Buying a Bumper Pull Horse Trailer : The Pros and Cons of the “Tag-along”

Also known as a tag along trailer, the bumper pull horse trailer is one of the most popular choices in horse transport today. These versatile haulers are designed in 1-horse to 4-horse load configurations.

Before you buy a bumper pull model, here are important things to help you make your selection. And remember when shopping for horse transport, drive your intended tow vehicle to the lot.

Two-horse, slant load, aluminum bumper pull horse trailer

Advantages of Bumper Pull Trailers

Horse trailers with bumper pull (BP) hitches meet the needs and circumstances for a great many horsemen and women. Here are some of the most popular features of bumper pull horse trailers:

  1. A bumper pull is typically smaller than its larger cousin, the gooseneck. This means less materials are needed in the manufacturing process, which can lower the price tag. An additional advantage is the smaller bumper pulls can weigh less, taking less fuel when hauling.
  2. Due to the smaller dimensions, this type of horse trailer doesn’t usually need a large towing vehicle to pull it. One and two-horse BPs may be towed with an SUV or light pickup. With that being said, make sure that your tow vehicle and trailer are properly matched and rated for safe transport. You can get information from trailer dealerships on matching your tow vehicle and trailer properly.
  3. Bumper pull horse trailer owners will appreciate the fact that storing this type of trailer doesn’t require much room in the yard or horse lot.
  4. This type of trailer is less distressing to pull for many people. Due to the fact that the bumper pull will directly follow behind the tow vehicle, there is less concern for cutting corners short.
  5. If your tow vehicle breaks down, it is often easier to locate someone with the same type of hitch to come to your rescue since these models are so common.
  6. In some models the center post is removable, making the trailer adaptable for loading and unloading problem horses and special situations.
  7. When you purchase a 2-horse bumper pull you have reduced your chances of having any special licensing requirements. Trailer licensing is tied to weight. Be aware that even a 2 horse BP and a pickup truck can still fall into the commercial parameters. To be on the safe side, you should always check with the DMV to be certain that your rig falls outside of the commercial guidelines.

Stock type bumper pull trailer

Disadvantages of Bumper Pull Horse Trailers

If you are leaning towards the purchase of a bumper pull trailer, you also need to be aware of its drawbacks. Even though the smaller size of the BP trailer affords many advantages, it can also pose challenges:

  1. If you anticipate that you will need to haul larger numbers of horses versus just two or three (and four at the most), then the larger gooseneck horse trailer will be the way to go. Heavy loads may result in less stability in a bumper pull trailer. Also the difference in weight will depend on steel vs. aluminum.
  2. You can certainly find bumper pull horse trailers with dressing rooms, but the space available for a dressing room or storage area is limited. If you anticipate the need for sleeping in your horse trailer at the horse show, then you may want to look at living quarters horse trailers instead.
  3. Some people find that backing a bumper pull can be a bit challenging.
  4. You must pay careful attention when hitching up since small mistakes in hitching up can result in big trouble out on the highway.

Brenderup single horse bumper pull trailer

The Bumper Pull Horse Trailer Hitch

You should never attach a bumper pull trailer to the bumper of the tow vehicle. Instead, it should be coupled to the towing vehicle using a properly rated frame mounted receiver hitch. Make sure that the frame mounted receiver hitch is at least a Class IV or Class V.

Weld or bolt the receiver hitch onto your tow vehicle frame. With basic hitches, the ball extension slides into the square part of the receiver hitch and is typically secured with a pin and cotter key. The horse trailer coupler fits over the ball and is secured.

The bumper pull horse trailer hitch

It is very important that you make sure the trailer will travel level for the safety and comfort of the horses. This can be accomplished by the addition of a dropped hitch. With a dropped hitch, you can match the horizontal plane of the horse trailer with the height of the hitch ball.

Additional safety items to be used on your horse trailer or hitch would be weight distribution bars for added stability. A good weight distribution hitch will spread the weight evenly between the rear and front wheels of your tow vehicle by connecting spring bars or sway control chains to the tow vehicle’s frame. A good safety feature, it reduces sway and pitch, helps in recovery from swerves, and cuts out a lot of a bumper pull’s famous tendency to jackknife while backing.

Other indispensable safety items include a breakaway brake, and safety chains.

Sometimes towing a bumper pull just feels right.

The prospect of towing a gooseneck trailer is not for everyone. So consider a bumper pull horse trailer instead!

Bumper pulls come in several different configurations just like gooseneck models do. You can buy a bumper pull stock trailer, enclosed trailer, a slant load or a straight load. They can be purchased with or without a dressing room, and many have a small tack and storage compartment.

Check out all the options in our Trailer Directory currently listing horse trailer dealers in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland and Washington DC.

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