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Trailering with an SUV...pros/cons?

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  • #21
    I tow my light fiberglass/aluminum bumper pull with a Toyota 4Runner with factory towing package appropriate for the weight. Most of my trips are an hour or less, but I have taken some long trips with it. Never had a problem, rides well, but I'm usually pulling only 1 horse and it is a bit underpowered going up a long steep incline! I too find an SUV more practical for my purposes than a pickup truck, but I'd probably opt for something bigger and stronger if I could afford it. The 4Runner has well over 100,000 miles on it, and a lot of those were logged in front of my horse & trailer!


    • #22
      OP, I suggest you read "Trailering Your Horse" by Cherry Hill. It will all make more sense after you've read it. While all of the points made here are good, one of the most important, and most rarely mentioned, considerations is wheelbase. No matter what the weight rating, trailering horses with a short wheelbase vehicle is what makes you susceptible to the "tail wagging the dog" phenomenon.

      I tow my 2 horse BP with a 4X4 diesel Excursion. Tow 2 horses locally (within 30 miles) 2X/ week on average. Used to trailer 2 horses 1400 mile round trip twice yearly, always felt safe secure & confident with this rig. The Excursion is (or was) built on an F250 platform.

      A huge benefit to the Excursion over the F250 in my area (Long Island) is we have roads called parkways which prohibit commercial vehicles or vehicles with trailers. Pickups over 5500 lbs have to be registered commercially. So that closes off a huge network of roads to anything bigger than an F150. Curiously, the Excursion (like all SUVs regardless of size), are registered in the class called "Suburban" which has no weight restrictions. So I can motor merrily down the parkway with my 7800 lb Excursion (albeit without a trailer) where the F250 owner can't. Go figure.
      HorsePower! www.tcgequine.blogspot.com


      • #23
        Originally posted by Iberiansyes View Post
        I got into having a trailer of my own about six years ago and posted a similar question like this on a forum back then (different forum). In the end, I got a Toyota Tundra with crew cab yo pull it, which gave me good mileage (relatively speaking) and the extra seating. There have been a number of situations where I have been glad I was using a full sized truck. Can you get away with pulling a trailer with an SUV? Yes, of course....until you don't. I would get a truck big enough to easily STOP your loaded trailer, even if that is not what you will be doing most of the time. The one time you need to, you will want to.
        I've been thinking about a Tundra because my '89 F250 is likely getting close to retirement... Unfortunately I don't want two car payments so I'm going to need to make the new truck my daily driver as well. The mpg on the newer F250s is much better than my old one but still makes me light headed with gas at $4 a gallon. The Tundra supposedly does much better in that department. Do you pull an aluminum or steel trailer? I've got a wamblood size steel Trails West 2H BP and I'm a little concerned it would be too heavy.


        • #24
          Originally posted by cadance View Post
          So I know the popular choice for hauling a trailer is a truck. However at this point in my life, an SUV would be much more convenient for me to own. Does anyone trailer with an SUV on a regular basis? And if so, what car and trailer combination are you using?
          What is convenient about towing a trailer with a vehicle that may not be able to stop the trailer? Or getting stuck in the mud at a show or a trail head?

          Serious questions.

          Try a crew cab pickup if you need more than one seat.

          That said, I have a friend who hauled his 17h eventer in a tagalong 2-horse with his huge Suburban.

          He is one of only two people I have ever known who hauled without a truck.
          Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
          People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
          "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


          • #25
            Originally posted by tcgelec View Post
            OP, I suggest you read "Trailering Your Horse" by Cherry Hill. It will all make more sense after you've read it. While all of the points made here are good, one of the most important, and most rarely mentioned, considerations is wheelbase. No matter what the weight rating, trailering horses with a short wheelbase vehicle is what makes you susceptible to the "tail wagging the dog" phenomenon.
            That book is so awesome. It should come with EVERY TRAILER.
            "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


            • #26
              I have hauled my 2 horse, no dressing room, Sundowner, with a Chevrolet Tahoe for years. It does well. When we drove to Florida, we used my daughter's truck as I won't go over 60 mph with the Tahoe and trailer. If you are staying within 100 miles of home and have a light weight trailer, the Tahoe is great. Otherwise, I would get a Suburban or a truck.


              • #27
                Originally posted by Chaila View Post
                I've been watching all these European videos on trailer loading and noticed that the trailers are all hitched up to vehicles that look pretty much like my husband's Honda CRV.

                Is Europe littered with the carcasses of dead horses and trailer wrecks or do they know something we don't?
                As someone mentioned, the trailers in Europe are much lighter and have different brakes. When I worked for a trainer in Holland, rather than backing the cars (yes, cars. I thought we were all going to die.) up to the trailers to hook up, we'd just pull the trailers over to the vehicles. I could move the one-horse around by hand by myself.
                "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
                -George Morris


                • #28
                  We use a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8, tow package, electric trailer break controller bought in 2004. Tows our 2 horse Kingston with 2 horses, and lots of stuff no problem. Breaks fine. Have used it locally and long distance. Never had any problems and never felt unsafe. Used to have a place up on Sugarloaf and towed a lot of heavy stuff with a 16 foot trailer up to Breckenridge and over the divide into South Park, (the county not the show) and back never missed a beat. Towed a lot of stuff back and forth from Lexington KY to Boulder with it. In all kinds of weather. Never gotten stuck. I also tow a lot of farm equipment and 4 ton hay wagons. Would I rather have a nice diesel 250 truck and goose neck, you bet cha. And when the big horse wins we will get a nice rig. Have had lots of Jeeps all have been great but 1.


                  • #29
                    POsted a long time ago say question got attacked, assaulted, it was horrible "you and you horses are gonna die!!!!" Ended up towing a pretty good size 2 horse with dressing room with our explorer with tow package no problems even IN TIGHT SITUATIONS and yes we had some bad problems like traffic stopping and having to slam the breaks with two horses in back. But everything breaked fine no problems and couldnt really feel it behind. MAybe borrow a friends and test drive and see how you like the feel? Don't listen to the truck nazis on this forum.
                    Mitkowski Equine Services
                    Love my Fjord Magni "Tigger" and my HanoxTb Frescoe "Wenny" --- My boys


                    • #30
                      Totally OT, but the word "Sugarloaf" caught my eye. I used to live near the end of 4-Mile (At Long Gulch), and Sugarloaf hovered over us.... one of my fav. views.....

                      thanks for the flashback!


                      • #31
                        It's mostly about numbers. You have to find out how much your trailer weighs, loaded, and then make sure that whatever you buy is rated in all respects to tow something well over that weight. This includes total weight of truck, trailer, occupants, which is a different number than "tow capacity." It also includes proper BRAKES (not breaks, sorry, pet peeve), weight distribution bars, heavy duty transmission, the right size hitch, etc etc.

                        There is enough variability in these numbers with all the different models of SUVs and trucks (for example, the same vehicle without 4wd is rated higher tow capacity than the one with -- because the weight of the 4wd system itself reduces overall capacity) even within one model year that it is really not possible to make blanket statements about what will and won't work.

                        Don't go by feel. It can feel fine until you are in an emergency. It's math, not falling in love.
                        The big man -- my lost prince

                        The little brother, now my main man


                        • #32
                          I've been hauling my 2H aluminum BP with my 1997 Tahoe for 11 years. It has the heavy duty towing package with the transmission cooling system, has 180K miles on it, and is till on the first transmission. After market electronic brake controller. That said, I rarely go further than 50 miles on pretty level terrain.

                          Just had the old girl re-painted and am hoping to squeeze another year out of her. Then I think I'll probably look for a Suburban or Excursion. The Tahoe has been fine for the short hauls we do, but I woiuldn't be comfortable if we towed for long distances on a regular basis.

                          We also have a 98 Ford F250, but its downright dangerous for both DD and I to drive as our face need to be practically in the steering wheel in order to reach the gas and brakes.

                          Finding a good tow vehicle is tough when you're only 4'10" By the time we add all the options I need to be able to drive it safely, I'm looking at a 50k vehicle, which just isn't worth it for the little use it gets, and Mr. Trev has a real phobia about used trucks.
                          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                          Witherun Farm


                          • #33
                            I have probably hauled 100k loaded miles between my two Sequoias. I have a two horse trail-et without a dressing room as I wanted the lightest I could find.
                            McDowell Racing Stables

                            Home Away From Home


                            • #34
                              I tow a 2 horse BP with my Tahoe, and it does the job locally.

                              I wouldn't haul it loaded for long, cross country drives.


                              • #35
                                I tow a Brenderup Baron SL with an Acura MDX and it hauls like a dream. Flat or hills, makes no difference. And I get about 22mpg normally and 18 when hauling.


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by quarterhorse4me View Post
                                  Not a problem if you make sure the SUV tow vehicle is rated for the appropriate weights you are towing. I recommend sway bars for added safety.
                                  Learn from my mistakes...

                                  Tow ratings don't mean $#!+ other than what's "legal". My first truck/trailer combo was a 6 cylinder 2003 Explorer with a 2 horse 2003 Moritz stock trailer. It towed great locally and through PA, even up though 322 to State College on some respectable hills.

                                  The I moved west for the summer.... I made it all the way from PA to NM but it was not a fun trip. Stability was great, stopping power was just fine (trailer brakes... your truck does not stop the trailer, it should stop itself), but there was no power on the long hills especially with a head wind. I couldn't break 50mph from Amarillo to Cline's Corner and the transmission and engine were getting beat to pieces. I was praying the semi's blowing past us at 80 mph saw us in time to move over! I promptly bought a 2003 F-250 diesel in Albuquerque and my return trip was sooooo much better!

                                  No amount of wheelbase on your tow vehicle is going to help an unstable trailer that wants to sway. Sell the trailer. Better yet, scrap it. Your trailer has to be built and loaded to be stable. Keep the center of gravity as far forward as is reasonable.

                                  I have an RV that was not designed to tow well. The water tank is nearly above the rear bumper. Towing with the tank full vs empty makes for a completely different trip. Full, it can and almost did sway itself and the tow vehicle right off the road even with an appropriate anti-sway bar and WD hitch. Empty, it hauls reasonably well but getting passed by a big semi downhill still induces a bit of sway. After replacing the cheap Asian POS tires with good wide Marathons the handling improved dramatically again.

                                  My Moritz BP horse trailer pulls like a dream. I've never once felt even the slightest bit of a sway or tug and I use a regular hitch on it, no swaybar, no weight distributing bars. I've put at least 30-40k miles on it.

                                  Expeditions/Excursions, Tahoes and the like can haul a small, stable trailer just fine. I wouldn't recommend anything smaller than that and remember the smaller you go, the less longevity you're going to get out of the vehicle.
                                  Doubled Expectations (Roxy, 2001 APHA)
                                  Al Amir (Al, 2005 OTTB)
                                  Ten Purposes (Rosie, 2009 OTTB)


                                  • #37
                                    POsted a long time ago say question got attacked, assaulted, it was horrible "you and you horses are gonna die!!!!" Ended up towing a pretty good size 2 horse with dressing room with our explorer with tow package no problems even IN TIGHT SITUATIONS and yes we had some bad problems like traffic stopping and having to slam the breaks with two horses in back. But everything breaked fine no problems and couldnt really feel it behind. MAybe borrow a friends and test drive and see how you like the feel? Don't listen to the truck nazis on this forum.
                                    Oh, settle down. No one is being a "nazi" or "assaulting" you. (also, you should probably look up the actual meanings of those words). A lot of us just don't think hauling with an Explorer is SAFE. And I HAD an Explorer.

                                    I seem to remember another COTH poster who INSISTED up one side and down the other that she'd "never had a problem" towing with her Explorer. She was told explicitly that it was an accident waiting to happen. She kept insisting she'd be fine. I suppose she was - although her horses were killed when she totalled the vehicle while hauling.

                                    I'd be really careful "advising" people to disregard the generally very good advice on this forum on the subject.

                                    OP, if you want to tow with an SUV, run the numbers and get an SUV that is actually a truck with a backseat. Some of them are - the 2500 Suburbans come to mind. Or get a Brenderup, which are designed to go on smaller vehicles.
                                    They're small hearts.


                                    • #38
                                      The only time I have sway with my excursion and BP is when one of those fancy RVs that are just are large as semis come barreling past me. The sides of the RV go down all the way to the ground almost and just attempt to push me off the road. I've only had it happen twice but it was a little frightening the first time!

                                      one of these suckers: