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View Full Version : Trailer and vehicle to haul it...



trinkamally
Nov. 28, 2009, 09:58 PM
I am sort of thinking of buying a trailer, and am a complete neophyte...

I want something to haul one fairly large horse.

Do I have to get a truck or will a car-like-object do the trick?

How much will I need to spend on the trailer--(used is fine)

What else should I keep in mind?

Thanks!!

Trixie
Nov. 28, 2009, 10:42 PM
I'm a believer in bigger is better, because in our experience, there have been times when we've been very happy to have MORE truck, and do not wish to ever have less truck than we need. So, for us, 3/4 ton or better unless someone is hauling a brenderup, where you can get away with less.

The most inexpensive scenario is probably buying a used proper truck (4WD is helpful) and a used stock trailer or the like. We sold our well-used stock trailer with the hitch for $2K and it was serviceably sound but not particularly attractive. A coat of paint would have made it attractive.

There are a lot of good deals on used trucks right now, as a lot of people are selling larger, older vehicles and getting more fuel efficient commuter vehicles. We have smaller vehicles for commuting and use the truck for hauling and farm work. Check Craigslist and be sure to have it properly inspected.

Please, please, please stay away from car-like objects :)

riderboy
Nov. 29, 2009, 10:16 AM
Trixie is right. We started with a half ton, then 3/4 ton and ended up with a 1 ton single axle 4WD Ford diesel and I love it. You may not think you need that big a truck or a diesel, but when you are 1) Pulling out of a gas station and you have to merge onto a highway, you can't have too much truck .We haul 2 horses, hay, shavings and all the "stuff" and let me tel you, in those situations , I can't have too much truck especially if traffic is heavy. 2) Pulling in mountains on uphill grades, the diesel is fabulous. 3) 4WD for all those less than ideal parking situations at muddy schoolings and shows, when you need it, you REALLY need it. Besides, you may at some point get another horse or a bigger trailer and then you will definitely have to have more truck.

kerlin
Nov. 29, 2009, 10:34 AM
My advice: buy the trailer first, especially if you're going used. That way you'll know how much truck you need. If you happen to find an aluminum 2h in the right size, then you'll be okay with a 3/4 ton, but if you fall in love with a 2h slant load bumper pull made mostly of steel...you'll need the 1 ton.

I got a used truck and trailer for $3k each; paid too much for the trailer and made out like a bandit on the truck. It'll depend entirely on your area and how much looking you want to do - I spent easily 7 months looking for my truck. My only, only complaint is that it's a 2WD, and like riderboy says, when you need a 4WD, you REALLY need it.

Get a copy of "The Complete Guide Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer" by Neva and Thomas Scheve. It is a superb book. There are also some checklists in Cherry Hill's book on horse trailers, called I think "Trailering Your Horse" that I used when shopping for a truck and trailer - I made copies of them and they were a great reminder of what to ask and look at.

wildlifer
Nov. 30, 2009, 10:25 AM
Do NOT pull a horse trailer with a car or car like object.

You can pull with a 1/2 ton truck. I did it for quite some time, an old HEAVY Tahoe (very different from the new ones) and an F150. It works fine. But it will kill your transmission and your suspension. So if you don't want to be buy new trannies all the time, just get the 3/4 ton. I traded in for a 3/4 ton diesel and am never going back. Even though I usually only haul one horse in a bumper pull, it's a world of difference plus I don't lose money getting 8 mpg towing anymore.

I find that where I am 2WD/4WD doesn't matter too much. I traded in the 4x4 for a 2WD actually. I get slightly better mileage on the 2WD, less front end issues, it's cheaper and in my climate, I never need it. The only place I might get stuck is a muddy horse show parking, but if that happens, well, you are surrounded by trucks and tractors, you will be extricated in short order.

Ibex
Nov. 30, 2009, 11:28 AM
My advice: buy the trailer first, especially if you're going used. That way you'll know how much truck you need. If you happen to find an aluminum 2h in the right size, then you'll be okay with a 3/4 ton, but if you fall in love with a 2h slant load bumper pull made mostly of steel...you'll need the 1 ton.


Um, not true in average conditions, especially with a later model truck that's properly equipped for towing.

A newer half ton with a big engine and appropriate upgrades for towing can handle your average 2H BP no problem. Most trailers of that size are rated for 7000-7500lbs and a properly equipped half ton at 8500lbs. For one horse, local hauling you would be fine.

If you're towing in more extreme conditions (i.e. mountains, very long hauls), then an upgrade to a 3/4 ton makes sense.

Your average 3h does NOT need a 1ton, unless you have a big living quarters etc.

asterix
Nov. 30, 2009, 11:37 AM
Get the book mentioned above, and go by the numbers. If you get the trailer first (a good idea, but when shopping used, you may have to jump on a deal of a truck first...), do the math and figure out what the tow capacity on the truck will have to be.

If you get the truck, know the max weight the trailer can be empty and don't look at anything heavier than that.

You have to do a little research to get the numbers right. Whatever you do, don't rely on what a dealer (truck) tells you. Often they have no idea. I heard the most interesting things when I was shopping!!!

The 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton stuff is a bit hard to nail down -- the various options on trucks make this really, really varied. I have a heavy duty 1/2 ton with a big engine and a good rear axle ratio, 4wd, tow package, beefed up everything. It is rated to tow higher than a stripped down 3/4 ton of the same make/model year. So get ALL the details on engine, transmission, tow package, rear axle ratio, etc etc. and then do the calculations.

4wd vs 2wd seems to come down to where you are and what you do -- we have this debate on here all the time. If you dont' need 4wd, it's cheaper, better gas mileage, etc etc to go 2wd.
If I had 2wd I couldn't even get my trailer out of its parking space all winter long. :D

Ajierene
Nov. 30, 2009, 01:44 PM
I have a 2WD Dogde 1500 and it's ok, but not great. I take my trailer out about once a month and do not generally drive more than 45 min away, usually 10 miles to Fair Hill.

My ex-fiance was the one to pick the truck out and thought 2WD would be just fine....a month after we got the truck and trailer, we went to our first show and got stuck in the mud. We parked in designated parking for the trailer, not a field or anything, and it was winter. It just warmed up enough that day to turn the ice/dirt into mud.

Another friend would pull her trailer to a dry spot before loading her horse. Even going to Fair Hill where the parking areas are gravel/stone dust, I am really careful about where I park. I also think I have more wear and tear on the truck due to the size and am saving up for at least a 4WD, if not a 2500 or bigger.

As far as the trailer goes - depending on the size of your horse, you may want to look into a two horse stock. I just haul one horse around and she loves it. A bigger horse may feel less claustrophobic in it.

bambam
Nov. 30, 2009, 02:03 PM
Depends what you mean by "carlike" :)
I tow with a 3/4 ton Suburban (with the factory installed tow package and 4WD). This carlike vehicle ;) does just fine towing (and most importantly stopping) an aluminum with steel frame 2-horse BP with dressing room and has done it with 2 large (one very large) horses inside. I might not want to tow through the Rockies in it but odds are I won't be since I live in Maryland. I have needed the 4WD numerous times at horse trials (and have been one of the few that did not need to be pulled out by the Waredaca tractor a couple of years at the October HT ;)) but 99.9% of the time I leave it in 2WD.
Sometimes having the SUV as opposed to the truck is nice as it is a bit more versatile.
I personally would not go smaller than the Burb or less than the 3/4 ton for a carlike object (different for a truck). I have towed a 2-horse BP with a Tahoe (borrowed rig) and the stopping distance sucked.
I got my Burb used after perusing the used car sale ads for a few months. I was looking for that or a 3/4 ton truck with extended cab and found the Burb first.

bigbaytb
Nov. 30, 2009, 02:06 PM
Get the mentioned book and make sure you get a truck that will STOP the trailer. Some people make the mistake of thinking "well, it pulls it fine" but what they don't think of is an emergency situation. If you have to slam on your breaks, even with an electronic break box, the truck needs to be able to stop the trailer well and that it can handle the inertia too.

I have a large 2000 4 star, warmblood size 2 horse, aluminum bumper pull with ramp and tack room. It's a long and tall trailer. I first used my friends 1996 gmc 4x4 1500 to tow it. ugh, it was awful. It could pull the trailer fine, but don't get me talking about windy days, wet days or when my horse would decide to shift. bleck. However, her truck pulled her 1992 trailet without a problem, it was a much smaller trailer.

Last year, I ended up getting a 1992 (yup, an old one!) GMC 2500 HD 2wd extend cab long bed . It was in great shape and low mileage for the year for a huge deal. It wasn't the 4x4 i wanted, but it was half the price, plus speaking to a few friends in my area, they said they rarely used the 4x4 so i went for it. I had a trusted mechanic go over it before I purchased it for $2500. I've put about $1500 into it replacing a manifold, water pump, brakes and other items that i felt needed to go. I'm comfortable with it and it tows like a dream. I'm just careful where I park and will tow up to 4 hours one way with it, any trip longer, i'll get a ride with someone else.

hint. when you're shopping..everyone will say "yeh, that truck will tow 'er fine"..so know your requirements and don't necessarily believe what everyone will say. the truck owner let me take it to my mechanic to look it over before purchase (he just took my information down).

Expect to put some money into a used truck and trailer after it's purchased. Make sure both are in working order before putting your horse into it. and always have them fully inspected at least once a year!

Good luck!

asterix
Nov. 30, 2009, 02:10 PM
hey, whose horse are you calling "very large" --
he's just big boned.

Trixie
Nov. 30, 2009, 02:15 PM
Bambam, I don't consider the 3/4 ton suburban car-like. It's actually one of the few SUV's I'd be comfortable towing with. I borrowed one once and it was essentially a tank.

4WD is one of those things where if you don't have it, you'll need it. Our F-350 doesn't have it for some reason and we're always wishing it did. Consequently we've had to be extremely careful about where we park and the conditions of where we're going.

bambam
Nov. 30, 2009, 02:19 PM
hey, whose horse are you calling "very large" --
he's just big boned.
I didn't call him fat, but very large- which, dearest, he is. Any horse who makes the 17h HRH look small, is "very large" in my book. I am sure it is all bone and muscle (and, right now, hair ;)).
And if that description was inaccurate, why were you so sure I was referring to your horse :lol:;)

Right on Target
Nov. 30, 2009, 02:38 PM
I'm not a pro like a lot of people on this board, but I can tell you what has worked for me (versus what is ideal).

I don't tow often, and I can't afford an extra truck just for my infrequent towing excursions. So I just use the vehicles we had before I bought the trailer, which are a 2008 Chevy Trailblazer and a 2009 Tahoe. I feel pretty confident hauling one horse in my little 2 horse bumper pull (no dressing room) with the Trailblazer. The truck stops and accelerates just fine with a single horse. It actually stops fine with two medium sized horses as well, but I think it is too much weight with two in it. I did tow two horses about 10 mins from the farm (gently!) once, but that is about it.

My friend who has a lot of towing experience with big, heavy trucks was actually surprised at how nicely the Trailblazer pulled and stopped.

We use a 2009 Tahoe as well and it seems to do well with one or two horses. We don't travel more than an hour and not up/down mountains. In the high winds we had this past weekend, the Tahoe was steady as can be. It also did well on some twisty and somewhat steep rural PA roads.

I've needed the 4WD, and I wouldn't do without it.

I like the Prodigy brake controller, but I heard that there is a new controller out that is supposed to be better? (P3 I think it is called)

NMK
Nov. 30, 2009, 03:14 PM
Hint #1--multiply the times you "think" you might use a trailer by two. Once you have one, you will use it more often than you think.

Hint #2--it is easier to upgrade on a trailer than to upgrade the truck because it can't do the job.

Hint #3--hay--it has to fit in the trailer or the truck. It's no good wet.

Hint #4--the truck has to stop the trailer safely. The aforementioned book has all the weight ratio information, but when in doubt, go for the heavier truck.

Hint #5--before driving horsie around drive it to a parking lot and make sure the brake module is set correctly, and learn how to maneuver. It's too stressful at the show with the horse to find out you have just parked somewhere that you can't get out of.

Last hint--if at all possible, get a gooseneck. Much safer and easier all the way around.

asterix
Nov. 30, 2009, 08:46 PM
I didn't call him fat, but very large- which, dearest, he is. Any horse who makes the 17h HRH look small, is "very large" in my book. I am sure it is all bone and muscle (and, right now, hair ;)).
And if that description was inaccurate, why were you so sure I was referring to your horse :lol:;)

nah, a lot of it was fat this year.
and dirt, don't forget the dirt! that's a significant load at the moment...

NMK's hints are all GREAT.
The gooseneck is nice but it DOES weigh more and cost more.

RunForIt
Nov. 30, 2009, 09:26 PM
NMK's admonishment to make sure the truck is capable of STOPPING the trailer is IMHO the biggest criteria...and stopping it quickly if necessary. I can always get a tractor to pull me out of the mud, but I have to be able to stop that big thing loaded with my precious big thing at a moment's notice! :eek: :cool:

dogdays
Nov. 30, 2009, 10:34 PM
Ditto getting the 4x4, you'll be glad you did even if you only use it once a year.. As far as trucks go, the Toyota Tundra is NOT] a suitable truck. Friend had one, too thin skinned, didn't haul or stop trailer well.

JWB
Dec. 1, 2009, 04:00 PM
It all depends on what you need in a trailer... An aluminum trailer will cost you more $$ but you can tow (and stop) with less truck. A Brenderup will cost even more than an aluminum trailer and can probably be pulled with a GOOD SUV.

I was in your situation one year ago and I ended up with an aluminum 2-horse featherlight for $5900. I had to do about $1000 in work on it to make it horse safe and it was still a STEAL.

I also bought an 03' F-250 with 130k miles on it for $6,000. I don't think it was a steal but I was okay with that price. I could have gotten away with a lot less truck but I know that truck has the power to haul my trailer even if I decide to haul 2 horses and a full load of hay and tack through the foothills. For zipping around town, it's a LOT of truck but better too much than too little.

I saw steel stock trailers and 2-horses w/out tack rooms for about $2900 but most were 7 ft tall or less. I saw WB sized steel trailers in the $3500-$4500 range, mostly without any "bells and whistles"

I didn't see anything in aluminum for under $5000 and you could add 2-3k if you wanted a tack room and or WB height....
I did't find many Brenderups for sale and the ones I did see were over 10k.

I found my Featherlite on Craigs List. I looked for a LONG time, and when I saw mine, I moved quickly (as in drove up from work the day I saw it and left a deposit). There are bargains to be had but they don't last long. If you see one that looks good, move on it quickly (but if it looks TOO good to be true or the trailer is out of state pass - there are a LOT of scams) I got the truck about two months later.

Rescue_Rider9
Dec. 1, 2009, 04:34 PM
I haven't read everything everyone has already posted, but here is my experience and knowlegde from my dad (who is a mechanic and hauled huge race car trailers forever!) Anything you buy should be long wheel based because you have a big horse and will probably get a tall (7 1/2' tall rather than the standard 6 1/2'). A short wheel base vehicle won't be very good at stablizing the trailer. Newer model suburban really suck at hauling.. lol my mom was very dissappointed when I totalled her 98 model and she bought an 04 and it didnt have half the towing power of the older one. If you do get a standard size, then I would suggest a Toyota Sequoa(sp). My mom hauls my all steel 2 horse slant with a tackroom with her '02 Sequoa and it does better than my GMC Seiarra 1500! It also stops it better than mine does! We were both shocked.

I hope my experience is helpful! Good luck with shopping!

Candle
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:12 PM
I hauled a 2 horse bumper pull with an F-150 when I was a teenager because my father refused to believe me that it wouldn't stop. He kept claiming that it was rated to haul the trailer. I could NOT stop, and I can't even begin to tell you how many lights I ran and how scared I was of being able to stop on time. I started approaching intersections going 30 mph and praying nobody cut in front of me, and then I just quit hauling anywhere at all. You don't really appreciate having too much truck until you've had not enough truck, and then suddenly what you thought was too much truck is really just making you feel all happy and warm inside because it stops every single time you need it to. Dad still to this day has 'man-moments' and tries to argue that the truck was just fine. Yeah, it was fine if you've got a ton of insurance and you like getting ulcers while hauling. ugh.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:31 PM
I hauled a 2 horse bumper pull with an F-150 when I was a teenager because my father refused to believe me that it wouldn't stop. He kept claiming that it was rated to haul the trailer. I could NOT stop, and I can't even begin to tell you how many lights I ran and how scared I was of being able to stop on time. I started approaching intersections going 30 mph and praying nobody cut in front of me, and then I just quit hauling anywhere at all. You don't really appreciate having too much truck until you've had not enough truck, and then suddenly what you thought was too much truck is really just making you feel all happy and warm inside because it stops every single time you need it to. Dad still to this day has 'man-moments' and tries to argue that the truck was just fine. Yeah, it was fine if you've got a ton of insurance and you like getting ulcers while hauling. ugh.


Yup....I was thanking everyone when towing my single not very heavy TB with a 3/4 ton in a bumper pull. Had a faulty hitch break loose while I was going 50+mph on a cold wet raining morning. I felt the trailer break loose and took my foot off the gas. Luckily the runaway chains held and I let the trailer nudge up to the back of the truck and then let the truck slow down the trailer. The road had a bit of a bend and I was able to guide the trailer while slowing it down to the side of the road. If I had been in ANY smaller of a vehicle...I would not have been able to stop that trailer and would likely have either flipped my own vehicle and would have surely lost the trailer and horse. (I'm NOT that good of a driver so no idea how I knew what to do). It was a happy ending...and I LOVED that truck.

I was nervous driving a trailer for YEARS afterwards. DO NOT SKIMP on you tow vehicle EVER. You do not want to be *just* getting by. Make sure your are WELL with in the specs. I also now have a goose- neck trailer and will never go back.

I think that if you look at used...in this market...you can find some good deals and you will be able to get a decent rig and decent truck for 10-15K.

I got a new GN trailer with dressing room...and extra space up front so I can actually take 3 horses easily for under 20K....that was a deal!

ottb
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:18 AM
I hauled a 2 horse bumper pull with an F-150 when I was a teenager because my father refused to believe me that it wouldn't stop. He kept claiming that it was rated to haul the trailer. I could NOT stop, and I can't even begin to tell you how many lights I ran and how scared I was of being able to stop on time. I started approaching intersections going 30 mph and praying nobody cut in front of me, and then I just quit hauling anywhere at all. You don't really appreciate having too much truck until you've had not enough truck, and then suddenly what you thought was too much truck is really just making you feel all happy and warm inside because it stops every single time you need it to. Dad still to this day has 'man-moments' and tries to argue that the truck was just fine. Yeah, it was fine if you've got a ton of insurance and you like getting ulcers while hauling. ugh.you may be right, but it sounds to me like the trailer brakes weren't working properly or you didn't have the brake controller calibrated correctly.

JWB
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:33 AM
For what it's worth, the NEW F-150s (2009) are FANTASTIC for hauling but for me it was a LOT cheaper to get a 2003 F-250 than a 2009 F-150. Maybe next time around, when I trade in my "around town" Hyundai Santa Fe and my "horse hauling" F-250 and get down to a single vehicle.....

I NEVER regret the decision to buy the F-250 though. As a "weekend warrior" who does not drive on a regular basis, I like having plenty of truck to haul and stop my 2-horse bumper pull, regardless of what I put in the bed and in the trailer.

Jazzy Lady
Dec. 3, 2009, 12:37 PM
I pull my 2h bp with dress trail-et with 2 horses in it (one being rather large) with my '05 F-150 no problem. It is well under the recommended weight (which is getting higher and higher on the newer 1/2 tonne trucks. I did pull it a few times with my big guy in it (short distances) without the trailer brakes working... yikes, and it still stopped it well going downhill, but I took it pretty easy because I knew I didn't have brakes.

I've pulled my horse all over the east coast in it and it does a good job. Struggles in the really hilly bits, but it's enough truck. Would I like a bigger truck if I could? Oh absolutely. But it does the job well.

lwk
Dec. 4, 2009, 07:57 AM
I pulled 1 large horse all over the midwest in a Merhow BP (no dressing room) with a several different long-bed half-ton pickups and large SUVs. I wore out the tow vehicles pretty quickly but I had good brakes on trailer and truck and no safety issues.

Now I have a 3/4 ton long bed crew cab 4WD truck, and a gooseneck with big dressing room.

faluut42
Dec. 4, 2009, 01:30 PM
I have a BIG 3500lb 2 horse trailer and we pulled it with a GMC Yukon (half ton). All together with my horse and tack we pulling a little over 5000lbs. There were many times i wished we had more truck. But we took it on many-a 3hr+ drives and never had any big issues.

No get up and go on the freeway. On on ramps you needed a little bit of a running start or you had to floor it and drive like a b*&%^ on a mission.

To get to events we would have to drive through the city freeways, and on hills it would only go about 50 on big hills. So every once in a while we needed to use our pointer finger (i dont mean your index finger), but again never any big problems.

if i could do a do over i would definatly get a 3/4 ton though. With that and a sturdy 2 horse, you will be set to go!

twcolabear
Dec. 4, 2009, 03:56 PM
I saw a lot of used trucks and trailers but since i am not car maintenance handy I decided to buy new (on credit of course). I also couldn't have a truck just for hauling so I sold my sedan and got a truck as my everyday car.
I haul 2h bp sundowner w dressing room with a toyota tundra ( rated for 10,000lbs ). The truck is awsome and I can take lots of people and dogs and anything else I want. I highly recommend a tundra for the trucks in that class

technopony
Dec. 5, 2009, 06:49 PM
For what it's worth, the NEW F-150s (2009) are FANTASTIC for hauling

I haul a steel 2-horse bumper pull (with dressing room) with a Chevy Tahoe or an F-150... both do just fine. Usually I just have one smallish 16hh horse, but I do often take 2 horses of all shapes and sizes. I've never driven more than about 200 miles, and I also haven't taken this ring through truly mountainous terrain, but both vehicles have been perfectly adequate. Never have problems stopping either. I really prefer the F-150 to the Tahoe because it's more stable when towing (and the bed is great for transporting equipment), but have never had a problem with either.

I would LOVE a diesel or a 250 or 350, but what I have is fine. I'd rather get a newer, more reliable smaller truck than a really old truck that is going to have problems.

wolfmare
Dec. 6, 2009, 02:09 AM
I haul one large drafty cross in a merhow lite with my Tundra. I totally love my Tundra, by far the best truck I have ever had. I have hauled an additional horse occasionally and not noticed much difference. Also, it is my only vehicle at the moment, so the great gas milage helps!

Ty2003
Dec. 6, 2009, 05:07 AM
I tow my trailer with a 2007 F150 and it's great. We do have the special gear ratio that helps it tow more/better. I started off with a Kingston 2-horse that I bought for $3k. Great little trailer - weighed about 2200 lbs empty, 5000 lbs MAX loaded (that was the max rating for the trailer). I liked the Kingston because I only had one horse and I could put supplies, etc on the other side of the trailer since it had a full divider. Kingstons are steel, though, and they do tend to rust along the frame, so look carefully when you buy (I'm in New England). I put a little bit of money into it when I bought it (new tires, brakes, etc), used it for about 18 months and then sold it for $3500. I probably could have gotten more, but I needed to sell it sooner rather than later because I had the opportunity to buy my current trailer which is a Featherlite 2horse with dressing room. This trailer is a little heavier when loaded but not by much. The only time I've ever noticed my truck "working" was when I had two big horses in it, with a full dressing room and hay/shavings in the bed...and I was going up a steep hill from a stop. Other than that you can hardly tell you're towing. I have never felt like I couldn't stop. Like someone said above, it is a good idea to buy the trailer first so you know what you need to tow it. These days it seems like there are a lot of nice used trailers for a bargain because people can't afford to keep them. Good luck! :-)

meupatdoes
Dec. 6, 2009, 05:44 AM
What is the difference between a 3/4 ton and a 1 ton?
The suspension in the back.
You can buy an F250 and turn it into an F350 by taking it to a mechanic and getting a new suspension put in.

Duallys only come in 350+.

Can you tow with a 150? Sure, if you want to buy a new transmission every time you try to pull something up a hill.

Diesels have slightly more power for their class.

4wd takes away from your power.

Learn about the overdrive button before you try to go anywhere with a horse trailer.
(I would never have known if someone hadn't told me.)


I recently bought this rig (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v298/meupatdoes/12937_720462659895_426486_41255561_.jpg) used.
It is a 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 with 100,000miles on the truck but only about 65/70,000 on the engine as they had replaced it. It was $3990.
The trailer was $2k.
Just took two horses from NY to Texas.