-load gooseneck - 30 feet
5H slant-load gooseneck - 33 feet
4H center-load gooseneck - 35 to 38 feet

[Gooseneck trailers...similar to fifth-wheel trailers...may be as long as 40 feet. Part of the length of a gooseneck extends over the bed of the pickup truck, where it is attached to a ball inside the truck. This front portion of the trailer (the gooseneck portion) which extends over the bed of the pickup is around 7 to 8 feet long.]

Nearly all slant-load trailers use axles with a total width of 102". Straight-load trailer axles come in widths of 96" and 102".

You should also be aware of the height of your horse trailer. This is very important information to know PRIOR to driving beneath certain overpasses that have low clearances!

Additional Facts Concerning the Turning Radius

If you are going to tow a tag-a-long horse trailer, remember that this type of trailer generally follows the tracks of the tow vehicle. However, it does tend to slightly cut corners when turning.

For those of you who plan to tow a gooseneck horse trailer, be aware that goosenecks cut corners more severely than tag-a-long trailers. Always make sure that there's enough allowance for gates, etc., when making a turn. The vehicle needs to be able to swing wide, so that you don't end up clipping a fender or worse!

The tow vehicle should make wide enough turns so that the trailer does not end up in a jackknife (90 degree) position. The trailer wheels should always be kept moving forward-not sideways. (Pulling a trailer sideways puts unnecessary strain on the wheels, axles, and tires.) The tow vehicle should remain at an angle of 120 degrees or more while pulling either a tag-a-long or gooseneck trailer.

Possible damage that could result from pulling a trailer sideways includes:

  • The outer portion of the rim, which is welded to the inner portion, could break off.
  • Pulling sideways drags the tires sideways, causing over-heated tires and possible damage to the tread.
  • Some axles could actually bend.

For Safety and Convenience

  • Before choosing the width of your trailer, measure the width of your driveway.
  • If you plan to store your horse trailer in a specific place (i.e., barn, storage facility, or shed), measure the height, width, and length of the storage area. You want to be sure that the trailer you purchase will easily fit in the designated area!
  • Prior to pulling into parking areas and other stables, make sure that you will have plenty of room to turn around.
  • When towing a trailer, always check your rearview mirrors to see where your trailer wheels are when making turns, pulling out of parking areas, driving between gateposts, etc.
  • Watch for the posted heights of bridges, drive-thru overhangs, tree branches, and such, to make sure there is plenty of clearance for your trailer.

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