Bumper Pull to Gooseneck

When life gives you lemons… you move on placing an order for a new horse trailer.

I currently have a Hawk bumper pull with dressing room that has served me well the past 10 years. It’s 16 ft on the floor (11ft in the horse area, 5 ft at the longest point of the dressing room). I want to move up to a gooseneck as I plan on expanding my trailering distance next year, but majority of my trips are usually local and I have a tough driveway. I am looking at designing something that is about 18.5 ft on the floor - kind of a 2 + 1/2 with a side ramp and a smaller dressing room. It’s been a solid 10 years since I pulled a gooseneck and my experience was with one about 30ft on the floor. My friends all have larger 2+1s (24-26ft on the floor) which are not really comparable to the size I want.

I feel like the extra 2.5 ft on the floor won’t be terrible in general, but the backing of the gooseneck is my primary concern. How does turning while backing compare to that of a bumper pull? I’m not worried about backing up on relatively straight lines, but on a curve: I have to back my trailer around a circular driveway feature to park. My truck bed is 6’4" for reference. Also open to hearing any other things I should be considering in this switch.

Can your truck stop an 18.5’ gooseneck as well as it stops your BP?

It’s a Ram 3500 I sure hope so :smiley:

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Backing a gooseneck is much easier than a bumper pull and I can back or turn around a gooseneck into much tighter spots than a bumper pull.

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I’m on my third gooseneck, and have also owned two bumper pulls. Backing a GN is easier – takes more room, in my experience, but is less likely to jackknife.

Back before we bought our own place, I boarded at a place located on a sharp curve of a thankfully very low-traffic road. When coming back from hauling out, I had to pass the entrance, back up around the road curve to turn while backing into the driveway, then turn again as I continued to back up, into my designated parking spot. Basically making a double-S curve. It was doable, especially since I was hauling out three or four times a week during those days, and had lots of practice. My truck had an eight foot bed, if that makes any difference.

Currently, we live on a cul-de-sac, with a circular driveway (more of an ellipse). Enter through our gate, swing most of the way around on the circular driveway (to basically just past one end of the ellipse), and back in to our various trailer parking spots (horse, cargo, flatbed). GN horse trailer has not that much of a curve to back around (I got first dibs, lol), BP cargo more, BP flatbed the most.

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I can back a gooseneck so much easier than a bp.

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This will take some acquired skill, since with a short bed you risk taking out your back window if you turn too tight.

I have a 6’8" bed and this 4" extender for the ball made things SOOOO much easier: https://www.bwtrailerhitches.com/product/turnoverball-4-extender

(My neighbor has an extender on both the truck and trailer which does not seem safe to me.)

Other than that, I vastly prefer pulling and backing a gooseneck over a bumper pull.

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The longer they are, the slower things happen when you back up. Shorter ones jack knife faster. If your truck has a pick up box on the back of it, make SURE that it fits under the gooseneck. Lots of the newer pick ups don’t. That is actually the very reason why I was able to buy my current trailer…an 18 foot two horse with tackroom gooseneck. The previous owner’s husband went out and bought a new truck while she was injured and out of commission, and this trailer did not fit over the sides of the stupidly tall truck like it had done with their previous tow vehicle…which he sold to buy this new truck because he liked it better to haul his motorcycle. Thus, the horse trailer was put up for sale, and I was the happy purchaser. I have a flatdeck 1 ton, it fits underneath this gooseneck no problem.
My previous trailer was a 30 foot 6 horse, and it has taken some time to get used to how fast this shorter deck responds when backing up. But just take it slow, and watch, and you will get accustomed to it in time, with practice. Gooseneck give a steadier ride for the horse, no sway.

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After 75 years I have just learned here today that a 3500 pickup can be bought with a short bed. Which makes me ask why? Would you need an offset adapter to clear the cab when turning a gooseneck?

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You’ll love the switch. IMO a gooseneck pulls and handles so much better than a bumper pull, in all situations.

Backing up is EASIER … once you get the hang of it.

The nose design of your trailer and where exactly the hitch is mounted, will determine how much space you have between your back window. If you don’t feel like you have enough room, than get an extender ball or shocker hitch, or similar to give you a couple more inches. But that’s only for when you have to turn in REALLY tight spaces. If you’ve got a normal-ish circle to back up in, you’ll be just fine.

But an 18 foot trailer will be super easy to handle. Again, once you get the hang of it. You get comfortable with whatever you have.

I just recently bought a 43-foot trailer with LQ. It’s actually been quite easy to manuvar. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. My other trailer is about 27 feet long.

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25% of the available new 3500s in a 100 mile radius from me have a 6’4" bed with the crew cab. My 2012 2500 had the same bed. 1500s have an even shorter option. Since it’s also a daily driver some of the time it’s nice for parking. Will probably lean toward an extended hitch to give a little bit of breathing room, and definitely going for a tapered nose.

I have just started driving a friend’s 5H gooseneck rig and I absolutely love it.

I have only every driven bps before.

I find it way easier to back the gooseneck and it hauls beautifully.

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One thing that hasn’t been mentioned here yet I don’t think is that a gooseneck will cut in tighter on turns vs a bumper follows more closely to the path of the truck.

So on a circle depending on size, just keep your truck on a larger or outside edge of the turning until you learn how tight your gooseneck cuts in on the turns.

Overall love a gooseneck over a BP but do make sure you have a little extra time the first few drives so you see how it handles.

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I’ve been in your position! I went from a Hawk 2H with no dressing room to a Hawk 2+1 with no dressing room, which is 16 or 17’ on the floor. I have a steep driveway with banks off of a gravel road, so it’s really the maximum I can get and still make the turn.

I was a pro at backing up my bumper pull. I suddenly sucked at backing the gooseneck and that made me angry. It is slower to respond, but once it does, it’s quicker to turn. Now, I’m good with it, but at first there was definitely a learning curve. I think that’s something you should be prepared for, because all you hear is “goosenecks are so much easier to back”. You also have to be prepared for how it cuts corners while going forward, and make sure you don’t take out any mailboxes or gates.

I ordered mine here: https://www.happytrailstrailers.com/hawk-gooseneck-trailers
She used to have pictures of my actual trailer online, but it’s like the one on the left, minus the dressing room area. By ordering it, you can customize the dimensions and attributes, but you’ll also have to wait several months for them to build it. My bed is 6’8" and it’s not a problem.

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@Mango20,

My mantra for driving the gooseneck is “Square corners.” Stay to the outside of all curves and make all turns square corners, and you should be fine.

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Once you go gooseneck you’ll never go back. I love my 3 horse with large front tack and rear tack Charmac. Pulls like a dream and feels so stable that I don’t worry hauling in high wind situations like I did with the BP. Make short turns with the wheel when backing, turn the bottom of the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go and get used to backing using your side mirrors. My friend has a short box and was turning her trailer around in my driveway and took out her back window. What a mess that was.

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In figuring your new trailer, they are built in 2ft increments. So getting 18.5 ft on the floor means you will need to buy a trailer with 20ft on the floor, plus the length of the gooseneck itself. Or you could back up to just 18ft on the floor. We have one that size with 6ft of gooseneck, for a 24ft total.

Cost of making trailer floor an “odd size” could range from expensive to impossible because other factors (bracing for strength, floor cross-member spacing, axle locations) just will not work out well, overall. Could make later resale harder.

I find gooseneck easy to pull, easy to back up into odd places. You do have to drive truck in a bigger circle because trailer will cut inside the circle a bit. We have our horses stalled between the truck and trailer axles, “riding in the hammock,” suspended for a better trailer ride. Standing over the axles will have horses feeling every bump and jolt of the road. Very tiring on much travel distance.

A suggestion is to get straight load stalls, front or rear facing. We know a lot of folks with slant stalls and see issues in the horses. Husband is a Farrier, has found horses in slant stalls are using right front foot ALL the time for balance. Horse sitting back does not get even full rump support to balance with trapezoid stall shape. Distance traveling horses, drivers in a hurry to get home, so people do the straight-thru run from Florida to Michigan. Horses have come off trailer lame, body sore. That right front hoof/leg working for HOURS and MILES is exhausted! Think of yourself having to ride the bus standing, for those kind of hours and miles! Could you make it?

With the straight stalls, horse can stand balanced on all four hooves, none more weighted than the other hooves. Lean back on his rump for bracing, resting other body parts, half stall dIvider will allow wide leg spread for horse who needs/wants it.

We use our gooseneck area for storage. It can hold plenty with front and side doors to put stuff in or remove. Perhaps you plan the gooseneck for a living quarters and a bed, that still works real well for you.

I camp out of my gooseneck. I clear out the top, throw an air mattress up there, load up my ice chest, one burner stove, and crate of household items and dry food and I’m off. I have an awning, a camping mat, foldable table and chairs and use my trunk as a coffee table or step.

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I always imagine the corner cutting this way: The trailer wheels are trying to get where the front wheels of the truck are, in the shortest path possible.

Personally, I’ve found bumper pulls easier to back - the delayed reaction time while waiting for the truck to get back underneath the trailer on a gooseneck is annoying to me. That said, they’re both very backable. The gooseneck definitely hauls better/smoother.

Thanks all so much for the info. I have an order going in with Risa at Happy Trails tomorrow :grin: … she’s been great at answering all of my questions. @Spudsmyguy definitely hoping to camp out of it for the occasional destination show!

Also appreciate all the call outs on going wide when going forward, I have some bushes that are going to need to get trimmed back at one section of my driveway for sure.

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