View Full Version : first timer! trailer buying help!

Empressive Award
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:27 AM
I need some suggestions please!

Come the end of March/beginning April I plan to purchase a truck, used,because that's what my budget can afford and in this economy there is no sense buying new. Anyways I'm pretty hooked on the Dodge Ram 1500 with the 5.7 hemi. This will be my everyday vehicle as my commute from work to home is 2 blocks, and my boarding barn about 5 miles, and my instructor about 10 minutes away (lucky me). It will also be my towing vehicle. Financially and skill speaking, I am not in a position to show more than once a month maybe twice and all the local shows are within 30 minutes of me, east and west. We have small hills and windy back roads in N. Va so nothing thr truck can't handle. The part I'm unsure about is the trailer.
In reality I'd like a brand spanking, shiny new 2h Bp with dressing room but not happening. So I'm looking for the lightest, most sturdy and best value out there in a 2h Bp. I'm hauling one 1,000lb Tb and just tack for showing, and maybe a second horse if I'm showing with a friend or fellow boarder and feeling generous about taking that risk of towing another horse that isn't mine. Once in a blue moon I might haul up rt. 50 to Wv to ride with my other trainer. I'd like a dressing room, but not necessary. Just ample space or walk thru would be fine. Windows are a must! A ramp is preferred but that also adds quite a bit of weight.
Upgrading to a GN or a better truck to handle a heavier trailer isn't necessary or really feasible on my budget. What brand of trailers should I be looking at to keep my weight down, and are easiest to pull with this type of truck? Anyone know any dealers who sell new and used and might finance and what should I stay away from? What should I look for in a trailer that maybe you wish you had? I'm a first time buyer and doing it on my own so suggestions and advice are appreciated!

P.s if anyone knows of one for sale, my budget is about 3,500! If I financed I don't want to pay more than 150/month and I'd only finance on my dream trailer for an awesome deal that's too good to pass up!

Dec. 3, 2009, 10:33 AM
Check out the EquiBreeze (http://www.equispirit.com/info/used_horse_trailers.htm#breeze)by EquiSpirit. It's exactly what you want/need.

I have their very first Gooseneck (http://good-times.webshots.com/album/569863361yFLROR)model and can attest to the quality of construction, the attention to safety and the excellent customer service.

It puts the high-end quality of the EquiSpirit within closer financial reach.

Dec. 3, 2009, 10:45 AM
Since you're being realistic about not planning to upgrade to a GN, consider going without the DR and putting a cap on the back of your truck bed (I'm assuming you won't be using your truck as a farm truck and need the bed open). It's a bit more of a bother to work out of the back of your truck (climbing in and out) than a DR, but it has the advantage of putting some extra weight over your rear axle when towing and keeping your trailer a bit lighter. You can pretty easily build a nice saddle rack that will keep your saddles off the floor of your truck bed and make them somewhat more accessible. If you ever do any camping at shows, you don't have to sleep in your trailer. Chances are you will find more used trucks with at least an extended cab, for hanging clothing. This set up is not as handy as a DR, but it IS very do-able and should be cheaper overall initially.

Good on you for staying away from a diesel since you will be using this for your daily vehicle with short hops. Diesels don't like that, in the long run.

ETA--I'm of an age were many of us used to show pretty extensively out of a 1/2 ton with a cap and a 2-h BP (no DR). You don't need to scale down a straight 2-h for this truck (trailer should weigh ~2500 lbs, two horses plus hay another 2500 lbs, so at 5000 lbs towed weight you should be within the recommended 80% for live/topheavy load of the towing capacity of your truck). A plain walk-thru with a ramp should be fine. I would suggest you avoid the kind with mangers and a small tack space under the mangers in front. Horses feel kind of cramped in this kind of trailer. With a plain "TB style" walk-thru, you can put a bale or two of hay on the floor in front of the horses for weekend trips, put all of your tack, feed, and "stuff" in the back of the truck under the cap (make sure you get one that locks well, of course) and you'll be fine.

Dec. 3, 2009, 10:53 AM
not to mention having the shell on the bed is very nice for everyday usage, especially when it rains....

Dec. 3, 2009, 11:01 AM
Regardless of the trailer you choose, get a copy of The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining and Servicing a Horse Trailer (http://www.equispirit.com/info/horsebook.htm) and membership with U.S. Rider (http://www.usrider.org/index2.html) ;)

Dec. 3, 2009, 11:29 AM
My vote for your price range would be a nice used Trail-Et or Hawk.

I've got that truck in an '03 model, and you shouldn't have any problems with any of the aluminum or aluminum skinned trailers with a dressing room.

I've got a 2 horse steel trailer (no DR) that it tows just fine. Haven't tried a steel 2 horse w/dressing room.

Get a good brake controller (I've got a Tekonsha Prodigy that is awesome).

If the truck needs new tires, get LT, not P-metric. P-metrics have softer sidewalls, you get more towing stability with LT tires.

Dec. 3, 2009, 12:04 PM
trail-et = awful. I wouldnt recommend one. I doubt they are better made now, but we had SO many issues with our old one. Ramp would be falling off, everything broke. it was just bad.

Dec. 3, 2009, 01:31 PM
Keep your trailer as simple and light as you can. I hauled with a half ton for quite some time, and did so safely -- it can be done, but there are some serious compromises. Stay absolutely on top of maintenance, change your oil every 3K and never tow in overdrive. You're going to burn out your tranny eventually on a 1/2 ton if you haul a lot, but if your trips are mostly short, that will postpone the inevitable for a little bit. Hills are killer, make SURE the truck has a tranny cooler on it and it's worth thinking about adding an second cooler.

(1) Get a weight distribution hitch. I cannot repeat this enough, not only will it tow much better than you think, it will help reduce the abuse to your truck suspension. It seems expensive, but they are worth every penny and often available used. I see wayyyy too many people at shows who SHOULD have one on and don't. If you hook up trailer to truck and the rear of the truck sags, you should be using a WD hitch!

(2) I also vote for putting a cap on your truck and getting a trailer without a dressing room. I'd personally get a stock type trailer, they are lighter and as I am a Ventilation Nazi when it comes to trailering, well, you can't get much better than that! Plus horses just seem to like them and load better in them as they are generally airier and more inviting.

(3) Don't go too light. The lighter a trailer is, the less stability it may offer. I personally prefer solid steel for its weight and strength.

Dec. 3, 2009, 01:53 PM
One caveat to a trailer without a dressing room is that IME the shorter the trailer the harder it is to back up. I'd much rather back up my friend's BP 3 horse slant + dressing room than my tiny 2 horse. The added length is a bit more forgiving when it comes to manuevering.

For weight distribution/anti-sway hitches look at the Equalizer. Spendy but worth it.


trail-et = awful. I wouldnt recommend one. I doubt they are better made now, but we had SO many issues with our old one. Ramp would be falling off, everything broke. it was just bad.

Around here they get good ratings. My friend's got an '88 that's still going strong.

Dec. 3, 2009, 03:46 PM
I don't want to hijack your thread, but - I'm going to be in this same predicament soon myself.

I have a 2007 Dodge Nitro 4x4 SXT and now that I have finally gotten a horse, will be adding a hitch to it (am looking into those stabilizers!).

I've been looking at my local trailer retailers, specifically www.delwoodtrailersales.com and Travelled Lane Trailers because they both finance.

Does anyone have experience with the Nitros and their towing capacities?

I'm looking at a brand new 2010 Adam 2H stock w/o DR that they have priced nicely at $5000. Its' aluminum.

Ideally I'd LOVE to find a used brenderup as that's what we had before and towed with our '97 Dodge Ram and it was seriously the best thing since sliced bread. My mother sold it after I sold my last mare though. They are few and far between and expensive to come by unfortunately.

Dec. 3, 2009, 04:11 PM
You don't just need a hitch. The Nitro only has a 2000 lb towing capacity without the factory towing package. The auto with towing package is rated to 5000 lb which might just about do a lightweight trailer, but it might be quite expensive to upgrade whatever other components are in the towing package depending on how many radiators and other parts it adds or replaces.

Dec. 3, 2009, 04:36 PM

Will have to do my research then!

In the meantime, anyone want to buy a very low mileage 2007 Nitro? Gets 30mph/gallon!

Teehee, I <3 my truck though.. I will have to see.

Dec. 3, 2009, 04:52 PM
Yup, sorry, no towing horses with a Nitro unless you have a deathwish for yourself, your horses and your vehicle!

Dec. 3, 2009, 11:33 PM
I've been trailer shopping since the beg. of May.

I have a bunch of sites for used ones, and also checked craigslist in all of the states near us.

What I can tell you is that used trailers are bringing premium prices. Even 10-15 yrs. old, they are often just hundreds or 1-2K below the cost of a comparable new one. People seem to be getting most of their asking prices. I had no idea there were still so many 1970s trailers out there! Even some of those in-line disasters!

You'll go nuts when you really begin shopping. Look at what you want new in a bunch of different brands, then look at used to compare. I expect our first trailer will be brand-spanking new for the warranty, if nothing else.

Have fun, hehehe!