Trucks and hauling: the best trucks for hauling trailers - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 12-10-2019, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Moderator's note:

As a spinoff from another thread, the Moderating Team has created this new thread & moved few posts into it: the thread is all about trucks, hauling horse trailers and different truck & hauling features. What are the best trucks for hauling horse trailers? What is good enough? What you could never use for hauling?

And... 3... 2... 1... let the discussion begin!






I still have my 1978 GMC heavy 3/4, 4-wheel drive that sits on one ton cargo van springs. It has a 1973 454 motor that I found in a beached Suburban. It safely hauled my horses cross-country twice, not to mention many trips into the mountains when I lived in the foothills of the Allegheny National Forest.

I used to do all the outpatient work on it. Then I met DH who is an ace mechanic and also has a 1988 F-350 dually with AC.

My Saturn is my daily driver because I will “sneak up on the big trucks with the key to get them started” and sacrifice getting 9 MPG any day to know I have something safe and GVW-worthy pulling my horses.
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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.

Last edited by TaMMa89; 12-14-2019 at 04:42 AM.
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post #2 of 40 Old 12-10-2019, 03:53 PM
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I think there is a Toyota truck that will handle at least a two-horse trailer. The Tundra is a half-ton. A Tacoma with 6-cyl. might handle a two-horse trailer still. While in the army, I met a TX cowboy who told me he hated trucks over a half ton because they are rough riding. He said a half-ton can pull up to 8,000 pounds and that's all he used to pull horse trailers. He did not specify the size of his horse trailers. We were in a conversation about pickups one day. You know all about those Texans and their trucks. They think more of them than do their women. I think the same is true of their horses. Even the Tacoma w/ V6 can pull a trailer up to 6,800 pounds. I would have a Class 4 hitch. What does a two-horse trailer gross out in weight? The Tacoma is a mid-size truck but still technically is a half ton. Make sure the horse trailer has a good braking system of its own and perhaps an anti-sway bar. An aluminum trailer saves weight. How far do you have to pull your horses? A Tacoma might work fine for short hauls. I would want a full-size truck with a V8 (excellent drive-ability) for long hauls with horse trailers and Tundra has that covered.

Last edited by TaMMa89; 12-14-2019 at 04:40 AM.
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post #3 of 40 Old 12-10-2019, 04:17 PM
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You do not want to pull a horse trailer with a Tacoma. Just....no.



The bare basic model for towing even a light, 2-horse trailer is a full-sized 1/2 ton truck with a heavy duty tow package. Bear in mind that horses are 'live weight' and you can't go too close to the maximum like you can with a boat or camper. Even a full-sized half-ton truck with tow package probably shouldn't tow a horse trailer with a loaded weight of more than about 5,000 lbs for safety. It's not just the towing capacity, but also the stability and braking capacity. Pulling even a small trailer with a smaller pickup is like being pushed in a rowboat by the Queen Mary. Not fun, and certainly not safe!
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post #4 of 40 Old 12-10-2019, 06:20 PM
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As far as towing with a Tacoma.... HECK NO. That class of trucks (Ranger, Colorado, Canyon, etc) is not designed to tow anything but a leaf trailer safely. None of them have been tested for live weight nor should they be as their towing capacity is below much more than a one horse Brenderup would be with horse, tack and gear. I tow my horses all over the state and surrounding areas and after one white knuckle drive towing 1 horse (open stock trailer with no tack area, steel but admittedly lighter than most aluminum trailers with tack) 4 hours away to a ride I swapped for a 2500 Diesel. Nothing is worth driving with that much fear again.

My boss drives a Tacoma, pulls a big boat with it. He gets 8 mpg towing his boat. My diesel 2500 gets 15 mpg towing our 4 horse weekender. I'll stick with my truck.
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Last edited by TaMMa89; 12-14-2019 at 04:24 AM.
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post #5 of 40 Old 12-10-2019, 06:53 PM
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An acquaintance towing a mid-sized boat with a Tacoma had the wind blow him, the boat, and the pickup over into a ditch. The highway patrolman basically told him he was an idiot trying to pull anything with a Tacoma. Those small pickups are not made to pull at all-- they are a passenger vehicle only, and aren't heavy enough to be safe to tow with. Even a half-ton truck is considered 'light duty' -- you can probably get away with a light 2-horse trailer on flat ground, but that's it. I pull with my Suburban, but usually just one horse. Anything heavier, and I borrow a bigger truck from a friend or just ride with her.
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post #6 of 40 Old 12-10-2019, 10:10 PM
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I can't say anything. My dad hauled furniture in a medium-sized cargo trailer 800 miles with his Acura RL.
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post #7 of 40 Old 12-11-2019, 02:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aprilswissmiss View Post
I can't say anything. My dad hauled furniture in a medium-sized cargo trailer 800 miles with his Acura RL.
Back in 2001, I had a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport 4x4 with a Magnum 360 V8. AOD. It was a total dog uphill with a full trailer on its back.

I rented a trailer from U-Haul, a 12-foot enclosed bumper trailer. The trailer had it's own inertia-operated hydraulic brake system and two axles. The trailer had a sway bar and one could feel the backlash (hard jerk) while braking and accelerating from a stop sign. There is a lag when the trailer applies its own brakes and releases them separate from the truck's service brakes.

In the summer of 2001, I was hauling smooth landscaping rocks from the Salmon River in Riggins, Idaho to Boise. The trailer was loaded to full capacity. My buddies and I estimated the trailer was 7,500 lb. gross. My truck was rated at 8,200 lb. trailer weight if memory serves my correctly. I had a Class 4 receiver hitch and towing ball. The dam thing could barely keep at 35 mph upgrade from Horseshoe Bend on Hwy 55. This was in a 55 mph zone. I was in granny low. Tow/haul mode. Semis were passing me as if I were on jack stands. It was totally embarrassing that I was beaten badly in my "fancy" Ram Magnum motor which was advertised to out hustle and out muscle everything else out there.

This truck was crap too. The power steering pump failed at 15,000 miles and it was stolen during the Super Bowl game in 2002 and never recovered. I wish I had discovered Tundra even way back then.

Last edited by jonbailey; 12-11-2019 at 02:19 AM.
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post #8 of 40 Old 12-11-2019, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonbailey View Post
A Tacoma then is still a great truck for a weekend sportsman with two Labs and an aluminum bass boat.
Toyota has not yet entered the 3/4-ton plus market yet. It might be some time before we see a dooley Tundra with a gooseneck trailer over it's box.


Toyota has no reason to enter the 3/4 ton market. I have yet to see anyone actually using a Toyota Tundra to tow horses. Most people in rural areas won't touch a Toyota with a 10-foot pole. There's nowhere to get them repaired/worked on, and you'll take no end of ribbing from your buddies for driving an import.
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Last edited by jaydee; 12-12-2019 at 11:37 AM. Reason: quoted post edit
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post #9 of 40 Old 12-11-2019, 11:41 AM
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Agree 100% with @ SilverMaple.

For that matter I can buy a brand new 2500 or 3500 Ram for the same cost as a Tundra, no brainer there I would be going home with a 1 ton instead.
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Last edited by jaydee; 12-12-2019 at 11:37 AM. Reason: in line with edited post it referred too
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post #10 of 40 Old 12-11-2019, 12:03 PM
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As a college equestrian. I am concerned about gas, and most definitely the cost of the vehicle and it's upkeep. Presently I drive a 2000 Buick century that has a gas gauge that doesn't work but a killer cassette deck.

My rig when I had it was a single horse straight load (steel) that weighed ~500 lbs, a Chevy trailblazer (rated I think to 6000 lbs) and loaded the pony and trailer came in about 15 hundred. I was extremely lucky and grateful to have the set up I did paying $500 for the trailer, and $1500 for the trailblazer. The rig was safe (unfortunately tested this and totalled both) and inexpensive. When I bought the pair (which I did at the same time) I had a cumulative $5000 in my bank account. I thought I was rich (now at the end of the semester and several vet bills later I still think that's rich).
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Last edited by jaydee; 12-12-2019 at 11:40 AM. Reason: in line with edited post it referred too
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