The Horse Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,499 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I finally got the U-haul trailer today. It's a small one, physically, although it apparently weighs 2500 pounds. To continue to anthropomorphize my truck, I felt like it was happy at first to get a trailer attached (that truck is BUILT to tow), but then it was like, "What, this little thing! It's like a flea! I can't even tell it's there!" In fact, I noticed no difference in performance with the trailer and without.

That trailer does rattle around like crazy. It is the worst! It sounds like I have 100 tool boxes back there -- every time I hit even the tiniest bump, it's like THONK rattle rattle rattle, clunky clink, bonk, ka-THUNK ka-THUNK. I almost jumped out of my skin the first time I went over something -- I thought it had somehow crashed into something. OMG please let my horse trailer not rattle around like that. I know it has really good suspension, so... hopefully it won't.

OK, so, like with just the truck, I went out to an empty parking lot and marked a "lane" with my safety cones. So what I found was the trailer cut the corners a lot more than I expected. I think some of you guys had suggested that this would happen, but almost everything I read online asserts that the trailer follows the path of the truck. I'm sure that a GN would have cut in a lot more, but the BP did cut in quite a bit. My husband said it was because this trailer only has one axle, so it's going to pivot harder. So maybe the horse trailer won't do it so badly. So when I was practicing my left turns, at first, I would run over the right cone with the passenger side wheel of my truck, and then run over the left cone with the trailer. I eventually got to where I could make that turn pretty well, most of the time, with the cones unharmed.

As for right turns... yikes. The way the trailer cuts in, I just can't make a right turn without cutting the corner. The only thing I can do is swing out left before cutting in hard right, but in traffic that's not exactly going to work. So how do I make a right turn?

Then I worked on backing it up. The good news: I was able to back it up, eventually, into more or less the place that I wanted, at more or less (OK actually less, not more) the angle that I wanted. I've read lots of theories about how to turn when backing, but the guy at the trailer place said to use the method of putting your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and turning the direction you wanted to go, and frankly since he was the last person I talked to, I went with that.

And that worked out really well, so yay. But, now for the questions.

  1. Turning and backing. It seems to me, so far, that once your trailer (reminder I've got a BP) is turning in a certain direction, it's not going to stop turning in that direction. It doesn't matter what I do with the truck steering wheel, the trailer is going to stay on the track it started on. Is that true? Is there no way around that?
  2. It also seems to me that I want to start with turning it the tiniest bit, because the angle of the trailer relative to the truck is only going to get greater, never less. Is that also correct?
  3. If so, is it true that rather than visualizing a pure arc as I'm backing up, I should visualize almost a shrinking spiral (a "spiral in" if you're riding LOL). So I'd plan on my turn starting of gentle but quickly getting sharper?
  4. I read something about a "swoop" method of backing up, just yesterday, which didn't make a lot of sense to me when I read it, but now seems like a really good idea. The only thing is that it's visualized as an arc, whereas, again, I feel like maybe it is more of a spiral.
  5. The "parking space" that I made with my cones was at a 45 degree angle to the driving lane of the parking lot. I also tried turning left as I approached it and then lining myself up parallel to the cones and then backing in, but I just couldn't make it work. No matter how straight I thought I had the trailer, invariably it would start bending in one direction or the other, and as I wrote above it seems like once it starts bending, that's pretty much it. Was I doing it wrong or is it just not a good idea to try to park a trailer by backing it up straight?

My manager just canceled our 1x1, so I've got all afternoon now. I'm going to go back out and try again. I'd really appreciate anything you guys have to say about this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,635 Posts
I back up with my hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. My daughter started hauling horses on her own at 16 - we taught her the same way and to just go very very slow until she got the hang of looking out her mirrors and steering at the same time. We live down a dead end lane so have to back the trailer down and then into our shed. The lane is probably 1/2 a football field long with a L at the end to get the trailer into the shed. Just take it slow and easy

Turning is always best done with wide turns, else your trailer tires drop off of the edge of the pavement as you make your way around the turn (or they go over the curb) again slow and steady and use your mirrors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,499 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ooh, I'm so excited! And a little over-caffeinated! I went back and worked on it some more but wasn't having much luck. Then this older guy came over and said, "I was wondering what you were doing over here until I saw the cones, and then I knew you were trying to learn to back up a trailer. You want some pointers?" Of course I was like, heck yeah. So he gave me a couple of pointers and then made two really good suggestions: (1) I was backing up and turning from the passenger side, but it's way easier to back up and turn from the driver's side and (2) I should practice backing up straight first. I explained the problems I was having backing up, and he explained about how to turn the turning wheel, but I told him that I felt like the trailer always went the same direction no matter which direction I turned the wheel in.

So I tried and failed and he was like, "You want me to just show you?" And of course I was like, heck yeah. So he showed me, and then I understood that I wasn't being aggressive enough with my turning. So he had me practice straight again, and after a few minutes I got it. Then I did it again. Then I thanked him with extreme gratitude, LOL.

After he left, I practiced backing it straight again, and this time I got it no problems. Then I went for my angled parking spot, and while it wasn't as smooth I still got it without having to pull forward at all. I practiced that one several times and got it a little better. I thought about practicing an angled parking job from the passenger's side, but I decided to end on a good note LOL.

The guy did tell me that parking a little trailer is harder than parking a big trailer, and parking a little trailer from a big truck, like what I have, is the hardest. So hopefully the horse trailer, being bigger, will actually be easier!

Here's me backed into a space. You can't even see the trailer behind me, it's so small LOL.
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,029 Posts
Good for you!

I always tended to turn the wheel of the truck way too much! And I never used to use the mirrors. I was always cranking my body around.

I finally got so disgusted at myself, I put big round bales of hay in a pasture and drove backwards for hours. I'm still not fantastic at it, but manage to get it done.

Have you ever watched a "Trucker Rodeo?" Those guys are inspiring.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top