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Owning a trailer vs. Paying trainer to trailer

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  • Owning a trailer vs. Paying trainer to trailer

    Ok so these trailering fees are getting ridiculous. It's $1.25 a mile and when your traveling to events through out Area II, the trailering fees are astronomical compared to what it would be if I owned a trailer. So I was wondering what the perks of owning a trailer are versus paying a trainer to trailer. I would be pulling the trailer with an Envoy SUV 4WD. Let me know opinions! Thanks!
    “A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.”

  • #2
    I love my trailer. I bought it used for $5200 (2 horse bumper pull with a tack room) and pull it with my F250. I paid cash, so no payments (yeah!) I love the freedom it affords me. I can go anywhere/do anything.


    • #3
      How often do you trailer? For me, we go out of town all the time and we have horses at home so we need to be able to trailer a horse to vet if necessary, so a trailer is a necessity to us.

      But, a trailer isn't free (a good brand new 3~4 horses trailer with nice features will cost you more than a brand new entry level Mercedes Benz), and when you are pulling a trailer, your gas milege goes down the drain.

      Another thing you may not have considered is, how much stuff and how much packing you need to trailer a horse and pack all its belongings. Tacks, blankets, grooming supplies, buckets, feeds, hay, even stall mats and snaps to hook the buckets and lumbers to hang curtains take a lot of time to load/unload and can be hard work. What you are paying is not just the moving the horse from one location to the next.


      • #4
        I think your Envoy does not have quite a long enough wheelbase to be stable pulling a horse trailer; but that's up to you. Technically, it's a crossover and not an SUV.

        I love having my own trailer, which I pull with a Tahoe. Many people think a Tahoe isn't big enough. I have a heavy duty tow package so am comfortable with the set up. My everyday vehicle is an Audi Q5, also a crossover and I wouldn't tow with it.

        Having my own trailer, I get to show where and when I want. I can trailer to clinics, lessons, etc when and where I want. Once I get there, I can leave when I want. It's the ultimate in flexibility and freedom.


        • #5
          Plus: You trailer when you want, where you want.
          The tack room is all yours.

          Minus: Unless you are trailering A LOT, it most likely costs more to own a trailer/tow vehicle than to pay someone else to haul for you.
          The repairs are all yours.

          $1.25/mile fee is not astronomical, considering the cost of the trailer, the maintenance, the tires, and the same for a tow vehicle. It's not like you're just paying for gas (I'm assuming this is a trainer/barn that is hauling for you? Not a friend?)
          Would it really be cheaper for you to own a trailer?
          For me, it's the convenience. Our horses are at home, no one in our immediate area events (that's my daughter's passion) and I only trailer to go out on trail rides. Also I haul my daughter's horse to many lessons and pony club meetings/events. It would be virtually impossible to find someone to haul for us, hence the very affordable bumper pull we have. Actually, I can't even imagine not having a trailer of my own although somehow I survived most of my life without one!

          Also depending on where and how far you are hauling, I would seriously reconsider the Envoy. I got away with hauling my BP with an SUV when I lived in a perfectly flat, Southern (no ice/snow) location, and never hauled over 50 mph or more than 40 miles one way. A couple times it was downright scary and I upgraded to a full-sized pickup with a tow package and will NEVER go back.
          Last edited by oldpony66; Dec. 28, 2011, 04:48 PM. Reason: added info


          • #6
            I could not do without a trailer of my own, but not because of cost savings. To me it is about freedom. Having to organize rides with a trainer every time I wanted to go somewhere would feel too much like being a kid again and having to ask my parents for a ride.

            Unless you show a lot, you will not save much money. Let's say you spend $10K on a trailer and keep it for 10 years, without getting fancy that's $1K a year worth of trailering fees. Add in $100 for tags, $250 for maintenance and $150 for insurance and it's $1500 per year worth of trailing.

            It will probably still cost you 50c a mile to trailer yourself if you count gas, depreciation from miles on your tow vehicle, and maintenance of your tow vehicle. So unless you are spending $3k a year on trailing now, I would not count on saving money. As I said though, freedom is worth it to me.

            As a side note, depending on your Envoy model it will have a tow capacity up to about 6500 pounds. Check what it is for your exact vehicle and make trailer choices appropriately. 6500 is about the same as many half ton pickups, but coth is full of people who think that a half ton pickup can only tow a small pony wearing roller skates so you'll get lots of "advice" in that direction.


            • #7
              I'd double check your math.

              If you are hauling out so often that a trailer looks more affordable, is your Envoy really going to be up to it? Is it big enough to be stable, is the engine designed to haul hundreds of miles at a time on a regular basis?

              If the Envoy is enough vehicle, have you factored in increased maintenance + sooner than expected replacement costs? A heavy use hauling vehicle will wear out more quickly than the average commuter vehicle. A vehicle hauling near the limits of its capacity will wear out more quickly than one at half or a quarter of its capacity.

              Or else factor in the costs of a better towing vehicle up front. Maintenance will still cost more, but it'll last longer.

              How many of your current average trips will you have to make just to recoup the cost of the trailer? Will you recoup that cost in one year? Five?

              Have you estimated your gas cost per trip? Drop your current MGP by half. Or 3/4.

              Add in maintenance and insurance on the trailer. Plus trailer parking fees at your barn, if applicable.

              If you plan to haul anyone else, add in commercial insurance on your Envoy + whatever costs are needed to get a commercial license.

              And so on and so forth.

              For most people, I think it honestly comes out cheaper to pay someone else to haul. I know it would for me -- but I bought my trailer for peace of mind (never have to wait on someone else in an emergency, able to go anywhere/whenever I want). If price were the only factor, I wouldn't have bought it.


              • #8
                Does your trainer have a CDL and commercial insurance?

                Better find out, lots of states cracking down hard on this issue. Be a real bitch to find someone to come get your horse if the trainers rig gets impounded.


                • #9
                  I have a truck and trailer. My trainer hauls my show horse. It's only a few bucks more than doing it myself, esp. with diesel near $4/gal. The only thing I miss about hauling myself is having all kinds of spare stuff in the tack room, but there's a lot to be said for just showing up at a show and all you have to do is get dressed and ride!

                  However, because I have horses at home as well, I wouldn't even think about giving up my trailer. I don't haul that often anymore -once a month at most- but I can if I want to.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by airhorse View Post
                    Does your trainer have a CDL and commercial insurance?
                    I doubt most do, unless they're pulling a semi. Most that I've known just have the Coggins and HCs in the barn's name to avoid problems.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
                      I doubt most do, unless they're pulling a semi. Most that I've known just have the Coggins and HCs in the barn's name to avoid problems.
                      If it is the barn's name, then it would be a commercial operation.

                      If the trainer is receiving $$$ for hauling, it is a commercial operation, regardless of the trailer size.

                      Beware, states are getting very sticky on this as they believe their is money to be had.


                      • #12
                        it depends on how much you need to trailer

                        we have our own trailer, its a 3 H gooseneck slant loan w/ tack and dressing room, older steel model so surface rust, 3500

                        buy anglegrinder and paint, do this in sections due to time and weather, poor trailer looks unfortunate at the moment but its fully functional

                        bought truck before trailer, gooseneck and frame bumper pull already installed, but its a V10 2500 and gas not diesel, gets crappy mielage but pulls great, heck drives better with a load, needs weighted tag

                        truck needs to run on a regular basis to keep in good working order

                        now are you ready for this, we have used this trailer I think 3 times this year, thats right 3 times

                        why do we have this, because my horse is an idiot loader and was unreliable in other trailers and hates a tiny 2 H straight load, but he likes a slant, plus until recently we had our horses at our own property at the top of a mountain with a driveway from hell

                        at the moment it doesn't pay except that my horse loves his trailer


                        • #13
                          If you ever have an emergency, the trailer will be worth its weight in gold. When I boarded, I paid for trailering and then I had a medical issue. Added way more stress having to find a trailer.

                          I loved the freedom once I got my first trailer.
                          Epona Farm
                          Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                          • #14
                            There are pluses and minuses to having your own trailer. The trailer will need upkeep, not really expensive but it still has to be done. That's four extra tires, lubing the wheel bearings and checking the brake system. You'll have to put a brake controller in your Envoy and plugs for the trailer lights.

                            The Envoy will get a workout. Go find five of the biggest people you know plus some bags of cement and pile them in the SUV, go up a hill and have your friends bounce around. Then go down the hill and have your friends bounce around.

                            Our stock trailer has a big problem, which is that it turns into storage for other things every time it gets parked. Right now it has three piglets living in it and they've torn up the floor. We also have a dedicated tow vehicle that is out of commission and we just haven't had the time or the money to get it towed, so if we needed the trailer for an emergency, well . . .

                            Ours was very inexpensive and it has more than paid for itself but there are drawbacks.
                            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                            Incredible Invisible


                            • #15
                              I'm not trying to be a b*tch, but you could not pay me to tow a top heavy load (like a horse in a trailer) with a GMC Envoy, a Trailblazer, an Explorer, etc., and I am even assuming you already have the heavy duty tow package with tranny cooler, etc. and are planning on adding an E-break and weight distribution/anti sway bars. Insufficient wheel base. And I do tow with an SUV, so I am hardly a truck-only type.

                              I have had the break connection fail and had to stop a trailer with just the truck however, so that colors my opinion. After it was inspected and given the "good-to-go" no less...

                              That said, I agree that it is much cheaper to pay for hauling, HOWEVER, I also really prefer the freedom of being able to go when I want to go, etc.
                              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                              • #16
                                I agree with all the people who have said it will be more expensive to own your own rig.

                                I am wrestling with this issue in reverse right now, as I contemplate whether to sell my GN and the F250 I bought to tow it.

                                On the one hand, I LOVE being able to go where I want, when I want. It wasn't showing that was the issue so much for me, as it was about doing things like clinics, where my trainer might not be going and where it was either not possible or prohibitively expensive to arrange a commercial shipper.

                                It's also come in very handy when, as recently, my trainer moved into a new barn. Commercial shippers wanted $150 per horse to move them 7 miles into the new barn (they have a minimum $$ to hook up and show up.)

                                I moved a couple sets in my trailer and my friend who also has a 2H GN moved a few in hers, and we had all 28 horses settled in their new stalls well before lunchtime for a couple bucks' worth of diesel. That was really nice.

                                Now I am getting ready to move way out of state and have no desire to ship my own horse 1000 miles in the dead of February. So I will be paying a commercial hauler to do that AND having to make the trip with my truck and trailer just to get it down there... and another trip to move my daily driver in addition. That is four solid days of driving altogether just to get all the vehicles where they need to be, which I am dreading. I keep thinking that with my new job, I don't think I will be enjoying much free time to show/clinic etc for a while - so selling that stuff and just relying on my trainer to ship me once in a while seems like a fairly attractive prospect by comparison.

                                That said, I am having a very hard time making myself part with my really awesome C&C 2+1 (no longer made so not easily replaceable) or my beloved awesome 7.3L PSD. Sigh. I will probably end up keeping them both. Sigh again.
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                • #17
                                  There are some excellent resources out there that can help you determine what vehicle specifications you will need to tow a horse trailer. There's a book out there by Tom and Neva Scheve called "The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining and Servicing a Horse Trailer" that has an excellent chapter on choosing a tow vehicle. I routinely recommend this book to people who have fantasies of towing their horse using an obviously inadequate tow vehicle when I don't want to be the one to burst the bubble.

                                  I'm not familiar with the exact specs of the Envoy, but I can tell you straight up that just because a vehicle has a towing capacity of 6500 lbs does not necessarily mean that it can safely tow a horse trailer with a horse in it. I'm pretty sure you will need a different vehicle to safely tow horses. So, you will need to figure out how the cost of a new vehicle plus the cost of the trailer, plus the cost of taxes, insurance, extra fuel cost of a larger vehicle when you aren't towing etc. compares to what you are paying now. Yes, paying someone to trailer for you is expensive. But, after you do the math you might feel differently. Or, you might decide that having the freedom is worth the extra cost of having your own truck and trailer.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                    I agree with all the people who have said it will be more expensive to own your own rig.
                                    Yes, the freedom of going where you want to is priceless, but I remember once a friend and I sat down and figured out how much we were actually paying per ride to trailer our horses, and it was ridiculously expensive, way more than what it would cost to have someone haul for us.

                                    That being said, I do like having my own rig. The flexibility is nice, and I like being able to practice loading whenever I want to, even if I'm not going anywhere.

                                    There are tons of valid reasons to have your own truck and trailer. Just don't do it to "save money" because it's very likely that you won't.
                                    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                    -Edward Hoagland


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                                      The Envoy will get a workout. Go find five of the biggest people you know plus some bags of cement and pile them in the SUV, go up a hill and have your friends bounce around. Then go down the hill and have your friends bounce around.
                                      This made me laugh and laugh. Largely because it's so true.

                                      I, too, have my own trailer because I *want* one, not because it's cheaper.


                                      • #20
                                        There is no way I would ever be without a trailer of my own. I actually have two right now...a 2H gooseneck and a 2H bumper pull. Had to buy the bumper pull to go to driving shows (carriage goes in the back of the truck) but I couldn't give up my GN as I love it so much!

                                        My horses live at home so I can just decide to load up and go whenever I want!

                                        I also would look into trading the Envoy for at least a 1/2 ton truck if you do get a trailer. I pull both of my trailers with a 2007 Dodge 1/2 ton. LOVE it!