Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Looking for a ride

We've got the horses, now it would be nice to be able to get them out on the trail. We don't have any trails within walking distance of our place. Ginger actually tried riding down the street one day; she said that, while it was possible, it wasn't easy and there wasn't much to see when you got there. So we've been shopping for a horse trailer.

The first question was of what size. Smaller trailers are cheaper, easier to store and pull. However, obviously, they transport fewer horses. So how many horses would we want to move at once? Since Ginger intends to take classes on trail rides occassionally, that would mean moving a lot of horses at once. A 6 horse is about as large as we would consider. But anytime we wanted to head out and do a ride personally we wouldn't likely want to manoever a 6 horse trailer around, so we figured we'd get a small one too. But 2 horse or 3 horse? I figured that we would want a 3 horse, because there are three of us and we'd have a lot of reason to take 3 horses at once.

The second question is straight load or slant load. This determines whether the horses are loaded two by two, parallel to the direction of travel, or if they are loaded then shifted 45° so that they span the entire width of the trailer, side by side. As with many other topics, every horse person you talk to has a different opinion. Some say that horses are more stable standing at 45° to the direction of travel and thus more comfortable. Others suggest that slant load trailers give horses less room. After having done a limited amount of trailering both with loading CHR horses that were adopted out, but also in moving Jordan around, I've been much happier with a slant load. This is good, because regarding decision #1, there is no such thing as a 3 horse straight load trailer.

So began the search for a 3 horse slant load. Since Jordan is 17 hands tall, I want to make sure we get a tall trailer (7') so that he is comfortable. (I've loaded him in shorter trailers before, and it worked, but it wasn't exactly a great fit.) We want a gooseneck hitch, rather than bumper pull because they are easier to pull. Dual axel, small tack area and lighting inside are generally assumed. Regarding steel vs aluminum, or step-in vs ramp, windows vs open sided - we really aren't picky.

I collected a list of about 5 websites that list used trailers for sale, and I've been hitting them every few days. And I've had a heck of a time finding a used trailer with these specs. I started asking around why, and a friend theorized that 3H trailers are really popular now, so people are selling thier 2H to trade up for a 3H. Certainly sounds reasonable, because there seems to be lots of 7', 2H trailers out there - for way cheaper than 2/3 the price of a 3H. And yet, I am still determined not to settle for a 2H.

Then I returned from working in Albuquerque for the week to find that David and Ginger had had new thoughts. If we bought a 4H trailer, we could still get 8 horses to a trail head in two trips. Any trail ride for a class of students would necessarily be close to home so this would be acceptable. And we could use the 4H even if just 2 or 3 of us want to go, so this plan allows us to satisfy all needs with purchasing only one trailer.

So basically we've been all over the map so far, and now begins the search for a 4H slant trailer! Oddly, with one initial search on the for sale websites, it seems there are also more 4H slants for sale than 3H slants... Wish us luck.



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