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Brenderup vs. Featherlite

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  • Brenderup vs. Featherlite

    So, I've downsized from a Sundowner LQ and a Dodge dually. Have a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4X4 with a Hemi engine and a tow package. Which would you buy and why? I've been leaning toward the Brenderup. I prevously pulled a Featherlite with a Jeep Grand Cherokee -- but not a 4X4 with a Hemi -- and had a few white knuckle moments when 18 wheelers whizzed by in rainstorms. I've read that the Brenderup is designed to track better behind a SUV. I found the Brenderup was actually more spacious for the horses than I had imagined. But the fact it is fiberglass gives me some pause.... My boy (16.3 and ISH) while generally a solid citizen travelling, kicked the back door a couple of times in my Sundowner with no ill effect. Would the same be true in the Brenderup? Also, I've heard people fret about outcomes in the event of an accident with the Brenderup. But I'm thinking that an accident is likely to be bad news in either. I've been a member of this board for years but rarely post. I look forward to reading everyone's views. Thanks in advance for your wisdom.
    Early to ride!

  • #2
    If your vehicle is the only one available set up for towing, then Brenderup it is. I'd not tow anything else with an SUV-type vehicle.
    <>< 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.


    • #3
      I'm neither a Brederup nor an SUV fan, to add some table salt, here!

      SUVs are, as a rule, marginal as tow vehicles for horses no matter what kind of trailer you've got. They simply lack the mass and wheelbase necessary for U.S. towing. I know that many in Europe use them, but on U.S. highways where you'll routinely find 18 wheelers doing 75 mph (and pushing one BIG aerodynamic "bow wave" I wouldn't do it here.

      For a kicker I'd guess the Brenderup construction might be problematical. Aluminum dents (and can be repaired without undue muss and fuss). The Brederup material (looked like a composit) might not fare so well and would likely be more difficult to repair.

      I understand the motivation to downsize, I just don't agree that it's a very good idea.

      As between a Brenderup and a Featherlight, I'm on Featherlight Number 3.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • #4
        I had such a bad trip in a Benderup. Two big horses pulled by a Suburban (under the speedlimit) on the freeway - going down a hill it started to sway alarmingly. The driver managed to slow down and pull over but I think they are just too light for our freeway type of travel. I don't want those sweaty armpits ever again. I think, probably, with no divider inside between the heads one mare probably snagged at the other and cused the trailer to lurch and then start the back and forth swaying.
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


        • #5
          I've already said in other threads and repeat it here: I've had a Brenderup for 5 years, trailered one or two horses for distances as far as 1,000 miles round trip with my minivan and never had any issues. I travel at posted speed limits on highways and most of the time I don't even remember I have a trailer behind me. With 2 horses, sure, I can feel the weight when going uphill.

          I did have white knuckles when I drove a friend's conventional trailer with her truck and felt it swaying and dragging the truck a little bit every time I changed lanes or took a turn. Having never driven a regular trailer with a truck, I felt a big difference from my lightweight Brenderup and minivan.

          As for accidents, I pray I don't have to deal with one, whatever trailer, because even the metal ones can cause serious injury.

          I once had a trailer tire blow up when I was on the highway, doing 65mph, and had to pull over all the way from the left lane to the shoulder on the right lane. I was scared, but the minivan held it well, the vibration wasn't too bad, and when I stopped and checked on the 2 horses, they could have cared less, and continued to munch on the hay inside the trailer.

          If Brenderups were such bad deals, you would find a lot more used ones for sale from unhappy owners, but try to find a used one for sale and you will find out owners don't want to get rid of them for a good reason.
          "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"


          • #6
            I towed my featherlite hand-full of times with a tow-equipped Durrango. It scared the out of me every time. I tried the Brenderup and it was better but not much.

            When it came down to replacing the tow vehicle or replacing the trailer, it was actually more cost effective for me to just buy a 2nd vehicle. Brenderups are expensive and not that much of an improvement in tow performance. I got a used Ford F-250 for $6,000. It's older but I maintain it well and I only drive it to tow the trailer.... I also keep the better gas mileage the rest of the time. Yes, it's an extra insurance payment but it's pretty low since I just have the required coverage - no sense in comprehensive on a truck with 120k miles on it.....

            Yes, Brenderups have their very loyal owners - and that's part of why they are so expensive. The people who have them NEVER part with them. I guess it's a matter of personal opinion.
            The rebel in the grey shirt


            • #7
              I am currently in the market for a trailer, and have my heart set on a brenderup. Have you watched the free DVD that they have one their website? In it they show how strong their composite material is. I do believe that on BB'er here was in an accident with her Brenderup, and that her horses were okay.

              FWIW, while I would consider an older Featherlite, I've read reviews that the newer ones are not made as well.


              • #8
                B'up owner here, on #2, and this post will address the 'crash factor' mostly since the basic towing has been addressed.
                In a nutshell, I totalled #1 towing two horses home from a show in late July on a 98 degree day. Three people tried to merge into space for two and the last person in line (19 yo girl on her phone) panicked, overcorrected, hit the shoulder, spun while overcorrecting again and shot across the highway PERPENDICULAR to traffic. Now... we were in the center of 3 lanes and could see this start to unfold and slowed, then stood on the brakes. I had noted traffic on both sides of me, so didn't dare to swerve (tho in retrospect I probably could have at the last minute because everyone else had been able to stop MUCH quicker than me, but I didn't think about that at the time) and ended up clipping the girls car as it entered the left-most lane of traffic. Spun her 90 degrees and we both ended up side-by-side against the center divider.
                Horses hit the chest bar hard enough to bow it fairly well and there were star-shaped fractures in the walls around the chest bar anchors, but THEY HELD. The 1" thick resin just cracked. That was the only noticable damage to the trailer and we got it off my truck and put it on another and towed ponies home.
                This took about two hours though, and the horses just ate hay and looked out the windows as we sorted everything out -- I don't even remember them breaking a sweat, despite standing on a hot highway.
                Insurance determined that the frame wracked a little during the hard stop, so between that and new walls, #1 was a writeoff. Horses were bruised on the chest, one got a cut on the forehead.
                People all walked away with VERY minor stuff too, so really high on the scare-factor, not so high on the horrible-accident-factor, thank goodness. Guy behind us (first on scene) was an acquiantance and a Featherlite dealer and was VERY impressed with the trailer behavior and didn't mind telling me so. He didn't drop his dealership and switch to Brenderups though. heehee.
                Last edited by slpeders; Sep. 1, 2009, 02:11 PM. Reason: story wrapup


                • #9
                  I rented a Brenderup once to tow my "trailers well in everything" horse and he didn't even want to load. I was really shocked at how flimsy the thing was. The ramp was nothing more than a glorified piece of plywood. I swear the entire thing turned into a parallellogram when it started moving, the sides were so thin.

                  I have had the same Featherlite 2-horse with dressing room since 1992. It's been a great trailer. I keep looking at new ones, but can't really justify it, since there's really nothing wrong with mine - other than being 17 years old!

                  That said, I pull with full size truck and would not feel safe pulling with less - and my Featherlite only weighs 2300 lbs.
                  Last edited by cyndi; Sep. 1, 2009, 02:57 PM.
                  Donerail Farm


                  • #10
                    wow! I wonder how much it depends on which model B'up you have? I know some of the entry-level models used to be (still are? don't know) made with a different wall material than my Barons are. Mine is very solid-sided, but they DO depend on the buttbars being up to help stabilize them in motion.
                    This one (#2) has had the living bejeezus kicked out of by an ANGRY TB gelding that we think got stung by a bee. He bucked/kicked, broke the safety on the butt bar, even left bite marks on the front panel. Felt bad for the horse but was pleased to see the trailer take a beating without much sign of it.


                    • #11
                      Neither one

                      I have a big heavy steel trailer (Trails West). The F350 dually does feel the heavy trailer! But, I don't want my guys in a lighter, softer material one.

                      I don't like the look of the short wheel base on the Brenderup. They also look top heavy.

                      The big rig trucks here are much larger than in Holland, where they are mini big rig trucks! Everything is faster and bigger and more dangerous here.

                      I have thought and thought again, and am keeping my large horse moving apparatus. Though for my personal driving, smaller is better and so much easier to buz around town!


                      • #12
                        Ditto Chocomare. I would pull ONLY a Brenderup if my tow vehicle was an SUV. I did, in fact, for 8 years and absolutely loved my Brenderup. I can recommend them unconditionally. There are several posters here on COTH who have had wrecks with them (through no fault of the trailer) and they can all attest that these trailers more than hold their own in terms of keeping horses safe.

                        People that drive them regularly, love them. Almost to a one. People who hate them (IME!) either hate the idea, hate the look, or just haven't used them enough to really feel how they haul. Ask someone who's owned one for a while and you'll get a real sense of how they work for people.
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #13
                          I am always surprised at what an emotional response come from people about Brenderups. I think that people who like big vehicles will always want a big heavy trailer and no amount of "data" will sway them. The same people probably like to drive big cars. I can't wait to have one. It is on my wish list for next year. Just praying for a new job so waiting to see what new paycheck looks like before investing in anything new. Is Brenderup the only game in town for lightweight trailers of this type?
                          “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
                          ? Rumi


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gayla View Post
                            Is Brenderup the only game in town for lightweight trailers of this type?
                            Unfortunately yes, unless you live in Canada where there are several brands of this type. Brenderup has the exclusive US patent on that lightweight, small-vehicle-friendly trailer design. I saw a few of the Brenderup competitors at a show in Michigan (where people had crossed over from Canada) and the technology was very similar.

                            For the record, I own a Brenderup but I have absolutely nothing against traditional rigs. My horse rides often in traditional rigs when we're hauling with friends or with my trainer. Assuming a traditional rig is hooked up to a 3/4 ton truck or larger, it's a great ride. I would never EVER hitch a Featherlie to any SUV smaller than the Suburban.

                            For a kicker I'd guess the Brenderup construction might be problematical. Aluminum dents (and can be repaired without undue muss and fuss). The Brederup material (looked like a composit) might not fare so well and would likely be more difficult to repair.
                            Somebody didn't do their homework. On both the Brenderup info DVD, and in the Mr. Truck review, they show/talk about wailing on the Brenderup resin walls with a hammer as hard as they could. It can really, really, really take a beating. Then they do the same with aluminum, which crumples pathetically under the pressure.

                            If you did manage to damage the resin, which would be challenging, you can replace the panel.

                            The big rig trucks here are much larger than in Holland, where they are mini big rig trucks! Everything is faster and bigger and more dangerous here.
                            Yes, which makes it very convenient when I can *get my Brenderup the hell out of the way quickly and easily*. Try that with a traditional rig.

                            Research has consistently shown that smaller, more maneuverable vehicles are safer because they are more likely to avoid an accident altogether. But most Americans seem unable to comprehend that idea.

                            OTOH, Brenderups are very expensive and have very limited tack storage space. For the price of a Brenderup, one could have a VERY nice Featherlite 2-horse gooseneck with a spacious dressing room. If you go B'up, you'll need to budget for a transmission cooler on your tow vehicle, but you'll also save the cost of trailer tires (Brenderups ride on automobile tires) and wheel bearing packing (the wheel bearings are permanently sealed). And you'll have to get used to people staring at you all the time and saying rude things about how your trailer is made of plastic.

                            As for the back ramp, it's the most solid part of the trailer. I'm pretty sure there's a steel plate in there, but don't quote me on that. Call Brenderup--Simon Barr or his son Chris usually answer the phone themselves, and they are happy to answer questions.
                            Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog


                            • #15
                              I don't think a 16.3 hand horse would do well in a Brenderup and really, the issue with trailer/vehicle is that you want your vehicle to be able to stop your trailer with your horse loaded. How about going to a 1/2 ton truck and a smaller trailer?

                              One of my boarders has a Brenderup. It has the same size tires that my Honda Civic does, stabilizers for loading, and her horse consistently gives her a hard time loading into it (loads fine into other trailers). Makes me wonder if the horse isn't smarter than the owner...
                              JB-Infinity Farm


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by spotmenow View Post
                                I don't think a 16.3 hand horse would do well in a Brenderup and really, the issue with trailer/vehicle is that you want your vehicle to be able to stop your trailer with your horse loaded. How about going to a 1/2 ton truck and a smaller trailer?

                                One of my boarders has a Brenderup. It has the same size tires that my Honda Civic does, stabilizers for loading, and her horse consistently gives her a hard time loading into it (loads fine into other trailers). Makes me wonder if the horse isn't smarter than the owner...
                                It depends on the model of Brenderup. Some are smaller, like mine (older Prestige) and meant for horses up to 16h. The Royal and Barron are larger and meant for bigger horses, 17h or so. You have to remember this is an European trailer and European horses on average are big, probably between 16-17h.

                                What does the size of the tires and stabilizers have to do with loading? They all have a ramp - very sturdy ramp, covered with rubber material, non-slipping. My horses load without any problems, other people's horses who have traveled in my trailer didn't have any issues either. Maybe they are not as "smart" as your boarder's horse??
                                "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Tangerine Farmer View Post
                                  The big rig trucks here are much larger than in Holland, where they are mini big rig trucks! Everything is faster and bigger and more dangerous here.
                                  I'm confused by this statement. I lived in Germany for a few years and regularly drove to the Netherlands, and the trucks I saw on the autobahn were every bit as large as the ones here.

                                  As for speed, 65mph just doesn't compare to NO SPEED LIMIT on most sections of autobahn. And the Brenderup-style trailers we drove in Germany handled it just fine.

                                  I've also driven in France and the UK, where they also use Brenderup-style trailers on freeways with much higher speeds than here.


                                  • #18
                                    Brenderup owner


                                    I've owned a Brenderup for many years and I will NEVER give it up, even though I will probably be getting another trailer soon. When I first got it I had a Mazda 6cy Auto extended cab pickup, I live in the metro Atlanta area and unless I was in the mountains or steep hills, I never had any problems. And then it was just a matter of going slow. I have had 18 wheelers fly past me on the interstate and never felt it move. And until recently I mostly hauled with a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee (like the opening thread) and had no issues. It's even better hauling with my 2003 Tundra.

                                    As far as problems with Brenderup's. I would say it mostly depends on the horse(s) you haul. For my tempermental, claustrophobic TB, it's fine it I haul him in the Brenderup with the divider swung and secured so that he have a big triangle type area. By the way, he can't haul in any straight load. But I've hauled other horses in the Brenderup and I've had no problems. But some horses would not like it.

                                    For me, the trailer is so perfect for hauling one horse. It is soooo easy to use and the ramp (mine is very solid) is easy to open/close for one person. I can rock it over if I am slightly off when I go to hook up. And I've become an expert packer when hauling to shows, so that I can take everything I need.

                                    No, a Brenderup isn't for everyone but it works for me and when I go to the gas station and have to fill up a lot less often than the "big" rigs, I have something else to be thankful for.


                                    • #19
                                      My first trailer was a Brenderup and I towed it with a Dodge Durango. It worked just fine and never felt anything bad back there. You could put some big horses in there.

                                      But I switched to a gooseneck and a F350. I camp a lot and the Brenedrup simply does not have the space for me sleeping as well as to put in tack/feed/everything else for a weeklong camping trip. I just like the way a gooseneck handles and it is a 3 horse slant-never had a horse refuse to go in it. Did have a few friend's horses refuse to get in the Brenderup. But a nice trailer otherwise.

                                      Although in Europe they seem to have a different standard for what is acceptable for towing. I took a trip to Ireland a couple of years ago. There was a sedan towing a trailer that looked just like a Brenderup, up and down hills, with a bull in it ! I know Brenderup advertises that you can tow with a sedan-but that was the first I actually saw someone do it.

                                      I think the biggest pain with the Brenderup was to remember to release the parking brake each time! No experience with featherlites-so no opinion either way.


                                      • #20
                                        I have a Ford Expedition. Really wanted a featherlite trailer. Hubby wanted a Brenderup, he's an engineer and thought it would be less wear and tear on the car. So I bought a used Brenderup Baron, figured any trailer was better than none I couldn't bring myself to buy a new one, they are a bit pricey.

                                        At first I hated the trailer, mostly because it needed some work and had some issues. But since we've fixed a few things, I like it. It's easy to hook up and tow. Pulls very well, sometimes I forget it's back there. No sway when big trucks go by. Stops and turns well. My horses like it in there. One thing nice is there's no rattling noises when it's moving since it's not metal.

                                        Also, the guys at Brenderup are great at answering questions and talking you through repairs.

                                        I taught both horses to self load into the trailer, as I don't think the exit doors are really made for leading the horse in. My horses are decent loaders, not sure how the trailer would work with bad loaders.