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2+1 Trailer: Thoughts?

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  • 2+1 Trailer: Thoughts?

    I've been trailer shopping and have fallen in love with 2+1 trailer configuration for a number of reasons. But like all love affairs, I know the romance wears off eventually. So I'd love to hear from any 2+1 trailer owners about the plusses and minuses.

    Here's why they are appealing to me: I just acquired a third horse and I have a two horse slant load trailer. The new horse is a panicky unloader, so I have to open the divider all the way to the wall and hope he waits until I am out of the way before he turns his big self around and runs out (he's 17.2) And yes, we have worked with him extensively. Backing out is even worse!

    The other two horses are smaller--14.3 and 15.1, both load and ride fine in the slant. I don't like the idea of having to unload everyone to get to the horse in the front. With two horses it didn't seem that bad but with three... not so much. I like having the option of each horse having his own way to get out.

    What about mangers? Where do the straight load horses get their munchies? And would they be able to reach and nibble on the front horse?

    I haven't actually seen one live--no dealers around here sell them so any and all feedback is appreciated. Also, good brands?

  • #2
    Originally posted by eesterson View Post

    What about mangers? Where do the straight load horses get their munchies? And would they be able to reach and nibble on the front horse?
    Hay bags, and the +1 is (can be) safely configured behind full doors - check out happytrails trailers for plenty of pics.

    I used to show out of a 2+1 and they are wonderful, but the "1" is not as big as a full box config - tight space for a big horse, OK for a smaller one. But the layout is awesome for "staging" out of your trailer at a show. At one point I had the 2 stall set up as a box and all my grooming stuff set up in the 1 horse area and just groomed, tacked up and led the horse out via the ramp. He could chill with hay and water when not showing.

    But they are long... and they are more expensive, so for my own personal needs, although I really like the 2+1 (Hawk), I opted to get a 2 horse straight GN with a side ramp - enough to get a horse out in either direction, but sacrificing the "I wants" for just the "I needs". (unless when it is time to replace my cuurent trailer I happen to find a good deal on a 2+1 then all bets are off... but people hang on to those).

    Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


    • #3
      I have a Merhow 2+1. I replaced my two horse straight load with this one. I love it! I bought mine right off the lot, and I think it was actually built with draft horses in mind as the two straight load stalls are nice and oversized for my warmbloods. I can also slide the divider in the straight load area to the side and make the trailer into two box stalls. (OR fold back the divider between the stalls and slide the divider and have a HUGE box.)

      There is a solid divider between the two straight stalls and the box stall (think stock trailer divider). Mine will fold all the way open against the wall if I need it to.

      Mine has ramps. One off the box stall and one off the back of the trailer. I like that I can lead skittish horses straight through. (My own horses are fine, but I hauled a horse for a friend that was trying to run me over and it was nice to not have to walk behind her or deal with trying to back her out of the trailer.)

      Mine is set up a little awkwardly for hanging hay bags for them as they have to be hung off the tie rings to the sides. I'm still trying to figure out a way to hang them directly in front without using baling twine.


      • #4
        I have a 4-star 2+1 and I love it.

        When I only have two horses, I use the +1 area as a tack up area. I have crossties there and the horse can then be led out the front ramp.

        While you can get door dividers between the straight stalls and front area, the divider makes the front stall very small. I bought mine (gently used) without the divider, thinking I'd have one added. I've yet to add one and doubt I ever will. Without the divider, I am able to fit larger horses more comfortably in the front. I haven't had a problem with the straight stall horses biting. The horses are usually pretty content with their hay. I suppose you could use a grazing muzzle if you had a confirmed biter than had to be in one of the rear stalls.

        All horses in my 2+1 eat out of hay nets, not mangers. I also have ramps -- a front ramp and a rear ramp. I love that I can load and unload horses straight, as I have one horse who can be very nervous backing off the trailer.


        • #5
          When the day comes, I will be upgrading to EquiSpirit's 3-Horse Safe Load (2 + 1). It's a beaut!

          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


          • #6
            I have a Balanced Ride 2+1 sold by Risa @ Happy Trails. I've had it for 1 1/2 yrs and I love, love, love it.
            "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the feedback

              Thanks everyone! This is not helping me fall "out of love" with the idea of a 2+1.
              I also appreciate the brand names so now I can do a little price shopping. Haven't found too many used ones on any of the usual sites...

              Since I am foxhunting a lot I like the idea of having the staging area--never thought of that--and not having to tie the horse to the trailer on a windy winter morning. Also like the idea of the box in the back and the front--two horse luxury. Now, about that lottery ticket...


              • #8
                I've got the Trail-et and love it! Mine has back and side ramps as well as an escape door. One of the unexpected benefits is that if I'm loading with no one to help, I can shut the back doors, lead my horse into the "+1" section, turn him and back him into a stall. On a rainy windy night that is a real bonus!

                I've also used the front space to haul my little atv--plenty of room for that or a scooter or bike.


                • #9
                  I bought mine from Risa at Happy Trails Trailers and I absolutely love it! It's a hawk 2+1 and it has made my life so much easier. I am always picking up Tb's at the track and it gives so much more flexiblity for loading horses that you don't know much about. When I am by myself using the side ramp and backing them in ensures safety. I love having the option of two box stalls because I own a horse who can throw the biggest fit you ever want to see when he is left alone on a show day when another horse is taken off. When you make a box stall there is nothing for them to hurt themselves on.

                  Mine has the full door that seperates the front box from the two straight stalls and I find there is still plenty of room up there for a 16h tb. I once put two 15.3 h tb mares up there together for a short trip.

                  I have the two big hay bags in the straight loads and a hanging bag in the box stall up front. It works well that way.


                  • #10
                    I love the design, but they are a "want" and not a "need" at this point in my life. I just moved up from a standard 2H BP to a 2H GN, and getting used to that is plenty to keep me occupied for a while! I am LOVING the huge dressing room, and in all honesty I think I could fit my Shetland in the space in front of the two stalls (straight load, not a slant person) in a pinch!
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • #11
                      I loved the 2+1 but it was a little "too much" for me. But I have a difficult horse, like you. He will not back out of a trailer, would rather die on one than back out. I did the turn around, close my eyes and pray thing for a while, but I purchased a Hawk 2H gooseneck with a front ramp.

                      It is a very useful design and I really like the trailer. It is easy to get either horse on and off, which I like, is breezy so you can leave a horse on the trailer easily. I had it rubber-lined all around so I can take all out and haul in it without worry. It was at least $5k cheaper than the 2+1 was going to be, and I can easily haul it with an F150 so lots cheaper there too. Just couldn't justify the extra given my hauling needs.

                      Just another thought if you are looking for other options.


                      • Original Poster



                        • #13
                          Originally posted by eesterson View Post
                          I also appreciate the brand names so now I can do a little price shopping. Haven't found too many used ones on any of the usua sites...
                          You have to look under both 2H and 3H trailers for the 2+1s on the web sites. They are not easy to find, since different people classify them differently. Also be aware of floor length - some people market their trailers as a "2+1" when it is really a 2H straight load with a front ramp (and not enough room for a third horse of any size up front). Also, some people might be marketing their 2H straight load with a front ramp, when it is really a 2+1. You have to be patient and wade through LOTS of ads to find the used 2+1s.

                          I was ready to buy a less expensive brand new because I couldn't find what I wanted used. Then one night, I was wading through the ads and found my very gently used 4-star on -- for a reasonable price. It was listed under 2H trailers, but is a true 2+1 configuration. (The ad description stated it was a 2+1, but it was listed in the "2H gooseneck" trailer section.) It was 2 states away and I sent them an email basically asking if I could send a deposit to hold it for me for a few more days so I could get there. A few days later, we drove 4 hours or so each way to check it out and bring it home. The guy selling it said he had about 5 calls a day on it, but I got it because I was first. He must have listed the trailer that night and I emailed him shortly after it was listed.

                          They are out there, but they can be hard to find. Sometimes, you just get lucky if you take a lot of time to wade through the ads online.

                          I did compromise and got a trailer without a dressing room. However, I love my trailer and wouldn't trade it unless for the exact same one with a dressing room. We have a 4-door cab in our truck, though, and a gate across the gooseneck for storage. On the plus side, without a dressing room, the trailer is silghtly shorter. (We also have a 2H trailer with a dressing room if we REALLY need a dressing room for a certain event - but we pretty much always take the 2+1.) I honestly don't think I'd mind the extra length of the dressing room, though.

                          4-star is an excellent brand, but can be very pricey. Hawk is also an excellent brand and can be a little pricey, too. I believe Hawk is a steel frame, aluminum skin trailer. 4-star is an all aluminum trailer.

                          Good luck with your search!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by eesterson View Post
                            Good thought on the "too much"--I have five horses on my place--two are boarders without a trailer who depend on me to haul them to the vet, if necessary, or to shows. I hunt, horse show, go to clinics, etc. but until I got number 3, rarely hauled two horses at once, let alone 3. Now I'm regularly hauling two horses. So do I really need a three horse trailer, just because I own three horses? If we ever had to get everyone off the place for some reason (fire?) it would take three trips.

                            And then there's the question of the truck. She's hanging in there—127K and two transmissions later. It is an early version of the Ram 2500 --1995--which had its share of problems but I don't have the money for both a truck and a trailer.

                            I'm assuming a three horse could substantially increase the weight, although my current trailer is 100 percent steel goosneck, so it's pretty heavy already.
                            If it helps, my 4-star all aluminum 2+1 without a dressing room weighs approximately 4,200 pounds empty.

                            I have 3 horses, and it was on my mind that I wanted to be able to haul them all at the same time if necessary in case of an emergency. Of course, I boarder on paranoid sometimes. Even though we rarely trailer 3 horses at once, I LOVE having the option to haul 3.


                            • #15
                              If you plan to use the +1 feature, you might want to consider ensuring the frame (undercarriage?) is upgraded. I also worked with Risa at happy trails and that was her recommendation when I ordered mine.


                              • #16
                                Another vote for the Equispirit. That's my trailer plan, post lottery =D
                                I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being played...


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by passinthru View Post
                                  If you plan to use the +1 feature, you might want to consider ensuring the frame (undercarriage?) is upgraded. I also worked with Risa at happy trails and that was her recommendation when I ordered mine.
                                  Good advice. Another reason why EquiSpirit would be my choice: undercarriage is already "upgraded"--it's part of their standard design on all their trailers, even my EquiBreeze
                                  <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                                  • #18
                                    Maybe it was the axle up grade / size increase you are thinking of due to trailer size?? Frame upgrade not required on a Hawk ( G )


                                    • #19
                                      I'm interested in purchasing one asap. Anyone have an Elite? Likes/dislikes? There are not many 2 + 1 trailers available near me in MI and I don't want to wait for one from a factory if I don't have to.
                                      Positive Step Farm


                                      • #20
                                        Phaxton, I have a 4star 2+1 too, and love, love, love it. No dressing room either.

                                        my configuration is a gate in front of the head room in the 2 straight load keep things from the front box from rolling back or to keep a horse from jumping the chest bar to get what was in the front. It swings and I can hook it to the front side wall when I off load on the side ramp.

                                        I have a few paranoid horses about the trailer, and we have been doing lots of practice loading...and they think its a game, walk on the back, walk off the side. I never considered how beneficial it is to have a side ramp.

                                        Another thing, I can take out the dividers and have a single horse in the straight load part. That is super helpful when I trailer my percheron mare who likes a lot of room.

                                        I don't think the front half would be that comfortable for a full size horse however and maybe would go another 2' to create 2big box stalls.
                                        Can't remember the measurements, but believe my trailer is 17' on the floor, that does not include the goose measurement. So, the front box is only 7' long or so, as I recall.

                                        I am also having a metal grill made to slip in and out for the side ramp upper door. That way I can travel and leave it open and if there is a horse in the front box...they can not take a jump out or put their head out the window.
                                        that upper door on the side ramp also makes it very comfortable and a feel of less enclosed for the horses travelling in the back area.

                                        Hope this all makes sense.
                                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld