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Trailers and carts center of balance

I’m in the very beginning stages of thinking about a trailer purchase. I know there have been a lot of threads about trailer/cart configurations but I’m still a little confused about trailer types/horse position in regard to center of balance.
I have a large pony (14.1, ~1000 lbs) and drive a light natural wood road cart (~270 lbs) that does not have removable shafts. I am most likely going to be limited to bumper pull. Options I’ve seen include 2+1 with cart in front, 2-3 horse slant with horse in front or back (different opinions), and stock trailer again with different opinions on horse front/back.
I read a lot of preferences for loading horse in back due to access but I am worried about the potential for sway with the heavier load in back.
Opinions? Experiences? Any advice will be appreciated.

As long as the horse isn’t behind the axles it’s not a worry and it’s pretty hard to get them behind the axles in a BP. Mine’s a 2+1 and 23’ long, pony is still on/forward of the axles.

But unless you get a really long trailer a road cart is probably going in the back and way you slice it. There’s just not enough room without those shafts sticking out the back (even in mine, I don’t see how it would be done) . But if there’s any stock style with a side ramp that would probably be the best of both worlds. It’s probably a custom option, but maybe not a break the bank option. If you did get a side ramp make sure it’s 60" not 48" wide though. If you are going custom it should be a useful custom option for resale and 60" is wide enough for many carriages, golf carts and ATVs.

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There are always “options” in loading pony and carriage/carts. We had a 2-horse bumper pull first. Put the cart (2-wheels) in the truck with shafts over the cab, tIed down to blocks in the stake pockets. Horse in trailer. When we arrived, horse unloaded, trailer unhitched, pull truck forward, cart unloaded from truck bed using ramps. Reverse the process to load up to head home. DO NOT LOAD HORSE UNTIL TRAILER IS SOLIDLY HITCHED!! Do not get distracted talking with bystanders, check everything twice! Not going to say how I learned these tips. Ha ha A winch in front of truck bed is helpful to pull cart up or to let it down SLOWLY, in a controlled fashion.

We like horses riding “in the hammock”, between axles of truck and trailer. They arrive less tired, especially on our terrible Michigan roads. There is a side escape door for emergencies, on our gooseneck stock trailer. Husband has done some modifying of trailer over the years. He added a ramp in the back, which folds up over the one piece backdoor. He welded the “sliding cattle gate” onto the solid half of the back door, so it now has one, wide, solid rear door. Really cut down the noise of cattle gate rattling in it’s track! He added a removable half divider, to make two stalls in the front area. Latest addition are some “lifters” for the ramp. Stronger, but similar to the lifters holding tailgates òpen on cars. Big help on that heavy tailgate! After horses are loaded and tied, butt bars latched, we shut the center gate, then roll in the carriage.and secure it for travel. There is a good size opening above the back end gate, you could stick (well padded) shafts out the back. See it done pretty regularly at competitions. For really long shaft, they are often pointed into trailer, over the center door to ceiling, above horse’s back. Do secure the cart well, not allowing any wheel rolling.

Alway tie things down with rachet straps. Bungees will let you down, always breaking or hooks letting go at the worst time! We came up on a road cart that had flipped out of truck bed!! Actually shafts went up ond over the cart seat, flipped on over onto the 2-horse trailer and over again to hit the road. All their new bungies had broken. We helped pick things up, reload cart, GAVE them some rachet straps to get home. Cart was repairable, and we met them again at driving activities later…

Lots of ways to haul your stuff, none are wrong! Method needs to work for you, the equipment you have available. I think the most interesting title we got was Road Gypsies! We had 2 horses, two carriages, using the stock trailer tailgate as surface under half of one carriage. At the time it was the only way to get everything needed to the CDEs! We actually looked more like the Clampetts moving to Beverly Hills, with stuff all tied down everyplace! Yes, we were the center of attention, just smile and wave! Ha ha Great conversation starter too!!

I love our winch, makes life much easier. Ramp is VERY useful. It has cleats, small strips oif wood in the center for horse traction on the rubber mat. Horses like loading with ramps. Having plain rubber mat sides on ramp, lets carriage roll up beside the cleats, less effort getting it into trailer than bumping over full-width cleats. No worries loading or unloading with ramp cleats if ramp is wet, there is grip for me and horses.

We were told not to cover the carriage in the back of truck or stock trailers. So they get dusty after travel. Whatever you cover it with, flaps and rubs in the wind of travel. Cover can take off a lot of finish, make new marks!

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I suggest that with a bumper pull trailer you spend $300-$400 to buy a Weigh-Safe trailer hitch. I have included the link to the web site.

The Weigh Safe hitch has a built in scale which measures the weight that the tongue of the trailer is putting on the hitch ball. Their products are very high quality. I own one that I use for both my horse trailer with its 2 inch ball and my equipment trailer with its 2-5/16 inch ball. I occasionally use my horse trailer with the dividers removed to haul cargo that needs to be kept dry, and the weight measuring hitch lets me make sure the cargo is arranged to safely put proper weight on the hitch ball without overloading it.

The Weigh Safe hitch allows you to position cargo, in your case the cart, and in my case my mower, my tractor and other items so that the proper trailer tongue weight is on the hitch ball to minimize swaying.

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Our bumper pull hitch was a Reese, with load distribution bars. The hitch sellers showed me how to adjust the chain on bars to suit the load being pulled. The bars “move” the weight forward with spring tension, so truck doesn’t have all the weight of loaded trailer on the rear axle. They were quite easy to put on and off, using a short length of conduit to lift the chain ends onto the carry brackets on trailer tongue, pin the brackets in place. All about leverage!

The hitch folks pointed out that they had hitch ball set above level with trailer off. This was to allow a level trailer tongue when trailer was loaded, going down the road. No hitch dragging going in or out of a sharp rise in driveways, no horses riding downhill going down the road. Worked quite well for us, having the higher set hitch, any loads behind always traveled level. Hitch height was not adjustable.

I found using the bars also stabilized the entire truck-trailer unit from being knocked hard sideways by passing semi trucks and the wind they move. Horses had a quieter ride. That hitch worked well for years. I moved hitch onto about 4 newer trucks, before we bought the gooseneck trailer. Current truck came with a good hitch, so we let the old one go with the old truck.

This Reese hitch will not tell you trailer tongue weight, but you can probably come up with a good estimate in your head if that is important to you.