Floats and towball limits

Discussion in 'Horse and Rider Safety' started by hasheld, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. Roe

    Roe Banned

    so whats the news ???
  2. hasheld

    hasheld New Member


    After a weekend of faffing around trying to measure the towball load, I think I'm convinced its ok. First we dragged float + horse down to Westcott towbars and got them to measure the towball load. Well, the figures they gave us were crazy - 125 kg on the towball WITHOUT the horse and a whopping 210 kg with the horse in the float! Ouch! At which point I wanted to cry....

    But we weren't convinced, the numbers seemed too high (float by itself only weighs 930 kg ish, so 125 kg towball load for the empty float seemed a bit screwy). Plus the guy jacked it up quite high (higher than the towball) to weigh it. Reckon he must of taken some weight off the wheels and onto the scales.

    Today was round two, at home with the bathroom scales. Not very accurate, but the numbers make more sense. About 75 to 80 kg for the empty float, and probably about 110 to 120 kg with the horse on board, although it was tricky to get an accurate reading. Hooray! Looks like most of the horse's weight goes on the wheels and towards the back of the float.

    So I'll be getting a heavy-duty towbar fitted next week. Can't tell you how relieved I am. Looks like I'm pretty safe to tow 1 horse in the double float. Don't think I would push it to 2 horses, but he floats better by himself so that suits me fine anyway. Yippeeee!
  3. Roe

    Roe Banned

    Oh yay for you !!!

    I float 2 but one horse is 14'3 and the other is 15 hh so they are smallish :)

    Glad you are happy with the out come.
  4. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    If you need any further advice - I'd speak to one of the people that work in the "Pits" area of a licensing branch - such as Welshpool. I spoke to a bloke there once and he was very helpful.

    When you say you're getting a "heavy duty" towbar, do you mean a Hayman-Reece type? If so, there's a locally made brand called "tow-safe" which is just as good and slightly less in price (last time I installed one anyway!).

    Good luck :)
  5. Mouse

    Mouse Well-known Member

    Take your car and float down to the nearest weigh bridge and they will let you know how much weight is on the towball. My float is 100kg on the tow ball empty but some floats can be up to 400 kg.
  6. hasheld

    hasheld New Member

    Yep, that's the sort I'm getting. Parkside Towbars make them.
  7. Chels

    Chels New Member

    Hi - I realise this thread was quite some time ago - but I'm looking into whether or not I should tow with my 2004 Nissan X-Trail Ti (Automatic) and was wondering how things are 12 months down the track? Are you still towing with your X-Trail? How are you finding it? Would you recommend I get my car organised for towing or upgrade to a Patrol?
    I'm looking at towing a standard double float - 1050kg + a 16hh WB (600kg) I figure 1700kg all said and done.
  8. Que Sera Sera

    Que Sera Sera Well-known Member

    Might be better off PMing the OP. Probably would get a quicker answer that way
  9. buggalugs

    buggalugs Well-known Member

    i dont own one but know several ppl who do....

    if you are content knowing that you will only ever be able to tow one horse (as in no giving friends lifts to events etc) the xtrail are great and do the job well. however if you do alot of trekking etc and there may be a possibility in the future that you may buy anohter horse or want to give a friend a lift then get the patrol. i tow with my falcon when i have one horse on but MUCH prefer using our patrol to tow even with only one onboard...
  10. Carthorse

    Carthorse New Member

    One REALLY important thing to remember is that regardless of whether or not the car can happily tow wht is on the back of it, if the towball weight is exceeded and there is an accident the insurance people will rub their hands together in glee as can refuse any claims as you have exceeded the manufacturers guidelines.

    So you have to way up the risks - I had a Suzuki Grand Vitara that towed beautifully but the towball max was a piddly 75kgs, I was not prepared to risk it and have changed my car and instead of the brand spanking new float I wanted, had to get a second hand one. Didnt fancy the idea of car, horse and float insurance all being invalidated in the event so fool slams into me!
  11. himitsu

    himitsu Well-known Member

    I also think the balance of the float/vehicle can impact on towball weight - The float should be level when hooked onto the vehicle - of not you need to change the height of your towball.
  12. ZaZa

    ZaZa Guest

    So, so true **)
    A well built and balanced float is designed to be towed level. Not with the hitch being either lifted skywards or pulled down by the height of the ball it's attached too.
    Doing that not only alters you floats balance and puts too much weight onto one axle (leaving you more prone to snapped axles or trailer sway/speed wobbles) but it creates a far less comfortable for ride for the horse/s.
  13. himitsu

    himitsu Well-known Member

    and doesnt the way the weight is loaded over the tyres make a difference! Picked up a pallet of hay and it wasnt pushed into the float far enough and god it towed badly compared to 2 horses (similar weight) - fishtailed heaps......
  14. ZaZa

    ZaZa Guest

    Again I agree :)
    The way the weight is distributed can make a huge difference.
    Because I tow with a lighter weight vehicle (Falcon ute) I can really feel the diffrence with towing a horse that stands either foward in the bay,or central, to one who sits on the bum bar. The one on the bum bar is 'harder' (for want of a better word) to tow and I feel their movements a lot more. I can also feel the way the front of the float lightens off as the weight is thrown backwards.
    It's not something I had ever paid much attention to until I towed a friends boy who sits back. The change in balance has quite an effect on the towing vehicle.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2009
  15. Playin With Fire

    Playin With Fire Well-known Member

    My girl, if in a smaller float is a bum bar sitter and you're right you really do notice it! I am a real nana when towing (as I'm sure lots of us are!) but I can still feel the difference when she is leaning!
  16. Bon & Ted

    Bon & Ted Guest

    I tow with a lifted 4wd and I put an adjustable tow ball onto it. It can be adjusted to I think 4 different heights to make it sit more flush with the car. $90 well spent **)
  17. Playin With Fire

    Playin With Fire Well-known Member

    I have always wondered about the lifted cars. OH has a hilux that is lifted (older model though) and although I have never towed with it I did wonder whether it was possible.
  18. kathyve

    kathyve Active Member

    My partners Maloo ute also has the muscleto tow a horse float but it is only rated to 1500kg. I think the towing capacity is important but no one has mentioned whether or not the vehicle can actually stop when required.

    Anything I looked at prior to getting my tow vehicle is its braking capacity and braking ability. It is alright to have the muscle to tow but you have to stop at the other end.
  19. ZaZa

    ZaZa Guest

    I find that interesting.
    My V8 Ford ute is rated to tow 2300kg so I would have thought the Maloo would be similar.
    Is his a manual ? Coz the manual Fords are only rated to 1600kg.
    Perhaps is the type of tow hitch the car has that is limited to less that the vehicle capacity ?
  20. Playin With Fire

    Playin With Fire Well-known Member

    So are autos different to manuals?? I'm so new to all of this! Have only ever towed with a turbo landcruiser so never had any issues!

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