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Towing with "alternative" vehicles - Breaking COTH Commandment!

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  • Towing with "alternative" vehicles - Breaking COTH Commandment!

    I may be new to the posting in forums, but I'm a good lurker and I've read all that I can find about towing and read the COTH commandments but I have a question about towing with a non-truck. *duck, covers*

    My husband is a car guy. He's VERY supportive of the horse habit and his contribution to my new/first horse purchase is to find a trailer and tow vehicle. We live in Minnesota, so he'd like to find something he can use as a commuter when the weather turns bad to spare his '10 Camero and '70 Camero (see: car guy) from the road grime.

    All about the tow guides and weight ratings will be investigated thoroughly when we narrow down the vehicle/trailer combo of choise.

    I'm interested in what others have used for towing and whether you'd reccomend them - things that are NOT trucks, either half to full tons. We would be towing maybe a couple times a month, an hour or so, in flat country. Tom is leaning toward the large SUV's.

    And I realize that it would probably be best, in this situation, to purchase/identify the trailer first and buy the vehicle to fit it.

    FWIW, I myself lean toward an older truck and just be assured that it could haul anything, anytime, anyplace. BUT, in the spirit of research, does anyone have a non-truck that would be a good compromise for hauling one horse short distances.

    Last night he tossed out the idea of a '95 Ford Bronco and I just cringed. My father drove an '88 Ford Bronco and when just lightly tipped on the rear fender when tumbling like a toy until he landed upside down in a ditch hanging my a seatbelt. So obviously my mind goes to the dark place when you put a trailer on the end of a Bronco. This is what I need to nip in the bud, regardless of how much "power" a Bronco might have.

    Thanks, Elizabeth

  • #2
    A Ford Bronco is in no way, shape, or form a "large SUV". By today's standards, a '95 Ford Bronco is a very, very small SUV.

    I wouldn't haul an American trailer with anything but a truck unless it was a Brenderup or similar model designed to be towed with a smaller vehicle. That being said, I wouldn't buy a Brenderup, so I guess that doesn't really matter.

    I know several people that tow (very) small bumper pulls with Lincoln Navigators or Ford Expeditions. That's probably the smallest SUV that anyone is going to suggest here. They claim to have never experienced any issues, but again, I wouldn't do it.
    Here today, gone tomorrow...


    • #3
      Suburban or Expedition.


      • #4
        wheelbase on Bronco is insufficient
        Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

        The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


        • #5
          Adding that I hauled all over the place in the 70s and 80s with a full-size Jeep Cherokee with NO issues whatsoever.

          I also have hauled a Sterling Eq-One and Cotner Lone Star with, variously, the smaller Jeep Cherokee ( ), a Ford Explorer ( ) and - currently - a Toyota 4Runner ( ).

          I have downsized from a 3/4 ton towing a Hawk 2-horse bumper pull. So I'm on the side of "you don't absolutely NEED a huge honkin' truck" IF you choose the appropriate trailer.


          • #6
            We used to tow a two horse aluminum with an Expedition. It did absolutely awesome!
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


            • #7
              The (long) weelbase of the tow vehicle is crucial. Otherwise you get "the tail wagging the dog."

              I tow with a full sized van (Ford E35o 12 passenger) - same chassis and powertrain as a pickup.

              If you go for an SUV, make sure it has a LONG wheelbase.
              Last edited by Janet; Aug. 10, 2010, 01:24 PM.

              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


              • #8
                I've pulled my aluminum 2 horse trailer with 4" dressing room very successfully with my Ford Expedition - since 1999 - and never any issues.

                Best of luck with your decisions.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dkcbr View Post
                  Adding that I hauled all over the place in the 70s and 80s with a full-size Jeep Cherokee with NO issues whatsoever.

                  I also have hauled a Sterling Eq-One and Cotner Lone Star with, variously, the smaller Jeep Cherokee ( ), a Ford Explorer ( ) and - currently - a Toyota 4Runner ( ).
                  Yeah, keeping in mind that those original Cherokees weighed freaking 6000lbs!! No joke! And they had a 112'' wheelbase, which is still less than the "recommended" today, but they were NOT lightweight vehicles. My giant steel 87 Suburban weighs less!

                  My heart does break for that poor small Cherokee though. I have one, and I love the dear, but she is not a tow vehicle.

                  OP, your husband's Cameros have more than enough power to pull a horse trailer. But point out to him that there is a lot more to towing than just being able to move the trailer forward.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post

                    OP, your husband's Cameros have more than enough power to pull a horse trailer. But point out to him that there is a lot more to towing than just being able to move the trailer forward.
                    Oh - I love that! The ONE time I had to drive his Camero to the barn b/c he had my car, I heard about the caked on mud endlessly! Would rather not go to the barn than drive his cars out there (well, almost).


                    • #11
                      For a traditional, extremely lightweight two-horse bumper pull? Wouldn't go smaller than a Tahoe. An Expedition or Suburban, which is basically a dumbed-down version of a 1/2 ton truck, would be better.

                      If you're asking what's *possible*, I have seen Pony Club moms hauling with Dodge Durango's and even Dakota or Ranger sized trucks. I would not feel safe in such a rig.

                      Your alternative is to buy a Brenderup, which can be pulled by a much smaller SUV. I pull mine happily with a 93" wheelbase and 168 hp. On the other hand, B'ups are expensive and have minimal storage space, so they're not the solution for everyone.
                      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                      • #12
                        Just don't skimp. Your hubby doesn't realize that you're pulling live weight back there. And it doesn't take kindly to the tail wagging the dog (like that one, Janet!)
                        The only successful suv I've seen that hasn't had transmission/braking issues is the Suburban.
                        Even duct tape can't fix stupid


                        • #13
                          My mother and I were just talking about this very issue last night and cringing at our ignorance...when I was a Pony Clubber, we used our '88 Cherokee (smaller size, NOT a Grand Cherokee) to haul our bumper-pull 2-horse Shoop. With two larger horses. And no one told us that was bad! At least we had anti-sway bars and Mom was a super-conservative driver, but still...
                          In memory of Rebuff (1974-2009)

                          Rest in peace, my sweet man


                          • #14
                            I'll be following this thread. I have no horse as of yet (working on it) and no trailer. We have a Toyota Tacoma v4 (2005, I think) that I had assumed would be unable to tow a trailer. I'm only going to have one horse, and I've seen one-horse trailers on display at shows, but it seems like it's better to have a two-horse trailer so that you can share and/or not be doomed to trail ride alone (which seems unsafe). Our other vehicles are a Honda Element and a Toyota Prius, so obviously they're of no use.

                            I know it would be better to buy a bigger truck, but a trailer AND a new truck is going to take a while to talk my husband into. In the meantime I suppose I shall remain trailer-less.
                            MelanieC * Canis soloensis


                            • #15
                              Most of the full size SUVs like an expedition, navigator, etc. are fully rated to tow everything an F150 tows (and built on the same frame), and you really do not need to be worried about starting, stopping, wear and tear on the vehicle - they are plenty durable in that area. They do have a slightly shorter wheelbase, BUT if you get a higher end one like the Eddie Bauer, it has load leveling suspension, and that compensates for a lot of sway.

                              I have a 2000 Eddie Bauer and a 2 horse trail et NY. I've hauled that trail et with the spedition and long bed F150s, F250s, regular super duty and extra long V10 crew cab for significant stretches of highway and hills (400-1400 miles) and while the pulling part was a treat with the F250 (kind of overhorsed for the job, so to speak), I can honestly say that load leveling suspension obviously compensates for a LOT of sway, since I have never seen an appreciable difference in sway between any of the vehicles. On the other hand, load leveling suspension is very expensive to repair and it WILL fail (mine has lasted an amazing 10.5 years and 182K miles) so you pick your poison.

                              But if you do get a half ton SUV or a half ton truck w/o LLS, I would recommend an aftermarket air spring kit (approx $125) that fits inside the coil - that's going to provide more stability than a coil alone, and spare your shocks some wear and tear as well.
                              Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by dkcbr View Post
                                Suburban or Expedition.
                                This. Look at wheelbase - that is probably one of the most critical numbers when shopping. There is a minimum number for horse trailer stability, but I can't remember what it is.
                                Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


                                • #17
                                  Jeep Grand Cherokee with V8 Hemi engine and heavy duty tow package/upgraded rear axle ratio - pulls a Brenderup Baron


                                  Nissan Armada pulls 2 horse Sundowner slant

                                  Nissan Armada pulls Brenderup Royal

                                  Tahoe pulls Hawk 2h, no dressing room

                                  3/4 ton Suburban pulls steel 2H with dressing room


                                  • #18
                                    I've towed with a Jeep Commander (5.7 liter w/ tow package), an Expedition (5.4 liter) and an F350 superduty crew cab longbed dually. All of them were great for my area (east TN). I can see that the suvs wouldn't be so great somewhere with steeper mountains and higher elevations. Honestly, my favorite was the Commander, but my husband really wanted a sports car, so I downgraded to the expedition, which is fine. The F350 is more powerful but WAY less manueverable, and there's not a big improvement in terms of braking distances. I tow a bumper pull, obviously, with two 15hh approximately 1,000 lb horses. Empty weight of my trailer is about 2,500 lbs. The jeep was tow rated to 7500 (or close, it's been a while), but I wouldn't have tried to tow more than about 5,000 live weight with it, and won't w/ the exped either.


                                    • #19
                                      I cringe when I see or hear of people towing with less than a 3/4 ton..........this is one time where bigger is better......one ton diesel all the way.



                                      • #20
                                        Another Brenderup-er

                                        FWIW, I like my Brenderup very much, and since I wasn't going to go buy a truck just to pull an American-designed trailer, it was an easy decision. As previously said, they're expensive to start with and the lesser-priced models don't have alot of storage space. But, if you're just going for day trips or you can store alot of stuff in your tow vehicle, I find that they can work very well. A pleasure to tow, a pleasure to stop (I joke that mine is like the cartoons of a rhinocerous in a ballerina tu-tu; the B'upster looks alittle awkward, but is very smooth when it comes to towing and stopping) cool and quiet back there for the horse, etc.