2+1 trailers.... The good and the bad

I am looking at upgrading my current trailer to a 2+1 and looking for recommendations on brands. What brands are the best? Why? What features should it have? Right now considering an Adams, as I have heard great things about them. Not looking for top of the line, but want something solid and safe. As for what is pulling it, no worries my F350 diesel will not have a problem :slight_smile:

I have a Sundowner 2+1 that I bought last year and I absolutely love it. I find it so easy to work out of, the horses love it. I have camped in it and it was like having a little apartment. I have the 2+1 with no tack room. It’s a dream trailer.

Not specific to a 2+1 but pay attention to how loud it is in the horse area. Everywhere a divider or bar closes, it can make noise. I think I’ve used an entire roll of vetrap in my Exiss trying to stop the rattling and banging.

Some brands I have seen that pay attention to this are Four Star (well, you pay extra but they have a “Quiet Ride” option, and Cimarron.

I think @Laurierace just bought a 2+1 and perhaps can chime in.

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We had a Hawk when I was younger. The only “con” I can think of is it was kind of a big footprint when you are running around with only one horse on quick trips. But it was totally worth its size to have that big, open space at shows, even with one horse.

Ours didn’t have this, but I really love the stud wall style dividers so that the back stalls can be completely separate from the front stall by a solid wall. It makes the spaces a lot more versatile. I just googled to find a picture of what I mean and this model has them, but it’s certainly not specific to this brand: http://www.4startrailers.com/horse-trailers/runabout/gooseneck/straight-load-trailers/2-horse-model-22-0-x-6-10/

Hi, yes I just bought a 2 plus 1 last year. I absolutely love it! I could probably sell it for 10-20k more than I paid for it though so that is a definite con if you are looking to buy now. I narrowed it down to Adams or 4Star. My trainer has both and said the 4Star is a Mercedes, the Adams is a work horse so when I found both for literally the exact same price I went with the Mercedes.

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I have an Adam 2+1 that I bought a couple of years ago, and have just ordered a Cimarron 2+2 (which is a 2+1 with an oversized +1 area that can actually accommodate 2 straight load horses in the +1 area. So basically a small 4 horse).

One thing I hadn’t even thought about when I ordered the Adam but definitely made sure about this time is the center divider (not the stud doors but the actual straight stall horse divider). For long trips (like FL) I would have loved to be able to set the trailer up as two box stalls and then convert it back to a 2+1 when I got there and would be shipping two horses into the show on a regular basis. But there was no way to set up the back as a box stall and still bring the divider with me. I remedied that when ordering my new trailer - I can slide the divider to a second position against the trailer wall.

I also added a ramp into the tack room and a few other features that I figured out would be nice to have.

It is a fairly big trailer just to take one horse somewhere close. I’d love if I could also buy one of those Horsebox USA trailers for running around in, but unless I win the lottery that ain’t happening :grin:.


You can see Cimarron’s sliding divider here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2409859345699956

Incidentally that’s the dealer I bought my Exiss from. She’s legit and will have the trailer delivered to you if you don’t want to pick it up. (And believe me, you don’t want to. It requires driving in Atlanta plus navigating bridges on Lake Lanier. It is not fun to get to. After visiting once I was happy to pay for delivery.)

That is where I bought mine as well although she never laid eyes on it as it came straight from the factory in OK to MD. Very happy with them.

I am shopping for a 2 + 1 also. I have narrowed it down to Balanced Ride (Hawk), 4Star and Cimarron. I have seen the 4Stars and do not like the steepness of the ramps on them. I prefer the paint on and fiberglass roof of the Balanced Ride to the exposed aluminum on the other two. I think I want Air Ride because I am buying this trailer for long distance hauls. I want the 2+1 because I’ll usually be hauling 2 horses but if I go a distance, then the box will allow me to bring a bit of hay with me. I am also considering 2 horse LQs…

I HAD a 2+1 trailer. I loved it, as did my horses. It was home built- a conversion actually. It was a 1964 Atco trailer, weighed 6400 lbs empty… huge steel beams under it. 8 feet high inside, 16 foot deck. Fully insulated, had a refrigeration unit on it originally- was used to haul fresh flowers. My father converted it originally, to a back loading two horse with a camper in the front part, bunks in the gooseneck. Used it like that for years. Travelled like a bus for the horses.
Then, I had a lead pony, and appy, who pointed out that a horse actually COULD enter the trailer by the side human door, into the camper area, if it was rainy and wet outside. It was a brilliant idea, and I wanted it converted into the 2 + 1 configuration, with the side ramp. So we did that. Left the bunks up in the gooseneck, with a door from the horse area. Horses are so easy to load with a trailer like this, there is so much room. The divider was hinged at the back, to swing either way, big steel chest bars done up once horses backed into the stalls. Used it for years like this.
Had to give up on it eventually, the ribs had rotted out of the sides of the trailer. Was forced to buy a regular horse trailer, bought a big one to do our major move 14 years ago, a 6 horse Featherlite. Just sold that one last year, replaced it with a nice 2 horse gooseneck straight load which is NOT a 2 + 1. I wanted a 2 + 1, because once you’ve had one, you get spoiled. But couldn’t find one in my area, and at a price I could accept. But yes, the 2 + 1 plan is lovely.
I had a mare who was severely injured at the racetrack. Brain injury, she flipped herself on the way to the saddling paddock. Brain injury AND injury to the inner ear- so balance was gone. And probably a broken shoulder as well- no one know for sure. It was judged to be a terminal injury… but I was reluctant to put her down, and we saved her. She was in a stall at the track for 6 weeks, and much to everyone’s surprise, she did survive to be a brood mare. I shipped her home in that 2 + 1 trailer. I found out that valium is the drug of choice to calm the inner ear, and is used in humans for balance problems, which my vets did NOT know. We treated her with valium… LOTS, and she made the walk from the stall, to the trailer parked outside the barn. I had two big guys on either side of her, to steady her, as she made the walk. She saw her trailer, with the ramp down for her. She charged in, swung herself around, and backed herself into the stall to go home. That big steel chest bar was anchored in place to help to hold her up, should the worst happen on the way home. She was tied with baling twine, should the worst happen. I had the local pet food company, who shoots horses, standing by should the worst happen on the way home. The worst did not happen, and she made the journey successfully, unloaded, and pranced into her home stall at a listing angle. I attribute her successful journey home to that trailer.
The trailer, once it was condemned as a horse trailer, had the box cut off it, and it is now our hay trailer, to take round bales off our hay field. We get 18 600 lb bales on it with each trip. I had a guy last week who wanted to buy it. NOPE.


If you are getting air ride then maybe the ramp won’t be as steep when you’re loading/unloading? At least that’s how my instructor does it with their enormous 7 or 8-horse slant, they deflate it to load and then turn on the system to level it all out before they leave.

I’m not a fan of aluminum floors and am in the process of trading down from the Exiss to to a little slant load for running around town so that I can try again with the ‘big’ trailer. (Actually leaning towards Trails West with a mid tack, I love their floor plans.)

Mine has that divider too…since I don’t have the tack room it also has a divider for above the gooseneck. You can also open the entire trailer up to be like a stock trailer. I just love it.

I have a Hawk 2+1 with no dressing room (5 years next month). My friend has a 4Star in the same configuration. I like the breast/butt bar latches better on hers but the gooseneck gate better on mine. Otherwise, they’re very much alike but hers is much more expensive. We take turns trailering each others horses for trail rides and they both ride just fine in both trailers. Mine has a folding door that can be a solid divider between the +1 area and the straight load area and hers doesn’t. I usually just keep it folded back and don’t use it except on those rare occasions where I have a pony in the +1 or equipment that I want to make sure doesn’t shift back under the horses.

We load them on the side ramp on both trailers. My little 14.3 hand horse goes in forwards, puts her head in the front corner, then backs into a stall. My friend’s horse is 17 hands and her butt can’t clear the side ramp doorway that way. She goes in, makes a complete counterclockwise circle inside, then backs into a stall.

Other good things are having that extra space for whatever you want it for - an extra pony, a place to tack up in the rain, a shady place to put chairs and hang out, somewhere to carry equipment and hay for long trips, or anything you want to do. I have also camped in the gooseneck area once.

The only bad thing I can think of is that it’s bigger than a 2 horse bumper pull and sometimes you have to consider that, and the way a gooseneck turns vs. BP. For instance, with my road/driveway configuration, I’m pretty much at maximum trailer length to make the turn without a dressing room (16’ on the floor). It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something you need to be mindful of.

I had a 2002…C+C I think it was. 2+1 with a shortened dress so it was 23’ on the deck.

Super useful trailer and it shipped horses back and forth to Florida many times, plus all the local trips. The only time I wished I had something smaller was in Wellington - which despite being horse central is really not that friendly to large horse trailers.

I have a 4 star 2+1, with an extended dressing room and a larger +1 area. I’m 26’ on the floor. It’s great to show out of, but horrendous for getting into local trail heads. I bought a smaller BP 2 horse straight for short runs - the smaller trailer is not well balanced with the height of my truck (and I refuse to go longer than my 13" shank on my hitch, the torque is too concerning), so if the trip is longer than 30 minutes, the big girl gets hitched up.

Pros: Lots of room.

Cons: Huge.

I’m in nearly the same boat as Endlessclimb. Mine is 26.5 on the floor with a large +1. I primarily use it as a giant tack room and rarely haul a third horse now but love having the option to do so. Similarly, I bought a smaller bumper pull for local travels for the same reason - not all of the local trailheads would accommodate the bigger trailer.

That being said, I absolutely love my trailer (a Hawk).

HAHAHAHAHA Living in the area, I refer to that drive up by lake Lanier as my safest and happiest shortcut over to 85! As in thank all the gods I have that option and not the other 4 horrible options!

I have a bp 2+1 set up to be combined driving friendly, which isn’t really relevant to your question, except that when I got it I had concerns about not having a separate tack room (and figured out the sliding divider way ahead of ordering it since that’s baseline requirements). I can tell you I’ve never missed it yet so if one of the concerns around a two plus one gooseneck is both the considerable length as well as the cost, it might not be the worst thing ever to consider it without a tack room. Although I would put a drop-down gate on the nose just to secure anything up in the nose.

I use the plus one area to both store driving equipment and stage out of at both CDEs and regular dressage shows, so I don’t ever plan to have a horse up in that area. But I always could put a horse up there if for some reason I needed to haul three in an emergency.

I have an extra 2’ in my dressing room. This is what I did with it. I’d like to put a tiny sink in, and need a new microwave for the cabinet opening on the left. I can also move my saddle rack to the +1 area if I’m camping for a longer period of time and want the space in the dressing room.

Note this trailer was custom, hence the little window on the left side. I did the hanky-janky finishing myself, but the trailer was ordered with insulated/finished ceilings and walls in both dressing room and horse area. I custom built the cabinet on the left, found the one on the right on sale. At some point I’ll actually build lowers, but it’s a low priority project. What’s in there was built as a trial run on layout and then never left, and instead got painted… :joy:

Excuse the filthy state of it, the trailer hasn’t come home for cleaning yet this year.


Love a 2+1! I bought a 2013 Adam with a DR and 9’ plus area brand new. It was great because I could lead my horse up the side ramp and then back her into a stall so didn’t need any help loading. It gave me a place to tack up although it was cramped for my big horse. A couple of years ago I got the big idea that I wanted a living quarter so sold the 2013 and bought a used 2011 Adam living quarter. It was awesome but my big horse needed 2 stalls in the slant because it had mangers on the side. I realized it was ridiculous to be dragging that big thing around when I took my horse somewhere and my horse was never going to get into the camping idea anyway. So I sold that and ordered a new Adam 2 + 1 with a 7’ plus area. I had the entire roof of the trailer lined and insulated. I also had the entire dressing room lined and insulated with 3 electric outlets one being near the door to the horse area. The entrance from outside to the dressing room is on the driver’s side as well as the door going back to the horses. That gives me the entire passenger side of the trailer to set up a table and mini fridge with microwave if I ever wanted to go camping in it. I could also use an electric space heater if needed. I’d just have to remove the saddle rack which comes out easily. It’s much more manageable and only has a 21’ box length. I really love it and you can’t go wrong with an Adam although I’m not wild about the way they finished the dressing room. I have a smaller horse now and she could actually use the back part of the trailer behind the stud doors as a stall. I could trailer her that way and I’d have the front half of the trailer to sleep in.


Funnily enough, I just commented about previously having a 2+1 - and decided to order a similar one just this week. I ordered an Adam “foxhunter” which is essentially 2 box stalls with the box divider, no straight dividers, and no rear ramp. I found that I never used the rear ramp ever and this gave me some more room for 2 large horses - and funds to have the tack room insulated and add generator connections and wiring for solar, so I can have AC and fans.