So I did a search on this and found some really helpful information but just didn't get to everything I want to know. I plan on buying a truck and trailer in the next year. I have no idea what I should get. This truck will be my main source of transportation and I want to get a 2 horse bumper pull trailer with a dressing room. I am looking at the Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tundra, and a Ford F150. I am leaning towards the Tundra as I have always had a honda or toyota and love them and have never had an issue. Not dissing the other two as I have heard nothing but good things but that is just my personal experience. I have a large warmblood (17h hanoverian) and this would really only be local trailering for shows, the vet, etc. It wouldn't be used constantly and probably never for more than a 3 hour trip and that would not be often at all. There are so many sizes of engines and tow packages, I have no idea where to start. I think I can pick out a trailer fairly easily but I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to getting a truck that can trailer safely and I can use as my everyday vehicle. I want it to be able to tow a 2 horse trailer with a dressing room and 2 large warmbloods even though 98% of the time it will just be my horse. Actually I would buy a 1 horse trailer but I don't know anything about those and have never seen one so I will stick with the 2 horse idea. Help? Cylinders, Engine Sizes, Liters, Tow packages???? I have no idea what any of this means and oddly enough all of my horse friends drive 4 horse + trailers and have trucks specifically for hauling and not just driving around town so they aren't super helpful. Also, I could go with an SUV but I don't know how safe that is and I don't even know what I would get with that either. I'm sorry for another truck/trailer question!
I don't know how you go to Lexington but I imagine I-64.
I have not driven that route in several years, but I seem to recall that the grade is pretty steep even though the mountain is not huge.
A grade does not have to be 20 miles long to kill you for lack of enough stopping power.
Now lets think about the horses.
You said "two big WB's".
That could be 1300 to 1400 lbs. each.
Plus you need a good strong trailer 7'6" high inside or more.
So look at the trailer, get the empty weight, add the weight of two horses plus 500 or 600 lbs of stuff...saddles, feed enough for two or three days at a show, blankets, a couple of chairs, whatever you will have in the dressing room...which can add up, and then pick a truck rated to pull the total weight.
Don't forget to figure the truck with all passengers, a full load of fuel and any tools or baggage.
If it has lots of options, it is not uncommon to wiegh the truck and find out that it is a lot heavier than the dealer told you it is.
Be very careful not to let anyone tell you that just about anything can pull two horses. That is correct.
But what you have to do to be safe is pick a truck that can stay under control during an unexpected event..steep hill, sharp curve, someone stopping in front of you without giving a signal....
Like my last hair raiser 6 months or so ago. Running on the interstate in mountains, pretty hilly. Came up over a hill running the exact speed limit + 1 MPH.
Came over a hill with a moderate downgrade ahead. Highway completely blocked, cars in both lanes stopped dead. I was in the left lane with cars beside me in the right lane. Left lane had no breakdown or safety lane,,,big bank with a shoulder of about two feet on my left.
I stood on the brakes for all they were worth and stopped less than a half car length behind the last car.
From 71 MPH (on cruise control, so I know exactly what the speed was).
Any less truck and I would have piled up a brand new truck and a really nice trailer with a horse in it.
Actually, read an interesting investigation not too long ago that found most horse people grossly underestimate the weight of horses visually. The "average" horse was really more like 1400 lbs, instead of the 1200 we often use. So a "big WB" is probably more like 1600-1800 lbs. Thump thump.
It's important to do your homework and really learn what the various weight, wheelbase length, etc specifications are so that you can accurately determine whether a given truck would be a good match for a given trailer. There are lots of misconceptions as well as "religious" views on how much truck you need. I say make sure you really understand it all so that you can make a good decision and the trade-offs that make sense for you. Don't rely on truck sales people and don't rely on advice from folks who may or may not have good experience and/or really understand your situation.
If you get a "too small" truck, you must invest in a weight distribution hitch.
Otherwise, the components of an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer or "factory) tow package are usually a tranny cooler, stouter shocks and brakes. You want the tranny cooler. Hauling is tough on those, even if you drive like a girl, and new transmissions are expensive.
Oh, and something that will help you out immeasurably is a long wheel base.
I upgraded my half ton to a 3/4 ton before I started hauling. And my trailer weighs 2400 lbs empty (no dressing room) and I haul 1 thoroughbred. Maybe I am overly cautious, but I don't want to take any chances with my horse!
The worst thing you can do is listen to a car salesman.....they just read the specs that go with the car and maximum weight pullable is not at all an accurate rating in many instances. You might get the book by Mrs. Sheve (forget her first name), that is very helpful.
As far as trailers are concerned, I have a 2 horse bumper pull Sundowner 777 and have been really pleased with it. I've owned it 7 years and have never had a significant issue with it. My horses (all WBs) love it because it has a lot of head room upfront. I got the 7'6" height, The dressing room is really room and has enough space to store my tack trunk and a couple of bales of hay if necessary. I've hauled it as far as 700 miles one way without a problem other than a couple of blown tires. I would highly recommend it.
I would not rely on a 1/2 ton vehicle to pull a horse trailer, and a F150 is a 1/2 ton. F250's are 3/4 ton (as are Chevy & Dodge 2500s). I don't know that Toyota offers a 3/4 ton but the same would apply to their products - no 1/2 tons for hauling horses. Yes, you'll see people do it but that doesn't mean it's safe.
Buy a truck built for hauling and pay attention to your wheel base compared to the length of your trailer. The longer your tow vehicle the steadier it will be.
When my trailer brakes went wonky & I towed it across town for repair (empty, of course) I could feel the trailer pushing my truck (2500 long bed w/ factory tow package) at stop lights. That low risk situation is just one of the times I've appreciated a built-for-the-job truck.