Gore trailers vs. 4 Star vs. Hawk vs. Adam vs. Hart?

I’m just starting to explore options for a new-to-me 2 horse BP trailer (do not want a gooseneck right now—too big). My current trailer is great for my older TB, but will be too small for my next horse, a wb that will be bigger all around; longer, wider, etc. I have a couple of years to think this through. I’ve always heard 4 Star trailers are the best, but have just started hearing about a few other manufacturers that seem to make similar trailers.

Things I like about my current trailer: Hauls very quietly for the horse, has window in front, ample head room, stays cool in the summer. It hauls like a dream. It has surge brakes—a self-braking system, which I like, but I know I won’t find that on a standard American made trailer.

I’d like my next trailer to be heavier/wider for stability. I need a longer stall space. I don’t, actually, like slant loads, and my horses haven’t, either. I’d love a bigger tack room/dressing room than my current one. I want a super solid floor—not aluminum. I think I want a steel chassis with aluminum sides.

Can anyone give me feedback on their trailers of these makes? Any years or models to avoid?
Pluses and minuses? What do you all think of the fiberglass tops on the Gore trailers?

Thanks so much!

I don’t think you can go wrong with either a 4Star or a Hart.

4Star has set the pace as far as upper level trailers go. Hart has followed very closely behind.

I have owned 2 Harts, one LQ and one with just a tack room. The quality of both trailers was outstanding, and they both towed beautifully. I would buy another in a heartbeat.

I don’t have any experience with the fiberglass roof on the Gore, but can tell you the composite roof on the Hart is a game changer. We lived in our LQ trailer in the heat of the Tennessee summer, and the difference between the outside temperature and the temperature in the horse area of the trailer was obviously noticeable when going in and out of the trailer.

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I am on my second Gore in the past 30 years. I just happened upon the Gore dealer on my way to look at a Kingston. First was a Gore 2 horse straight load with rear ramp bumper pull, no dressing room. Between eventing anf fox hunting we used it a bunch. Never had any leaks. No problems with the wood floors. Conspicuity tape faded over the years, but it was easy to replace. It needed one wheel bearing replacement, found and done during annual service. Other than replacing tires, which I believe should be done every 5 years regardless, it needed no other work. I parked it on the street in front of my barn in Aiken one afternoon with a for sale sign on it and it sold for my asking price the next day before noon. It was 20 years old and could have passed for 5.

My current Gore is a 2 horse BP rear ramp, and 5 foot dressing room. Aerodynamic nose versus flat nose on the first trailer. Ten years into owning this one it has also had no leaks anywhere. The fiberglass roofs on both have needed pressure washing for black lichen-like growth. A few years ago I applied Wet & Forget, and repeat it every year. It has prevented any roof discoloration; it’s a fantastic product.

I would not hesitate to buy another Gore. In fact, I have my eye on a 2+1 Goore gooseneck as my next trailer,

I love my Hawk. It is one of the best-made trailers on the market.

Are you familiar with EquiSpirit trailers? They are premium top-of-the-line trailers and priced accordingly. Very expensive.

Facts on this are a little fuzzy to find, but basically … A Hawk is said to be an EquiSpirit under a more moderately priced brand name. The Hawk may be a bit less fancy on the options. The same people were involved in the creation of both trailers, under the auspices of Merhow.

That’s my input. :slight_smile: Good luck on finding a great trailer that suits your needs! :grin:


As someone who lives in the “Trailer Capital of the World,” Elkhart IN --my suggestion would be 4 Star, Platinum, or Merhow. I have had trailers in all price ranges, and the poster who pointed out that the more expensive trailers are better: Better made, better designed, and last longer is correct. Many trailer manufactures (I live within a 10 mile radius of Lakota, Merhow, Bison, Shadow, and I think Adam) --and pretty much ALL LQ trailers west of the Mississippi have the LQ installed here (RV workers/suppliers make the same stuff for RVs used in LQ) –

Anyway --the trailer manufactures, like car manufactures, have different models --the less expensive ones are less expensive for a reason: less labor, lower quality materials, different design. Top of the line trailers better welds and more of them (the most important part of the trailer, I think, is the welding --should be welded everyplace metal meets metal). Top of the line trailers maximize space – taller, wider, longer. Mats are thicker, walls are insulated, tack areas are well designed to maximize space available. Cheaper models are made more quickly (welds take time), use less material (1/4 inch wall mats instead of 1/2 inch, no insulation), and are smaller.

The BEST suggestion I have is to buy Neve Scheve’s book about Buying, Owning, and Maintaining Horse Trailers (on Amazon) then take yourself to as many dealers as you can and LOOK at the trailers (take your tape measure because that 8’ wide trailer may be measured from the outside --fender to fender --and not the inside where the horse will be standing --same with length --the 16’ trailer advertised may include the tongue --so do your own measuring).

Be aware (you might be) that most trailer manufacturers take a trailer to World, Congress, and I assume WEG for horse owners to look at in person and have a rep who can/will answer questions.

I have owned Bison, Lakota, EquiSpirit, and Merhow —of those, Merhow is hands down the best trailer I’ve ever owned. It is also the most expensive. FYI Merhow has a real live person who answers the phone --and a real person who answers questions on-line about the trailers. I rehabbed a 20 year old Merhow at one point (sold it for way more than I paid for it after a few cosmetic repairs, a good wash, and new tires) --Merhow helped me find the (vintage) parts I needed and hooked me up with a full set of KEYS for the trailer --20 years and they still had a record of the keys --sent them for free!! Great people.


Of that list, I would go for Hawk. And then I’d suggest looking at Balanced Ride so they face the rear.

4-Star used to be my dream trailer, but after looking hard at the options and the construction and especially the interior fasteners, like being able to pull a pin and drop a breast bar out from under a horse, I’ve changed my mind. I wouldn’t refuse to buy a used 4-Star in good shape or anything… but I were ordering a new trailer, that’s just not what I’d pick.

Having had both types, I vastly prefer a wood floor with rubber mats.


I have a lot of experience with my own two Hawk trailers, and my neighbor’s 4-Star, and would recommend them both. I feel like the bar pins are easier to do on the 4-Star, but I think the Hawk is a much better value for the money. I had my first Hawk for 18 years, and it was still in great shape when I sold it to get my second Hawk (upgraded to a 2+1 gooseneck).

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Another vote for Hawk…mine is an '06 (straight load 2h gn) and going strong. Love love love the rumber floor…thick padding…pulls great. If I ever need a new trailer I would get another Hawk.

Also vote for Hawk. I have a 2012 2H bumper pull I’ll be parting with as I am upgrading to another Hawk. It’s held up really well no thanks to some rather special horses who like to make things difficult sometimes :slight_smile:

The price on Hawks is very fair, but prices have really risen the past few years. Kicking myself for not upgrading sooner lol

Since most folks have not owned a lot of different brand trailers in their lifetimes, most opinions about trailers, like mine above, are based on small numbers and are affected by brand loyalty.

Does anyone know of any side by side by side comparisons of several brand horse trailers with similar configurations? Now that sort of thing would be really meaningful to me, as opposed to a series of anecdotes about one brand.

And yes, I do realize that anecdotes and personal experience with a single vehicle is how Consumer Reports obtains reliability information for their car ratings. They have enough reports per vehicle to do that, and if they don’t receive enough reports, they sat “insufficient data.”

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We went to the Congress a few years ago to do some trailer shopping. The choices there were just overwhelming to be honest with you! I can’t even remember all of the brands we looked at (we honestly looked at least 10 different brands and 100’s of models over 5 days), but we decided on a Cimmeron.

I just wanted to post on here as we had our LQ done by Trail Boss in Texas and he was the one who steered us in the direction of trailer makes as he as worked on many, many different brands and will only do LQ in certain brands as he said others just don’t hold up structurally and he doesn’t want his name on the ones that have failed him in the past (poor welds, failing pop outs due to bad/poor quality hardware etc).

The ones on your list that he would only work with is 4 Star, Adam and Hart. We looked at all of those models but we had a very specific design in mind and their architects were unable to make our trailers to our specs, but Cimmeron could. He also really liked Cimmeron, so we went with them and had Trail Boss do our LQ once the trailer was built.


This probably isn’t helpful…I’ve had several 4 Stars. I’ve never had a problem w any of them. I’ve just downsized each time I traded one in. They hold their value well. I don’t love my dealer…the father died and the son is unpleasant. I called other dealers much further from me who carried more than one brand. They all said if I could afford it, 4 Star was the best. I’m a cowardly hauler so I want the strongest, most well built trailer I could afford.

I own a 4-star and I wouldn’t say it’s all that and a bag of chips. Nice trailer yes, but not worth the hype they get.

Chest bar snapped off in an emergency stop, pile driving my horse into the stud gate.
WERM floor bubbled, needed warranty repair.
Clear coat on the outside reacted with the bolts for the hardware, again a warranty repair.

It was also a fully custom trailer - it showed up with two of the doors 2 feet away from where the drawing indicated I wanted them. They have to build me a whole new trailer due to that, and it was 2 months delayed from the original delivery date. It just shows that their QC is not all they claim it to be, if no one caught that the doors were in an entirely wrong location.


WOW! That’s a pretty big miss!

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Oh yikes! That’s crazy!

We had a similar (almost) mishap at Cimmeron as we wanted a door to swing a certain way from the LQ to the horse part. It was correct on the drawings and luckily we flew down as the trailer was being built (so was still just the framing really) and they happened to be installing the door that day. My husband saw it right away and had them change the swing right then and there. If it was missed, it would have been the same type of thing, as in a rebuild (as they told us that day it would not have been able to be fixed once it was hung), but I bet we wouldn’t have got it in 2 months. So glad we were there! And it was amazing to see the structure and the building room floor. It was very impressive.


Actually, Hawk trailers is an off shoot of the old Trail-Et company, not Merhow. Trail-Et employees started Hawk and then took over the old factory when Trail-Et moved and subsequently went out of business. Hawk manufactures the EquiSpirit brand and also the Balanced Ride brand. I grew up just a few miles from the factory.
My two horse is a Hawk and I love it! My next trailer will be a Balanced Ride, made by Hawk.


I have an EquiSpirit that I custom designed. It was manufactured by Hawk. I also love the Gore trailers. What these three brands have in common are that they are a steel frame with insulated aluminum skin. The partition, chest and butt bars are steel. This will make a difference if you are in a wreck and your 1500 pound horse is thrown around. The aluminum will snap. I also like the wooden floor. It is easier to inspect for rot (and yes, those aluminum floors will rot and you might not notice it until its too late), provides a smoother ride, and does not conduct heat from the road.


Unforgettable, you are absolutely right…Haw was started by TrailLet employees who wanted to build a better trailer…and the built the Equispirits for a time. I heard Equispirit wanted to cut costs and sacrifice the quality and HWk said no. Whether or not that is true, I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that Hawk may not have the same “brand power” as 4 Star but they make a high quality trailer I have seen a lot of 4 Stars and I wouldn’t trade…


Adam trailers are nice, but average quality. I had one, and it was great for what I did, but was not “polished”. It could be noisy. That said, I bought it used and sold it about 8 years later for almost what I paid for it.

My current trailer is a Platinum Coach. It may be the last trailer I ever own and is built like a brick sh!thouse. My husband saw this one sitting net to the Hawk I was considering and wouldn’t let me buy the Hawk because the quality of the Platinum was just clearly so much higher.

When you’re looking at a trailer, inspect the welding. Does it look even, like it was laid down by a professional? Or is it gloopy and uneven? That can tell you a lot about the build strength. If you’re looking at all aluminum, what grade aluminum is it? My Platinum Coach is all aluminum and probably just as heavy as my old Adam which had a steel frame, largely because they use aircraft grade aliminum.

Was my Platinum coach expensive? Yes. But its also a dream to haul, quiet, and as safe a trailer as I can get.


I have an Adam 2H BP (steel frame, wood floor, aluminum skin). The fittings are average, but nice enough. The weld points are what sold me. It’s three years old and still looks practically new. It also extremely cool in the summers and reasonable in the winter. My next trailer will be a 2+1 and I wouldn’t hesitate to look at an Adam.

I know a lot of people who like Hawk, but the handful I’ve known I was not terribly impressed with. One particularly had the roof fly off driving down the highway, so I steer clear of them.

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