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Trailering with an SUV...pros/cons?

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  • Trailering with an SUV...pros/cons?

    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?
    Thanks!

  • #2
    I tow an old, heavy, 2 horse BP with no dressing room with a 2005 V8, 4WD Toyota 4Runner. It has the factory tow package and an after-market break controller. The popular opinion on this forum is that I (and maybe my horses!) are going to die, but honestly I have never had a problem. I am cognizant of the fact that it will take me longer to stop than when I'm not pulling a trailer, and I live in a fairly flat area. That said, the gas mileage when I'm towing is literally half what it is when I'm not. I also only take one horse at a time or a mare and a foal.

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    • #3
      I towed my BP with my expedition, and before that with a Jeep Commander (5.7 liter, I think, with all the towing package stuff - beefed up suspension, tranny cooler, whatever). It was fine. A Suburban, Excursion, or full-sized Tahoe is a good choice.

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      • #4
        While watching the London Olympics I saw several parked horse ambulances - all hitched to BMW SUVs. That would be nice

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        • #5
          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?
          ==================
          Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!

          http://reriderandpony.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            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.

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            • #7
              PS I lived and rode in Boulder for years back in the 80's. You used to be able to ride a horse from Arapahoe across fields all the way to Eldorado Springs.....

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              • #8
                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?

                I worked in Ireland for a few years and they all use either very small and light 2 horse bumper pull trailers hooked to some sort of SUV (my boss used his Audi Q7 very nice!) or a Lorry ranging from small 2 horse to big 8+. The roads are narrow and a little scary but I never saw an accident. I think the trailers were so light that stopping wasn't an issue, but i'm not sure how well they'd hold up in a crash, I think they are mostly aluminum and fiberglass, or plastic of some sort

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                • #9
                  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?
                  It may depend on how far you're hauling, on what kind of roads, and over what sort of terrain. In the UK you see horse vans, but also non-truck things pulling trailers but they're likely not going all that far (county isn't that big ) plus a lot of places you have a few different options for a sensible route, so you can avoid anything you're worried your rig would have trouble with without having to go hugely out of your way.

                  On top of which, petrol is ridiculously expensive so there's probably more motivation to go with what will get the job done with the best mpg - particularly if it's going to be used for things other than towing. (I mean, I know gas prices are up here also, but last I was over there with taxes and everything that they add on, the cost was 2-3 times the cost per gallon here, once you calculated it all out.)

                  I dunno about the rest of Europe, though. I have seen a lot of comments about how you don't usually have to travel as far for events/shows in Europe in the 'why didn't we do better in the Olympics' threads, which would suggest that even though the countries aren't all as small as the UK, the distances traveled are still shorter on average than US trips.

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                  • #10
                    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?
                    No wrecks and dead horses along the road. They have different rules than we do. Tongue weight of 4% rather than 10%. (typically under 200 lbs) Electric brakes are forbidden...must be inertial brakes that don't depend upon the tow vehicle. They are lighter in weight (but still strong due to materials and construction.

                    You can buy them in North America, too...Fautras and Böckmann both sell over here. Really nice products. The most well known is Brenderup, but they are no longer manufactured here. Hard to find used because folks don't give them up. I did a test tow last December of a Fautras with the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited I owned at the time. It was a good experience in every way.

                    These trailers don't mean you can tow with "anything", but the requirements are a lot more approachable than with many North American made trailers. A mid-size SUV is just fine as are the lighter pickups. And no brake controller required.
                    -----

                    That said, I'll be towing with a Grand Cherokee Overland Summit with the V8 engine. Towing capacity is 7200 and I'll not likely be over 5500 if that, depending on what trailer I eventually settle on. This is primarily for incidental, local hauling of my own horses for general off-farm activities, such as the horse park which is a wonderful resource.

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                    • #11
                      Should have linked this in my first post, here's a photo of the BMW and Brenderup style horse ambulance used in London

                      http://www.motoringchat.com/wp-conte...ambulances.jpg

                      So... if you can afford a Brenderup style trailer and a BMW, that would be a mighty comfy way to travel

                      Not trying to bash on Americans (I am one), but I think Europeans are better drivers. Their roads require more attention and their driver's licences are harder to obtain. So I think the frequency with which a horse trailer driver will get "cut-off" or "pulled out in front of" requiring slamming on your brakes/swerving or what have you is far less frequent.

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                      • #12
                        I used to own a Chevy Tahoe with the tow package and used it to pull my 2 horse bumper pull. It worked fine for local hauling and shows that were within a 100 miles or so radius. I sold the Tahoe about the same time as my friend's Tahoe blew its transmission while pulling her 2 horse BP trailer with her horses in tow (of course). I traded it in for a Ford F350 diesel truck. My husband thought he noticed that the transmission on our Tahoe was beginning to slip as he drove it to the dealer to trade in.

                        Long story short, I think it depends on how far and how frequently you plan to pull a horse trailer. If you're planning on hualing once a week to your trainre 20 or 30 minutes away down a country road you're probably OK with a heavy duty SUV. If you're planning on hauling horsie and tack to horse shows every weekend all over the country buy a truck.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Twisted River View Post
                          Should have linked this in my first post, here's a photo of the BMW and Brenderup style horse ambulance used in London

                          http://www.motoringchat.com/wp-conte...ambulances.jpg

                          So... if you can afford a Brenderup style trailer and a BMW, that would be a mighty comfy way to travel

                          Not trying to bash on Americans (I am one), but I think Europeans are better drivers. Their roads require more attention and their driver's licences are harder to obtain. So I think the frequency with which a horse trailer driver will get "cut-off" or "pulled out in front of" requiring slamming on your brakes/swerving or what have you is far less frequent.
                          as much as I love the look of that, there is no way in he11 my horse would fit in that trailer!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cadance View Post
                            as much as I love the look of that, there is no way in he11 my horse would fit in that trailer!
                            hahaha I'm thinking it's the angle of the picture cause the trailer didn't look nearly so tiny when I saw them on TV (internet) coverage. But based off that photo, could you imagine squeezing one of the muscly huge dressage horses plus a vet, and a vet tech, and a groom, and equipment, etc. into that trailer?!

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                            • #15
                              I used to trailer w/ my Expedition and aluminum trailer. I did not trailer every weekend but did do a 600 mile trip every year.

                              I recently bought a Suburban (yes, it is a monster but I have a little car for everyday use). It trailers like a dream. I have taken many trips from Indiana to PA moving my horses (600 miles ONE WAY) and it was great.

                              My trainer (semi retired) trailers with his Suburban and he loves it too.
                              Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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                              • #16
                                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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I tow with my dream vehicle - a 3/4 ton Suburban with heavy duty everything and the tow package. Auto transmission, 4.10 gear ratio for towing. If I had the bigger engine, it would be rated for 12,000 pounds, as is it's rated for I think 10,700 or so. I pulled a three horse stock/slant steel trailer, a four horse steel trailer (22 feet long) and am currently towing a Rice two horse. We also have a 29 foot camper we tow with it. It is set up with a weight distributing hitch and a sway bar, used both for the four horse trailer and the camper. We don't need that for the Rice, which is a British made aluminum and fiberglass trailer that only weighs 1,130 pounds empty. I have never had an issue with any of these assorted trailers, even with the steel four horse, which probably weighed 11,000 pounds. We trailer up and down the east coast on a regular basis (as far as Virginia and Kentucky.) Never a problem with sway, never a problem with towing or stopping power. Love my Suburban. It took us a year to find it, dealer tried to talk me out of it, but I knew what I wanted. Lousy mileage (13 when not towing, about 11 when towing the Rice, maybe 9 when we tow the camper,) but it's a great truck. We bought this vehicle because we are a family of 5, and the kids didn't want to sit next to each other, so we needed 3 rows of seats. However, we often haul with just two of us, so we take out the third seat, fold down the second row seats and fill the back with our gear (we camp at our competitions.) Plenty of room for everything (which is good because there is no room in the trailer!) We also have a roof basket on it. Love, love, love my SUV. If you can find one, snap it up. We could not find a used 3/4 ton, had to get this one from New York state, and as I said, it took a year to find it. This is our 3rd Suburban, the other two were 1/2 tons.

                                  By the way, The Capitol Steps did a fabulous song called "God Bless My SUV." Here's a link to their album page, you can listen to the song there. Must listen for all SUV lovers with a sense of humor! https://albums.capitolsteps.com/cgi-...lbums/order.mv
                                  Last edited by 4cornersfarm; Sep. 20, 2012, 10:57 AM.
                                  blogging at HN: http://www.horsenation.com/
                                  check out my writing: http://jeseymour.com
                                  Just out: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-p...ead-poisoning/

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                                  • #18
                                    I have a hawk XL 2 horse BP and pull it with a diesel 4x4 excursion. Got the largest and strongest SUV on the market

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                                    • #19
                                      Used to tow a 2h BP with a half-ton Suburban. In fact, used that rig to tow the horses from Texas to NC when we moved, including thru Atlanta traffic (yikes). Never had a problem with it. Also, my husband made a great portable saddle rack (for 2 big western saddles) that fit into the luggage area behind the 3rd seat. That's a very useful, weatherproof area that holds lots of stuff - even more if you take the 3rd seat out. So that's another benefit to towing with an SUV.
                                      It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I currently tow a 2950# 2 horse (1998) Turnbow with no dressing room. One horse. With a Ford Expedition with a V8. The engine is enough, but the rear end is soft, imo. If I were going further/more often I would get an equalizer hitch (weight distribution/sway bars). I definitely drive carefully.

                                        Having used a 3/4 ton gas hog and a 3/4 ton diesel before I think there is no comparison--obviously they are better. But I got a ridiculously good deal on the Expedition at the time and it fit my dogs better than a truck.

                                        I just noticed new SUVs have gone up about 15k from when I last looked a couple years ago. I have no idea why. Nor do I know if trucks have done the same. But if I were buying a new one, I would want a Suburban or an Xtra Long Expedition/Tahoe/etc. with the beefier tow package.

                                        A euro-style trailer would be great.
                                        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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