Hauling horses... basic equipment advice needed. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-31-2013, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Wild Wonderful West Virginia
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Hauling horses... basic equipment advice needed.

So... we are in the market for a truck anyways, and now that I've re-engaged with riding and have a gorgeous Rocky Mountain Horse, I'd like to pull a two-horse trailer through WV mountains to the beautiful trails that abound.

Question: My horse is 15.2 and weighs no more than 950 lbs. I don't currently have a second horse, but let's just say that I did. I'll never show, and I'm not a "serious" rider... meaning, I might get out on trail every two weeks during the summer. Do I need a 3/4 ton truck, or can I get away with a Chevy 1500-series truck?
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-31-2013, 08:42 PM
Green Broke
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Depending on the hills and your trailer size, you should be fine with a 1500.

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post #3 of 23 Old 05-31-2013, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Storybook Farm View Post
So... we are in the market for a truck anyways, and now that I've re-engaged with riding and have a gorgeous Rocky Mountain Horse, I'd like to pull a two-horse trailer through WV mountains to the beautiful trails that abound.

Question: My horse is 15.2 and weighs no more than 950 lbs. I don't currently have a second horse, but let's just say that I did. I'll never show, and I'm not a "serious" rider... meaning, I might get out on trail every two weeks during the summer. Do I need a 3/4 ton truck, or can I get away with a Chevy 1500-series truck?
If you get a half ton, make sure it has the towing package, it comes with things like a tranny cooler and overload springs. I personally would go with a 3/4 or a 1 ton, but thats just my personal preferrence.
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-31-2013, 09:14 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Western Kentucky
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Heeheehee...you only think you "might get out on a trail every two weeks", just wait until you have your own truck and trailer! You'll never be home anymore!

And while now you only have one horse and don't haul often and you could get by with a little two horse and a half ton truck, I would suggest you go with a 3/4 ton and a little bigger trailer. And I would highly recommend making it a 4x4 as well.

My main reasoning, you are in some pretty serious "windy mountain roads" country. A heavier rig will hold the road better, control the motion of your trailer better, will handle the hill climbs and bottom of the hill stops much, much better, etc. And that 4 wheel drive is a life saver when you find a washed out road and need to do a bit of off-roading to get by or even just get turned around!

This is purely from personal experience. I started out my hauling career with a nearly new 1972, 2 wheel drive 1/2 ton Chevy and a W-W 2 horse steel trailer. I was in the cascade range of Oregon at the time, and my poor little truck had to work way harder than it should have, and there were a couple times I very nearly didn't get stopped before wrecking at the bottom of some really steep winding roads. Granted, I was new to hauling, and didn't plan ahead enough on those instances. Had I been paying attention there probably wouldn't have been a problem, but had I had a little heavier rig, there would have been no problem even NOT paying attention.

Although I live in pretty flat country now and haul with a heavy 1/2 ton van, factory set up to pull a trailer, because I inherited it, I still recommend a 3/4 ton to anyone who is in the process of buying a rig. There's just so much peace of mind to get in and feel safe in your rig.
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-31-2013, 09:27 PM
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we use our GMC sierra 1500 and it has no problem but my hubby also had his CDL.
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-31-2013, 11:23 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Indiana
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I've been to WV in a half ton truck, no trailer. Lets just say, I wish I had a real truck!!

77 f150 I6, loaded with a weeks worth of camping gear and food. And beverages.
Uphill=no problem, downhill= trying to decide wether or not to bail or run into the high side of the hill.

That being said, if you buy locally, you may find that the trucks typically are already adapted to the local terrain.

And go crazy on trailer brakes! All working and working right! A two horse trailer can push a truck down a mountain no problem.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-01-2013, 10:01 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Northwest Florida
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I found a lot of patience served me well. I was borrowing a heavy 2 horse trailer to pull with my 01 F150 V6 standard cab. It was fine on the mostly flat roads here with one horse since I always drove conservatively in that set up. Leaving plenty of room between me and vehicles ahead of me.

I waited and watched for the best deal I could find and lucked up on an 02 Dodge ex. cab lwb dually. It has the strong Cummins 5.9l 24 valve engine with a built up auto tranny. It has 331,000 miles on it, but barely bump the key and it is purring like a brand new one. I also made a trade for that same heavy 2 horse trailer I was borrowing that has a dressing room in from and did I mention is heavy by it self then add 2 1000lb horses and I'm thankful for all that truck to pull and stop with little effort.

I know not everyone can afford bigger trucks, but how many can afford not to have a bigger truck? Be patient and search CL for deals or like me keep an eye on the local banks or credit unions for repos. They had my dually stickered at $6000, but I put in a written bid for less than half of that and got it. Yes, I got it for less than $3000.

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post #8 of 23 Old 06-01-2013, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Michigan
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I personally prefer slant loads or stock loads over straight loads because of some of the stories I've heard of horses swaying and tipping the trailers.

For our 3 horse slant load with living quarters, we used a Ford f-350, and eventually the huge ford diesel. Both did fine, just big trucks eat gas like crazy! Really not looking forward to buying my own truck and trailer...
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-01-2013, 10:53 AM
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Don't under truck yourself, ESPECIALLY if you're going to be pulling in the mountains.

First and foremost, a 3/4 ton truck, by birth, has a bigger braking system and a bigger radiator (which prevents over heating while pulling up long hills).

You're chances of finding a used 3/4 ton truck with a transmission cooling system for automatic transmissions, is much better than if you're hunting for a used half ton truck.

You might pay a few dollars more for license plates if your state's plates are based on the GVW rating, and you auto insurance may be a few pennies higher but I'd rather pay that than take a chance of breaking down, or losing my stopping power because I was under trucked - even if you are "just pulling a two-horse"

A 3/4 ton truck is heavier and will give you more stability - just do NOT buy a short bed - they are cute as can be but worthless for real work, IMHO I'm not even sure a shortbed can be had in a 3/4 ton.

Lastly, since you are new to pulling a trailer, you are naturally going to lug the truck down because you will be overly cautious. Yet another reason to have get a 3/4 ton with a bigger radiator
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-01-2013, 11:15 AM
Join Date: May 2010
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I wouldn't go with anything smaller than 3/4 ton in the mountains. I live in Kansas, and most of our roads are flat and straight, and I'm still cautious when pulling a small trailer with a half ton. You really want the stopping power a bigger truck will give you.

As far as trailers go, I really prefer the slant loads. The weight is more evenly distributed, and horses load more easily, IME.

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