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When it comes to hauling your horse, you want to make sure that you’re using a trailer that is safe and reliable. There are two main types of horse trailers on the market today: gooseneck and bumper pull. So, which one is the better option?
In general, gooseneck trailers are safer than bumper pull trailers. This is because they offer greater stability on the road, thanks to their design. Gooseneck trailers are attached to the tow vehicle in the truck bed. This distributes the weight of the trailer and horse more evenly than bumper pull trailers.
There is a long-standing debate in the horse world for anyone who has ever owned or plans to own a horse trailer: gooseneck vs. bumper pull trailers. Although this seems like an easy question to, there’s a bit of information that you’ll need to address about what you want and need in a horse trailer.
In this article, we’ll help you decide which style of a trailer would be the best option for you.
What is a Gooseneck Trailer?
Simply put, what makes a gooseneck trailer is the gooseneck. A gooseneck trailer has a long and curved neck that attaches to the bed of your truck. In fact, the term “gooseneck” originated from the shape it mimics, the neck of a goose!
Gooseneck trailers are much longer and bigger than bumper pull-horse trailers. A standard gooseneck trailer length is 21’6”.
Is a Gooseneck Trailer Right for You?
If you’re wondering if a gooseneck trailer would be the right fit for you, consider these few factors:
#1. The number of horses that you have.
If you own 1, 2, or 3 horses, you could choose either a bumper pull or a gooseneck trailer. However, if you’ll be towing more than 3 horses at a time, you’ll want to opt for a gooseneck.
In addition, if you’ll be towing any type of equipment in addition to your horse such as a horse carriage, wagon, cart, or even a side by side; a gooseneck trailer may be a better option simply because there’s more length and more space.
The divider wall between the horse area can be modified so that you can roll items, such as a two-wheel cart with shafts, in the back of the trailer all the way to the front dressing room area.
#2. How much camping do you do?
Deciding whether or not you’ll be sleeping in your horse trailer will be a major factor when deciding between a gooseneck and a bumper pull trailer.
The majority of bumper pull living quarters trailers out there are not safe (unless you’ll only be hauling 1 horse in your bumper pull trailer). So, if you plan to sleep in your horse trailer while you’re traveling, a gooseneck will be a better fit for you.
#3. The type of dressing area that you want.
If you’ve decided that you’ll be camping in your trailer, then deciding what type of living arrangements you want in your horse trailer is the next area to address. While bumper pull trailers are able to accommodate small dressing areas, it’s unsafe to put a full living quarter in anything over a 1 horse bumper pull. If you want the option to have a mattress, small kitchen area, and bathroom in your horse trailer, then go for a gooseneck model.
What are the Benefits of a Gooseneck Over a Bumper Pull Trailer?
It’s a common misconception that gooseneck horse trailers are more difficult to drive than bumper pull trailers. Let’s go ahead and debunk the myth: it’s not true!
While a bumper pull is smaller and can be easier to back up, there are not any notable differences in the maneuverability of gooseneck and bumper pull trailers when you’re driving down the road.
There are 3 key benefits of choosing a gooseneck over a bumper pull:
- Stability: Gooseneck trailers tend to feel more stable while hauling because the hitch attaches directly to your truck bed.
- Tow More: Because gooseneck trailers are larger than bumper pulls (and because the hitch is attached within the bed of your tow vehicle) this means that you’ll be able to carry more weight and haul more than a smaller bumper pull model.
- Tighter Turn Radius: This feature may seem like a disadvantage to some drivers, but once you get comfortable handling your gooseneck, it can actually make it easier to maneuver and back up than a bumper pull.
- Less Sway: If you’ve ever driven a bumper pull trailer, you’ve probably noticed there can be a lot of sway while driving. Of course, there are options to mitigate this like sway bars, but again the positioning of the gooseneck brings the advantage here. It’s locked directly into your truck bed and this minimizes trailer sway while you’re hauling.
Safety Features of a Gooseneck Trailer
The biggest problem with a lot of horse trailers doesn’t lie within the trailer itself, but rather an improperly matched tow vehicle. A lot of horse owners out there are towing trailers with vehicles that are not properly rated for their trailers. Before determining if you’re hauling a safe weight with your tow vehicle there’s a definition that you should know.
Tongue Weight. The tongue weight of a horse trailer is how much your trailer weighs on the front end. Many people confuse tongue weight with trailer weight. The tongue weight will normally be around 20% of the trailer weight. Bumper pulls will normally have lesser tongue weights than gooseneck trailers.
Here’s an example of a situation that our team at Double D Trailers frequently shares with our clients.
One of our clients is buying a 2-horse bumper pull Safetack Reverse trailer. They’re hauling warmblood horses. The trailer weighs 5,100 lbs. and the tongue weight is 1,100 lbs.
They were looking to purchase a 2022 Yukon Denali truck which is rated to tow 8,500 lbs. Even with two horses at 2,000 lbs. each, this truck seems like it would be up to the task. Right?
Wrong! The tongue weight rating on this newer model SUV is only 850 lbs.
In the example scenario, the client is trying to tow a trailer that has a tongue weight of 1,100 lbs., with an SUV that can only handle 850 lbs. The client’s SUV is not equipped to handle her trailer, and this type of situation can easily lead to disaster on the road.
So, when we get asked the million-dollar question “Is a gooseneck safer than a bumper pull?”, there is one clear answer. Both styles of trailers are completely safe, provided that you have an adequately equipped tow vehicle to haul your trailer.
What are Some Tips for Safely Using a Gooseneck Trailer?
When it comes to driving any horse trailer on the road, there are some generic tips that should be followed across the board. In all situations, it’s important to remember that you are carrying precious cargo – so drive as if their lives depend on it (because they do!)
Tip #1: Practice Makes Perfect
Practice, practice, practice. Practicing driving with your horse trailer is not only beneficial for you, but for your horses as well. When you’re practicing, you will get more comfortable with your trailer, and your horses will too.
Tip #2: Do a Full Trailer Check
Before heading out with your horses for your next trip, you should make sure that your trailer is in good working order. A lot of trailer owners store their trailer outdoors where it’s exposed to the elements. This means that over time, trailer parts, particularly tires can become worn out and easily breakable. In addition, you should double-check that all your lights on the trailer are functioning properly.
Tip #3: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It may seem like an obvious statement, but driving with a horse trailer is a completely different experience than driving without one. You don’t have as much reaction time when you’re pulling that much weight behind you.
So, it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid sudden stops and/or quick acceleration. This will ensure that your horses stay cool, calm, and collected – while you’re keeping yourself and other drivers safe.
Tip #4: When in Doubt… Stay Home
Of course, there are situations when we absolutely have to travel. However, if you’ve just planned a fun weekend trip and mother nature rears its head with icy roads, high winds, heavy rains… it’s best to just stay home. Hazardous road conditions can be tricky driving without a horse trailer in tow, so hauling a trailer adds another level of danger.
Tip #5: If You Need Help, Ask!
In the horse trailer community, there is no such thing as a dumb question. If there is a certain aspect of your trailer that you need help with, ask a trusted source who has more experience in the area. It’s always better to ask than to not know.
Is There Any Downside to Using a Gooseneck Trailer Hitch System?
The basic answer to if there is any disadvantage to using a gooseneck hitch system is no. The advantage to using a bumper pull trailer is that most tow vehicles out there can safely pull a bumper pull trailer, but not all can tow a gooseneck.
To haul a gooseneck, you’ll need a truck so that you can attach the hitch to the bed of your truck. Whereas with a bumper pull, most full-sized SUVs or half-ton trucks can easily “hitch up and go” with bumper pull models.
There are many advantages to choosing a gooseneck horse trailer. These trailers provide horse owners with a more roomy, stable, and equipped option to haul their horses and even get a little camping in when you choose a living quarters trailer package.
If you’re interested in designing your own customized gooseneck horse trailer with top-of-the-line safety features, reach out to the team at Double D Trailers for a free price quote.
Brad Heath: Brad is the owner of Double D Trailers. Brad has over 25 years of experience in the horse trailer industry. Brad has developed and patented many trailer features that are exclusive to Double D Trailers including the game-changing Safetack Reverse. Brad specializes in innovative, safe, and customized trailer design.