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Should I buy a horse trailer? I need advice!

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  • #21
    Buy used.

    I bought my Hawk about 10 years ago. I love the convenience! My family is a lot more supportive of my riding when I control my own schedule.

    If you buy a bumper pull I strongly suggest investing in a hitch that is both weight distributing AND has anti-sway bars. I have an Equalizer hitch and it makes a huge difference. I feel MUCH safer pulling my trailer with it.

    Worth the extra $$.
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    • #22
      sammicat, do you already have a vehicle to tow it with? Or will you need to buy that as well? If you are doing it for financial reasons, better figure out how many shows worth of trainer charges it would take to equal the purchase price-and if you need to buy a tow vehicle, it might be years worth of charges. I honestly don't think you can do it for much less then what the trainer is charging. The advantage is in coming and going when you want instead of based on the trainer's schedual and that can save on those day care charges.

      I have done it both ways and there are pluses and minuses with either choice. But you can absolutely get a basic used trailer for waaay less then a new one-the horses really don't care. Fact they like those stock trailers best loading and staying quiet on the road, hop right on and kick back for a long nap IME.

      Sometimes it's nice to leave right after your last class without spending a ton of time with repacking, loading hauling and having to go to the barn first to drop the horse, unhitch/clean the trailer and only then go home...to get ready for work bright and early the next morning. Same thing on the way to the show, leave work, pack/hitch, drive, unpack/unload-makes for some loooong days. Give that some thought.

      The living quarters? Add alot of cost and size that makes them less maneuverable and heavier which costs you mileage. Plus most of them sacrifice tack and storage space. If you want to look at that, make sure you like staying in a camper first.

      Get yourself a little used 2 horse stock trailer and see if hauling yourself works for you or not. You can sell it and upgrade if you like the DIY. Or just sell it if you decide it's more trouble then it's worth for you.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

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      • #23
        Freedom = Priceless

        Go for it!

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        • #24
          Buy a quality trailer used, and depending on the use you expect to get out of it, the "bells and whistles" may be nice. Having a dressing room/storage area in my trailer is a huge plus. It allows for equipment storage when I'm not trailering and is a weatherproof area to transport tack, feed, and hay rather than putting tarps over the bed of the pickup.

          I really enjoy the peace of mind of being able to hitch up and take a horse to the vet if I need to. Our rig's been to New Bolton a few times and it's been a good thing we've had it.
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          • #25
            the straight economics may indicate a trailer of your own is not cost effective if all you want to do is go to shows but want a little more control over your schedule.

            However, as many others have said, it is nearly impossible to assign a $ value to the peace of mind and flexibility that your own set of wheels gives you.

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Thank you everyone

              I've let my DH read these posts as he is a non-horsey person and I wanted him to be able to get some unbiased opinions. After reading all this, we are sold! I'm looking for a nice used (preferably Hawk) and going to save money by doing it that way. I'm not going to go with a stock trailer as I really want a dressing room to store my show stuff and relax at the shows.

              That said ... What do people think about Sundowner, Eclipse, Featherlite



              That said, what do people think about

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              • #27
                You can buy stock trailers with a front area for tack.

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                • #28
                  Yes, if you are borrowing one now you absolutely need your own! I say that because the freedom & pride I felt when I bought my first trailer couldn't be beat. Then I sold my horses and eventually the trailer, before I got back into horses again a few years later. For about a year I managed to borrow trailers, my old one, a co-boarder's, etc. before I bit the bullet and got my own again, and I have never blinked twice since then. Also, I can tell you that as a trailer owner who loans hers out to needy friends, it sucks! As well intended as the loaning out began, it eventually became a complete nuissance after repeated requests.
                  As for cost, you can definitely get one under $15K if you want. Someone suggested Eclipse, they are great and around $8-9K new. Check for deals at a local Horse Expo near you too. All of the new trailer dealers offer financing. I actually lucked out and bought a "used" Trailet that had never been used because the first owner had a stroke shortly after buying it and just kept it in his barn for years. I got it for half the cost of a brand new Trailet just because of the model year! Since I purchased it from the original dealer, they even set me up with 5yr bank financing (rare for a used trailer I think) that made it even easier to jump on board.
                  If you go the used route, I would recommend only looking at quality name aluminum trailers, they hold up the best, and you should be able to find something between $6-$10K. I was offered a couple free steel trailers I didn't want to touch with a 10 foot pole because of the work they needed put into them.
                  If you go the new route, there are other brands like Eclipse, Cotner, Exiss, Sundowner, etc. that you can get for well under your $15K mark at most big dealers.

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                  • #29
                    Glad you were able to convince DH . Just wanted to add one more vote for the buy your own trailer camp. I already had the truck (used) and purchased a used 2-horse bp with a dressing room. The truck and trailer combined were less than $15k. Admittedly both are about 10 years old, but they are in excellent shape, with the trailer being in like-new condition (a NJ craigslist find, by the way). I did finance it and calculated that I break even on the trailer if I use it twice a month (financing + extra gas + insurance + maintenance).

                    As everyone said, the added value is being able to get to and leave the show when you want; being able to ship more than twice a month on the same budget; and the freedom to do other things.

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                    • #30
                      A true stock trailer is typically built with lower quality suspension than a horse trailer. However, many horse trailers are built with stock-type slats rather than windows.

                      Trailers are often custom built and it's very hard to infer the features from the outside appearance.

                      When shopping, the features I suggest you look for are:

                      - plenty of room for your horse. The old style trailers were built to be as small as possible, and here in the west, trailers tend to be sized for quarter horses. If you're hauling a 17.2 warmblood, you'll need something long enough and tall enough for him.

                      (That is why my first trailer was bought new: at the time, the count of large used trailers in California was pretty slim. Today, not so much of an issue.)

                      - Adequate weight carrying capacity from the axles - since you're buying a bumper pull 2-horse, not really a concern.

                      - Good ventilation.

                      - A sturdy floor and frame.

                      Good luck finding the perfect one!
                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        Update - just this morning, I came across the following 2007 Classic Warmblood Hawk trailer (http://www.frankdibella.com/trailers_search) at a dealership reasonably close to me. It has exactly what I'm looking for including dressing room, lightly used, lots or windows for ventilation, roof vents, a window from the stall area to the dressing room, 7'6" interior height and 6'8" wide. I've put in an offer and application for it ... now lets see what happens.

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                        • #32
                          Shop around and buy a used one. I bought an old but mostly reconditioned trailer for a very nice price. The floors and electrical wiring were new - it just needs sandblasting and paint, which will be done this summer. It's a bit on the ugly side but its safe.

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                          • #33
                            Totally get a trailer....it will be SO nice having one of your own and not having to depend on others!! You can definitely buy used for a great price - even if you have to travel out of state to get one, it can still be worth it if you get a good price on it. I live in NC, and someone once drove from CANADA to buy a trailer from me becuase it was such a better price than up where he lived.
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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by sammicat View Post
                              Update - just this morning, I came across the following 2007 Classic Warmblood Hawk trailer (http://www.frankdibella.com/trailers_search) at a dealership reasonably close to me. It has exactly what I'm looking for including dressing room, lightly used, lots or windows for ventilation, roof vents, a window from the stall area to the dressing room, 7'6" interior height and 6'8" wide. I've put in an offer and application for it ... now lets see what happens.

                              Frank Dibella's has been around forever and have a good reputation. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used trailer from them. Hope that your offer is accepted!
                              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                              • Original Poster

                                #35
                                Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                Frank Dibella's has been around forever and have a good reputation. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used trailer from them. Hope that your offer is accepted!
                                Frank was super nice to talk to and seemed to understand what I was looking for rather than what he wanted to sell me. So far feeling pretty good. Hopefully all works out well - fingers crossed.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                  Frank Dibella's has been around forever and have a good reputation. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used trailer from them. Hope that your offer is accepted!
                                  Frank was super nice to talk to and seemed to understand what I was looking for rather than what he wanted to sell me. So far feeling pretty good. Hopefully all works out well - fingers crossed.

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    Thank You Everyone!!! I did it!

                                    I DID IT!!!! I heard from the dealership today and I am now the proud owner of a 2007 Hawk Classic (Warmblood) with a Dressing Room.

                                    I'm super excited and taking possession on Saturday - Saturday can get here soon enough

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                                    • #38
                                      Congratulations!
                                      I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

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                                      • #39
                                        Congratulations!
                                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                                        • #40
                                          A trailer will either be a great investment, giving you more independence and greater flexibility in making your plans, OR a major liability depending on your ability to drive and maintain it, and how well your animals ship, and your own level of horsemanship and general handling expertise.

                                          If you are comfortable with taking the responsibility for your horse's well-being, and if your horse is easy to handle, loads well, and is generally a good citizen, and if your husband is competent to take on the proposition, is game to do so, and similarly astute about handling the horse end of things, then by all means consider it.

                                          If you have any qualms about driving the rig, handling roadside emergencies, loading/unloading in varied settings, maintaining your vehicle and trailer...then it's not a good idea.

                                          I've seen it work beautifully for some, with expenses defrayed when it works out that another horse is going your way (though this sometimes presents a can of worms as far as insurance, which puts off some, but not others).

                                          I've also seen people who try it with too little expert support at the beginning, and get into all sorts of trouble, leading to serious injuries.

                                          You probably know which category you fall into already, just be sure that if you go ahead and take the leap that you avail yourself of all the help you can get till you are comfortable going solo.
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