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Do I need a trailer?

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  • Do I need a trailer?

    Here's the situation: my son and I have been taking lessons for about four years. I've been following the Chronicle Fora, and others, and learning all I can. I am just this side of ready to buy.


    My question is, how necessary it is to own a truck and trailer? We would be boarding, and one place I have in mind has trails nearby.
    How necessary have you found one to be, if you don't show?
    Last edited by Moderator 1; Dec. 6, 2012, 08:57 AM. Reason: horse wanted specifics

  • #2
    I've been riding for over 30 years and never owned a trailer. Sigh. I would love to have one but it's certainly not necessary.


    • #3
      Certainly not necessary, particularly if you are in a boarding barn situation where others will have one.

      That being said...


      I love being able to load up and go, I love knowing that if a horse is having trouble I don't need to wait for anyone else to get to the vet clinic, and I love knowing that in any sort of emergency my guys will be taken care of.

      The only time I really think they are a must is if you're in an area that frequently evacuates and cannot count on 100%(!!!!!) someone else having room in their trailer for your horse.


      • #4
        its' nice to have one, but not on the top of the must-have list, by a long shot.


        • #5
          I managed for many years without a trailer. As others have said, you'll be able to catch rides from your barn most likely.

          One word of advice as a first time horse buyer. Please get someone experienced to help you look at prospective purchases.
          Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


          • #6
            Start without the truck and trailer and see how it goes.

            Practical Horsemen did an article on this question years ago and found that the math didn't work out in favor of owning a rig until you did a lot of hauling.

            We who own our own trucks and trailers are just enjoying the freedom to go where we'd like with our horses, when we'd like. Add it to the horse bill.

            The smart among us buy our equipment used, maintain it and keep it forever. Then maybe we can think that the math gets a little better.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


            • #7
              Do you need one? Nope. Is it nice to have? Oh yeah! Some years my trailer gets little use, other years it's hooked to the truck almost every weekend.

              Funny thing about trucks and trailers- since I actually own my own rig, I also know several others I could borrow if I needed to (and numbers programmed into my cell of friends with GN hitches on their trucks I could call in an emergency). Kinda like when you already own a horse or several- people are always offering up decent free horses...not so if you're new to the horse world...


              • #8
                Necessity? Maybe so and maybe not. There are many factors to consider.

                Is it a "nice to have?" You bet!!!!!

                If you decide to get that "nice to have" start by finding the trailer you like and then find the truck to pull it. That way you will buy enough truck (to be safe) but not too much (and waste assets).

                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                • #9
                  Given that horse ownership has a learning curve almost as steep as learning to ride, I would save the trailer-owning-and-driving aspect for a little later down the line. Get used to owning your own horse and all that it entails, then take on a new challenge.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks, everyone. You are all enablers! And yes, we will take someone knowledgeable with us when we go to look.


                    • #11
                      I'll echo everyone else. Do you need a trailer? Not for your purposes right now. I went about 4-5 years w/out one.

                      But as you start doing more with your horse and wanting to go more places that maybe others do not, you may want one. When I started doing alot of clinics, I needed one to get there. Bought a cheapy 2H BP Straight load (which was actually used as a one horse slant load, LOL) that has done well for me for years (recently upgraded to a 2H slant w/dressing room - NICE but I'm feeling guilty about giving up my ol' pal, but there is no reason to keep it).

                      For now, it would seem that you don't need a trailer. And since you are boarding you may be able to hitch a ride or borrow/rent one. If you ever start feeling you just want to travel more or hitchinb/borrowing/renting is a bother, you'll probably start looking for your own.

                      Good luck with your riding!!! How exciting that is!


                      • #12
                        Like everyone else has said - no you don't need a trailer. But if you do end up w/ buying a horse just make sure you have a plan in place should an emergency arise and you need to get your horse to the vet's asap. Most boarding barns will have someone who can help you out but be sure someone can and will help. I've had a couple of emergencies where my own horses needed to get to the equine hospital asap and I am so glad I have my own trailer - all I had to do was hook it up to my truck and load my horse(s) and off I went. My trailer is just a basic 2-horse BP - nothing fancy about it but it does the job. I work at a vet hospital and I can't tell you how many times we have an emergency coming in and the ETA says "trying to find a ride". Not a situation you want to be in.

                        So no you don't need a trailer but it sure is nice to have one and please just make sure you have someone who can help you out if needed .
                        "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


                        • #13
                          For me it depends on where you live! We are in the Chesapeake/VA Beach area and with the threat of hurricanes I would be scared to not have a trailer. It is also really convenient for showing and hauling to trail rides and such if that is something you want to do.


                          • #14
                            I actually have the best situation. I do not have my own trailer but I do have the truck and while I do want my own trailer, I cant reason to buy one as I have full use of the one at the barn that belongs to my trainer! So why I really would like one, and hopefully one day I will have one, it seems pointless when I am the only one hauling at my barn to shows and I have full access to it. Before when I boarded at other places, I just caught rides to the shows and never had a problem.
                            Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                            Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                            Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                            Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


                            • #15
                              I had a fabulous trailer for years, and used it just about every weekend because my daughter was showing. Daughter got out of showing, and I sold the trailer. Biggest mistake I every made.

                              However, if you're not showing, or hauling around to different places to ride, you can certainly do without one.
                              Last edited by kari; Dec. 7, 2012, 11:42 AM. Reason: add more info
                              ~Rest in Peace Woody...1975-2008~


                              • #16
                                I didn't have a trailer for the first few years I owned a horse, but would never be without one now that I have my horses at home. When I boarded at a trainer's barn she hauled my horse when needed, or I rented a trailer because I had a Suburban and could easily haul with it.

                                I haul my horses at least twice a week, sometimes more, during the spring/summer/fall, between trail riding, lessons, and shows.


                                • #17
                                  Wow somebody (OP)knows the plural of forum. I like it.

                                  I don't have a trailer though I would like to. I keep my horses at home and if there were an emergency it would be nice to be able to haul them, if they needed to go to the clinic.

                                  But other than that I've gotten along fine hiring the trailering....


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by HPFarmette View Post
                                    Wow somebody (OP)knows the plural of forum. I like it.
                                    Somebody has the best of professional reasons for knowing the plural of forum!


                                    • #19
                                      I hardly ever use mine for the horses I bought it for! We use it more for farm related livestock , though. You can get a stock type trailer in good shape fairly reasonable. I never liked having to find a ride if I needed one, so I find it a good thing to have on hand. You never know when the urge to explore on horseback may hit you.


                                      • #20
                                        We have a very nice trailer, however, we rarely use it as we have extensive trail riding right behind where we board. We do haul to some local clinics and events.

                                        However, with that being stated, we would not be without one for several reasons. One is to be able to haul a sick horse to the vet hospital and the second is for emergencies which in our area is wildfires.

                                        Over the past 8 years we have had several wildfires come uncomfortably close. Many years ago we had a huge wildfire that raged for days come within several hundred yards of the ranch. As the ranch was being used to hold horses that had been evacuated from other burned areas the water dropping helicopters and planes made special water drops to put out the fire when it got immediately adjacent to the ranch. We had our trailer all hitched up, the horses were tied to it and it was facing the road out.

                                        Just last month the ranch itself caught fire. Over 40 horses were pulled out of paddocks and put in the arena and round pens. We had the only truck/trailer on the ranch that was hooked up and ready to go (3 horse). There other 3 trailers did not have the owners onsite and even if they were, it would only have only provided transport for another 7 horses (2 horse, 2 horse and 3 horse trailer).

                                        The fireman's plan if the ranch went up was to release all the horses and let them run free. The ranch does front a road and the area is somewhat built up (it's not in the middle of nowhere). The open areas have barbed wire fencing for cattle. I guess having the horses take their chances would have been better than perishing in a fire.

                                        Since that fire one of our fellow boarders has purchased a vehicle that will pull a horse trailer and is shopping for a horse trailer as she saw how scary, fast and frightening a bad situation can be.

                                        I had talked with her about it previously, but until you are in the middle of it and have no way to move your horse other than trying to hand walk or ride them out, it's a bit abstract.

                                        The flames shooting into the sky, the emergency vehicles everywhere, the ash and choking smoke in the air, etc. was different than just thinking that if something happens you'll just borrow a trailer, hitch a ride, call someone, etc. There were no trailers to borrow, the roads were closed down, etc.

                                        If you are a fairly inexperienced rider or handler even trying to ride your horse or lead your horse out can be a challenge with huge firetrucks with lights/sirens driving by within a few feet, plus many horses do act differently as they can see, hear and smell the fire.

                                        Luckily the fire was contained before it hit the nearby hay stacks which would have lit up the sky and caught everything else on fire.

                                        A few weeks ago the road next to the arena caught fire from a car that was stalled and backfired when they got it going. Luckily, that fire was put out right away.

                                        When we purchased our three horse trailer the lady that bought our two horse trailer said she was only purchasing it for evacuation and emergencies. She had no intention of trailering her horses anywhere for riding.

                                        Sorry for the long post, but you may want to consider what you will do if you have a sick horse or an emergency because hitching a ride with someone is not always feasible.