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What are your must-haves in a trailer? And your live-withouts?

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    What are your must-haves in a trailer? And your live-withouts?

    I've saved up money and was fortunate enough to get some unexpected money, so I'm taking the plunge and getting ready to buy a new trailer. I've already decided it will be another 4 Star (love my 1996) and it will be a GN. The plan is for a 2 horse straight load. As much as I've admired the 2 + 1 over the years, my new truck is a 2 door cab with an 8' other words, a bus sized beast, so I don't want to get a trailer that's much longer than my current one, which is 15' on the floor.
    A dressing room is a requirement for me. And I want to add their "quiet ride" technology (replacing the old pin style connections). But I don't know whether to get their EZ life ramp assistance. My current ramp is a bitch to lift, but like I said, it's a 1996 and only recently became difficult.
    What extras or features have you added to your trailers that you can't live without? Which bells and whistles are, in the end, not worth the cost?

    DH added fans up in the corner of the trailer. If you can get them installed by the manufacturer I would get them.

    He added rings on the bulkhead so I can put extra bales of hay for when I go on long trips or camp and can tie them in place.
    I have one on the bulkhead in the dressing room to tie my water containers in place.
    We added extra DOT reflector strips down the side and on the back ramp.

    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


      As many hooks as you can get, and then add more! Fans in the horse area. D rings or tie downs under the horse head area to secure hay bags. Same also in the dressing room. I had 3 trays put on my door for bottles- standard is usually 1. The gladiator closet organization strips would be awesome! You could get all sorts of different hooks for storage. The more you keep off the floor, the better organized you will be.

      If they could wire it so you had a power strip in there, you could at least run a fan while in the dressing room for air movement. Hydraulic hitch! Ask them about the ramp-the newer ramps may be fine on there own. I would look at Rumbar floor Or polylast floor.
      RIP Mydan Mydandy+
      RIP Barichello


        A ramp would be important to me...but may not be to you. I want as many windows as possible especially in the wing/tops on the back. But the BIGGEST thing for me: floors that you will never have to move/lift mats to care for. I put WERM flooring in my trailer, and will not do without it again! Happy Shopping!
        "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
        --Jimmy Buffett


          Electric jack!

          Side ramp!

          Lots of fans!

          And I really miss my electric awning that I used to have..


            I was shopping for a similar trailer recently (though after checking them out I actually chose Exiss even though Four Star had been my dream trailer for years. I liked the latches and connectors better, and DH was happy with the construction, so... )

            I love my stock trailer -- I had them put the 2-horse setup inside a 16' stock combo. If I had it to do over I would go ahead and get the 18' and put the extra 2' in the dressing room. 4' is tight in there once you actually put stuff in it!

            Like you I didn't want one any longer than my old trailer but... a slightly longer trailer is easier to maneuver, especially backing up. I don't think the extra 2' would have been a big deal now that it's here. Oh well.

            I swapped the single swing door for two separate doors in back. That means I can unload one horse with the other one still securely confined. Then I added a ramp over the doors later when I discovered how tall it was.

            It also has escape doors on both sides, and a door from the dressing room to the horse area. (I've always had my dressing room door on the drivers side, so that means if I have to pull over I can get into the dressing room by going in the escape door that is away from traffic, and then through the inside door.)

            I am still adding things, planning on the Rubbermaid wall system to hang hooks and bins from, etc. If you are not going to DIY then have them add rings and tiedowns all over the place so you have options.

            NO carpet on the dressing room floor! I added carpet tiles which can be easily removed and cleaned or replaced. (We use Flor tiles in the house, I had some extras.)

            some photos:

            ETA: I got the extra height too, why not. Who ever wished their trailer was shorter? (BUT... I can't reach the roof vents without a step!)

            And a double battery box, though I only have one in there right now. That way I can use the lights when it isn't hooked up to the truck, and I have power for cameras and fans later. (And maaaaaybe an electric jack -- everything was adding up so I did not order that from the dealer, but it can be added later.)
            Last edited by wsmoak; Sep. 8, 2020, 09:33 PM.
            ... with Patrick and Henry


              Plenty of height and width for the horses!! Our last 3 trailers have all been 8' tall in the horse space and stalls big enough for most any horses.
              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                Ramp for me. Fans in horse and tack area/ dressing room. Polylast/ werm/ rumber floor (basically anything other than wood/ aluminum + mats). A camera in the horse area (I use the iBall one in my Brenderup but I think the distance would be too great with a GN). Windows everywhere - ideally curtain windows over the ramp that can be driven open, drop down at the heads (my horse likes to look out) and slide windows along the body + roof vents. I would like (do not currently have) hay storage on the roof since I camp and do overnight shows and wouldn’t want hay taking up tack space.


                  Originally posted by Guyot View Post
                  Electric jack!

                  Side ramp!

                  Lots of fans!

                  And I really miss my electric awning that I used to have..

                  I agree!
                  My last trailer had an electric jack and it was sooooo nice. The current GN doesn't and I miss having one. And that's even with leaving the truck hooked up to the trailer 90% of the time.

                  I have fans in the horse area and it really helps keep it cooler in there.

                  My trailer (Hawk) has an additional few feet in front of the horses and a side ramp. There's room to put hay, shavings, even a small ATV or golf cart there. The DR has an added 2' as well, and the extra space means I can keep all the show stuff there, and still have room to live in for a weekend.

                  A water tank might be worth considering? Especially if you're doing long road trips or trail rides your horses.

                  I second kaya842 recommendation of a camera in the horse area. We had ours hard wired in, and I love being able to drive but see what the horses are up to.

                  I'd get extra tie rings both inside and out.
                  A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's does that...



                    Original Poster

                    Thank you all for the suggestions! I hadn't thought of the fans, that's an easy and important add on. I have been researching the WERM floors. I read some concerns that if you cut/scratch/damage the floor it would allow urine under the coating and be difficult to repair, but some of that was from a competing dealer.
                    I like the idea of extra tie rings and and rings in the bulkhead are something I hadn't thought of before.
                    The awning is something that was on my wish list for the old trailer, but may exceed my budget for a new trailer. I will price the hydraulic jack. So far I can still turn the crank, but I'm closer to 60 than 50, so that's not a bad idea. And YES, lots of windows!


                      I opted for a coated/insulated roof on mine, helps keep the temps way down. I think some manufacturers are doing that as a standard feature now, but check yours just in case. And I love my camera, cannot imagine hauling without it!


                        Must-haves: aluminum body, ramp, dressing room, Rumber floors (LOVE them!), LOTS of tie rings and hooks inside and out, saddle racks and bridle hooks in dressing room, and large hay bags.

                        Nice-to-have but could live without: fans, water tank, extra battery, electric jack, cameras


                          I have a 2 horse GN 4 Star and love it-- it has the WERM flooring and I have had no issues with it. My next trailer I'm going to custom order and get exactly what I want and keep it forever. I thought I wanted a 2+1, but that's a lot of trailer. Here's what I'd do if I was ordering:
                          • 2 GN straight load with ramp at rear. Add side ramp and consider adding 2 feet to the floor/horse head area for extra storage. WERM flooring.
                          • Oversize the dressing room. Add werm flooring in dressing room.. Add blanket drying rack. 4 Saddle racks, all the hooks; Walk through door to horse compartment. Dressing room door on the drivers side.
                          • Add extra roof vents; drop down windows; fans
                          • Hydraulic jack-- not electric (I currently added an electric jack and wouldn't recommend that).
                          • Add extra tie downs everywhere
                          • Add racks in the nose of the gooseneck to hold things down-- this goes along the sides and isn't the gate across it.
                          • Quiet ride technology
                          And that's my horse version of pimp my ride.


                            OP, if you plan to sell your ‘96, would you please PM me some details about it? I’m in the market for a 2-horse and have had my eye on the 4Stars. I’m not far from CT ☺️ Thanks!


                              Windows in the upper rear doors!
                              I'd also add extra tie rings on the outside if I had my order to do over again.


                                I agree, as many hooks and rings as you can get installed.. More reflective stripes, the better, and yes.. a side-ramp. Additionally, carpeting or some sort of buffer on all parts of the trailer that feature hooks in the dressing room - makes traveling MUCH quieter. Foldable/easily removed saddle racks for when you have to finagle storage.

                                My next trailer must have will be a "backwards facing" trailer. The studies on it are profoundly telling, and my horse had the luxury of riding in one recently -- and he was so markedly chill when we unloaded that it made me feel sorry for putting him back in a regular straight load. He is a great loader/traveler, but I know he hates trailer rides and is always raring to come off -- he was so relaxed and soft it made me realize it really made a big difference.

                                Ditto the fan as well - I never need it in the winter but in the summer, it gets hot!
                                AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                                  Original Poster

                                  ndirish07, that's close to my list now, except the walk-through door. I saw one with that set up, but it means that the saddle storage extends into the horse compartment, under the mangers, and that just felt like something else they can get hurt on.

                                  3chestnuts, if I can get the PM to work, I'll send you details on my trailer. It's in awesome shape, and if it would fit over the *&^%(% bed of my new truck I would never get rid of it.

                                  Beowulf, I've read the research on the backward facing trailers and been intrigued. One of the 4 stars I looked at was a 2 horse with a side unload ramp and I even wondered if I could just load from the side to face backwards. But I have some concerns about shifting the heavier part of the horse to the back end of the know, the "rock in a sock" momentum resulting from putting the heavy end out away from the hitch. The other downside of that configuration was a smaller dressing room.


                                    I have a 2011 4-star GN 3 horse. I haul on average 25,000 miles a year (my trailer guy always mentioned I was one of the few who actually wears out his tires rather than they rot). It has been a great trailer. I like the steel axle box bolted independent of the aluminum frame and body so the axles stay aligned and no welds to worry about.

                                    I think how you set up what you want depends on what you intend to do. I travel long distance to shows and live out of my tackroom at shows. Additionally, I do all my modifications myself.

                                    I went with a step up as ramps require additional maintenance (I bet your ramp has a broken spring), and in the trailer wrecks I had in the past, we were able to disassemble the trailer around the horses to get them out. A ramp would have made it impossible.

                                    I went with a standard jack as electric and hydraulic jacks also are more things that break and require their own power systems to work.

                                    I built cabinets and storage for the tack area ($25 in materials). Added battery operated lights that work without truck hooked up ($20). I have a magnetic latch screen door ($40 at home depot) that has more than paid for itself in keeping bugs out while letting air circulate in. I built my own power box with inverter so I can run larger appliances (stereo, fridge, etc.).


                                      I had a rear light on my 4-star that was terrific not just for loading and unloading in the dark, but also for parking in the dark.

                                      Fortiflex bucket hangers installed at the tie points are super nice. I like having four horse tie points so you can put two on either side or both on the same side as your situation warrants.

                                      I also really like the screen door on the dressing room.

                                      I personally like the dressing room door on the left side so that I can park with my right side flush against a wall if need be, and easily access it as the driver. Having to walk all the way around the rig to get from the driver door to the dressing room drives me bonkers. But whatever you're used to is good.

                                      Extra hooks are wonderful and if there's the carpet on the wall around the hooks your bits and metal items won't clang on the wall.

                                      A water tank is really handy. We had one under the gooseneck that I really appreciated.

                                      Ventilation is important.

                                      In general, prioritize the things that are essential and can't be changed from the get-go and if you run out of budget, you can do a lot of things aftermarket later.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                        Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                                        if it would fit over the *&^%(% bed of my new truck I would never get rid of it.
                                        Not to dissuade you from buying a new trailer but... it's possible to add blocks at the axles and raise the height of the trailer. (It does mean the fenders are floating up above the wheels which looks a bit odd, but... it works.)

                                        Mine actually came like that (for that reason...) which is why I had to add the ramp, it was too tall of a step up. And it is why my next truck will be a flatbed!
                                        ... with Patrick and Henry