Tips for Buying Your First Trailer

by Amy Olson

Tired of your horse having to hitch a ride? Rates getting higher for rental trailers? Want to attend competitions without your trainer? Buy your own trailer!

It’s not completely out of reach, just save up and think about these tips before you put your money down.

What do you need?

A big fancy trailer might catch your eye heading down the highway, but does a large trailer really have everything you want or everything you need? Separate your wants from your needs and you might be able to find a trailer in great shape that will cost you less. If you only travel to weekend events don’t blow the bank on a living quarter. A weekender would probably suit you just fine, or you could even throw a mattress in a gooseneck with a clean tack room.

How many horses are you hauling? You might only show two, but if you have more they could need moved in an emergency situation. Four horses will fit into most three horse trailers if you remove the slants, but you wouldn’t want to haul thousands of miles with your horses that cramped.

Cash Money

Probably the most frustrating part of trailer shopping is finding one you love and realizing you don’t have the budget for it. Plan out your budget ahead of time, whether it’s what you can pull together in cash or what you’ll be able to afford in loan payments through the future.

Shop within the budget you’ve created. Use the filters on dealership websites so that you don’t get frustrated looking at trailers outside of your budget.

Number one priority should be safety, for your horses and yourself. Although an older trailer might be in your budget, be sure to check flooring, wires, brakes and plumbing (LQ) so that you don’t end up with a bigger expense on your hands.

Power to Pull

What does your vehicle have the horsepower for? Don’t forget the weight of the trailer usually doesn’t include living quarters amenities, and you’ll need to account for horses, hay, and equipment even in a one-horse bumper pull.

The Cadillac Coupe Deville can only tow 2000 lbs so the limit is probably one horse if you’re ready to “chug-a-lug” up a hill with your steed in tow. On the other hand, a Dodge 3500 will pull 37,000 so you can effectively haul 12 horses, all the tack for them, and a large hay pod chockfull of grain and alfalfa. If you’re the “king of the road” maybe a living quarter is more your style, but plan on hauling a few less horses.

Buying your first trailer shouldn’t be a hassle. If you’re buying directly from someone else, make sure the title is in your hand when the trailer gets hooked to your truck. If the seller doesn’t have the title, find out how you would obtain it before giving them your hard-earned savings.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Take a trusted friend, family member or your trainer with you to look at trailers. When you get too excited, they can ask the hard questions.

Amongst her greatest passions are riding horses and writing. Driven by these Amy Olson graduated from the University of Wyoming in May of 2020 with her Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Communications. She later earned a certificate in Equine Training and Management from Laramie County Community College. She was raised in Wyoming but has just finished up an internship with the American Paint Horse Association in Fort Worth, Texas.