Because I’ve been behind the wheel of the F150 with the 2H bumper pull when the big horse leaned on the side around every turn on a windy day and the rig began to sway and there was a danger of the truck being pulled across the lane lines if I was a less experienced driver.
Because I’ve been in the F150 in the rain where a car in front slammed on the brakes and the truck brakes were on the floor and there was no more braking power left as we prayed for friction to save us from killing someone. We were lucky it stopped two inches from her bumper, but the Ram 1500 behind us had to swerve off the road to avoid the trailer and hit a stop sign.
Because I’ve been in my previous rigs (2H BP with 98 Expedition and 96 Tahoe, both with 5+L V8 engines and factory tow package) coming down the side of the mountain, smelling the brakes overheating and using the gears as much as possible to get us to the bottom safely, while feeling the trailer weight relentlessly pushing. Or when that impatient person cut us off in traffic and I once again had the pedal on the floor praying for friction to be on my side.
Because I’ve driven my current rig, a 7.3L F250, with the same trailer and come around the nose of a semi on the highway to be slammed broadside by a 50 mph gust of wind. Only the weight of the truck kept us on the road, with my old gassers, we’d have been in the ditch or dangerously out of control.
Because I’ve seen the faces of several people who hauled their horses “with no problems for years” with a Jeep or an Explorer who finally got to that ten seconds when it really matters and because the small vehicle could not outmatch the physics of the trailer, their horses were dead. There’s no taking that back and it breaks my heart.
Because I’ve also paid the price of getting an average of 5 mpg hauling with the gassers and wearing out brakes and radiators and transmissions and suspensions over the years. Don’t forget the $800 worth of 10-ply weight rated tires. Some people have disposable income and that’s ok. I do not.
I only can afford one vehicle, so yes, fuel costs are a concern. That’s why it’s a diesel and gets 21 mpg on the hwy empty, which is BETTER than any 1/2 tons I owned, which got 15-17 mpg hwy empty and maybe 7 mpg towing on a good day. Many people are “fine” for a long time, but that’s not the part that matters. It’s those ten seconds that you can’t predict in which I want to know I did everything I could to ensure that my horses and I make it out alive.
No, I’m not a “dually or nothing” person. Although it is not my choice, if you pay attention to the numbers, you can haul a horse safely with a 1/2 ton vehicle with sway control, an appropriate trailer, and good driving. There are no guarantees, but there is a thing called “mitigation of risk over time.”
I learned the hard way, starting too small on the vehicle with a trailer too short for my horse. I was lucky and no one got hurt except my bank account. Others have had the much harder and more painful lessons. After the last 8 years of hauling experience all over NC and many places from MD to GA and TN, I wish I’d known what I know now and just bought my beloved diesel and saved myself a lot of money and repairs.
PS I have hauled one horse in a BP from not-too-far-from-Richmond to Lexington, VA. That’s a big climb and the trucks work HARD. I used to live in Lynchburg, VA, so am familiar with the terrain and now I live just about 20 mins S of VA border and have hauled up to MD and to Lexington, VA Horse Center.