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Buying First Trailer - Looking for Advice

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  • Buying First Trailer - Looking for Advice

    It has become clear to me that I need to buy my own trailer so that I can practice trailer loading with my horse. I've been wanting one for a while now anyway, so I am pretty sure that I am going to do it. I already have a tow vehicle that I can use.

    I know that I need a straight load, warmblood size. Any opinions on the advantage of a side ramp in addition to the rear ramp? I know most people like the side ramp for easier unloading, but any thoughts on whether it would help in working with a "problem loader" to load better because it's more open feeling and you can just walk right through while you're training the horse initially?

  • #2
    I prefer having the side ramp for safety. Moving forward is always safer than moving backward and is more comfortable for the horse.

    That being said if loading is an issue you want to use as many different trailers as you can because you will eventually find yourself needing to load on a trailer that isn’t yours.
    Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
    you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

    Comment


    • #3
      Before you start focusing on the details of what trailer you want, make sure you know what your vehicle can safely tow. You didn't mention what you will be towing with (does it have a tow package? Not just a trailer hitch-). Maybe you've already done all of your homework on this front, you didn't specify either way (if so, carry on and disregard my post!), but since you said this will be your first trailer, I just wanted to pause for a minute to make sure you have your critical ducks in a row before debating between what trailer features you might want.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by She's Pure Gold View Post
        Before you start focusing on the details of what trailer you want, make sure you know what your vehicle can safely tow. You didn't mention what you will be towing with (does it have a tow package? Not just a trailer hitch-). Maybe you've already done all of your homework on this front, you didn't specify either way (if so, carry on and disregard my post!), but since you said this will be your first trailer, I just wanted to pause for a minute to make sure you have your critical ducks in a row before debating between what trailer features you might want.
        I’m happy to brought this up. I always feel a bit queasy seeing a Jeep Wrangler tow a trailer, even if it is technically within the towing capacity. Barely.

        I would say your advantage to having only a rear load compared to adding a side load would be price. If money is no object, I’d go for all the bells and whistles.

        Comment


        • #5
          She's Pure Gold has a good point. Check the tow capacity of the hitch on your vehicle (should be a label on there) and compare to the tow capacity of the vehicle - go with whatever is LOWER in weight.

          Do you have trailer electronic brake assist already installed in your vehicle? If not, you need to get this done. These apply the trailer brakes when you apply the foot pedal brake in your vehicle (its a bit more complex than that, but just in general that's what they do).

          All trailers should have a (usually) metal tag on them with curb weight, tongue weight, max capacity weight, etc. Pay very close attention to theses numbers. Remember that add-ons like thick mats, saddle racks and assorted fixtures may have been added after-market and add weight, as does tack, totes, supplies, etc., on top of the actual weight of the horse.

          So use all that to narrow it down and then go with the trailer with the best features for the $s. But having something you can safely tow is the most important.
          ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

          Comment


          • #6
            Unless you get a true 2+1, I don't think it is worth the extra length for the side ramp. Most people I know who have had those have gotten rid of them. I'd definitely not compromise dressing room space for side ramp space--but I have lots and lots of things. All the things, in fact.

            I got my first trailer not too long ago and took the plunge on a 2H straight load XT/XW gooseneck. Very glad I did. Super easy to maneuver going forwards and backwards and better in the snow (which is a factor where I'm from). I pull it with a Ram 1500 Diesel. My horse already at the point of self unloading, and very close to automatically self-loading since I got the trailer.

            One other random thing to note...make sure that when you are practicing loading that you have the trailer hooked up to a vehicle. It can be dangerous otherwise!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by She's Pure Gold View Post
              Before you start focusing on the details of what trailer you want, make sure you know what your vehicle can safely tow. You didn't mention what you will be towing with (does it have a tow package? Not just a trailer hitch-). Maybe you've already done all of your homework on this front, you didn't specify either way (if so, carry on and disregard my post!), but since you said this will be your first trailer, I just wanted to pause for a minute to make sure you have your critical ducks in a row before debating between what trailer features you might want.
              Hi, yes, I have looked into this but thanks for checking!

              I have a Ford F150 that has a GVWR of 7450 lbs. It has a full tow package already on it -- hitch, electronic braking. I know that the GVWR limits me more than a truck with more capacity would, but it's what I have so I have to make it work. And yes, I'm aware that CW says buy the trailer first and then the truck, but the truck has been here for several years already.

              And I will need the trailer to be a bumper pull. I would love to get a gooseneck but it's my husband's truck and he's not interested in drilling a hole in his truck bed!

              Comment


              • #8
                Honestly that trunk sounds like it probably doesn't have enough payload for a gooseneck anyways so your husband is right to nix that even if for different reasons. I would also look closely on how much weight is being added if you're considering a side ramp.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've never seen a straight load that's not a 2+1 or 4 horse with a side ramp - let alone a BP - I did check online and they do exist though! If I was hauling with a half-ton truck, I personally wouldn't waste the weight and length on a side ramp. In regards to making it easier for training, you'll get 100 different thoughts from 100 different people

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Since you already own the truck, you might as well confirm your tow capacity. Just write down the VIN and plug it into one of the search engines.

                    I suspect you don't have a massive capacity, and won't want to commit to the extra weight necessary to get a front ramp, especially if you also want a dressing room.

                    Bockmann makes a lightweight Euro style trailer with a front unload, called the Portax K. I doubt you need to go that route with an F150, but it might be worth a look.

                    If you go with a front ramp, make sure you see the actual turning radius to get the horse out. Some of them are rather sharp turns (especially for the horse on the same side as the ramp). I've seen a few whack hips getting out that way.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I wouldn't waste the length or weight on a side ramp. Get the tallest, whitest on the inside, biggest windows, biggest escape doors you can find/afford. I personally hate mangers and will always want a walk-thru. Pretty much anything that makes it look the least like a dark cave for your horse getting into it.

                      I had a Hawk that I really loved. Giant windows on every side. Including a large one (with bars across it on the horse side) between the tack room and the horse compartment. It was the airiest, brightest bumper pull trailer other than a stock trailer that I've ever seen.

                      If you're dealing with a problematic loader, and you want a ramp, you're going to want the ramp over a full height door. There is nothing worse than sketchy loader who changes his mind about staying put while you close the ramp when the ramp is the bottom half of the door. I've seen people and horses get pretty badly hurt in that scenario. I had a OTTB that never got good about loading. I broke my foot when he took exception to the ramp being closed in his peripheral vision. He learned that day he didn't have to stay in the trailer, and I was too hurt to fix it right then and there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with the crowd about not limiting yourself to a bumper pull with a side ramp. Side ramps are great for certain designs: 2+1, head-to-head, even 2H straight GN. But the ones they put on bumper pulls tend to be narrower, steeper, and/or eat up otherwise useful space. The BP models that have well-designed, full size side ramps are usually very large trailers (or sacrifice the dressing room). I tow with a 1/2 ton truck, too, but I'm not sure I'd want to be towing a heavy BP trailer that's 18'+ in length.

                        Instead, I might seek out a tall, airy, inviting trailer without the side ramp.
                        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Side ramps would be nice, but if you opt for a completely open floor plan, you should be fine. My Turnbow is 7'6", and a little wider than usual, with a ramp. No mangers! Each side has a full-length escape door for me, and the butt bars swing free so that you can shove it all the way over if you need to.

                          That said, I don't know if I would want to pull a 7' 6" trailer as a bumper pull. Mine is a gooseneck and it's so lovely to pull - you never even know it's back there. If it were me, I'd invest in a 3/4 ton truck with a gooseneck hitch, too. I can't imagine trying to pull it as a bumper pull, though.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a straight load bumper pull 2 horse with a side unload ramp. I LOVE it. The side ramp is worth every extra penny I paid for it and can't imagine ever buying another trailer without one.

                            Mine is an Equispirit and I opted for the tack closet rather than the full dressing room, which reduces the required length.

                            Most of the negative comments people are making about having a side ramp on a 2 horse bumper pull trailer are not true, based on my experience.
                            "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                            that's even remotely true."

                            Homer Simpson

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have a Böckmann I pull with an SUV and I adore it! It's a Champion model, so no front ramp, but my mare loves to travel and is a breeze to load/unload.

                              if you're interested in the Euro type 2 horses, there's a Portax K (with the front ramp) for a steal (2017 for $17k CAD) in Ontario right now.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by MegBackInSaddle View Post
                                I have a Böckmann I pull with an SUV and I adore it! It's a Champion model, so no front ramp, but my mare loves to travel and is a breeze to load/unload.

                                if you're interested in the Euro type 2 horses, there's a Portax K (with the front ramp) for a steal (2017 for $17k CAD) in Ontario right now.
                                My tb who will walk onto my trailer with zero hesitation has planted his feet when asking to go into one of these trailers. I would perhaps not recommend them for a horse that isn’t easy to load.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Based on my experience with a problem loader the side ramp is a big help in training. However, when I was looking last year for a used trailer I passed on all the Rice trailers with front unload ramps because they had one teeny, tiny window at about chest height in the front and no other windows.

                                  My list of things to have included big windows, man doors on both sides (iffy loaders will often be happier and they can stick their head out the man door once inside), ramp, solid bum bars (not McBride style chains with S hooks), a swinging divider, and for nice to haves more than five feet wide, tack room, and no centre post at the back.

                                  Each item came from my own experiences with various horses and trailers which provided me with preferences and concerns. I didn't get everything, but I am pleased with what I did get.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I just sold my GN Trail-Et, which was designed by the now Equispirit guys. I can't say enough about how good that design is, and if I get another trailer it will be Equispirit or Hawk, purely for design and safety. Ramps are HEAVY, and I liked having the ramp be the back wall with two dutch doors above -- saved weight (not having full length doors plus ramp) and allowed me to open the dutch doors for ventilation if I needed it.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by c0608524 View Post

                                      My tb who will walk onto my trailer with zero hesitation has planted his feet when asking to go into one of these trailers. I would perhaps not recommend them for a horse that isn’t easy to load.
                                      interesting. Wonder what it was that bothered him? I can't judge by my mare, because she's easy, but the trailers seem bright, airy, and have either (both) a nice long ramp or a step-up.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I would suggest at least getting something with an escape door, if not a full door at the front. Mine is just a plain 7' tall two horse bumper pull, it has the hay manger at the front with the little tack area underneath it. I bought it super cheap from a friend, and it does the job, but it's a pain in the butt to load into. My horse had a bad experience loading with some well-intending people involving a chain lead, and he won't send into it now. We worked on it a TON, he would happily follow me into it but that isn't exactly possible without an escape door. I would KILL for one now, I have to stand at the window at the front and ask him to step in that way for now which is a bit of a pain since I can't encourage him from up there if he gets sticky. So definitely something with an escape door.

                                        We aren't trailering anywhere right now so I'm not too fussed about it, he loads well enough to get him on in an emergency. But as soon as I am able I am going to get something I can actually walk up into with him.

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