I am seriously contemplating trading in my crappy little Saturn for a cheaper truck and buying a small trailer, if I can find one that is also cheap. It's gotta be cheaper than what I'd be paying to haul my horse around this summer...
What would I need to look for or ask about in a truck, in order to expect it to haul a small trailer? What about in a trailer itself? Can I reasonably expect to find a small used one- or two-horse trailer, nothing fancy, for under $1000? I am clueless and overwhelmed looking through the classifieds. I've only even bought cars off of friends and family members...
I don't see anything about SAFE in your criteria for hauling equipment! It's near impossible to have cheap and safe in the same equation. This is all assuming you care about your horse's safety! There's a reason it's expensive to take your horse places. After the cost of a safe truck and trailer there's the insurance, maintenence and fuel. The pulling vehicle needs to be heavy enough to have the stopping capabilities for both it and the weight of what it's pulling in case of emergency. The trailer needs to be maintained properly even though it may sit quite a bit. Most trailer tires dry rot before they wear out. The wheels should be packed at least once a year so they don't overheat and catch fire! (Yes that can happen)The floor in the trailer needs to be watched for any weaknesses so Trigger doesn't fall through. And the list goes on. I can't count how many rescue missions I've run for trailer breakdowns, most due to neglect or inappropriate equipment. Please be careful, it's an important decsion that your horse's life depends on.
I might ask people around the barn about their experiences with truck & trailer buying. Do not under any circumstances go to a dealership and ask for help, god knows what they will sell you!
If you want to haul safely the best bet is at least a full size truck. Doesn't have to be a giant dually, something like a Ford F150, Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Dodge Ram 1500 should do the trick.
Decide on a budget. You can stay cheap, but that's going to mean older vehicles, which can possibly mean more money spent fixing and maintaining them. Personally I think the best bet is a used, but still under warranty truck. That way you've let someone else take the depreciation hit, but it's still newer, and the warranty comes in handy for when things go wrong.
As far as the trailer...prices all over the board. Not sure what $1,000 will get you, might be 30 yrs old and rickety, but will get you from point a to point b. It seems like a decent 2 horse bumper pull (i.e. 15 yrs or newer, mostly enclosed, well maintained) seems to run about $3,500-$5,000.
PS, I would bet that after purchasing truck, trailer, hitch, electric brakes, insurance, maintenance, etc that $1/mile will start to look pretty good
Originally Posted by barka.lounger
u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.
Oh, "safe" would be implied--I know I can buy a cheap truck and a trailer real cheap tomorrow, but I doubt they'd be safe. I specifically don't know what to look for, besides glaringly obvious holes in a floor and so on, to know what is required for safe hauling... so that's one of the things I'm trying to find out!
Although now, realizing that tires can catch on fire, I think I may be too scared...
Unlike the old saying... You should purchase the "cart" before the "horse"
When you have the trailer or decided on a particular trailer, then you'll have the information to select the proper tow vehicle. If you purchase the TV first, then you'll have to limit yourself to what ever trailer weight its capable of hauling. Many have made an expensive or dangerous mistake by selecting a tow vehicle first.
Really check out trailer weights. The lighter the trailer you can buy (and that doesn't mean unsafe!), the more options you will have on pulling vehicles. I have a Merhow 2 horse straight load and it only weighs 1700lbs, which is amazing. I pull it behind a Dodge RAM 1500 and barely feel it. Whereas previously I have had a 2 horse slant load bumper pull, a bit like a stock trailer, that I pulled with a Ford F150 and although it felt solid and pulled OK, it was definitely heavier when you went up hills. I then progressed to a fantastic Merhow 2 horse SL with a dressing room - lovely, lovely trailer, pulled it with my Dodge RAM 1500 but BOY you knew it was there! It weighed around 3,500 lbs. If you get a heavy trailer you will need a heavy truck, so my advice would be look for a light trailer to give youself more flexibility.
Look for something that has decent height for your horse. Many of the trailers around here (TX) are only 6'6" high, which is pretty low. Look for at least 7' height or taller, if you can.
I would doubt you would get anything for $1,000, but you might for closer to $2,000. AND - ask if you can try towing it with your new vehicle before you buy it. If I had done that with my Merhow #1, I would never have bought it.
Make sure the tires are good, the lights all work and the floor is solid. Also make sure that if there is a ramp that it closes well. Another thing that is important to me, is to have an escape door or hatch at the front of the horse. I just HATE having to lead a horse into a trailer and then try to creep back out past it, especially if it is not a good loader or trailering horse and it gets antsy. I need escape doors or hatches on both sides at the front!