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How Gooseneck Hitches Work

Choosing Gooseneck Hitches
If you have a horse trailer, you might be in the market for a gooseneck hitch.
If you have a horse trailer, you might be in the market for a gooseneck hitch.
© iStockphoto/Eric Ferguson

If you're in the market for a gooseneck hitch, one must-have is the correct kind of trailer, because only a specific type can be attached to this sort of hitch. The trailer needs to be the sort that has an area in the front that sticks out from the rest of the trailer, sort of like the one below.

Another thing to consider is the issue of weight. Gooseneck hitches can handle quite a load, but it's important to double check whether they're up to the task by finding out the weight of the trailer, along with the weight of the trailer when it's fully loaded. A couple thousand pounds of trailer weight is one thing -- add a half dozen horses or a summer's worth of camping gear and you've upped the ante a bit. You also need to make sure your pickup is up to the challenge. Manufacturers can usually provide information on their vehicles' recommended towing capacities, but remember to give yourself a little leeway in case you need to add some cargo at the last minute or accidently calculate the weight of your load too low.


When choosing a gooseneck hitch, it's also important to consider how the installation will go. Some versions can be much more complicated to install than others. As we discussed on the last page, both the make and model of the car, along with the brand of the hitch, can vary how challenging the experience will be. Don't scorn the thought of hiring a professional for the installation if you have a pickup that's going to make the job tricky. It's critical to have everything done right, from drilling the hole for the hitch ball in the proper location to securely bolting the hitch assembly to the truck's frame. In some setups, you may need to remove certain parts of the pickup truck to get the assembly in place, and you often need to watch out for critical components like fuel lines and brake lines during the installation process. Let's read more about the installation of gooseneck hitches on the next page.