TRAILER SHOPPING!!!! Just those two words are enough to make me shudder and hide under my covers!
When I first discovered that I wanted to be able to take my horse to shows and other venues without having to bum a ride, we bought a Nissan Tundra with a 10,000 lb towing package. THEN, I bought a BEE 3 horse steel slant load, as I had 3 horses and wanted to be able to take them all somewhere in an emergency situation. What I realized too late was that it was not enough truck for such a large trailer, and I spent years sweating it out and constantly feeling like the trailer was driving the truck, instead of the other way around. On top of that, I had to hear horror stories from my friends about jack-knifed bumper pull trailers and crazy horse injuries that scared me to death. By this time, my daughter had a horse that had no problem loading, but we couldn’t get her off the trailer if she had to back off. Very annoying at shows, let me tell you. In the end, I was so afraid to drive the trailer that I had to get my husband to do it, and I lost the freedom and autonomy that was at the root of my decision to buy a trailer to begin with.
After 6 years of this craziness, I decided to hit the redo button, starting with the Titan. We weren’t using it for a commuting vehicle at that point, so we sold it, and I bought a used 1994 Ford F350 Powerstroke Deisel with 170,000 miles for $6500. Four years later, it is still the smartest thing I have done for towing reasons. There is NOTHING it can’t tow, and I feel very secure, like I’m the boss, each time I’m towing anywhere. The next thing I did was look for a trailer. I had decided that I really wanted a smaller gooseneck for stability, but that I really wanted something with a side ramp. Not only would it help with crazy mare, but God forbid should something happen, it’s another way to get the horses off the trailer in an emergency situation. In the end, I ended up with a custom made Equibreeze, which is made by Equispirit. It’s a 2 horse straightload stock trailer with a rear loading ramp and a side ramp, and a small dressing room. EVERY horse that I have ever loaded on it has loved it. It has tons of head room, and space in front of the head so the horses don’t feel squeezed like they sometimes do with a slant load. Because it’s a stock trailer, it is so airy and cool at shows, even in the heat of summer, that my horses with stand on it all day without even breaking a sweat, and just munch on their hay as cool as cucumbers. They love that they don’t have to back up to get off of it, and load with total confidence. At $16,000, it was more than I wanted to pay, but I got a good deal on the truck, so I was able to swing it.
I have officially gone from having sweaty palms and anxiety attacks to becoming a lean, mean towing machine. (Well, maybe not the lean part.) I can take that rig anywhere with complete confidence, and my horses all love it. That being said, with an older truck, I also got a roadside assistance plan specifically for people who tow horses. That gives me the confidence that I do have a problem, they can send another tow vehicle so I don’t have to unload my horses next to a highway and put them in a dangerous situation.
Best of luck to you!!! I hope you find a rig that meets all of your needs!