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 Tips on towing
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Dixiesmom
Beginning Rider



145 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  12:25:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Dixiesmom's Homepage Send Dixiesmom a Private Message
Since we have other threads talking about what to put in the trailer, and how to organize, etc. I thought I would start one about heading down the road. Any tips you guys can give? I know there are several members here that haul their horses quite a bit. For example....

When hauling one horse I was told to put them in the drivers side. True? Why?
I have a 4 speed overdrive transmission (automatic), can I leave it in overdrive on the highway? Do I turn it off when in the city?
When going up steep hills, or coming down, should I down shift?

Any tips you all can give us that have just aquired new rigs would be greatly appreciated

Melissa

Dixie--black & white paint mare, 3yrs in April
Pete--roan missouri foxtrotter gelding, 21yrs in April

EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3785 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  04:41:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message
I have a 1995 Ford, and was told to ALWAYS make sure the overdrive was off when towing. Now, the reason I was given was that it would burn up the engine if I pulled the trailer in overdrive. I am trusting the mechanics in the family here...I have no idea what they are talking about, really! But do make sure the overdrive is off when I leave the driveway.

Downshifting...the only place I do is on some very steep hills near a ranch that I go to in Bloomington. But I guess it would depend upon where you will be driving. Flooper?????

EZ2SPOT
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PaintGal
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
5300 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  08:24:24 AM  Show Profile Send PaintGal a Private Message
I always put a single horse on the driver's side because I was told that the horses weight on that side would reduce the stress on the trailer if the right wheels dropped off the edge of the road. It's also makes for a smoother ride for the horse.

If your truck has a tow pkg, it probably has a button/switch dothingy that will turn on the that option. I pull with a Silverado 1500 4x4 automatic and put the truck in 3rd to get up the hill till I get to the highway & then switch to drive. I can pull that hill in drive & have though.

As for hints while hauling....

Watch ahead... people love to wait till you're close, then realize your pulling a horse trailer and dart out to get in front of you.

Watch behind... people pass like a bat outta h***, then cut over in front of you, slam on their brakes & turn.

Drive "smooth" for lack of a better term....no quick turns or corrections of the steering wheel, don't slam on brakes or take off like a drag racer from a stop light!

I try to be considerate of other drivers & if I see I've got a line of cars behind me, I'll either pull off to let them pass if it's safe or reduce my speed so they can pass in passing zones.

You might want to practice without a horse in the trailer to get the feel of it!

Karen ~ Trails
&
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN


"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."



~~~~~~
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Saddletramp
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2546 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  08:30:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit Saddletramp's Homepage Send Saddletramp a Private Message
I'd always heard to put a single horse on the driver's side because of the "crest?" of the road...that most roads are poured higher in the middle than the sides for rain run off. So you'd want the most weight on the higher side so that the trailer responds like it should.

Did that make sense?

But I'm totally behind PG's reason too! lol

Hubby also says no to overdrive. My last two trucks have a tow/haul button so I use that....not really clear about what it does, but I use it (something to do with the transmission??)! rofl

-Saddletramp

"She never moved the stars from their courses,
but she loved a good man and she rode good horses"
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FLOOPER
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  09:26:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit FLOOPER's Homepage Send FLOOPER a Private Message
Some trucks (newer ones) have a Tow/Haul mode...it basically moves the shift points on an automatic transmission out a few hundred RPMs, so the tranny doesn't shift as early...so you get better towing performance You will not burn up the motor pulling in overdrive....but you could shorten the life of your transmission. When you tow in overdrive, the transmission will sometimes shift back and forth from OD to the next lower gear when going up hills, giving it extra gas, hitting wind, etc. When your tranny shifts a lot, it creates more heat. And heat is the biggest tranny killer there is. Tow/Haul moves the shift point of the tranny, so you don't shift into OD as soon. Best thing to do is to check your owner's manual. And if you are towing in OD, and your tranny starts "hunting" for gears a lot, put it down into the next gear. Myself...I never tow in overdrive.

Flooper

"I'm a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess."
The Man's Prayer from the Red Green Show
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Budman
Advanced Rider



USA
230 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  09:49:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit Budman's Homepage Send Budman a Private Message
To be contrary, I do tow in overdrive. My truck rarely drops out of OD pulling the 3 horse goose neck, even at 70 mph. Flooper is right though, if your transmission starts to "hunt" back and forth between gears, put it in the lower gear. As long as it doesn't shift back and forth, it won't hurt to tow in OD.

My two cents....
Budman
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  11:19:05 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by PaintGal

I always put a single horse on the driver's side because I was told that the horses weight on that side would reduce the stress on the trailer if the right wheels dropped off the edge of the road. It's also makes for a smoother ride for the horse.

If your truck has a tow pkg, it probably has a button/switch dothingy that will turn on the that option. I pull with a Silverado 1500 4x4 automatic and put the truck in 3rd to get up the hill till I get to the highway & then switch to drive. I can pull that hill in drive & have though.

As for hints while hauling....

Watch ahead... people love to wait till you're close, then realize your pulling a horse trailer and dart out to get in front of you.

Watch behind... people pass like a bat outta h***, then cut over in front of you, slam on their brakes & turn.

Drive "smooth" for lack of a better term....no quick turns or corrections of the steering wheel, don't slam on brakes or take off like a drag racer from a stop light!

I try to be considerate of other drivers & if I see I've got a line of cars behind me, I'll either pull off to let them pass if it's safe or reduce my speed so they can pass in passing zones.

You might want to practice without a horse in the trailer to get the feel of it!



I'll 2nd everything PG said, that all applies to motorhomes with kids in it (impossible to NEVER have them up and about underway).

When pulling/driving live weight, I always come to a "almost" stop (I mean just to the point where it's going to rock back just a hair) and then ease up on the brake just the teensiest hair's worth, then finish the stop. It's just smoother on the cargo's balance. But I'm only talking about doing that at the last mini-second before coming to the full stop.

Also, since backing a bumper-pull can be confusing when you're wedging trailer into a tight space and can't afford ANY errors, easiest trick for remembering which way to turn the wheel is... place your hand on the BOTTOM of the steering wheel. Just remember if you want the back of the trailer to swing left, move that hand to the left. (That's actually turning the wheel right). Just easier to remember when things get confusing and tight.

Other thing I've found important (and the shorter the trailer the more this is the case) is don't exceed getting the trailer beyond about a 45 degree angle and plan your backing in accordingly -- meaning start farther forward. Much beyond that angle, and you have a harder time making the trailer revert to going then straight back once you have it deposited into the right position. (I'm talking about, for instance, backing it into a barn door from a sideways position. Same with a parking space.) The steeper your angle going in, the more you have to counter-turn to get it to go straight back from any point and there will be "slop-over" to your established angle. So if you can do with a 45-degree angle (not 90 which is jack-knife time) all the better. That assumes you have little or no pull-forward room. If you have lateral room, then it doesn't matter. I don't, so I have to be pretty exact in targeting in the first place, and use a very steady, gentle angle that'll respond quickly to steering wheel adjustments.

It is WORTH its weight in gold and time if you find a mall parking lot and go there early, early, early on a Sunday morning before the stores open. Target a parking space, and if you have some cones to represent a tree or side of building or garage door, all the better. Don't just pull forward and back up/turn a bunch of times, but really stop and STUDY the angles you're seeing in your mirror so that you can memorize exactly what you want to see. Also visually memorize how much start-room you need -- how far forward your truck has to be from your target parking space before you even begin back/turning. And if you bring someone with you to help you, make a deal that they bring enough patience to let you stop, pause, memorize and not get insulted if you want to get out of your truck a couple of times so that you can see what they can see. And then translate what you saw standing there to what you're seeing in your mirror from the driver's seat.

You do that a couple of times, and get it down to a science, and you can pretty much back into a really tight space and know pretty much how big, long and wide you are. And I said "you" because it's best if you can conceptualize your truck and connected trailer as one big unit that works together.

Then when you are out on the road, pulling into parking areas with other cars, people, etc. around, you have tons more choices and a whole lot less hassle and guesswork.

I did that with my 28-foot motorhome when I got it (huge church parking lot) and got to where I could parallel park the thing if I found a couple of spaces lined up on the side of a downtown main street. And once we stupidly took a very narrow campground road, only to discover it was one-way (and NOT our way) and got yet narrower. We had to turn the thing around with zero room with trees and ditches on both sides, in the dark! I really thanked my lucky stars that I'd been so obsessive about finding out exactly how big and long I was because there was just no room for any error at all.

I have yet to do that with the horse trailer, but definitely plan to as soon as we have reasonable weather.
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  1:12:30 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
Great advice, everyone!

I'd just like to add that there are some real idiots out on the roads, these days, and it's always good to be aware that most drivers who haven't driven anything but the family car haven't a clue as to how much room a truck pulling a horse trailer needs to slow down or speed up. Most of them think you can stop on a dime just like you can when you drive a car.

Another thing they're good at is under-estimating the length of your rig. I drive a quad-cab half ton with an 8 foot bed and pull a 2h bumper pull with a 4 foot dressing room. I really didn't appreciate the length of my rig, myself, until I looked at it from inside my house from where it was sitting in the drive last weekend. I could just see the front end of my truck out the front picture window of our living room. What was amazing, I could also just see the tail end of my trailer out the side window of the very same room! Anyway, I can't tell you how many times I've had to hit the brakes and about put my horse in the front seat with me because bozo driving a car has cut me off because there wasn't enough room for him to get over after under estimating my rig's length. So, be forewarned!

The other thing I've learned is to follow the vehicle in front of you with a whole lot of space in between. If that car ahead has to stop in a hurry, you're going to need twice, if not more room, to stop to keep from hitting him. Trailer brakes help, but they still can't do the same job as the brakes on a car that's not towing anything.

Always speed up, turn, and slow down as if you have a load of eggs in your trailer that will fall over and break with any sudden movement. All your horse has for balance is his four legs and possibly a butt chain or bar. It doesn't take much to throw him off balance or totally off his feet. So, make any change in speed or direction slow, smooth, and easy. It's a whole different ballgame than toting inanimate objects .

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Dixiesmom
Beginning Rider



145 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2006 :  6:26:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit Dixiesmom's Homepage Send Dixiesmom a Private Message
Thanks for all the tips! I just got back from taking some pics of my trailer and will post them up in a new thread.

Melissa

Dixie--black & white paint mare, 3yrs in April
Pete--roan missouri foxtrotter gelding, 21yrs in April
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giddyupmorgan
Trainer



846 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2006 :  01:05:36 AM  Show Profile Send giddyupmorgan a Private Message
I agree good advice from everyone. I would only add make sure all things such as saddles, coolers, poop forks ect, ect are secure and won't go sliding around if you do have to make a panic slow down or stop.

PG, you hit it on the head with this one "Watch behind... people pass like a bat outta h***, then cut over in front of you, slam on their brakes & turn. "

Just happened to me Monday. Kids were out of school Monday and I'm working the 12/8 shift this week so I told them when I got home to load em up and I would take them to the barn. On the way home I pulled out on the main road and about time I got up to the speed limit I look in the mirror and theres this idiot right on the back of the trailer. He pulled out and passed me, went about 300 yds and turned left. Good thing the kids stayed at the barn to help feed up. Lots of #%*!&%$.

Keeping The Kids In a Saddle and Out of Trouble
Giddyup
"Holy Moly I'll Buy What They're Selling" LJD (Get A Little Mud On The Tires)


Morgan's riding log
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2006 :  04:21:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Check that the hitch and safety chains are connected and secure before you start as well as the that the tires have enough air pressureand the brakes work. Check the hitch and kick all the tires at every rest break.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2006 :  11:58:26 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
This reminds me of an incident that happened to me and some friends of mine when we were traveling caravan fashion with 3 rigs. They had 2 goose necks, (this was before slant loads) and I was pulling my little 2 horse bumper pull.

Suddenly, I was aware of a little compact car driving right on my trailer's rear, and I could see he wanted to pass. Then he zoomed around me and dove in between me and the trailer ahead of me. I swore and hit my brakes to give him room as he tailgated the rig ahead of me.

Like I said; this was before slant loads and when the back of the trailer was open from the horse's butt to the trailer roof. My friends were hauling hunter/jumper horses, and Dusty, who was riding in the trailer ahead of me, stood 17 hands tall. This meant a good portion of Dusty's rear was above the back of the trailer door.

That little car was just waiting for a chance to zip around that trailer when Dusty ups his tail and lets fly with a nice, slimey, fresh, green mass of manure. It splattered all over the little car's hood, roof, & windshield and ran all over the place. The wipers came on, but all it did was smear it and make it worse. Yes, he did finally pass that rig, but I bet he never tailgated another horse trailer for a long, long time. I know I laughed harder than I had in years when it happened.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2006 :  12:13:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
Yeehaw! You go Dusty!!
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hmeyer
Clinician



USA
2194 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2006 :  12:50:55 PM  Show Profile Send hmeyer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Red Hawk
[
Always speed up, turn, and slow down as if you have a load of eggs in your trailer that will fall over and break with any sudden movement. All your horse has for balance is his four legs and possibly a butt chain or bar. It doesn't take much to throw him off balance or totally off his feet. So, make any change in speed or direction slow, smooth, and easy. It's a whole different ballgame than toting inanimate objects .


Here's something you can do for practice:
Put a cup filled with water on your dash and learn to drive without causing it to slosh out. Your stops, starts, and turns will have to be very smooth and gentle. Then drive like that when you have your horses with you. They will appreciate it.

"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A manís soul canít be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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FLOOPER
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2006 :  2:04:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit FLOOPER's Homepage Send FLOOPER a Private Message
I like hymeyer's idea! If you want to learn even faster though...use a cup of really hot coffee and put it between your legs!!

Flooper

"I'm a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess."
The Man's Prayer from the Red Green Show
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Saddletramp
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2546 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2006 :  6:20:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit Saddletramp's Homepage Send Saddletramp a Private Message
If that cup contains coffee from the golden arches, you might even pick up a big chunk of change when you get burned and sue them!!

-Saddletramp

"She never moved the stars from their courses,
but she loved a good man and she rode good horses"
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