I knew that I wanted a straight haul. I figure that I would be trailering a lot by myself and that it would be easier to teach a horse to self-load in a straight haul versus an angle haul. I don't like step-ups - maybe it's because I'm short and they often come up to my knees. So I wanted a ramp. And it had to be a bumper pull.
I live in the land of angle-hauls, and there weren't too many options easily available within my province. I was originally looking at Hawk trailers, partly based on their reputation. At the time the Canadian dollar was good and I was considering importing one from the US.
The plan was that I would borrow my dad's truck for the next few years until I had to replace my SUV. Unfortunately, when I started looking at the specs for his truck, it doesn't have the towing capacity that I would need for a Hawk trailer. Well, crap.
So I started looking at my options. I remembered seeing the Brenderup ads in my many years of Practical Horseman magazines. Unfortunately they were no longer being brought into North America. But a similar style of European trailer by Böckmann were available, even in Canada.
|Door at the front is tack room access.|
I considered two models - the Master and the Portax. The Master series is made of PRP (polyester reinforced plywood), and the Portax is made of anodized aluminum, which only comes in silver (but you can get coloured fiberglass accents). The Portax had a front unload option, which was attractive. But in the end I went with a Big Master, primarily because to access the tack area in the Portax you had to go back inside the trailer. (They have since changed the tack area and you no longer have to do so.)
|This door is the jockey door.|
This trailer is fine piece of German engineering.
First, the shape. It looks like a little spaceship. It pulls beautifully behind the not-overly-powerful truck. The dealer was telling me about a video she saw when she visited the factory. The video showed the trailer in some sort of wind tunnel, and they put some smoke or something in the trailer so that they could see the airflow inside the trailer to determine the best positioning of the windows. I doubt any of the standard North American trailer companies have done that.
|The ramp with the pull down curtain at the top. The middle silver part is the steps to get up to pull down the curtain, and the grated silver thing on the right is the flip-down mounting step.|
It's quite inviting for the horse. The interior is a nice bright white, they can see out the windows, and there is lots of head space in the Big Master (one of the reasons I chose the Big Master over the regular Master). Standard interior height is 7'7".
|Designed for horses up to 18hh. These ones are much shorter.|
The ramp moves easily up and down and has ridges going across the width and the edges so that the horse doesn't slip. On the sides, there are notches in the ridge so that liquid can drain - either from cleaning it, or when your horse pees on the ramp while loading (Phantom!). Just remember not to have your foot under it!
|The broom and shovel have a holder just inside the door. The saddle racks pull out and can be adjusted height wise. It's no longer this clean.|
|There are two shelves - they are almost 4' long, so hold quite a bit. They are curved though, so I can't stack things as nicely as I would like. So I tend to have things in bags instead of tubs.|
|You can see the grid behind Cisco's head. I added an acrylic mirror to Phantom's side for when I was trailering her solo.|
|I did get to visit my trailer a couple of weeks before my parents picked it up to drive it home. It was love at first sight. (And yes, I am short, but the total trailer height is close to 9')|
The coupler has a built-in lock so that I can lock it onto the hitch when towing, or when it's unhitched I can put a ball thing that it came with into the coupler and lock it so that no one can hook a truck up to it. The coupler has some swivel in it that makes hitching up easier, and it kind of grabs the ball. Don't stick your fingers up there or they might get caught!
In Europe they don't drive pickup trucks like we do in North American. So trailers are engineered to be driven behind SUV's or larger cars. They can only put a maximum of 4% of the trailer weight on the hitch of the tow vehicle, versus the North American standard of 10%+. They also use a different braking system - instead of electric brakes that activate when the brakes of tow vehicle are deployed, they use surge brakes instead. Basically, there are hydrolaulics that go from the tongue of the trailer to the trailer brakes. As the trailers pushes into the vehicle, it activates the brakes, so that the trailer never actually pushes the vehicle. This explains it better.
|You can tie to the sides or the back of the trailer.|
|There was no dancing when I had to stop for a train when I moved Phantom a couple of years ago. Big change.|
I won't deny that part of me wishes that I had a dressing room. But that is probably the only reqret that I have with this trailer. The PRP should continue to look good for a long time, so there is a good chance that this might be the only trailer I ever own. Unless I pick up a third horse..... (um, no.)
If you want more information about these trailers, visit the Böckmann website, or contact Marsha at Maple Lane Equestrian Trailers in Ontario, Canada.