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Trigger Mike

hauling a horse trailer

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A buddy of mine has a 2016 single cab 6 cyl Chevy Silverado work truck.  He hauls his horse and daughter to competition sometimes.  He says with the 6 cylinder every time the horse moves the truck moves.  He wants a truck with a cab as his daughter is now a teenager and getting too big for the middle front seat in a single cab.  He looked at a Ford F150 crew cab in 6 cylinder.  too me that is just the same thing.  Am I wrong?  

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The engine isn't the problem. Same truck with a 5.3 is only going to weigh 100-200 pounds more. Crew cab, extended cab, whatever they call it, will add weight to the truck and might help with the trailer movement. Best solution is to tow with a 3/4 ton or 2500. If the horse is in a stall and secured he's not going to move around much. If he's in a stock trailer there may be more room for movement. Don't believe the tow ratings on any truck. 

 

 

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NO, you ARE NOT wrong.

 

He needs at least a 3/4-ton truck, preferably with a diesel V-8, but a gasoline V-8 for up to a 2-horse trailer would be okay.  If a larger trailer (4-horse), he should (preferably) have a large diesel V-8.  For these bigger trailers, (4-horse + or big flatbed with load) a 1-ton truck is preferable.  But, a 1-ton is a TRUCK.  A 3/4-ton still feels and gives a smoother ride.  Big diesel is preferable 

Extended cab is heavier, but not heavier by much.  For towing, a big diesel is preferable, in my opinion.

 

My Ford 1-ton, extended cab, short bed, 4wd, 8.3 liter (440+ cubic inches) V-8 diesel pulls whatever I hook on to it, anywhere....it’s no longer than an 8-foot-bed pickup.  I typically pull horse trailers and a long trailer with a tractor and implements.  Easily.  Never a problem.
 

Cat Brules

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Wheelbase and weight will help with stability assuming its larger on both.  Unless those change a lot it’s probably pretty similar, however if borderline even a bit would help.

 

not enough info on hitch and tow weights to say for sure one way or the other.  I do not ever hear people say that they have too much truck though...usually the other way :)

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The modern F-150 is a very capable truck.  The Ecoboost V6 engine has amazing torque and horsepower.  I have the 5.0 liter V8 in mine and it's also very capable.  The problem sounds like it's the live weight.  I think he should check into a good weight distribution hitch with built in sway control.   I have an Equal-i-zer hitch for my 6,200 lb camper and I've towed it all over the Confederacy with my F-150.  There are several good sway control hitches out there.  Just don't go cheap.  A good one will run about $500+.

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Get a real truck.

Stopping is the number 1 priority. 

I really think a 3/4T with full towing package would be the best thing.

OLG 

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There is a lot that goes into these decisions.  Live in a cold climate and diesel becomes a lot harder.  Its much more expensive to buy, operate, and maintain for any climate.  If you don’t use for towing that much it’s hard to justify the extra 10k for price of admission, also the extra weight decreases payload vs a gas model of the same kind but towing capacity does increase. 
 

Have to weigh how often and far you tow vs the needed capability.  
 

You also get a significant reduction in mileage.  I was getting 21mpg combined with my F-150 2.7 eco and I liked that engine a lot more than the 5.0.  The 3.5 eco is great as well but more around the 19 mpg average. 

My Ram is around 15 mpg average with the hemi.

 

Anyways don’t discount the ecoboost F-150 truck capabilities.  They are basically better than an F250 in capacity and cab ability from 10 years ago.....They have fantastic torque curves and low operating costs/needs vs diesel.  
 

 

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First thing to do is load up the horse and everything you take when you travel, then weigh it at a truck scales. Then get what you need to tow it comfortably. Sounds like a 3/4 ton is needed.

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3/4 ton x cab so you have a longer wheel base which is a definite advantage. V8 engine. The best way to go is to get a goose neck trailer and have the ball installed in the pickup bed. This makes the whole system easier to handle. I have been towing horse and stock trailers all my life. I usually leave the horses loose in the trailer and you can tell when they move but it is not a problem as cattle always move around.

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Maybe a few dumb questions, but assuming it is a small bumper horse trailer...  Does he hitch up the trailer to a ball on his actual bumper of does he have decent drop hitch bolted to the frame?  Are we talking about a quarter horse and stock shows or are we talking about warm bloods and eventing?  A half ton truck pulling just one horse should not have any issues, unless the trailer is an old heavy steel one, or the horse might have way too much room to move around. 

 

In answer to your first quest a 1500 truck made by Chevy vs an F150 made by Ford are essentially the same thing. 

Edited by July Smith

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1/2 tons are for taking the lawn mower to the shop and picking up a little lumber.

 

I don't care what the dealer says. They are not for hauling horses. I have hauled them ALL over the country.

And would never do it in a 1/2 ton.

 

Do the other drivers on the road a favor and get at least a 3/4 ton that is made to pull and STOP that kind of a load

properly and safely.   

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He never said if its a bumper pull, gooseneck, 2 horse 3 horse or? All of those affect the selection of a truck. We pull a 3 horse with a small bed and tack room. Its a gooseneck. 1 ton single axle crew cab diesel.  The only time we feel the horses back there is at a stop light.

 

I've read people saying diesels are more expensive to maintain?   Oil change and filters just like a gas engine? But...here's one of the reasons I choose diesels, we have 2, is they will outlast any gas engine any day.  2000 Ford F-350 370,000 miles and still going strong. 1 turbo, 1 water pump.  Batteries, brakes, hoses and belts don't count.

 

Ike

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His daughter rides the horse in shows with jumping from what I gathered if that gives you an idea of the type horse.  Just one horse goes.  Last time I looked he does not have a gooseneck setup in his truck bed.  

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1 hour ago, Trigger Mike said:

His daughter rides the horse in shows with jumping from what I gathered if that gives you an idea of the type horse.  Just one horse goes.  Last time I looked he does not have a gooseneck setup in his truck bed.  

 

 

One horse is still pretty heavy.

So just one horse still needs more than just a 1/2 ton to be safe.

Safe for them.

Safe for the horse.

Safe for the other drivers on the road.

 

Made my living with horses in one way of the other for most my adult life.

And I will tell you. Pulling a load that heavy is not what a 1/2 ton is for.

3/4 ton will do it just fine.

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The new Chevy 1500 with the four banger would pull a two horse trailer with one horse  if the hitch is set up correctly. One horse (unless it is a draft horse) in a bumper pull two horse trailer is nothing for any truck to tow. I have hauled bumper pull two horse trailers up to 34 foot three horse with full living quarters all over the country. The bigger heavier trailers,  a goose neck hitch and dual wheels are what gives you stability. My one ton dually crewcab Duramax made pulling my big 34 foot 3 horse as if nothing was there. Hook up our 26 foot light weight fifth wheel and I could always tell it was back there because it bounced and moved all over the road due to the light weight. My 2019 Chevy 1500 with the 5.3 pulls my current 34 foot travel trailer with no problems even in the mountains. It is stable because I have sway bars to alleviate the sway that most travel trailers have. A 1500 with any motor would be fine. Get a goose neck if you want stability.

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A two-horse trailer, with a “tack room” in front might weigh as much as 3200+ pounds.  Most newer ones are lighter.  My breed of horses are smaller/lighter (900-1000 pounds) than most other purebreds.  Most other breeds weigh about 1100 to-1300 pounds.  I’m not talking about the really BIG horses.  So, a loaded two-horse trailer could weigh as much as 6500 pounds, +plus, when you consider horses, spare tires, tools, saddles 20- gallons of water, and the myriad of other gear and equipment you take to a horse show, that travels in that “tack” room.   Plan on it.

Get a two-axle trailer.  A trailer that’s a tad heavy empty travels better.   You better have a good trailer; these are live, animal-family members....remember that!
MAKE SURE you never haul your horses in a worn- out, old crappy trailer.  When the tires begin to look worn, replace them with new, and keep the wheel bearings packed/greased.  If you have a flat tire that you drive on for a while, replace the tire with a new one. Carry 2 spare, tires/wheels for the trailer.


YES, as noted above by others, get the best chassis/frame-mounted receiver hitch you can afford, with extra emergency chains.  NEVER USE A BUMPER HITCH.  
Make sure you use a heavy hitch-ball of the size that corresponds to the trailer’s hitch requirement.
We don’t use a bed-mounted, “fifth-wheel” trailer hitch.as noted by others, above.  We usually need that space in the truck bed.

 

The above scenario REQUIRES at least a 3/4 ton truck with (I believe) a big engine.  The big engine is your insurance against hills and overheating the loaded, heavy truck with 2-4 people, a truck bed loaded with other equipment, gear, hay and feed (bring some extra hay and feed), extra water, in 5-gal plastic containers, 10-gallons of fuel in 5-gallon containers, personal bags and stuff you’re hauling that belongs to others, PLUS the loaded trailer, of course.  NOTE: Our breed-owners are very friendly to one another, as opposed to some other breed owners, who are in constant competition.  YMMV, of course.


Break your hay bales up into fourth-bales (4th’s) and tie those pieces up with hay twine.  A full bale of alfalfa (usually 110-120 pound+ for a California-size) just weighs too damn much for you to be tossing around....period!  PLUS, bring a shotgun and pistol to guard your equipment and animals at night at in-transit hotels, back and forth, (PLUS all the stuff I forgot to mention.)  A longer trip means you take the animals out to walk and rest....bring stout, heavy 9-10 foot lead ropes with good snaps, plus an extra one.  Go heavy; carry a gun.  My experience in California has been that CHP officers who pull in to check you out, just look you over, ignore any bulges and don’t quiz you too closely, once they realize who and what you are.

 

You probably already know this stuff.  There’s more of course.  There always is.
 

Cat Brules

 

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Wow.  This is really good information.   I am glad I asked as some of this will come in handy for me as I plan on getting cows so some of this applies to me as well.   I sent him the link so he can read the replies.   

 

I bought myself a chevy 2500 gas for the cow trailer when I get it.  My 1500 used to struggle sometimes hauling my john deere 3032 tractor so I figured a horse needs a bigger truck. 

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Make sure that you can STOP THAT RIG!

If your truck and trailer brakes can't do the job, you are going to have a serious crash sooner or later.

 

Duffield

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Where do you live?  Is it flat, mountainous, traffic density, etc.  I have hauled horses for many decades, my personal minimum is 3/4 ton gas for one to two horses, diesel 3/4 ton for 2 to 3 horses and beyond that go bigger.  All horses will polka within the trailer  and you will feel the movement as the driver. Buy the best rig you can afford but invest in your trailer brakes.  Bumper pulls are good but a goose-neck is best, especially in the wind.  Our daughter rodeos and we are on the road quite a bit.  For big trips when hauling big I invested in a Ford F350, worth every dollar and it takes a whole boatload of dollars to buy one.  I have been to trailer wrecks and they are quite ugly. Make sure your equipment is up to the task and research the real limits of your truck.  I came across a cowboy of sorts with a full size diesel Nissan pickup with a twisted frame due to a 3 horse bumper pull, weak hitch and a gawd awful AZ crosswind.  Something to consider. Personal disclaimer:  I am not an expert just a graduate from the school of hard knocks and still learning.

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Another factor I didn't see mentioned are tires.  Sorry if someone did, I missed it.  Pickups off the lot, 1/2 tons, don't have much for a load rating.  B and C load ratings at best.  What this means is they give you a nice smooth ride as your tires are part of your suspension.  If he is going to haul any weight at all, go for an E rating at a minimum.  This gives you a much stiffer sidewall of the tire.  With the B and C rating, the sidewalls are comparatively soft and the weight of the trailer will push the vehicle around on the tires, making the side walls flex more than with an E rated tire.  I learned this the hard way.  I tried to pull a 28' camper trailer with a Tahoe and B rated tires.  That camper pushed that truck all over the place even with load levelers and the anti sway brake.  I also forgot to put it in  trailer mode and burned up the transmission.  One of my many "duh" moments.  When we bought our fifth wheel camper, I got a 3/4 ton diesel.  I put new tires on it and made sure they were E rated.  Never had a problem.  I can pull my 12' enclosed trailer for general hauling and I don't even know it is there.  Pulling the 12' with the Suburban, pulls it fine but  you know it is there all the while.  I really like my big truck.  When it is empty, I get better fuel economy than my Suburban gives me.

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We are in south georgia but I have heard him say he traveled to south Carolina.   We have small hills here but we are 2 hours from the coast so to get anywhere we head up hill eventually 

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I once used a Jeep CJ7 to tow a 2 horse trailer containing an overweight, nervous, dancing Saddlebred through heavy I95 traffic from Miami to West Palm Beach. Not fun. :blink:

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My son and I haul skid steers. small excavators (under 50000 lbs), 4 horse capable trailers and 20 foot gooseneck trailers loaded with wood or rock or stone. His truck is a Dodge Ram 3500 with manual transmission Cummins turbo diesel and it never notices the load.  The Ford 3500 diesel with auto groans an complains. About all I can offer

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1 hour ago, Utah Bob #35998 said:

I once used a Jeep CJ7 to tow a 2 horse trailer containing an overweight, nervous, dancing Saddlebred through heavy I95 traffic from Miami to West Palm Beach. Not fun. :blink:

CJ-7 was only rated to tow 2k lbs as per AMC.

OLG 

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4 hours ago, Trigger Mike said:

I had not considered the tires

 

 

As posted a few posts above.

 

Just go with E rated. Don't even bother messing around with others.

 

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2 hours ago, Anvil Al #59168 said:

 

 

As posted a few posts above.

 

Just go with E rated. Don't even bother messing around with others.

 

 

You also want that 'E' load rating on the trailer tires. 

OLG 

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3 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

CJ-7 was only rated to tow 2k lbs as per AMC.

OLG 

I vas only following orders. :lol:

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17 minutes ago, Utah Bob #35998 said:

I vas only following orders. :lol:

 

OH, that makes things mo-better then. :lol:

OLG 

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I have to laugh at a lot of these comments.   Many places around the world still use cars or 1/4 ton trucks to pull horse trailers.  

 

 I have two trucks I use for hauling our horses, a 97 f350 crew cab diesel  if im hauling the 30ft gooseneck,  the 4 horse bumper Gets pulled with a 86 f150 with the straight 6.   This truck actually is my preferred hauler but it's a regular cab and doesn't fit us all. 

 

 If he needs more room then get a crew cab. Either truck is way more than needed for a single horse

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11 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

 

You also want that 'E' load rating on the trailer tires. 

OLG 

 

 

Yes. That was really what I was talking about. But yes. Blowouts on the trailer is no fun.

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9 hours ago, evil dogooder said:

I have to laugh at a lot of these comments.   Many places around the world still use cars or 1/4 ton trucks to pull horse trailers.  

 

 I have two trucks I use for hauling our horses, a 97 f350 crew cab diesel  if im hauling the 30ft gooseneck,  the 4 horse bumper Gets pulled with a 86 f150 with the straight 6.   This truck actually is my preferred hauler but it's a regular cab and doesn't fit us all. 

 

 If he needs more room then get a crew cab. Either truck is way more than needed for a single horse

 

 

And I would have to laugh at thinking pulling a horse trailer around with a 1/2 ton is a good idea.

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On 2/15/2020 at 7:41 AM, Anvil Al #59168 said:

 

 

And I would have to laugh at thinking pulling a horse trailer around with a 1/2 ton is a good idea.

If someone can't handle pulling a 1200 lb horse with a half ton truck they definitely need to learn how to drive. 

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