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Horse mom needs vehicle to haul pony--help!

I finally have to take the plunge, give up my 2005 Matrix, and get something that can pull my daughter’s horse-- a 900 lb pony + trailer. Of course,we might eventually get a larger horse. I am looking for the most ecological, reasonably priced vehicle to do this. It will be my only vehicle. I drive about 20 miles r/t to work. Any recommendations? (any recommendations for a horse trailer model too???). Thanks.

What ? I Can Never Really Understand How Somebody Wanting A “Most Ecological, Reasonably Priced Vehicle” Would Even Consider Having A Horse And Hauling It Around. I’m Sorry, I’m Shocked.

The two things, horse owning / hauling and eco-conscience / economical, don’t add up.

A + B = does not equal anything.

Pick out something convenient. Anything should work. Forget A or forget B.


This Russian Lada Zhugili seems to work OK


A little info on horse trailers and hitch

There are not many single horse trailers on the market, most trailers are 2 horse and you’d do best with a simple bumper pull set up. Go on ebay and shop for horse trailers, I found a good one a couple of years ago for $1,800. There are cheaper ones but many are old and pretty beat up. A new horse trailer can get very expensive, like $10,000.

If you buy a vehicle that is too small you may find you need to replace it for something bigger. A 900 lb pony is the start, the trailer is about 2,500 lbs, and gear is a few hunderd more. If you get a bigger horse, then a second, your horse load could be 2,500 lbs instead of 900.

I got a Toyota Sequoia (an '01) and it does the job pulling my 2 horse trailer just fine. The new Sequoia is even bigger and more powerful. I’d recommend a full size SUV. If you feel that is too big get a mid size SUV but get a tow package and the largest engine offered in the vehicle. You need towing capacity of about 6,000 lbs and up to handle a typical loaded 2 horse trailer.

A Honda CRV, or Toyota Rav4 won’t cut it at all.

I’m not sure what CSA’s beef is. A and B are not necessarily on opposite sides of the fence.

You probably just want one of the small SUVs - CRV, RAV4, Escape. Something like that.

But you need a suitable trailer before you can settle on a vehicle. You need to know the weight of the trailer + horse to make sure you get a vehicle that is rated for pulling the weight. I mention the small SUVs just b/c you’ll probably get in w/in their weight rating. But maybe not - so research the trailers & your total weight first. Make sure to calculate in the weight of everything that you will need to be carting around w/e horse.

Edit: OK - listen to UncleTurbo instead. My guesses about trailer weight were bad and I mostly responded b/c you we getting annoyed or goofy non-info.

Here is your Hybrid truck that will handle a 6000 LBS trailer|2008_Chevy_Retention|IMG_Chevy_Silverado_Hybrid|Silverado_Hybrid|_chevy_hybrid_truck

How about a Honda Element?

The design of this vehicle would allow the pony to climb into the cargo area via the unusual side door design, and the floor is designed to be hosed out. By being able to hose out the vehicle, the usual relucatance to ride with the animal’s dropping is negated to a great extent.

Step 1–Remove rear seat. This is actually pretty easy to do on this vehicle, as I recall.

Step 2–Slide the driver’s seat forward temporarily.

Step 3–Pony enters cargo area of vehicle.

Step 4–Driver adjusts seat, gets into vehicle, and drives away with pony!

The Element is a reasonably economical vehicle, and by eliminating the need for towing a trailer, much is saved on gas costs.


Or a SUV equivalent

Brenderup makes a single horse trailer, but they are relatively scarce and pricey. Take an experienced horse friend to look at used horse trailers. After a little while, you will be able to see good vs bad quality and usage.

A good used Featherlite trailer would work for you. However you may have to pay a premium since they are a well known and well marketed brand. Some of the more local and lesser known manufacturers may offer you better value for your money. We are very happy with a used Titan horse trailer that we have (2 horse model; decent tack storage).

I would also consider getting a good, used pick up (receiver hitch, tow package if possible - you can add elec brake package as an add-on) and not necessarily trade in the Matrix. You may be surprised how much extra stuff you start to have to carry around.


Please tell my your are kidding. Your advice is usually top notch, but your advice was really terrible on recommending putting a Pony inside a Honda Element. The OP stated the pony weighs 900 lbs, a Honda Element only has a total cargo capacity of approx 675 Lbs, and what about considering the horse bodily functions within the vehicle? Can someone say nasty !!!

This is one of those rare occasions where I agree with CSA. “Ecological” and “reasonably priced” should not be your biggest concerns. Safety and cargo/towing capacity (which are closely related) should be your biggest concerns.

I recommend you find a trailer first. I can’t recommend one, but when you buy it, either ask the seller to deliver it to your home or rent a tow vehicle. Then once you know the size and weight of the loaded trailer, you can shop for an appropriate tow vehicle, which will probably be a full size pick-up truck or a truck-based SUV.

You don’t want to be responsible for injuring or killing your daughter’s pet because you purchased a towing vehicle that isn’t up to the job. The guilt can be overwhelming. If you want to know what I mean, check out this story

I used to have a horse and would rent horse trailers to move the horse. I felt most comfortable pulling the trailers with a 3/4 ton truck. I have used the 1/2 ton, but every time the horse moved, I felt it in the cab. I felt much more secure on the road with a 3/4 ton truck as the tow vehicle.

How much moving do you do of this pony? If you are not taking the pony great distances, you might want to keep your Matrix for commuting to work and buy an older pickup truck. I moved the horse twice a year. When we were in graduate school, I brought the horse down from my wife’s parents’ farm and then took it back in the winter. The trip was about 180 miles each way. The U-Haul dealer did have a horse trailer and a 3/4 ton that I rented. I once used my father-in law’s 1/2 ton and decided it was worth the rental money to rent the larger truck. I don’t know if such equipment can be rented today.

My advice was semi-comic in nature.
However, load capacity aside, this would be possible with a pony.
And, as to the “horse bodily functions”, that is why I mentioned the interior that can be hosed out.

Personally, I would not do it, but…

Anyway, I was not totally serious–nor was Twotone with his suggestion of a Russian Zhiguli.

I used to have a horse and would rent horse trailers to move the horse.

When I was a kid, we moved them from place to place by riding them. Not only did the horse have to walk there, it had someone on its back! Gee, life sure has gotten easy for horses… :wink:

But buying a non-hybid saves $5000 up front. It will take a while to make that up with the around-town savings in gasoline. I agree that a Siverado Crew Cab is an excellent idea.

I agree with you. This was really my first wife’s horse and I always had exactly this thought when I moved the horse. In hindsight, I’m glad I did all this because she loved to ride. Her life was cut short from cancer at all too young an age.

I thought the horse WAS the vehicle…

Thanks to those with humorous pictures and serious advice. I’ll ignore the one that made the basic freshman error of changing “the most ecological, reasonably priced” to “A most…” and missed my request for help figuring out how to balance these criteria. The websites and thoughts are very helpful as I try to figure out what would work best. And, you unfortunately confirmed that there is not yet an ideal on the market, but there are some real choices. I might reverse my strategy now and start with Craig’s list and a trailer, not the vehicle. Although I’m considering the Russian Lada Zhugili or equivalent (if only…) It will be nice not to have to hire someone every time there’s a show or IEA team practice to move the pony – thought more of the older kids with trucks at the barn would want to earn extra money, but most have amazingly busy schedules; will be nice not to have to depend on others so much.Again, thanks!