Are horse trailers braked? (a comprehensive guide)

In this article, we answer the following question: Are horse trailers braked? We talk about the type of trailers for horses and how to prepare them for transporting your horse. 

Are horse trailers braked?

Some horse trailers are braked, meaning that it activates brakes through a mechanical link from the tow bar, thus if the car brakes, it activates the trailer’s brakes. The Maximum Gross Weight (which includes the horse/s) cannot be over 3500 Kgs for a braked trailer.

However, there are braked horse trailers also, which are considered mostly unsafe because it means that all the breaking comes from the towing vehicle, thus only from your car. The Maximum Gross Weight (which includes the horse/s) cannot be over 750 kg for an unbraked trailer. 

A trailer’s brakes are electromagnetically graduated, which means they apply increasingly hard or smoothly based on a graduated signal that is generated by the trailer brake controller in the cab of the tow vehicle. 

In this way, if the driver applies the tow vehicle brakes smoothly, the trailer brake controller will apply the brakes smoothly; the electromagnets will charge slightly. If the driver of the towing vehicle brakes heavily to make an emergency stop, the caravan brakes will also be fully deployed and immediately, the electromagnets will be fully charged. 

Once the signal from the brake controller ceases, because the stopping inertia has ceased, the trailer brakes are released.

What type of trailer is needed to transport horses?

Horse transport can be done with individual or group trailers, rigid trucks, and gooseneck type trailers.

To transport horses in a van you will need special authorization, since the weight that the vehicle pulls increases considerably with the load of the horses. We speak in this case of the B96 card. It is not a permit, but an authorization that is granted to people who already have Permit B and who have also passed a practical test. 

This B96 authorization -which you can get at your nearest driving school- allows you to add a trailer of more than 750 kg to vehicles that can be driven with a Class B license (cars, trucks, vans and vans). Its total weight (Trailer + car) cannot exceed 4,250 kg.

How to prepare the trailer or van to transport horses?

We will give some guidelines so that the animal is safe in its means of transport. But before putting your horse in the van, you must disinfect it with biocidal products.

Disinfecting the transport vehicles – The task of disinfection of vehicles dedicated to the transport of live animals must be carried out by a professional. The person has to be properly qualified. To do this, you must pass the Course of application of biocidal products for Veterinary Hygiene, as required by current regulations.

There are two options for disinfecting your van. First, go to an Authorized Disinfection Center. On the other hand, you can carry out the disinfection yourself when you are in possession of the biocide applicator certificate. Please note that you can only perform this task if you are the owner of the transport vehicle and the horses. 

Steps to follow to disinfect the van

Review: Review days before the environment in which the horses will travel. So we will make a day of cleaning you need.

Initial cleaning. We will do it dry. It is about removing the solid remains. Once the remains are removed, the floor, doors, walls, ramps, etc. will be cleaned.

Initial cleaning with water (prewash). We will work with a pressure hose. The water has to be at a temperature between 38 and 46 ºC.

Cleaning with water and products (washing and disinfection). The vehicle has to be empty, as the products are toxic.

If you want to know more about the disinfection of a horse’s trailer, click on this link. 

Steps to follow to introduce the horse into the trailer

Prepare the trailer. Make sure the van is properly positioned and attached to the vehicle. Check that you have all the legal and medical documents of the horses in the vehicle. In addition to the relevant authorizations and records. The authorities will verify that you have all the documentation in order.

Set up the trailer for the animal. Remember that equines are often claustrophobic. To make it easier to get into the vehicle, open the doors and windows wide and lay out hay so you can see it and feel comfortable.

Prepare your horse for the trip. For this, you must put protection on the head, body and legs.

Load the horse into the trailer up the ramp and lock all the doors.

Types of vehicles for transporting horses

You have up to three options to take your horses with you. You have to take into account the number of animals you want to take and the type of vehicle you own or are determined to purchase. In this way, we present you how you can make your trips to achieve the greatest comfort and safety for your animals.

Horse trailers

You will find many sizes of trailers, depending on the number of horses you will transport. On the market, you have the option of finding different prices, which will have to do with the comforts they offer.

If you require a large trailer, you must have a tractor-type vehicle, which can support a lot of weight. Another important thing to keep in mind is that it contains windows and a lot of outside light since horses fear the dark and suffer from claustrophobia.

When introducing it, do it calmly, as the horse can sense your nervousness. Fill the floor and ramp with hay, so that it feels the familiar place. Do not forget to place the heaviest horse in the area closest to the vehicle and the lightest towards the outermost area.

A truck to transport the horses

The first thing to check on the truck is to see how closely it is. In case there are any holes that lead to the outside, you should think about the cold of the horses and get covers that can keep them warm.

You will have to tie them with straps longer than normal, to lead them to the inside of the truck, placing yourself at the top. It is important to prevent that the ramp, during the climb, can be slippery, so you must also be prepared with special boots.

You will need to have food prepared for the road, especially for the most fearful horses. Remember that outside light is important for their tranquillity, so if you can open some windows they will thank you.

Gooseneck Trailer

This type of trailer is another option as a vehicle for transporting horses and they are reputed to be very comfortable, as well as spacious, although not all horses receive it with ease.

With regard to seat belts, they are not much different from normal trailers. But you should always be careful when getting on and off the horses, as they are prone to slipping on these types of ramps.

As you can see, there are different vehicles, depending on the number of horses you have, as well as your possibilities. The essential thing is that they make the trip without stress and with the greatest possible safety.

If you want you can contribute and give us some advice based on your experience that will help everyone to have this type of special situation under control.


In this article, we answered the following question: Are horse trailers braked? We talked about the type of trailers for horses and how to prepare them for transporting your horse. 

Our recommendation is to acquire a braked horse trailer. It is safer for both you, the horse and the other people on the road. The Maximum Gross Weight (which includes the horse/s) cannot be over 3500 Kgs for a braked trailer.

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FAQ  on Are horse trailers braked?

Do all horse trailers have brakes?

Although horse trailers do not require brakes, it is recommendable to choose one that is braked. In 31 states, you’re required by law to keep well-working brakes on any horse trailer with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of more than 3,000 pounds.

What’s the difference between braked and unbraked?

The difference between braked and unbraked is whether the trailers have a braking system. A braked caravan activates brakes through a mechanical link from the tow bar; if the car brakes, it activates the trailer’s brakes. An unbraked trailer means that all the breaking comes from the towing vehicle, thus only from your car.

Is a Caravan braked or unbraked?

Most Caravans are braked, thus having their braking system. Some smaller camping trailers and tents are usually unbraked, but you need to check with the manufacturer as not all are equal. 

What are the best horse trailers?

Among the best horse trailers are the Featherlite 7442. They are known for being lightweight and easy to tow. 


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