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Trailer Advice

I’m looking to upgrade my trailer and need advice. I’ve owned 1 trailer as an adult, a 2011 Brenderup I ordered new from the factory. It has served me incredibly well for the last 12 yeras, but my needs are changing. With a toddler at home, I show off the trailer a lot more than I used to. I want a full dressing room for next year, and most likely a front unload ramp too. My SUV lease is up in January, so I’d love to have the trailer set by then so I can pick out a new full size SUV to handle whatever I choose.

However, I’ve never shopped American trailers before. I’m looking at all aluminum options, with weights between 3100 and 3900. Between recently used (2047 or newer) and new but on the lot, I’ve found this floorplan in driving distance from me in: 4 Star, Gore, Trailers USA, Hawk, Kingston, Equispirit, Sundowner, and Adam.

The only obvious build difference seems to be the floor material, but I don’t know enough to have a preference?

What else should I be looking at as deciding factors?

The Trailers USA is appealing, but it seems they have gone out of business? Should that worry me?

Thanks for any thoughts!

Coming from a Brenderup - you’re going to want a fiberglass roof 100%. Metal roofs are the worst (I don’t like melting in my trailer and my horse doesn’t either), I don’t care if it’s insulated. AFAIK, Hawk, EquiSpirit, Kingston, and Gore do fiberglass (from your list).

You’ll also want insulated walls for heat purposes too. I believe all of those manufacturers offer the insulated walls.

For floor material, I would choose wood or rumber over aluminum for heat and vibration (noise) purposes.

I believe Trailers USA is out of business.

My choice would be Hawk or Equispirit. I believe Hawk has a shorter lead time, currently, which would push me to them.

Side/ separate note - I would see about practice pulling an American trailer if you haven’t in a while/ ever. I had several (4-5?) American trailers prior to my Brenderups but realized after borrowing a friends Hawk 2 horse BP with tack that I had forgotten how differently they pull. A 2H with front and rear ramps + dressing room will be quite a bit longer and heavier than your B’up. Even with a (more than) properly equipped vehicle suited to tow the heavier trailer, there is a difference IMO. You may find that a longer/ heavier trailer won’t work for your situation (as I did, realizing that it would be a nightmare to get an American trailer up/ down our driveway as often as we go out despite being WELL within the towing capacity of our truck).


The hawk trailers are nice at a good price point with lots of options. I got mine customized for 8 ft tall with air ride. I have a 2+1 gooseneck that is just under 10k GVWR so with a smaller one you should be fine weight wise.


I would highly recommend a Hawk since they are so well insulated and tow like a dream, at least for larger trucks. On hot show days, I find myself hanging out in the insulated trailer to stay cool. I also love that you don’t have to stuff hay nets for them, just throw a few flakes into the basket. I do not know if you can tow those with an SUV. Mine is 3500 lbs empty. Throw in two horses, tack and a dressing room full of stuff, and it’s probably closer to 7,000 lbs. Most of the ones you have listed are steel frame with aluminum skin. The way people drive these days, I’m all for that steel frame.


I’d suggest an EquiTrek as a lighter, more balanced trailer with front unload (Apollo model) or side ramp (most models) and small LQ too.


I like a Hawk or Balanced Ride (reverse load Hawk). Well made, short lead time, airy and horses seem to like them. They’re still made in Wisconsin IIRC.

Whatever you get, crunch the numbers fully loaded and get the longest wheelbase + properly equipped tow vehicle you can afford. Don’t trust the salesperson, either. Most SUVs are going to be pretty short and possibly underpowered for these double ramp BPs - even all aluminum, once you add the extra length and weight for the side ramp and dressing room, you can be 4000+ lbs EMPTY. A double ramp base model BP Balanced Ride is only a couple hundred pounds lighter than the gooseneck version, for example.

If you’re dead set on an SUV and/or regularly hauling two horses, definitely check out EquiTrek. They even have mini LQ options in their BP reverse loads. If you’re in the south you may need to add windows and vents for horse comfort (they’re cooler than steel, but a Euro design with fewer windows - at a certain point you NEED airflow), but other than that they are a great solution to the SUV tow vehicle debate.


Buy this book and it will answer a lot of questions: The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer Paperback – Illustrated, February 1, 1998

by Neva Kittrell Scheve (Author), Thomas G. Scheve


Trailers USA are incredibly well made high end trailers that did a lot of custom work. I have one I bought in 2019 and it has over 30K on it and gives me no trouble.

As I understand it, Tay (owner) was at the crossroads where he either had to scale way up (and find skilled help as picky as he was) or close shop. That decision plus dealing with an illness in the family meant he went with the latter, which is especially sad for the driving people since he really understood what we need in a trailer!

I know there are some very old trailers usa that are Al over steel from before he took over the business and rumor is they are not very good quality.

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Also, I think the only side ramp version I would consider with an SUV is the model that has the same length as a regular two horse bumper pull with a tack room. Meaning your tack room space will be sacrificed because it’ll be on a slant wall and the ramp is really only useful for unloading since it is also on a slant wall.


Thank you for this! I hadn’t really considered that they will pull differently. I haven’t driven an American trailer since I was an 18 y/o working student. I’ll see what I can borrow. Unfortunately the other trailers at my barn are goosenecks - a 6 horse HtoH and a 2+1.

I wonder if this is a reason to not buy a used one though?

Thanks! I feel comfortable with the tow vehicle question relative to these trailers. My current SUV is rated for 8600 lbs and has never noticed the B’Up even with 2 horses on a big hill, and the trade in I’m planning is rated for 10k and adds a bit in wheel base to what I have now. These trailers all seem to have two 3500 lb. axels, so I can’t go over 7k. The capacity is a good argument for sticking with one of the lighter ones though. I usually only take two horses when we go to the trail, which is less than 2 miles on a local road (we would ride it if safer). For shows, it will just be the one.

Thanks! I’ll check them out.

Thanks! I’m looking at a 2018 model. Sounds like it’s worth having a look at.

Thanks. This is the floorplan I’m leaning towards. I’m not looking to groom/fully tack up in the trailer or anything. Just enough room to stand at the horse’s head and put the bridle on, then walk out.

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The Day-Trekka actually looks like it might meet all my needs. I also appreciate the rear-facing set up. I’m going to see if I can find one in my area to look at (NJ, NY, CT). Anybody here in that area with one? I have a friend with a similarly configured horsebox I might be able to borrow to try the side load option out. There are lots of complaints about rotting ramps, but they all seem pretty old now.


yeah they have moved to no wood in their construction AFAIK so that’s old news. L&D Trailers in OR imports them to your nearest port.

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I was thinking the EquiTrek could be a good option as well, so am glad other mentioned! They have good, horse friendly features and should be similar to the Brenderup (slightly larger but should tow similarly).

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I would be helpful if you could post some thoughts on the new SUVs that you are interested in acquiring as your tow vehicle.

Do you plan for the SUV to also serve you as your daily driver? Are you somewhat locked into a particular brand for some reason like dealership reputation? Are you planning to park in a closed garage where length and height are critical factors? Do you want a factory installed trailer brake control or are you willing to add an aftermarket controller? Will you need easy access to the rear area of the SUV when the trailer is hooked up, as some SUV rear door configurations are better than others for this? Do you need third row passenger seating, or is a second row only sufficient? Have you considered whether you want a self-leveling feature in the SUV? I find self-leveling to be a great addition, but it is not available on all SUV brands. Also think about how the SUV might handle a trailer camera monitor, another feature that once experienced will become almost essential for peace of mind. Large SUVs with truck tires IMO are better for trailer towing than those equipped with lower pressure passenger car tires - just another factor in the SUV selection process.

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Happy to share my thoughts on SUVs, but trying not to clog up this thread since what I need help with right now is the trailer. One decision at a time.

I currently drive a 2021 Dodge Durango Tow N Go Edition. If I go with the Equi-Trek, I’ll probably get the 2024 version of the same thing. If I go American, I’m considering the Jeep Wagoneer, the Toyota Sequoia, and the Ford Expedition. I had load leveling suspension on a past Jeep and appreciated it, but don’t consider it a deal breaker. Yes, it’s my only car. I can’t do an XL length Suburban, but anything short of that is fine. No third row needed.

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I’d suggest the Toyota or Ford, personally, having owned both (and a Chevy). Chevy and Dodge would be my “third” choice, but if you’ve liked the one you have I’d go with that. Mechanic SO has banned Jeeps from the house unless it’s a junker for rock crawling :laughing:.

I’m also considering a new EquiTrek for myself. If you end up trying out the side load horse box or even getting an EquiTrek, please update us!


So many people have had problems with jeeps, but I towed with my Grand Cherokee without issues (traded in at 126k with no drivetrain problems), and beat the fire out of my Renegade with only having to work on the throttle and AC (I pull an arena drag, yank out bushes, etc and its got 170k on it).

I swear they thrive when they’re beat on a little.


Haha… I’ve had great luck with my Jeeps. I had 3 successive versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland w/ v8 Hemi before the Durango and all towed the B’Up beautifully. That said, I lease cars so I’m not looking at longevity past year 3. And for all this discussion, I probably tow the trailer less than 12 times per year.


Oh yep. We keep cars until they die around here so Toyota and Ford have served us well.

Volkswagen and Chevy? Not so much. My SO hates Jeeps almost as much as he hates BMWs :joy:

ETA he hates them from a mechanic’s perspective - probably due to constant maintenance issues but mostly difficulty in actually working on them. Obviously they still do the job for plenty of people!


Looks like your current Dodge is set up to tow 8,700 pounds, maximum, so that is a pretty good starting point. With the guidelines you have set for your new trailer weight you could actually down-size towing capacity somewhat for your new SUV.

I question why the all-aluminum choice, though. Are you looking for aluminum frame, aluminum floor, and aluminum roof? If you would consider a steel frame, wood floor, fiberglass roof, and aluminum body trailer that will give you way more trailers to choose from that are still in your mandated weight range.

I for one, prefer wood floors, fiberglass roofs, and a steel frame with aluminum panels. Gore, for example, has a 3,600 pound 2 horse bumper pull with all of those (fiberglass roof, steel frame, wood floor), a side ramp, and a 5 foot dressing room. My Lexus SUV tows mine just fine. Although I also have a bigger trailer and a big truck, I prefer using the Gore and Lexus for two horse excursions. It is just way smoother and more comfortable.

I find the major fault with towing the Gore with the SUV is that the side mirrors don’t offer a great view. But there are extendable side mirror options, as well as cameras mounted to the rear of the trailer, to solve that.