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Trailer purchasing advice

This topic contains 16 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  jsmith2005 2 years ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • Glennfiddich Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    I am new to trailering and am looking for advice on what to purchase. I have a 17hand thoroughbred and am trying to decide if I should limit my search to 7.5ft, extra tall, or warm blood sized trailers or if I am okay with a 7ft trailer. I recently purchased my horse so I don’t have much experience with him on a trailer but he was quiet to load and drive on the ride home. He does have a tendency to find stupid ways to get himself hurt in the field. I will be purchasing an SUV to pull so keeping the trailer light would be preferred. Money is also a consideration – all the used trailers I’ve looked at are all about $5,000 cheaper to go with a 7ft vs.7.5 ft. The majority of our trips will be for lessons within an hour but I don’t want to regret buying too small of a trailer when we start going to competitions further away in a couple years.

    Any other advice on what to look for – stock/slant/straight, ramp/step up, brands to look for/steer clear of. I’m looking for a 2 or 3 horse bumper pull. Any future horse purchases will most likely be a mid to large sized pony so no real concerns about buying for the next horse.

    IrishMelody IrishMelody
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 27

    I definitely recommend getting the warmblood sized trailer. It will be more spacious for your horse, less like a tiny cave. Plus if he gets silly, he has more space to move around before he hits something.

    Another thing to consider is what kind of trailer he prefers. Just like humans, horses can be particular about their rides. Some like stock type trailers, some like slant or straight load. I do not recommend a trailer with a ramp. It is just another thing for the horse to step off, get hurt on, drag you off of. Step up trailers are easy, just one little step up.

    While aluminum can be attractive because it is lightweight, it won’t hold up like steel will. And a steel two horse bumper pull only weighs about 1800 pounds. Put your TB in it, you can pull it with a TrailBlazer; my sister did that with her TB and TrailBlazer.

    Also, remember to have patience. Eventually the right trailer will come to you. I spent 5-6 months looking for a trailer and was going to buy a couple different ones, but never did. Then one day drove past one parked on the side of the road, fantastic condition, paid cash right then. Which brings up another piece of advice: shop within your budget. Say your budget is $2000 but that $5,000 trailer looks good and oh it would be perfect. Well, it won’t be, because you can’t afford it.

    If you are trailering to a barn for lessons, maybe they have something you can borrow while you shop. Plus it will give you trailer driving practice. Hope this helps! I just bought my first personal trailer so I’m new to it to. These are the bits of advice I picked up along the way.

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    When I bought my mare it took five people to load her onto a straight load trailer and she was unhappy for the entire trip home. Her previous owners had a slant load, so that’s what I bought when I got mine. She goes right on that, no problem. I like the slant load because “I” feel safer loading, I don’t need an escape door. But it’s not about the owner, it’s about the horses and what they are used to. Going with that saves a lot of trouble. In general it is easier to load a slant load trailer and easier on the horse to ride that way, but they may not be as tall as straight loading ones.

    If buying a used trailer – check the floor for soundness – look for rust and/or rot – and don’t take any chances if you see any. Next: ventilation. If possible have screens on the sides and ventilation from above. (I have removable plexiglass panels). Verify that the electrical connections are working, i.e., brakes, signals, and lights. It’s good to have interior trailer lights if you are off-loading in the dark, but I’ve only used mine twice. Try to find something that has been garage kept as it will have less likelihood of rust. I have a Trails West and can recommend that brand. Good luck!

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    SecondStorm
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 5

    As someone who also owns and hauls 17+ hand horses, I recommend you go with a Warmblood sized trailer. Straight load or stock trailer type floor plans are much better for large horses. As far as ramps versus step-ups, I have used both and some horses really do prefer one over the other. Whether you buy new or used, check everything out top to bottom and front to back. If you don’t have any experience with this type of thing, take someone with you who does. Same goes for buying a towing vehicle; if it is not safely capable of pulling AND stopping your fully loaded trailer, keep shopping! Best of luck to you!

    TBeventer TBeventer
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 22

    From an investment standpoint keep saving up and avoid taking out a loan to purchase a trailer. It helps prevent impulse buying because throughout your search you have to decide whether to keep saving or make the purchase.

    There are a lot of new trailer designs coming out that can transition from a slant to a straight load. I like straight loads when towing with an SUV, but slant loads help keep the horse stable if you ever had to slam on the brakes.

    See what your horse likes, and overall make sure it’s in good condition or can easily be fixed. Make sure you study the towing capacity of your SUV and get the right equipment to safely tow (like a brake controller).

    (I just bought a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee over a truck. I don’t plan on towing with it but if I ever needed to I could tow a 2 horse BP.)

    Rusty76
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Some great advice from everyone. I, too, have a large horse (draft cross) and agree that a warmblood size trailer is ideal, not only for height but width and length of the ‘stall’.
    I learned a hard lesson with my first and subsequent second trailer purchase. DO NOT buy the first tall trailer you look at in your price range. Take your time and look at several. If none of them are the right one, then consider saving some more and increasing your budget until you find the trailer that works best for you.
    In the meantime, ask your friends with trailers if you can practice loading/unloading your horse to figure out what he prefers and what you feel safest in. I found that my big guy prefers a extra-large, straight load with large transverse escape aisle with two escape doors. He wants as much natural light as possible when loading. Like I said it took two purchases and lots of practice to figure this out.
    Good luck with your shopping!

    Glennfiddich Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    Thanks for everyone’s advice. I borrowed a friends 7ft straight load trailer with mangers and my horse made it very clear that it was just too small for him. (We did get him to get his front two feet in and quietly eat grain and I had to agree – I just didn’t see him fitting squeezed between the manger and the butt bar). We are now looking for a bright and airy 7’6 footer and hopefully some friends trailers that we can borrow to see if he prefers slant or straight load, ramp or step up…

    Sporthorse101
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I see you have received a lot of good advice. I ride dressage and wanted a tall trailer for my horses. I had a 3 horse Featherlite Slant gooseneck with a ramp standard 7’and pulled with an Ford F350. Great combination, but wanted to downsize as the truck really wasn’t practical the rest of the week when the trailer wasn’t in use. I traded for a loaded F150 with trailering package and purchased a new 2 horse Featherlite Straight load bumper pull 7.5′ with ramp front dressing room and center escape door into dressing area. Beautiful trailer and the truck pulled the weight with ease. Only one problem, the added height of the trailer caused wind issues and the trailer would buffet badly and sway specially when behind a large semi or when they would pass me. I talked with the dealer and they suggested an anti sway bar. I had that installed before my trip to Utah from the Midwest but still was a problem that I considered on the edge of dangerous.

    Upon return from my trip I went straight to dealership and ordered a new 2 horse slant gooseneck with a ramp. The trailer pulls great you can cruise down the highway at any speed with no sway and feel relaxed during your trip and be ready to ride when you arrive. I have several friends that pull bumper pulls with SUV’s and they seem fine, it appeared on my part it was the added height of the trailer that caused issues for me.

    If you go with a 7.5′ bumper pull ask if you can hook it up and drive it for few miles on the highway and side roads to see of its works for you before you make the purchase. Wishing you much success and many enjoyable safe rides!

    wild gorilla
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    First consider the SUV you will buy. Be sure it is heavy duty and has enough torque and HP to pull a two horse steel trailer. Heavy duty suspension and cooling system. Consider a diesel. Cooling system for transmission is advised.
    Regarding the trailer: I suggest the warm blood (larger size ) trailer. As a beginner and using it for short trips, I suggest HAWK brand. Basic two horse trailer with small tack room in front. Four tires. Straight load, not slant load. Full height back doors. Strongly suggest you buy it with a ramp. Easier to load and greater protection if you are re-ended in an accident. I had this experience and the ramp saved my horses. Steel not aluminum. Try to buy a trailed with a removable inside divider. Synthetic flooring, not wood. Also get inside lighting if you may use it after dark.

    TDore
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Always better to have “too much” tow vehicle than what you are hauling. If you don’t have an SUV yet (sounds like you don’t) – you might be better off considering at least a 150/1500 full size truck. Trucks are meant to haul things and most (not all) have the features you need to haul safely. With a truck you could get a gooseneck trailer in the future if you wanted to as well. 150/1500 trucks aren’t so big as to be a pain to drive as ‘grocery-getters’ – haha.
    If an SUV it must be – then make SURE it has a transmission cooler and put a brake box in too (even if you tow with a truck – gotta have those two things).
    Drives me nuts when people don’t put a brake box in – that’s a LOT of extra work and stopping distance to rely on your truck brakes alone to stop the truck and trailer.
    A good brake box is probably about $250 installed I think…been years since I had mine put in.
    I had a friend blow a transmission on a Tahoe type SUV and she was only hauling a two horse BP trailer. So – a tranny cooler is a must – on a truck or SUV.
    Someone mentioned problems with sway – I think the Draw-Tite hitches help prevent that and can be installed on many vehicles.
    I have a CM Dakota two horse slant load BP that my horse and I like.
    I prefer a slant load to straight load and think my horse does too. I am not a fan of ramps – but they are not a deal breaker to me. Horses get used to them.
    I pull my trailer with an F250 diesel.
    LOVE my truck! Though it is big and not always practical.

    In the end – bigger vehicle is better – and remember – just because the vehicle manufacturer says it will haul “x” pounds doesn’t mean you should max it out.
    Plus – the max weight your truck/suv can tow – you also are supposed to count the weight of passengers, cargo, and FUEL (which is heavy) – not “just” your trailer and horse. So – check that info out carefully when shopping so you make a good, educated decision that you’ll be happy with for years.
    Keep us posted!

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Regarding ramp vs. step-up, a lot depends on the horse. I have known horses who would walk up to the step, and just refuse to go further, and some who went in readily, but got very nervous about backing off into air. Mine prefer to have a ramp, but it would be really great to have a trailer that could be either one. I also think a gooseneck is more stable, but I am neurotic about trailering my horses. Whichever trailer you choose, be very, very certain that your tow vehicle is up to the job. The only SUV’s I know of that can do it are the Chevy Suburban and the Ford Expedition, which are really trucks in disguise. GMC may make something equivalent to the Suburban.

    It is never the horse's fault

    TBeventer TBeventer
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 22

    From an investment standpoint keep saving up and avoid taking out a loan to purchase a trailer. It helps prevent impulse buying because throughout your search you have to decide whether to keep saving or make the purchase.

    There are a lot of new trailer designs coming out that can transition from a slant to a straight load. I like straight loads when towing with an SUV, but slant loads help keep the horse stable if you ever had to slam on the brakes.

    See what your horse likes, and overall make sure it’s in good condition or can easily be fixed. Make sure you study the towing capacity of your SUV and get the right equipment to safely tow (like a brake controller).

    (I just bought a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee over a truck. I don’t plan on towing with it but if I ever needed to I could tow a 2 horse BP.)

    This is extremely ironic that I wrote the above advice because I am now in a situation where I am trading in my GC for a truck and trailer. I did a lot of research and was considering adding a tow package and brake controller to my GC and look for a Euro trailer (2 horse designed for SUVS, like a BrenderUP). I realized the higher-price of them and they are extremely hard to find. I came to the conclusion that it was best in the long run to trade in my GC for a truck and trailer. I also felt it would be more practical to invest the money I would have used to find a BrenderUp into a truck. I am going to take a huge hit on my Jeep, but mine and my horse’s safety comes first and I am finding it necessary to trailer again.

    After much truck shopping, I decided to go for a Toyota Tundra with a 5.7L V8 engine and a tow capacity of 10,300lbs. My sister has one and tows her 3 horse trailer fully loaded without any problems. I have a few other friends that are happy with their Tundras as well. I did a test-drive with her (and her trailer) today in hers and loved it. I originally was looking into Rams (I’m a Chrysler fan), but was disappointed in the 1500’s towing capacity at 8300 (it claims 10,500 but they have been non-existent in my searches). I then tried out a 2500 and felt it was too big of a truck for my needs with a tow capacity of 11,500lbs. I was impressed by the maneuverability of the Tundra, the price, the interior, and knowing my sister has no issues with hers. I felt it was the best bet.

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 249

    I have towed a trailer with a Jeep Wagoneer (which tells you how long ago it was, as I don’t think they still make that car). I did that for a couple years, then realized it wasn’t working & got a 3/4 ton truck, and I would never seriously consider towing a trailer, especially a WB sized trailer with anything else. Now that cars have been downsized, I have come to accept that anything that can safely & comfortably for drive and horse(s) is simply going to get lousy gas milage, so if you have to do a lot of driving other than pulling the trailer, the only really good selection is 2 good used vehicles, one a truck or a full sized 3/4 ton van (NOT a mini van) to pull the trailer, which can also be used to transport hay, grain, furniture, etc., and a small car with great gas milage. Each will last much longer if used for what it was designed to do, with fewer repair bills, and greater safety. Back when all American cars were huge gas guzzling monsters, you could get away with pulling a horse trailer with a “car”, but those days are long past, particularly if you plan to pull an over-sized trailer. Been there, done that, would never do it again.

    wild gorilla
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I agree with all these folks — trucks have really changed the past few years. Designed more for comfort and gas mileage than power. I doubt a normal SUV will fulfill your needs. Definitely think truck and not the basic truck. You may need to buy a Ford 250 or GM 2500 or big Toyota or Ram. I suggest when you shop, you ask the dealer to allow you to take the truck and hook-up your trailer and load the horses and take it for a drive on hills and interstate roads. Cubic inches don’t mean a lot any longer. It’s Torque and the frame and suspension — get the HD. The transmission cooler is a must. Wild Gorilla

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Wild Gorilla, your suggestion is a good one, but I am not sure many dealers would have trucks on the lot with a tow package, as that is an extra, not standard. It might require a lot of hunting. One other way could be to ask at shows or barns what people find best.

    It is never the horse's fault

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