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Is there a point at which a trailer is "too big" to safely haul as a BP?

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  • Is there a point at which a trailer is "too big" to safely haul as a BP?

    I was hauling my 2H BP with no dressing room with a 3/4 ton pickup. I just upgraded my tow vehicle to a 1 ton diesel with tow package (obviously) and am looking to get a bigger (3H) trailer with a dressing room.

    I was planning to go with a GN trailer (either a 3H slant or a 2+1), but just found a really great deal on a 3H slant load BP (extra tall / extra wide, but I don't have the specs on hand right now) with a nice dressing room. Is there a huge difference safety-wise and handling-wise between a BP and a GN when talking about a 3H trailer? Is it safe to haul 3 horses in a trailer with a small dressing room from a BP hitch?

    I regularly (once or twice a month) haul 2 horses now and, with a 3H trailer, I expect to haul 3 on a somewhat regular basis. I mostly go to local shows and trails within an hour or so of my barn. I haul on the highway regularly and maybe once or twice a year do a longer haul (regional show or something like that about 2 - 3 hours away). Safety and handling are big priorities. I will pass up a good deal if it's just a better idea to go with a GN. I'm just not sure if it's a matter of preference or a matter of safety when we're talking about a 3H trailer.

    I have pulled a GN a few times, and I was impressed with how nicely it handled. I can't say I've hauled it enough times (or recently enough) to even pretend to be any sort of expert on the differences.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    I don't have a gooseneck trailer but I do have a 4 horse slant with a HUGE tackroom. I think that it is about 28 feet long and I have had not issues hauling with it fully loaded. It hauls like a dream!! I think that part of the equation is having the right towing vehicle. In your case a 1 ton is more than enough to haul a 3 horse trailer fully loaded.
    RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
    May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
    RIP San Lena Peppy
    May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


    • #3
      I think it really depends on how you drive. I see plenty of people hauling enormous toy haulers and campers as bumper pulls so I don't think the actual length of the trailer you're talking about is too big. With a longer trailer, you might consider adding anti-sway bars to be on the conservative side.

      It's easier to jack-knife a BP, but then if you take that into account it shouldn't be a problem.

      Maybe I'm naive, but I think that if it were inherently unsafe, they wouldn't make such trailers.

      Those of us with BPs like to think that "small" GNs are for people who can't drive as well


      • #4
        2H is max. Even, if you haul with a semi-truck.

        Think about it. ALL that on one ball, on your bumper. Want to risk it? Notice that they don't make many 3H, or any the 4H BPs are ancient if not falling apart and or are dangerous.

        Balls can sheer and break. Oh yeah, you have chains and a brake box. But will they work? Will that set of chains take you down the mountain side? With all that weight, with the horses? At least in a goose there is the box of the truck, you wouldn't loose it all or you would have less of a chance.

        I have seen more accidents with BP's.

        Most 2H BP have a 2" ball. When I got mine, I had it switched out to a 2 and 5/16's ball. Biggest one you can get. It is equal to a gooseneck size ball. I haul a goose and the ball can flip down when not in use. I haul alot so the truck is always hooked up.

        Still, you want to haul ALL that on the ball, on your bumper? Ratings be danged. Never know the situation.

        Also, with a BP, there is sway from side to side you don't get with a gooseneck.

        Safer is a gooseneck if you want more than a 2H. I have hauled many miles. I rode endurance for a decade or more. I went from a 2H BP to a 3H 22' goose(8'dressing room), then to a 2H goose. Goose's (or is that geese) haul like a dream.

        You don't see big rigs hauling with it hitched to a bumper now do ya. If so you think omg hope it doesn't pop off when I drive by them.

        Sorry. Go goose.

        I choose to haul a 2H goose. Not because I can't handle a bigger trailer. I got tired of hauling my 22' trailer around with only one horse. I get better gas mileage with a 2H, less stress on my truck too. Also there are many trails out there I need to get in and out that a big trailer can't always turn around. My BP didn't back well, the 22' and the 2H goose backed really well. If I hauled more horses, then I would get a bigger gooseneck. Goosenecks haul MUCH better than a bumper.

        I think safety reasons when I think or see a BP over 2H.


        • #5
          As far as any trailer goes a gooseneck is far superior, safety wise. Bumper pulls can have issues with sway, the heavier the trailer the worse the possible outcome. IMO if you have a choice to do so go with the gooseneck. I really wouldn't want to pull 3 horses in a bp.
          "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


          • #6
            For years and years and years, everyone here hauled bumper pulls of all kinds, with all kinds of vehicles, it was all we had.

            Once GN came out, I rarely see any bumper pulls, even 12' stock trailers are GN any more, because GN IS safer.

            Now, since you need a pickup for GN, there are still BPs around, for those that don't have a pickup, but I bet from hundreds at competitions of all kind, you may find a handful of bumper pulls around here.

            Once you get to 3/4 and bigger pickups, why not go GN, that is really safer with live loads, that may shift on you?


            • #7
              ALL that on one ball, on your bumper.
              I doubt the OP was speaking about a true "bumper" hitch.

              A Class IV hitch will be attached to the truck frame, and is rated for about 10,000 lbs gross trailer weight and 1,000-2,000 tongue weight.

              A 3 horse BP shouldn't be a problem for a 1 ton. Sure a GN would probably handle better and be easier to manuever. But it's not like the tail will be wagging the dog.

              Get yourself an Equal-i-zer hitch and you'll be just fine.



              • #8
                [QUOTE=Leather;4655129]I doubt the OP was speaking about a true "bumper" hitch.

                A Class IV hitch will be attached to the truck frame, and is rated for about 10,000 lbs gross trailer weight and 1,000-2,000 tongue weight.

                We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by half seat View Post
                  Is there a point at which a trailer is "too big" to safely haul as a BP?

                  Is a 3H BP that trailer? Not even close.

                  Since you already have a pickup and could pull a GN, I don't know why you would want to fool with a WDH and sway control........how good a deal is it? Personally I've never had any use for a 3H, no matter the hitch. I can fit 4H GN pretty much anywhere a 3H can and you can never have too much space.
                  Nearly all of what I post will be controversial to someone. Believe nothing you read on a chat room, research for yourself and LEARN.
                  Not in the 42% or the 96%


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by 2bee View Post

                    Is a 3H BP that trailer? Not even close.

                    Since you already have a pickup and could pull a GN, I don't know why you would want to fool with a WDH and sway control........how good a deal is it?
                    Not good enough to prevent me from thinking twice about it. And I think I'm going to keep looking to see what else is out there, anyway. I originally wanted a GN, and I think I may keep looking until I find exactly what I was looking for.

                    Personally I've never had any use for a 3H, no matter the hitch. I can fit 4H GN pretty much anywhere a 3H can and you can never have too much space.

                    I've actually considered keeping the 2H and getting a 4H head to head also... I'm just afraid it will be like empty stalls in the barn, and I'll wind up coming home with yet another mouth to feed (and trail ride and show).


                    • #11
                      Pass on the 3h BP.

                      I'd go that route - keep the 2h and get the 4h head to head. You have much more flexibility that way.

                      When my DH bought his 3h BP, he hauled it with a 3/4 ton Suburban and did fine. But as soon as he upgraded his tow vehicle (F250), he also upgraded to a 4h GN. Said it hauled infinitely better than the 3h BP, and he should know; had his own trucking company years ago and drove 18 wheelers.
                      In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                      A life lived by example, done too soon.


                      • #12
                        we pulled a 3H steel BP with a small dressing room for years. We had to hassle with anti sway bars and such. It was more of a PITA to hook up than my current GN is, hands down.

                        I think the benefits of a GN far exceed those of a BP.

                        Not long after we switched, I was pulling the GN in the dark down the interstate. They were doing lane repaving and the lanes were uneven. I passed a sign that said end construction zone. I drove a bit further and started to move from the left lane to the right, at speed, going 65 ish. But it wasn't the end of the construction zone, the lanes were still uneven. For a sickening moment I felt a loss of control as the passenger wheels 'fell off' onto the lower lane. I steered and let off the gas and eased onto the lower lane...I believe had I been pulling a BP...we'd have ended up, upside down.

                        SO- if you're shopping, I can't help but suggest shopping for a GN.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                          Most 2H BP have a 2" ball. When I got mine, I had it switched out to a 2 and 5/16's ball. Biggest one you can get. It is equal to a gooseneck size ball.
                          I think safety reasons when I think or see a BP over 2H.
                          Since I have a van and not a truck, I am forced to haul with a BP. But, my van is a 1-ton, and my hitch is attached to the chassis, not on the bumper. I think only class I hitches are attached to the bumper, not class II or class III, but don't quote me on that one I've never had any issues hauling a 2 or even 3 horse trailer. Every trailer I've ever used has had a 2 5/16" ball, not a 2". Properly maintaining your hitch, ball, tow vehicle, and trailer is key, as is driving carefully.


                          • #14
                            There is a Trailering safety book (im pretty sure by Cherry Hill) that gives a chart of what you can pull, based on your wheel base and horse power. I wouldn't expect to be able to pull much, if any, more than a 2H BP.

                            If you are really interested, someone PM me to remind me to get the actual title to post here for those interested in it (at work now).


                            • #15
                              I have some friends that I trailer with camping all the time. They were concerned about the safety of their larger bumper pulls so they went and had a equalizer added to the trailer. It keeps them from swaying and equalizes the weight of the trailer making it easier and safer to pull. If you google equalizer hitch or ask your local trailer shops/trailer repair shops they should be able to help you out with that. Good luck and be safe!
                              No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill