Station wagon pulling a small horse trailer

Obviously I would need to check with the manufacturer/mechanic and make sure it would work, but -

Has anyone ever pulled a tiny trailer, with one horse in it… with their station wagon?

I have an F250 as well but I’d like to drive something a bit more driveable if possible.

I will of course be checking with professionals - this is for the community to have the opportunity to share thoughts and open this conversation to discussion for others.

Do you mean a Subaru Outback type station wagon? (Not a good idea!) Or one of those giant ones from 1980 with the fake wood paneling? (Probably still not a good idea, but yes I have seen it.)

Absolutely standard in the UK - but it depends on vehicle engine size, weight of trailer, number of horses etc. etc. European trailers are much lighter than American ones, I believe. The distances travelled are also much shorter.

Website covers a lot of details, of a general nature, that might help you make a decision

I’m not a car mechanic, and I don’t even play one on TV but would think with a suitable stiff suspension and a transmission cooler you’d be fine.
I spent a lot of the 80s hauling a smallish 2 horse bumper pull with both an El Camino that had air shocks AND a Ford Bronco II. I never went huge distances and avoided big hills and highways whenever possible but did live to tell about it. Even hauled 2 horses a few times but tended to just be 1 16hh TB.

Back in the day, before SUV’s existed, station wagons were THE vehicle for pulling trailers. I (actually my mother, until I got my driver’s license) pulled with a station wagon. It all depends on the size of the engine.

The only problem now is finding a station wagon :smiley:

How can you say that without even knowing what vehicle she’s talking about?! The new Prius V is classified as a station wagon, and it can barely move itself, nevermind a trailer.

One of the Mini Cooper models is also classified as a station wagon, and is an equally inappropriate tow vehicle.

The Jetta Wagon only has a tow rating of 1000lbs. Not appropriate, no matter how “tiny” this trailer the OP is talking about.

I haven’t seen a newer type station wagon that would be up for the job. The station wagons of the 70’s, 80’s and maybe some from the 90’s could do it.

I witnessed a 70’s wagon pull a 3 horse slant stock trailer and not blink. I’m sure the rear suspension had been adjusted for the fact that it was going to be towing such a load.

Of course back then the engine in those was huge and the wheel base seemed to be the same as a truck. Now days…not so much.

[QUOTE=jumper528;7559354]Obviously I would need to check with the manufacturer/mechanic and make sure it would work, but -

Has anyone ever pulled a tiny trailer, with one horse in it… with their station wagon?[/QUOTE]

Like other’s have said, the old beast of a station wagon was the norm. If you have something else it would entirely depend on the specs of your vehicle. Does the vehicle you have in mind have a Class III or IV trailer hitch receiver installed?

A friend of mine hauls her 15 hand Arabian in a Brenderup pulled by a Suburu Outback. She only hauls very short distances.

Yes, european trailer is a different discussion entirely.

OP, define “tiny” trailer. No horse trailer is really tiny unless the horses inside it are also miniature. A really, really small trailer is still 10’ long x 6’ wide with a weight north of 2000lbs.

I’m going to hazard a guess that unless you’re driving a 1980 woodside with a v8, that the answer is a resounding NO unless you are planning to purchase a trailer specifically designed for this, eg brenderup, bockmann, fautras.

It’s the weight-ratio that matters more than the actual engine-power in most cases. My hubby is a mechanic and explained it to me that way. Here in Europe people use station wagons all the time.
My Subaru Forester is allowed to pull 2000kg which leaves me enough room to pull two horses with him and be fine. That being said you’ve got to nose into the weight of your trailer, horse and everything you’re going to have with you (incl. tack).
The distance does matter to the driver more than the horse as the driving comfort for the horse is entirely trailer-related. If you’re using a European-sized trailer and the weights are within legal limits I don’t see why you should not use a European sized car to pull it.
Many of the older Mercedes station wagons could have their pulling burden increased to make them ok to pull a 2-horse. Nowadays many even larger vehicles don’t bring up the weight and stability though.
I love my Subaru for pulling. It even comes with a second gear range to give you more flexibility when driving up and down hills.

[QUOTE=Lord Helpus;7559440]Back in the day, before SUV’s existed, station wagons were THE vehicle for pulling trailers. I (actually my mother, until I got my driver’s license) pulled with a station wagon. It all depends on the size of the engine.

The only problem now is finding a station wagon :D[/QUOTE]

Yep. The full-size ones don’t exist anymore, really. The Outback is a small SUV, not a station wagon.

When I met my husband, he had a Chevrolet – don’t remember which model but one of the last they made – with a towing package, rated for up to 5000 pounds. Admittedly that wouldn’t get you far with a horse trailer and horses; he used it for towing classic cars on an open trailer.

My parents bought a Chevelle wagon in 1970, kept it until about 1990, and sold it for $500 to a young man who was starting a landscaping business. We saw it around for at least 6 or 7 years after that… It had 238K miles when my parents sold it.

Many of the European trailers might work and most are under 2000 lbs. for a 1-horse or small 2-horse. The smaller Brenderups only require a Class 2 hitch because the tongue weight is also much lighter than a “regular” trailer.
You would have to check your vehicle specifications against the weight and requirements of the specific trailer.

Ah, the old Country Squires! I remember them well. My best friend’s mom loved her wagons and was heartbroken when they stopped making the “Family Truckster,” as it was called. She got a Jeep Liberty that she always felt was a pale comparison.

Back in the day (pre-SUVs and oil embargo) many cars had standard v-8 engines and you saw the family car hauling trailers anything larger that a 2 horse bumper pull was a horse van… Back then you could also rent a horse trailer from U-haul. what kind of station wagon are you talking about? there are station wagons and then there are station wagons. I’ve not seen a trailer hauling worthy station wagon since watching Horse in the grey Flannel Suit (where i might add that teen heartthrob Kurt Russell hauled his sister’s horse w/ a MG sports car convertible LOL)

Yeah, v-8 country squires! Or a travel-all. Anyway, I certainly wouldn’t really want to pull with a v-6 today, but the OP isn’t here to tell us really what she had in mind. But when she said “station wagon” I assumed it was one of the old v-8s with a bumper pull. Someone else was right, back in the 70’s, it was eiether a station wagon or a box!

It is pretty standard in Europe to see sedans and wagons pulling trailers. That said, I wouldn’t feel overly comfortable with it. Also, it isn’t just about the pulling, you need a vehicle that can handle what’s going on behind it in an emergency.

I probably would not. While the manufacture may say hauling capacity is 6,500lbs (random hypothetical number) which for a light trailer and small horse is under, it all comes down to the breaking power of the car. Jeep Grand Cherokees technically can haul a small horse trailer, but I wouldn’t trust the breaking ability should you need to “hit” the breaks for someone pulling out in front of you or some other random act.

I have an expedition that is rated to pull 14,000 lbs as it has a heavy duty towing package on it. I have a two horse trailer that weights about 3,600 lbs empty. Loaded with tack and two horses I can feel my car at time struggle to stop the weight, so I rarely pull extra horses or only short distances.

If you plan to haul a Brenderup I think you will definitely have better success, but just remember that a lot of SUVs can haul it’s all a matter of it it can stop safety 3k lbs of weight in an emergency!

best of luck!

Something is wrong with either your trailer brakes or your brake controller if you are feeling your Expedition “struggle to stop” a 5000lb load.

I’m also wondering where you’re getting that 14k number. Even the brand new 2014 Expeditions with the Heavy Duty Tow package are only rated for 9,200lbs max.

Yes, don’t folks put extra brakes onto they system (not sure how, but) I thought there were extra trailer brakes, plus extra brakes on the truck when you did a hitch. I wouldn’t rely just on the regular car brakes when hauling. The other things which really help is a heavy duty transmission which can take the wear (besides the engine) and heavy duty fram/axels which can take the torque. That’s just off the top of mty head and I am not the expert at all, but its what I THOUGHT you were supposed to do to accomodate hauling live load up and down hills and distances.