Friday, June 1, 2012

Of trucks and trailers

A fellow boarder at the barn and a friend of mine just bought a truck, with the intention of getting a horse trailer and being able to haul her own horse (and maybe, someday, horses).  As one of the truck-and-trailer-less horse owners, I am quite jealous.

Michael and I have often talked about getting either a truck or an SUV -- he wants it for driving in the snow, but I want to make sure that anything we get is strong enough to pull a two-horse trailer, too.  I like the idea of an SUV better, personally -- a former fellow border had a Dodge Durango that did a great job of pulling her two-horse trailer, and I think an SUV like that would be more useful since it would also enable us to carry passengers and haul furniture out of the weather.  Plus, I have to say that I would feel more comfortable driving an SUV -- I've always had smaller cars, so the thought of driving a full size truck makes me a little nervous.  (And, before you point out that I'm going to have to get used to driving something big if I'm going to haul a horse trailer, I have every intention of making Michael drive!)

Of course, if I don't plan on driving it much, maybe a truck is the way to go.  Michael doesn't seem to mind the thought of driving it, and it would probably be easier to get a truck than to find an SUV with enough hauling power to safely pull a horse trailer.  We don't really have passengers very often, and the lack of secure storage space could be solved with a tool box -- pretty much everyone I know with pickups have tool boxes for trucks.  I just wouldn't want to put our dogs in the bed of the truck -- I hate it when I see people do that, because it's just not safe -- so the SUV has some obvious advantages there.

What do you think?  Can an SUV pull a horse trailer safely, or are we better off with a truck?



At June 1, 2012 at 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming out of lurk mode just to say whatever you decide on, most salespersons do not have a clue what hauling a horse trailer requires. Examine the information from the maker yourself and don't accept any assurances from the saleperson!

A couple of trucks ago a salesman tried to sell me a 3/4 ton pickup after I specified a one ton. When I pointed out that I have a (freaking) 8 horse trailer, he said "Eight horse? That's not much." It took me a few moments to realize he thought the trailer had it's own engine....Then there was the one who tried to sell me a SUV after I told him I needed a pickup for my gooseneck trailers.

No clue, none!

At June 1, 2012 at 4:50 PM, Blogger Camryn said...

No way would I trust an SUV to "stop" a horse trailer!!! Go with a truck.

At June 1, 2012 at 5:55 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

I have a trailer but nothing to pull it with. I have to borrow my husbands truck or have my neighbor pull it for me.
My vote is for an SUV, as you said they seem to me to be more useful. I have a Subaru Outback but it won't pull a trailer, love that car but I need wheels to pull a trailer.
My choice would be a Chevy Tahoe or GMC Yukon they are big enough to pull a trailer.
Good luck, hope you can get a trailer and something to pull it with soon!

At June 2, 2012 at 8:48 AM, Blogger Tara said...

An Suv can pull a trailer, but, it won't have the stopping power. I personally am not comfortable pulling a trailer with anything less then a 3/4 ton truck. Then if the trailer brakes fail, I have a fair amount of truck to stop it.

At July 5, 2012 at 11:24 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Camryn and Tara, our former boarder had been pulling her little two-horse with her Durango for years. The trailer didn't look like the kind that had its own brakes, either, so the Durango's brakes must have been sufficient. I never checked the manufacturer's specs, but it's also possible she had the brakes beefed up to get it trailer ready -- I know you can do that. However, I do have to consider that it was a SMALL trailer, and I only ever saw her towing it with one horse in it. So the weight may not have been much to speak of. I won't have that option of keeping the weight down, as Panama refuses to get on those little two-horse straight-load trailers.

Jane, I was thinking about either a Tahoe or a Yukon, too. I remember looking at the manufacturer's specs for the beefier models, and they do have the capability to tow (and stop) a horse trailer. I just prefer a slightly smaller SUV if I can find one that has the stopping power I need.

And, Anonymous, yes! I would definitely check the manufacturer's specs. I was also planning on taking anything we are seriously considering into a truck and trailer shop before we buy it, to have the mechanics take a look and let us know for sure whether it can do the job we are going to be asking of it.


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