Can a Toyota Tacoma Pull a Horse Trailer? (Explained)

Can a Toyota Tacoma Pull a Horse Trailer

Have you ever wondered if a Toyota Tacoma can pull a horse trailer? Look no more. We´ve got you covered.

Toyota is a car company best known for the extreme reliability and sturdiness of its vehicles, especially of their light trucks and SUVs, with their engines very often described as bulletproof.

While the almighty Hilux, a.k.a. Pickup, is not available in the states since its fifth generation, its place on the market was taken by Tacoma from the 1995 model year onward.

So, can a Toyota Tacoma pull a horse trailer? Yes, a Toyota Tacoma can pull a horse trailer, the most powerful Tacoma models come with a 3,5 liters V6 engine that allows it to tow up to 6,800 lbs. The weight of a horse is around 900 lbs and horse trailer’s weight greatly varies with the capacity, whether it is a small single horse trailer or a large 4-horse gooseneck trailer.

Through its revisions, it featured many combinations of the access cab, extended cab, double cab, short, and standard beds. The newest generation, the third, is most popular with the 5 feet short-bed option, while a 6 feet option is also available.

Both of these options can be combined with 4 seater access cab or 5 seaters double cab.

This Japanese workhorse truly packs a punch when it comes to functioning as a light-duty vehicle. When it comes to how big of a punch, it depends on both generation and the particular drivetrain options, engine, and transmission combination.

The range is very wide and goes from 3,500 lbs all the way up to 6,800 lbs.

Because of this wide range, it is very important to know the exact specifications of both your Tacoma and horse trailer, including the weight of the horse or horses.

What Is The Towing Capacity Of The Toyota Tacoma?


The first generation of Tacoma was produced from 1995 and up to 2004 and had 3 engine options. The weakest options for engines were two inline four-bangers with 2.4 and 2.7 liters of displacement, while the most powerful was a 3.4 liter V6.

For both I4 options, the maximum gross trailer weight (MGTWR) is 3,500 lbs, while the V6 can pull whopping 5,000 lbs.

The first generation didn’t have a factory “towing package”, so aftermarket parts, such as a more efficient radiator fan, transmission oil cooler in case of the automatic transmission, frame-mounted hitch, and trailer brake controller; are required for any serious towing.

Additionally, the S-Runner street-performance trim level did come with the V6 engine as standard, but due to other reasons have towing capacity of 3,500 lbs.


The second generation comes in model years ranging from 2005 to 2015, and it came with two engine options. The 2.7 liters inline-four and a 4 liter V6.

Their MGTWR is 3,500 lbs and 6,500 lbs, respectively. The street performance trim level was replaced with the X-Runner, and it remained with a lower tow capacity of 3,500 lbs.

Just as with the first generation, the four-banger engine models require some aftermarket parts to make them suitable for towing, while models with V6 engines had an optional towing package, so you should be careful whether your truck is capable of safely towing higher loads.


Currently available is the third generation of Tacoma, since the 2016 model year. The lower displacement I4 engine was kept from the second generation, while the 4 liter V6 was replaced by a 3.5 liters version.

For I4 engine models, MGTWR is 3,500 lbs, while V6 models depend on the exact model year.

Pre-2020 facelift V6 models have 6,800 lbs MGTWR with an optional towing package, while the post-2020 facelift towing package is part of the standard equipment but MGTWR is 6,400 lbs.

toyota tacoma 3rd gen

How Much Does A Horse Trailer Weight?

How much does a horse trailer weight? All horse trailers have their own manufacturer-specified gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR. This is the maximum combined weight of the trailer itself, horse(s), and any other cargo, such as gear, feed, and so on. 

Toyota Tacoma, and any other truck for that matter, can pull a trailer that has a higher GVWR than its own MGTWR, but the load of the trailer and trailer empty weight must not be higher than MGTWR.

Horse trailers are divided into two major types, bumper pull, and gooseneck type, and between them, the weight varies by a lot.

But the weight of a particular horse trailer is determined by many other factors, the material it is built from, whether it has a dressing room or tack room, how many horses it can house, and so on.

Bumper pull trailers

A one or two horses bumper trailer that is not equipped with a dressing room on average has a curb (empty) weight of around 2,400 lbs, but with a dressing room, the average goes up to around 2,700 lbs for a single horse, and 3,200 lbs for a two-horse trailer.

GVWR of these trailers is usually in the range between 7,000 lbs and 10,000 lbs.

A three-horse trailer with an appropriate dressing room on average is weighing around 4,100 lbs when it’s empty and has no gear or other payload, and their GVWR can go as high as 12,000 lbs.

Bumper-pull trailers

Gooseneck trailers

Gooseneck trailer appropriate for a single horse on average has a curb weight of around 2,900 lbs.

Two horse gooseneck trailers’ curb weight hovers around 4,600 lbs and usually have GVWR between 8,000 lbs and 12,000 lbs.

The biggest, four-horse trailers of the gooseneck type on average weigh around 6,300 lbs and have GVWR in the range between 9,000 lbs and 13,000 lbs.

Toyota tacoma V6 pulling 4500 lb horse trailer on plow field with bald tires >> Check out the video below:

How Much Does A Horse Weight?

How much does a horse weight? The weight of an individual horse falls in a very wide range and depends on a specific breed and age or height. Smaller, 9 hands tall, ponies can weigh around 450 lbs while 14 hands or more tall and fully grown one would clock close to 900 lbs.

Polo ponies weigh in the range between 900 lbs and 1,150 lbs, which is the same range for Arabian horses. Thoroughbreds can have a similar minimum weight for a 15 hands tall one but can go up to 1,350 lbs for one taller than 16 hands.

Draught horses are among the heaviest ones, and their weight usually ranges between 1,500 lbs and 1,900 lbs. Some breeds of draught horses such as the Shire can weigh even up to 2,450lbs.

What Are MGTWR and GCVWR?

What are MGTWR and GCVWR? MGTWR and GCVWR stand for maximum gross trailer weight ratio and gross combined vehicle weight ratio. These two characteristics are very important when determining whether your Tacoma can tow a certain horse trailer and its occupant(s).

MGTWR is the maximum weight your truck can tow. It includes both the trailer and the load in it, whether it is a horse alone, or includes feed and gear. This is a weight limit you absolutely should never even think about going over. Even with a towing package, it can be very unsafe to do so.

The first problem is that you will be asking your engine to handle a much heavier load than it can. And when it comes to safety, it is crucial that your brakes are able to handle slowing down your truck from certain speeds. Greater weight means greater inertia, and thus much longer stopping distances.

GCVWR stands for gross combined vehicle weight rating, and it is the absolute maximum the engine of your truck can handle.

It includes the weight of your truck, all fluids in it such as engine oil, transmission oil, fuel; all of the occupants in it and their cargo, plus the weight of all connected trailer and their cargo.

When determining whether your Tacoma can tow a certain horse trailer and its occupants, you will always want to subtract from the GCVWR the weight of any payload and occupants that will be driving with you in the truck.

In case that the remaining number is higher than the MGTWR of your particular Tacoma model, the MGTWR is the maximum combined weight of the trailer and its load you can tow. The leftover is the weight you can safely add to your truck.

In case that it is lower than the MGTWR, that is the actual maximum tow weight your truck can handle in that situation.

Toyota Tacoma Towing Tips >> Check out the video below:

Toyota trucks are best known for their reputation of being the workhorse vehicles that can with a bit of TLC drive more than a million miles.

The Tacoma is a pickup truck that grew from its compact pickup roots of the first generation to the current midsize pickup class.

As such it is placed squarely in the class of light-duty vehicles that are almost bordering on the lower range of heavy-duty pickups. If you are planning on towing a horse trailer with it, it is possible if you opt for a smaller trailer.

Another precaution if you are towing any significant load is that you should avoid traveling on the highway for any considerable distance. If you are not traveling for more than 150-200 miles on the highway, with a decreased load it will be able to maintain highway speeds.

But in the case of the near-maximum load, there will be a chance of the engine overheating from the heavy load.


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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