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TOPIC: Towing horse floats

Towing horse floats 17 Sep 2006 15:42 #6672

  • bevhawkins
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Friend of ours mentioned that you now have to have a 4wd to tow horse floats as new law has been brought out - does anyone know if this is true?
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Towing horse floats 17 Sep 2006 15:50 #116042

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I got a new W.O.F.for my float two weeks ago and my towing vehicle was a falcon ute,nothing was said about a new regulation.Hope it's not true I went to a lot of trouble to find this double duty feed out/towing vehicle.
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Towing horse floats 17 Sep 2006 16:33 #116048

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It's all to do with the weight of the object being towed and the manufacturer's recommended gross towing weight of the vehicle doing the towing
Phill & Sheryl
northland
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Towing horse floats 17 Sep 2006 17:33 #116058

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Basically your vehicle tow bar dictates what you can tow. Eg my ford Courier is rated to tow 2.5tonne braked and 1.5 tonne unbraked. More importantly, whatever your tow vehicle, you must be able to stop in 7m when travelling at 30km/h. Personally I'd never tow without a 4wd but that's my preference rather than anything else.

Here is the official LTSA opinion:

http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/road-user-safety/motorists/glovebox-guide.html#howmuch
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Towing horse floats 17 Sep 2006 23:02 #116142

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We've used a 2 wheel drive Falcon Ute to tow our un-braked horse without any problems, for two years. We've now bought a 4 wheel drive Toyota Hi-lux (got sick of the Ford breaking down), so we'll see how much difference it makes.
135 acres in Bay of Islands, including around 90 acres of Native Bush.
13 Dexter cows,
4 heifers & 3 bulls.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry.
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Gotland Sheep and Polled Wiltshire Sheep.
LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 07:41 #116152

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So for you guys who say you'd not be without a 4WD for towing...does that mean that you are in four wheel drive while towing on road, or just like it cos it can get you out of slippery conditions offroad? Otherwise, how is it better than a two wheel drive on the road? (we have a two wheel drive Holden ute, so no different in size or weight than the 4WD version)

I would have thought ABS breaking would be more useful to allow to stop in good time...[?]rather than whether the vehicle was 2 or 4 WD.
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 07:59 #116154

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Tigger, I think ABS on the vehicle is not much help if the float you are towing doesn't have brakes! All ABS does is stop the wheels locking up... I like towing with the 4WD too, the weight and extra height of the vehicle make it easier, but i had an old falcon for years that was a 4.1lt and it towed like a dream also, although wouldn't want to be putting gas in it now! The important thing with the 4WD is to make sure your weight sticker accurately reflects the weight of the vehicle and trailer (when i went to the web goddess to help her dispose of some concrete fenceposts, i bought supplementary miles for 100kms up to 4 tonne, cost me about $5 much cheaper than the fine!), and obviously that the vehicle and tow bar are up to the job (my towbar has it written on it).
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 08:16 #116158

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Thanks Oskatd, what I was getting at was that ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL eg weight, height, etc etc, is there any reason on road to prefer a 4WD to a 2WD...
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 09:26 #116165

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personal preference, surely? Until you are at an event in the rain....
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 09:55 #116171

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Tigger:

In my experience, the main benefit of 4WD when towing is for better take-off performance on slippery surfaces e.g. boat ramps, wet grass etc. If you are going up steep slopes, the 4WD is also very useful as it will generally have a low-range / high-range gearbox which is not present on 2WD vehicles.

However, neither of these situations generally apply on-road, with the possible exception of slippery surfaces such as on wet roads. As Inger mentioned earlier, we have used a 2WD Falcon 4L ute to tow some very heavy loads for the most part without incident for the past (almost) 4 years.

There were 2 times we got into trouble and both of them involved steepish uphill slopes:

1) Towing a vehicle recovery trailer with an old Fergy 28, a slasher, spare tyres and some of the large square hay bales. All-up load was probably around 1500kg plus the weight of the trailer. The driveway was unsealed and we ended up wheel-spinning in the gravel within just a few metres of the sealed road. Very annoying, and a low-range gearbox with 4WD would definitely have got us out of this one.

2) Collecting a load of around 50 standard hay bales with our double horse-float. That bit was OK but the farmer had a steep unsealed driveway going back up to the public road. His 4WD Landcruiser towed the horse float back up to the road without any drama and we hitched up again at the top.

If you don't see yourself doing anything like those 2 scenarios, I would say you will be fine with 2WD and it will save you money over a similar 4WD vehicle using the same fuel.

However, if you are faced with replacing your 2WD ute at any stage, I would definitely recommend looking at a 4WD ute with a DIESEL engine. We have just bought one of the 2006 Hiluxes with 3L Diesel engine and have already noticed a huge saving in fuel costs compared to the petrol-engined Falcon Ute. We could have bought a 4L Petrol version of the Hilux, but it would have used 13.5L/100km (similar to the Falcon 4L) whereas our Diesel Ute takes only 9L/100km i.e. around 1/3 less fuel which is also significantly cheaper than petrol even when you factor in the road user charges.

A Diesel engine is also much more flexible when towing because it has the full torque available from very low revs. We have noticed that it doesn't need to kick down so often as the petrol engine. It just pulls strongly without any fuss whenever you put your foot down.

Anyway, I've probably rambled on long enough now, so I'll sign off and give Inger's computer back. That's my 2c worth anyway...

Cheers,
Grant.
135 acres in Bay of Islands, including around 90 acres of Native Bush.
13 Dexter cows,
4 heifers & 3 bulls.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry.
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Gotland Sheep and Polled Wiltshire Sheep.
LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 10:02 #116173

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Bev the rumour for this has been going around for about the last 15 years and I am sure they will bring in laws one day about the vehicle you can use to tow your trailer/float with.

Check the Land Transport website and see if any new rule changes have happened.

The main thing is that your vehicle manufacters guidelines say what weight your vehicle is recommended to tow (going on weight of the towing vehicle, braked/unbraked etc). This could make your insurance invalid if you ignore it (insurance companies like any like excuse to not pay). :p

[8][8]

PS we have a toyota landcruiser which is designed for towing and we have it under the manufacterers guidelines. It just happens to be 4WD which (comes down to personal preference) has come in handy when wet conditions and also in this neck of the woods we still have some metalled roads to travel if you want to ride. I've towed with a 2WD ute towing a float with two horses and lost traction and it was very scarey.
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 10:18 #116176

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Usually the 4WDs simply have more weight, and have larger engines, wheels and larger brakes. Thus they can stop a heavy load better.

Using the 4WD mode on a large SUV (most have the selector between 2WD and 4WD) on sealed roads is not recommended, as it engages the difflock. Difflock means that both left and right wheels rotate at the same speed, and on sealed roads that leaves a lot of noise, skidding and rubber left behind. That's why they recommend that 4WD only be selected on unsealed roads, or offroad. Most horsey people use 4WDs for towing horse floats as the normal parking spot for all the vehicles is in some side field, and being able to get good traction with offroad treads, and 4WD mode to get out again. Some roadcars don't manage to get out of a boggy paddock. I view normal road cars as for strictly road towing only.

Aside: AWD vehicles (all wheel drive, eg most Subarus) don't usually have a difflock engaged for normal driving, so they can handle sealed roads no problem)

To be able to tow, all you need is an engine capable, and a towbar. Towing isn't the problem, stopping is.

The little sticker on the towbar is only a recommendation by the towbar manufacturer, they can't govern what vehicle it will be installed on, so it is only a guess. The actual capacity of a vehicle to be able to tow needs to also take into account the towball size, towbar bolts, engine rating, brake rating, vehicle weight, trailer weight, trailer brakes, trailer shape and wind resistance etc. Of this pile, the vehicle brakes and the trailer brakes are the most important. I would love to fit my nissan with aftermarket brakes.
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 12:45 #116197

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Another reason I prefer the 4WD is while you may not need it on the roads, lots of Pony Club rally's/treks etc are in paddocks. If the day turns to mud it is much easier to get out of the mud in the 4WD drive than the Falcon


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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 13:03 #116200

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[quote To be able to tow, all you need is an engine capable, and a towbar. Towing isn't the problem, stopping is. [/quote]
I would add, from my own general observations, that most towing drivers need to have a better understanding of their vehicle, vehicular weights and a better driving (and maintenance) ability of their vehicles to begin with.

The number of times I have been overtaken by vehicles (usually near new 4wd's) towing either loaded horse floats or trailers of some description on motorways, (in fairness both in Aussie and NZ) is disgusting.

Stopping would not be a problem if the driver simply slowed down, kept to the left, stop cutting in and out, and drove mindful of the weight that is/will be pushing their vehicle further along in an emergency breaking situation.

They might be on a motorway, but they are not driving city vehicles.
Most of them should try getting up earlier to make the event on or before time.:(
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 15:07 #116211

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A good question is how many folk know the speed at which they are allowed under law to tow something. From what I have seen, most think it is 100km/hr![V]
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 15:40 #116215

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I think people are confused about the kmph when towing especially as it went up from 80 to 90!

The best advice I was given was hop in the float and get someone to drive you around in it - you get to see what its like from the horses point of view. It is a very weird feeling. People that have trouble loading horses onto a float should do this as it could be their driving that upsets the horse!

[8][8]
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 15:46 #116217

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I have a Falcon sedan I bought for towing a horsefloat, and had an LPG conversion done on to make it economical for every day driving. Given I am not in a position to have a dedicated tow vehicle (and if I was, I wouldn't, as I'd buy a truck instead), I would never buy a 4WD.
I have a a Subaru Legacy, and 4WD in a car is great, but 4WDs of the kind used for towing are not vehicles I would be happy driving my family round in on a daily basis. I know a lot of people who never have any real need for 4WD see them as a "safe" option, but they are far from it, for their occupants, other road users and pedestrians.
I'm much happier with my Falcon
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 16:13 #116222

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That is the question here, Swaggie. The ability of the driver to tow and stop.
Doesn't matter what you are towing or towing with it is wether you can drive safely and stop safely. All comes down to driving for the 'conditions' and if you want to go crosscountry. Have seen inexperienced people get their 4x4 stuck too. Your float or trailer will tow differently if it is single or double axel. We went for a dropped axel to lower the centre of gravity, for safety as it was only a single.
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 16:38 #116226

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I prefer to drive our 3l toyota surf for towing as you are higher than the car and have better visability ahead, driving defensively when you have live animals other than yourselves should be the priority to getting somewhere on time. Give yourself "more" than enough time to get to wherever you are going.
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 20:35 #116269

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I prefer the 4wd for personal preference. I grew up with my father driving a landcruiser and that's what I basically learnt to drive in on Foxton beach. My first car (as a student) was a ford lazer however as soon as I got a job I borrowed as much money as I could and brought myself a late model landcruiser. Personally, I prefer the height and the 'percieved' safety of a 4wd (weather real or not). There was no question for me 4wd or 2wd. All my subsequent vehicles have been 4wd (land cruiser, then surf, now ford courier). As Pru says 4wd's are higher and have better visibility.
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 21:16 #116274

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Double 8 - not getting at you but it was trucks that increased to 90kph - don't think towing did- might be wrong. I have been passed on the motorway here in Auckland by people towing horses in a tandem float at 110kph. I just die inside and wonder who is going to inherit that non floating animal they have created. Equally there is nothing worse that someone towing a float (not green horses) at 40kph on a 100kph road. If you are that scared, even in a big 4WD - don't do it!

Despite all the rheteric on this site a while ago, having done both, I would not swap my truck for all the tea in China. I have done both - seen the tipped over floats, experienced the aggro from other drivers not wanting to be behind a towed float - experienced the calm and laid back behaviour of the same animals on truck -v - float - and on a wet day? Truck anytime!
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 21:29 #116278

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Didi, I did have a truck but found I wasn't using it much and the maintenance was high. I admit it felt safer than a float.

I checked the rule about towing speed - "the maximum open road speed for light vehicles towing trailers or other motor vehicles is 90km/h". Just follow the LTSA link on the first page and it tells you in safe towing practices.

[8][8]
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Towing horse floats 18 Sep 2006 23:31 #116292

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quote:Originally posted by Double 8
"the maximum open road speed for light vehicles towing trailers or other motor vehicles is 90km/h".
A few months back, the speed limit for such vehicles was still 80km/h as it had been for many years. This was a real pain as you were continually being passed by trucks on flat or downhill slopes, only to be stuck behind them at 50km/h crawling up the next hill :(:(:( Now at least, us trailer users are legally allowed to keep pace with the trucks. [8D]

Having recently "upgraded" from a Falcon Ute to a Toyota Hilux (in both the functional and elevational sense), I wholeheartedly agree with PRU2. Being so much higher up allows you to see over the roofs or through the windscreens of cars in front and take evasive action e.g. stop early if you see traffic banking up ahead.

A friend of mine has a Toyota Surf with 3L Diesel engine and after driving it, I was so impressed that I decided to take a closer look at Diesel-engined vehicles in general, and the new 2006 Hilux (on which the Surf is based) in particular.

There's also the reliability aspect... FORD = Fix Or Repair Daily!

Never a truer word was said. In the (almost) 4 years we've owned the Falcon Ute, we have spent more money keeping it on the road, than on all the other exclusively Toyota vehicles we have owned for the past 25 years...:(:(:(

Late-model 4WDs like the Hilux have all the comforts of big cars like the Falcon as well as air-bags, crumple zones and other safety features taken for granted on recent model cars, so I don't think it's true any longer to level the "unsafe" accusation at all 4WDs. Examine the specifications carefully before giving your verdict.

Cheers,
Grant.
135 acres in Bay of Islands, including around 90 acres of Native Bush.
13 Dexter cows,
4 heifers & 3 bulls.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry.
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Gotland Sheep and Polled Wiltshire Sheep.
LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 08:14 #116300

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Grant, valid points but at least here in Aust, the unsafe aspect is for those outside of the vehicle, ie pedestrians and smaller car users.

I believe the main grizzle is the number of "Queen St" (or Mosman if you are in Sydney) farmers driving those vehicles in city conditions who do endanger others by their antics behind the wheel.
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 09:43 #116316

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Keep in mind that not all 4wd's are equal! The Hilux is more rugged than the Surf, even though they may look from the same family. The Surf is just that, a vehicle to get onto the beach or up to the snow in. The transfer case is lighter than the Hilux and it is not as strong for towing.

Also, a lot of Japanese 4wd's have a light 5th gear. It is designed for higher speed open road cruising, not for towing. Kind of like the old overdrives. Mitsi's are one I know of that can give trouble if stressed in 5th. Don't make the engine lug away in top if you are towing!

The difference between something like the old Falcon and Holden utes and a reasonable 4wd is simply mass. The 4wd is heavier so the load has less effect on it. If using a 2wd ute for towing and you have nothing in the back, sudden braking can cause the rear to lift off the ground and jacknife.
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 09:51 #116317

Hi everyone,
I was wondering about the new law regarding towing weight limit, I've read it's 4400kgs on a car licence, anything over that then you need your heavy goods licence!!
Now does that mean combined weight of the 4wd you are using, together with the weight you are towing? Or is it 4400kg towing weight ie; towing two horses?
I think it's fairly important to know and I'm just not sure which it is, also you're not covered if you have an accident.
Pam:)
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 10:02 #116318

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I have heard that the police are now stopping cars with floats and taking them to weigh bridges to check the weights etc and they are issuing tickets to people without an HT.

I think the float manufacturers should be making people aware as there are some floats out there with kitchen etc that weigh over 3 tonne themselves.

I have also heard of someone not being covered by their insurance because they did not have an HT and was towing a float :(
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 10:51 #116322

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Dinky, I've heard that one too. Check out the LTSA website, they give you the correct definition of what classes HT are. Cars towing floats/trailers came under light vehicles.

I have my HT and probably my vehicle will a fully loaded float and all my gear would be over 4500kg.

This has been discussed on the forum before, so might do a search and see what came up last time.

[8][8]
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 12:03 #116326

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quote:Originally posted by dinky

I have heard that the police are now stopping cars with floats and taking them to weigh bridges to check the weights etc and they are issuing tickets to people without an HT.
They sure are. Saw on Sunday the local Highway Patrol guy pull over a 4WD towing a double float with two horses on board and put it over the weighbridge. Don't know what happened though - ticket/warning/under-weight.
Murray - Tuahiwi, Nth Canty
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 15:11 #116343

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quote:Originally posted by Pam Learnihan

Hi everyone,
I was wondering about the new law regarding towing weight limit, I've read it's 4400kgs on a car licence, anything over that then you need your heavy goods licence!!
Now does that mean combined weight of the 4wd you are using, together with the weight you are towing? Or is it 4400kg towing weight ie; towing two horses?
Hi Pam,

I've just checked the LTSA web site, and the limit is 3500kg not 4400kg.

This is the all-up laden weight of your vehicle and trailer. We have a tall horse float that was designed for clydesdales. It's an old one (1979) and I'm guessing that in those days, the cops were pretty lenient on weighing horse floats. From recent posts in this thread, it looks like that is no longer the case now [:0]

If we loaded up our Double Horse Float with 2 large horses I'm guessing it would have a Gross Weight of around 2 Tonnes. Add that to the weight of our Hilux at 1.9 Tonnes and you can see we would be over the 3.5 Tonne limit even without allowing for the weight of driver and passengers :p

Fortunately the heaviest load we ever have in our Horse Float is about 40 standard-sized hay bales which I am guessing weigh around 20kg each i.e. 800kg load + 500kg tare weight = 1.3 Tonnes. Add that to the weight of the Hilux + Driver + Passenger and we are still less than 3.5 Tonnes but only by about 100kg [:0][:0][:0]

It makes you think doesn't it [?]

This is obviously something the cops are having a blitz on at the moment :(

Be careful out there LSBers and don't give your hard-earned $ to the cops. Let them fill their quota from someone else's pocket [8D]

Cheers,
Grant.
135 acres in Bay of Islands, including around 90 acres of Native Bush.
13 Dexter cows,
4 heifers & 3 bulls.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry.
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Gotland Sheep and Polled Wiltshire Sheep.
LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 15:32 #116347

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This is an excellent post if only to update everyone with the legal responsbilities of making sure they are driving within the law...
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 16:17 #116349

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As the Fords are getting such bad press here, I thought I might add in that I have been towing with a 4l Ford Fairmont for the last 8 years, and have been very happy with it! I have no concerns on the road about visibility in a lower vehicle etc., but I do admit I am very careful where I park. Yes I have been stuck in muddy paddocks and scrambled up gravel driveways.
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 19:19 #116368

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I drive 300-400km a week, and generally see it all. My opinions about 4WD in general, and 4WD with horsefloats is this.

Some 4WD drivers are ok, most are incompetent, mainly if they are wearing suits (particulary males)

Woman driving 4WD's with children in the car are suicidal.

Most 4WD with horse floats show typical signs of not being in control of the weight. I large car (ie, falcon or commodore) with a tandom axle braked float would be the safest option all round in my opinion, its just unforunate that ecomonics and myths prevent that in alot of cases.

As the oldies of this site will know, vehicle weights and unlicensed drivers for the weight are a pet hate of mine. Im pretty sure most vehicles and floats with two vehicles on board need a class2 license minimum. Any quarry or tip will be able to tell you your weight, for free.

If you are overweight, and have a serious accident, insurance will not cover you.
Do something.

Either lead, follow, or get out of the way.

'Ted Turner'
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 19:48 #116372

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Hi Shaun, we've had this dicussion about weights and floats before. Its good that everyone is checking the LTSA site and keeping up todate with information.

I have classes 1, 2 and 4 on my license and do drive a Landcruiser. My float weighs 700kg, one horse I own is 500kg if I take another horse about the same weight makes it 1700kg, plus what the cruiser laden weighs (which I can't remember exactly but is somewhere around 3200kg) making me at least 4900kg.

I agree that you need to check out your weight on a weigh station, it wouldn't hurt either to phone someone at the LTSA and confirm the weight/license issue.

[8][8]
What am I? Fly paper for freaks?!
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 20:09 #116375

Hi Grant,
Thankyou for checking that out for me.
I'm planning some rides away, with a friend, we will have to take two floats!!
Pam
A wonderful husband, Matt, 3 great kiddies, Conor, Adam & Rosie. 2 SB mares, 2 goats, 5 hens, 3 roosters, 2 cats & 13.6 acers with half finished shed.
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Towing horse floats 19 Sep 2006 22:18 #116399

  • DiDi
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I took my truck to the local policed weigh station back in 1999/2000 and asked to have it weighed. The policeman just looked at me as though I had left the planet - but did so. Result was a correct road user sticker and no damn tickets. I had to go a tonne higher than I had anticipated. They did a big blitz on horse trucks no long after.

Thankfully it was no big drama back in 1999 with getting a HT - reasonably hard written test to pass (only allowed two questions wrong), four oral questions and a driving test (having been taught by a friend with a HT). Should have stayed like that and not allowed people to "buy" their HT in 2 days by doing some course that could hardly prepare them adequately for the road - especially with livestock on board.
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Towing horse floats 20 Sep 2006 12:25 #116478

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quote:Originally posted by Pam Learnihan

Hi Grant,
Thankyou for checking that out for me.
I'm planning some rides away, with a friend, we will have to take two floats!!
Pam
they sound good, where are you going?
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