Smallest vehicle to tow

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Smallest vehicle to tow

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  • What towing capacity is needed to pull 2 horse trailer
  • Can you tow a horse with compact truck

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    07-21-2011, 06:16 PM
Smallest vehicle to tow

This might be a silly question, but really it's a matter of practicality.

What's the smallest vehicle by PHYSICAL SIZE that can tow a two-horse trailer with two horses in it?
I really want an F-250, but it literally will not fit in the parking spaces at my apartment complex (a visitor had one parked here the other day, and it was pretty much exactly the width of the parking spots, leaving no room to open the doors if someone was parked next to them). If I can't find something more narrow, I just have to go without a trailer for at least another year until my lease is up, and then see if I can move somewhere with better parking.
Which is fine, if less than ideal. But if there's a smaller alternative that can safely and comfortably tow, I'd love to hear about it.

(I can park the trailer at the barn, so that's not an issue. Just the truck.)
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    07-21-2011, 08:37 PM
That's a tough one. I think size wise, the 1/2 tons are just as wide. Maybe you can just ask your complex for an end parking space so you can get out on one side?
    07-21-2011, 09:28 PM
You must live in the DC metro area.

I've spent the last few months researching towing capacities. F-150 and Silverado both have a maximum pull of about 5500 to 6500 lbs., depending on year. The Ram 2500 pulls about 9200 lbs. Figuring on 1000 lbs for the average trailer + 1000 lbs per horse + 350 lbs of people + 400 lbs gear for a weekend camping/trail riding trip = 3750 total pounds.

I wouldn't go with less than a big V6 in Virginia and frankly would lean more towards a V8. Yeah, it sucks the gas but y'all got some substantial hills up there.

This is where I found the towing capacity information:
HowStuffWorks "Ford Towing Capacity Chart"

Good luck in your search. Let me know which way you go. I'm leaning towards an older beater truck and keeping my sedan for commuting.
    07-21-2011, 09:58 PM
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
That's a tough one. I think size wise, the 1/2 tons are just as wide. Maybe you can just ask your complex for an end parking space so you can get out on one side?
We don't have assigned spaces, just permits. I'm usually at the barn until late, which means I get the worst choice in parking spaces

Originally Posted by coffeegod    
You must live in the DC metro area.
LOL, yeah. Unfortunately.
I grew up in the rural mountains of Colorado, and needless to say, this has required quite an adjustment.

Good luck in your search. Let me know which way you go. I'm leaning towards an older beater truck and keeping my sedan for commuting.
I might just wait until I can buy a house a little farther out - hopefully next year. Then I can get whatever vehicle I want (probably the F-250 - my first ever vehicle that I learned to drive in was an F-150, so I'm partial to them ).
I was just hoping I might be able to find something I could squeeze into our parking lot over the next year so I could be a little less dependent on begging for open trailer spots whenever someone is leaving the property.

I've also considered trying to find a horse van of some sort, because then I could just park the whole contraption at the barn (there are two there already - but they don't look all that driveable at the moment).
    07-21-2011, 10:42 PM
Got any friends out in the burbs who would let you park a truck at their house?
    02-05-2012, 02:22 AM
Well, this is old but here goes.

Okay: a 2-horse straight load will weigh close to #2500, empty curb weight. I don't know of any horse trailer on the market that weighs a thousand pounds and isn't a Brenderup.

I towed one horse 2500 miles from WA to MO last fall with a 2001 Dodge Durango. It has a V8 with 3.92 gear ration and a towing capacity of #7250. It weighs #5000 empty. I love this truck. It's an SUV with seven seats, 4x4 and all the amenities I would get in a little city car, but with the capabilities of some serious towing power. It tackled the Oregon/Idaho/Wyoming mountains like a boss, not a hiccup in sight. It's compact enough to fit into pretty much anywhere but with a nice sturdy truck frame to get me places. The total weight of horse+trailer was just under #5000. It had decent stopping distance and more than enough engine to cruise at 65 or 70 mph.

That being said, it is limited. It squats bad in the rear and the trailer must have electric brakes - not only for the safety of your vehicle but yourself and your horse. My truck is specifically loaded, I made sure of it, to handle the rigors of horse hauling. At the end of the day, if someone offered me an f250, I probably wouldn't refuse. So if you have the chance to wait on it, do that. If not, look into some of the SUV's rated by consumers for this kind of work.

It all depends on your situation. Do your research. Good luck!
    02-05-2012, 08:09 AM
Green Broke
I know you're looking at "minimum", but that might leave you no room should your requirements change.

Personally, I think towing at maximum capacity, while legal, isn't a good idea.

If you can park the trailer at the barn, can you park both truck and trailer there too?
    02-05-2012, 08:42 AM
Green Broke
There is only 1 inch difference in width between a F150 and F 250.
Your two horses and bumper pull will be in t6he 5000lb range loaded. Id want something that is rated at close to 9000lbs max if I was going to be towing 5000 alot. Many 1/2 ton (150 or 1500's) trucks can do this if they are properly equipped. Many half ton trucks can't. There are huge differences in capabilities between various models. So if you are buying a 1/2 ton you have to know what you are getting.
Pretty much all 3/4 ton's will pull 8600lbs minimum.
Looking at widths in the used market,
2010 F150 78.8 "
2004 F250 79.8
If you go back to the 1996 to the I think about 2002 model years both the 250's and 150s had the same body and those are listed at 74.

Seems along the lines of about 1997 the manufacturers really started adding width to all the vehicle lines. Walk around and look at your parking lots.
Until recently most of the 1/2 and 3/4 ton trucks had near identical bodies. Look at the model years and compare width.
    02-06-2012, 04:03 PM
Smallest thing id town and talking about a 2 horse trailer is a 1500 model truck. And NEVER EVER NEVER, tow with a Toyota truck they cannot handle 1 horse, they look big but are not able to do it safely.
    02-06-2012, 08:03 PM
You seem a tad hesitant. Maybe waiting would be a better option. You could get your 3/4 ton truck which to me would be a better choice. It isn't just their towing capacity but also handling and stopping come into play, stiffer rear end and bigger brakes.

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