What comes first, the cart or the trailer?

I just took my first driving lesson; my horse is broke to drive however I am not! We had a blast and I think I would like to pursue driving as well as riding, but I’m still a ways out from owning my own carriage and being independent.

Carriage aside, a trailer purchase will happen in a year or two; I am set for now with friends that haul but would like to be independent sooner than later in that regard.

Couple questions related to hauling horses and carriages! I’m not looking for anything with living quarters, what would a minimum size be for one horse and one carriage (likely a two wheeler?). What would the difference be for a four wheeler?

Since I’m an new to the driving scene and am completely unsure when I may purchase a carriage, should this be a consideration now in trailer choice? Ive been thinking of a two horse gooseneck would work best for me and I assume that would be too small for horse and cart.

Any insight here are much appreciated as my toe is only dipped in the water with driving at this point.

IME, a stock trailer was my answer.
16’ with a center gate, full escape door passenger side.
Cart & “stuff” go in front of the gate, mini goes in back
I drive a mini, but a pony or horse-size cart should fit in the front - you may have to take shafts off.
I have hauled my 16h TWH in back w/gate shut.

I’d get the trailer first, unless you can store a cart somewhere you can also drive.


I saw an interesting floorplan for this recently – a 2+1 setup with the two straight load stalls in the back and a side ramp up front but with no ‘dressing room’ wall. It was just open from the gates in front of the horses all the way to the gooseneck drop wall. It was actually set up as a LQ and had tiedowns for the carriage. I assume that once they arrived they’d unload the carriage and then unpack to live in the open space.

Here is a smaller version of the same concept (click the floorplans tab and look at the #2) http://www.goretrailers.com/gooseneck25k.html


However, if you get that floorplan, you need an 8’ wide trailer for carriages to go in sideways (and a 60" ramp won’t cut it for many carts and carriages).

I have this design only in a 2 horse bp, trailer is 8’ wide, 60" side ramp and the horse center divider is on a track so it slides over in case the vehicle has to come in the back. It’s a custom and it’s also fully insulated, converts to a not terribly primitive lq. But the marathon vehicle still has to go in the truck bed, however that was the plan, I didn’t want to get 30+ feet of gn in order to fit two vehicles (and a vehicle upgrade, it have a gas f250 currently). It’s a pain but I rarely take both vehicles unless competing and that’s not over 6 to 7 times a year, so for the cost difference and convenience of a smaller trailer the other 300 days a year, it’s a pain well worth it.

But back when I first started I had a 2h bp and ramps and a winch to get the marathon vehicle in and out of the truck bed, like I said, a pain but very do able while you are working out your options. If you have that transport available it may be worth doing that for now. And when you are at driving events with other drivers, pick their brains about their trailers. We all love showing off our hacks and the things that worked and the things that didn’t work!


Not sure what kind of vehicle that you are thinking about, but I would certainly do some investigating as to dimensions, etc before you start trailer shopping. I think you will be hard pressed to find a 2 wheel vehicle with shafts that can be removed, and that complicates transportation. I had a 4 wheel vehicle built specifically with removeable shafts - there is a name for the clip but it was ages ago… That could go in the front of a good size stock trailer with my mare in back.

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A lot of the modern 2 wheel (and of course, most CDE 4 wheel) vehicles have removable shafts these days, it’s just a few minutes with a hex screw driver.

But it’s absolutely positively a good idea to have all the measurements for a carriage before getting a trailer. Everyone knows that one person who bought the trailer thinking the carriage would fit!


You would have the most flexibility for cart & horse transport with a stock trailer- bumper pull or GN style. I would recommend a 3/4 ton truck to pull the trailer.

The shafts on my (formerly owned) Fry & Bellcrown 2 wheeled cart remove easily. The shafts on my wooden cart do not.

I say get the cart then trailer shop.

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I would think you should get your cart or carriage first, then you’d know the measurements you’d need for your trailer. To be able to load carriage and horses in trailer, ya gotta know the MEASUREMENTS first!!!
For me, I have a 3horse slant load & when I haul ponies, I can put their single cart in first, & bungie cord the shafts up towards the roof, then I can load two small ponies in behind the cart.

When I haul ponies and a 4wheel vehicle (for pairs), I have to load the 4wheel into the back of my truck FIRST, then hitch the trailer, then load ponies.

When I haul a horse and a cart or carriage, I have to put the carriage into the back of my truck FIRST, then hitch the trailer, then load the horse. With careful 90-degree manuvering you CAN unload the carriages from the truck bed without unhitching your trailer, but generally it is best to unload horse from trailer first, then unhitch your trailer & block it (of course), then unload your carriages. It is a process, but it IS do-able.

Tongue length on trailer will vary. There are some bumper pull trailers with short tongues, which impossible to bend enough to unload a carriage without unhitching. I have had a couple of those! Heck, the tailgate of truck would not even lay flat because it hit the trailer jack!! Had to unload horse, unhitch trailer, pull forward to unload vehicle. Then reverse it to load and leave.

But you do what you must, if you want to go places badly enough.

I have seen some AMAZING bumper pull trailers for sale in the UK, that had platforms or rails on the long tongue. They put the carts and carriages on the platform or rails, tied them down to haul!

When we could not fit our new, LARGE young horses in that 2H, bumper pull trailer, we bought a gooseneck stock trailer. Amazing how useful that trailer has been over the many years we have had it!

Yeah, I haven’t seen a newer trailer with a long tongue. All the trailers seem to have a pointed nose instead of a flat front wall, and that extra tack room space is at the expense of tongue length for sure.

I didn’t want my spare mounted inside so I had to have some creative tire mounting to make room for the jack and spare on the outside (8’ wide, so it couldn’t be mounted on the side, but again, 8’ wide is just about required in driving)

I saw a couple people get customized stock trailers. I believe the cart goes in last and the shafts stick up above the back door of the trailer.

My setup is a van - one of the big ones - pulling a Bockmann horse trailer

The carriage goes inside the van, helped along with a winch (Superwinch https://www.amazon.com/Superwinch-1140232-Portable-Synthetic-D-Shackles/dp/B0166H2V0C/ref=asc_df_B0166H2V0C/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198057003269&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5794466273705110682&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9025851&hvtargid=pla-385724589595&th=1) The van protects the carriage and the incline to load it is mild.

I am adding in another vote for a stock trailer. We custom ordered ours along the line of a 2+1 idea, but I prefer the open sides of a stock since I like to show off of my trailer and it is much better for airflow. When we take the carriage, the carriage goes in sideways on the side load ramp in the front bay and the horse goes in the back. When we take the cart, the horse goes in the first bay and we put the cart in the larger rear bay with the shafts sticking out the back gate (carefully padded and only about a foot out of the trailer). I also like this set up since we do a lot of trail riding and showing as well and this is the most useful set up. If I have just one horse for shows, I cross tie my horse in the rear bay and have all of my hay/shavings/etc in the front bay. We also don’t have a ramp on the rear for horses that do better with a step up instead of a ramp. It has a large tack room as well with a door into the horse area. I have been really happy with the set up and surprised the number of times that the side ramp has been useful when not hauling a carriage.

I do enjoy poking my nose into different trailer set ups at driving shows because they are so creative and there are so many really cool floor plans. Good luck.

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