I’m contemplating training my mini donkey to drive (with professional help) but wondering about how to transport a cart to drive off site. I have a F150 and pull a 2h bp with dressing room. Is there a way to get a cart in and out of a pickup bed without unhitching?? Is this doable for 1 person to do? Just wondering logistics before jumping in, as I don’t live in an area where driving right off the farm is an option, so I would need to trailer out if I want to do more than drive around my 1 acre field.
A cart that fits a mini donkey is going to be light so yes, it’s doable!!
I have never done this but have read about it: In order to unload the cart without unhooking the trailer you have to turn the truck right or left creating an L with the truck being one part of the letter and the trailer being the other part of the letter. By doing that you “expose” the tailgate and can open it, attach your ramp boards and unload the cart.
Also, depending on which cart you purchase it may be possible to put the cart in the horse section, especially if your trailer is a slant load. I use to transport my two mini’s- 30" & 34" and their two wooden carts in my 2 horse slant load with the partition opened.
Good luck with your driving project!
Thanks for the tips! My trailer is a straight load, not a slant, but knowing I could put in the bed and just turn is helpful! Driv8ng isn’t in my immediate future but hopefully in the next few years.
I have used @SLW’s method with a pony-sized cart & it works
Would it work with a full size cart? The turning the truck at an angle.
Being able to fold the trailer enough for clearance can depend on the tongue length on the trailer. We never were able to use this method because our trailer tongue was too short. Size of cart wheels may be an issue, with bigger wheels needing more clearance than a smaller, lighter cart does. Big carts may not be able to be lifted or “muscled” like a small, pony cart can be.
We had to unload the horse, unhitch the trailer, move truck ahead to unload the cart. Then reverse the process to go home. Do not skip any of the steps! Do them in the correct order! Best not to have any friends talking to you during the process, you may miss something!! While it makes a good story after all the years, I still cringe remembering talking to the friend, loading the horse while trailer was still unhitched!! Horse gave me a funny look as I unloaded her, then hitched the truck with cart in the back, reloaded horse.
We hauled our vehicles in the truck, unloading horses, unhitching the trailer to get vehicles out for a number of years. And we changed from a cart to a light 4-wheel trap, adding a winch for easier loading.
Finally invested in a stock trailer when we changed to bigger horses. We had to change everything after getting our horses “supersized!” The big horses did not fit in the small trailer, literally! Going from 2yrs to 3yrs, the horse gained length plus height. We tried practice loading her, she went in. Husband said “pull her in further.” I said “her nose is flat against the window!” He walked to the front, saw it was the truth, and said “there is still a foot of horse out the rear door!” Well she HAD fit the year before, we took her to a show! She was quite nice about it all, was a great horse in weird situations. You could SEE her thinking, “how can I help?” Got us out of some interesting situations over the years.
Forgot some cart details; Our truck had an 8ft bed, straight sides for the length of the bed. I was very surpised to see a tapered bed, less width behind truck cab newer Chevy trucks. Our Roadcart had big wheels. Bought it with 48" wheels for our Arab cross, then upgraded to 56" wheels, longer, draft-size shafts when we started the big mare driving. Did some other modifying to the Roadcart to make it fit her better.
We used ramps to load the cart. Being wooden, it was too heavy to lift up and place on the tailgate. If you might need ramps to load a cart, they will probably be too long to leave the trailer hitched to the truck.
All my friends just stand around and wait for my husband to show up and heft the cart off for them
Probably not a problem with mini donkey vehicle, but the Harbor Freight winch in the truck bed has been a great life hack-- it makes going places almost bearable for my grudging but non-horsey husband; alternatively, I can travel solo if needed (though this guarantees the sort of mechanical truck/trailer issue only he can sort out).
It’s been a game changer since I went from 12 h pony and very light vehicle (able to travel together in slsnt load) to larger pony and vehicle where that method is a non starter.
Thanks for more feedback. Needing to unhitch to load/unload cart sounds like a PITA. Things to think about! But nothing to worry about for now. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Okay here goes, but it would take a bit of investment. A friend who shows miniature horses had her (very talented mechanically oriented) son create this. First, she bought a used minivan, not a fancy one but roomy like those earlier minivans were, not sleek like today’s minivans that appear to be saving their drivers from being soccer moms. Except for driver and passenger seats, the interior was gutted and the floor reinforced, with a pull-out below-floor wide ramp to access the small stall inside created for the mini. On the back of the minivan he modified a bike rack, the kind made for two or three bicycles. The cart needed to be lifted only about 18" for clearance and was placed in the rack, seat down, poles up, belted in place, swinging gate closed and locked. Later added to the interior: a swing-out table, a microwave, tiny fridge, and assorted clever storage. The best part: no trailer to hitch up, parking was easy beyond belief, and oh the savings on gas driving a minivan instead of a pickup. Big bonus the driver gets to talk to her equid passenger throughout the trip!