Monday, August 19, 2019

New Trailer!

When Liam came home, it was obvious he was going to be a big boy, bigger than my 7' high, 6' wide trailer was going to be able to handle. I knew I'd need a new one soon-ish... but the real kiss of death was when I took my trusty Bison to the shop for frame repair and got a phone call instead. It needed a three to four thousand dollar repair, not the thousand we expected. What was supposed to be a quick partial frame rail repair turned into a repair where all 3 main frame rails would need to be replaced. To do that, it spiraled into thousands in labor to remove the fenders, all trim, peel back the steel skin inside and out, take out the floors... all to get to the frame to cut it out and replace it. Not to mention the thousand plus to put the paint, floor, and trim right.

All hooked up for the Bison's last drive with us.

So I started the hunt to see what used oversize trailers are out there. My base criteria: steel frame, aluminum skin, ramp, 7'6"+ tall. My hunt took a positive turn when I got some inheritance and was able to look at new trailers. I was originally interested in rear facing trailers, but found them to be too expensive. Sadly, I also ruled out gooseneck trailers. I am uncomfortable hauling one with my short bed, 3/4 ton, gas truck. I ruled out companies that I had to contact a dealer for specs like "how tall is the trailer inside" and "what is empty weight". It's just bullshit that that information isn't easily accessible. Eventually I found Hawk's bumper pull 2 horse straight load with side ramp, complete with Hawk's online brochure of specs. I fell in love with the size of the Classic model and all of the windows (4 extra) in the Elite model.

We had a photo shoot in a Hoss's parking lot. #notashamed

I set about finding one already in existence (the Classic Elite model), but only found one with some interesting custom options I hadn't thought about in OR. I contacted the dealer to inquire about shipping, and they said it would be cheaper to have one newly built for me and shipped directly from Hawk than to buy the in stock 2018 and have it shipped. So I started looking closer.

Ramp down. The passenger horse does have to be a bit smaller and more flexible to use the ramp, but the driver horse has plenty of room (the head divider swings to allow the driver horse to leave).

I did my homework: contacted Hawk for MSRP who also told me the dealer should knock a significant amount off MSRP, got things rolling with a dealer near me, disliked the prices they were quoting me because they seemed to be full MSRP minus a pittance, considered dropping custom options I liked, took the advice of a friend and contacted another dealer almost 5 hours away who quoted me almost $5000 less, so I took that quote back to the first dealer who honored it. Woot!

The driver side has the dressing room door and an escape door, while the passenger side only has the side ramp.

I put that first dealer through the ringer. Constantly asking about different custom options (would you believe there isn't a book of upgrades or even available items you can add on?), constantly asking what was standard vs not (because you know I managed to find things that weren't on that spec sheet), constantly changing my mind, and making last minute changes. The woman I worked with was delightful and took everything I threw at her in stride. Her office now considers her the "Hawk Custom Option Expert". I'm sure there were some exasperated sighs in her office when I'd email her!

One of the late customizations was the full rear doors and extra long exterior ramp.

When I went to the dealership to sign the papers to order it, they had a gooseneck model of the the Classic Elite on the lot and took me to see it since I had yet to see my trailer in person... I may have drooled on it. I wanted that gooseneck model so badly! But I hadn't come prepared to haul that kind of trailer or bargin for that model.

Not to rag on the dealer who sold me the trailer, but my Hawk spare tire cover that came with the trailer magically "got lost" and "oh no problem, we'll put one of ours on there!" I'll be ordering a replacement Hawk cover.

I placed my order on Memorial Day (May 27th), and my trailer was ready for pick up August 3rd! Apparently several customers tried to buy my trailer while it was out on order because it sounded so great and it showed up in the stock list.

I can't pull through parking spaces anymore, this trailer is 4' longer than my Bison. The trailer is 19'6" long, just a hair shorter than my truck.

I opted for quite a few custom things:

  • Upgrade 3500# axles (7000# GVWR) to 5200# axles (10400# GVWR, derated to 9990# for inspection and registration purposes)
  • Oscillating fans on remote switches in the horse area
  • 2 LED lights on each ramp
  • Bulkhead window
  • Full rear doors with extra long (4' vs 3') exterior ramp
  • Tubular head and shoulder dividers
  • Retractable screen door for the tack room (and removal of the dressing room door brush box)
  • Spare tire mounted to the outside of the trailer

Seriously, if you have the option of doing a bulkhead window, do it. You won't be disappointed. It lets in SO MUCH LIGHT.


  • Upgraded Axles: The trailer weighs almost 4000# empty, and with a 7000# GVWR, that's only 3000# of cargo. The trailer is built for oversize horses, so I could easily fill it with 3000# of horse, and we'd be overweight as soon as we put hay, tack, and other items in it. I would never ever do that out of kindness to my truck, but I plan on keeping this trailer for 10+ years, so it seemed silly to put a limit on it now. I expected Liam to be 1400-1500# when he was done growing, so this upgrade seemed reasonable. I will say, the brakes on those axles are beefier and despite this trailer being 500# heavier than my Bison, we towed it home on a lower brake controller boost rating.
  • Fans: Duh, it get hot and fans are fantastic.
  • Ramp lights: Duh, it gets dark and lights are fantastic for loading and unloading in the dark.
  • Bulkhead Window: This was one of the items I considered dropping since it was the silly notion of "I might be able to see my horses from the truck." I am SO GLAD I didn't drop it. It's divine to look through and lets in even more light.
  • Full doors/Exterior ramp: Do you know how many times I've been kicked by the horse already on the trailer while trying to load the second? How many horses I've watched try to back out over or under the butt bar while their friend refuses to load? Not anymore! Shut their rear door and they're in.
  • Tubular dividers: For increased light and airflow.
  • Screen door: I don't want to take barn cats to new farms. I've shooed cats many times, and my old screen door always ensured I didn't take anyone home with me that shouldn't go home with me!
  • Spare tire: in the original floorplan, the spare is mounted in the tack room. That's a huge no for me. Non-rectangular tack rooms waste space with odd angle corners, no reason to add to the waste by putting a spare tire in there. I had it moved to outside on the passenger side of the trailer.

There's a tiny step up where the ramp attaches to the back, but it's no worse than some step ups into a barn aisle.

I am beyond thrilled with it. I LOVE it. When it got home to the barn, I gave several tours through it. Love love love it.

Husband and I brought it back to our house before taking it to the barn to put my stuff in the tack room and to change some of the decals. He and I... don't care for dealer stickers. At all. He made the dealership remove their sticker from his Camaro when he bought it. And he expertly removed the dealer's stickers from my trailer... all THREE of them. One of which was very crooked and made his eyes bleed to look at it, and another covered key weight ratings on the tongue. Completely obnoxious.

Husband is good with decals, so he removed the dealer ones and added our own!

Also have to say, it was so cool to haul it home and it had never been driven around. It shipped on a truck from WI where it was made with several other trailers, so it literally had zero miles on it when I picked it up.

The fans are visible in this pic. The trailer came with triangle managers, which I don't think I'm going to use except to catch hay from hay nets. Right now they're water jug holders until I can get everything organized.

I haven't driven it around yet because of my head/health issues that are causing eye strain/fatigue/motion processing issues. Husband went with me to pick it up and has been the only one to drive it so far.

A good shot of the dividers. I love tubular ones!
The air flow in the trailer should be really good- all of the windows open and the rear doors have windows (a huge selling point of the Elite model for me), and there are roof vents that swing two directions as well.

Yesterday (Sunday 8/18), it went to my local truck/trailer/tractor/diesel guy to lose its delightful new trailer smell. To avoid the issues I had with my Bison, he is undercoating it while it still has under 200 miles on it to stop it from rusting outside in, and packing the steel frame with grease to prevent it from rusting inside out. This is the first brand new vehicle I've ever owned, and it will probably be the last, and I want this trailer to last for at least 10 to 15 years.

Safe at home :)

Oh wait, who is this?


  1. Oh man I am nerding out SO hard with this post, thank you for posting about every little decision you made and why, this is so cool. I love all of your upgrades and your justifications. You may have already done this, but make sure you get a lock for your spare tire and a cover for it, apparently so many spare tires get stolen here my shop advised against it. Good call on the undercoating too, I should look into that!

    1. I love detailing out the decision process... nothing about this trailer was made in a vacuum. I wasn't planning on getting a lock for the spare- we don't seem to have a lot of issues with theft near me. Plus I've been stranded with a friend's trailer when she didn't have the key to get the spare off. A nightmare! It has the dealer cover on it still until the undercoating is done, then I'll swap it out!

  2. Wow - super nice trailer!! Congrats on the new purchase and good for you for negotiating for what you want! Very smart to undercoat - I have a friend with an old steel trailer - I feel her days with it are numbered due to frame rust...but who am I to tell her? lol

    1. Thanks! I'm very bad at negotiating and I'm so thankful the friend made me contact another dealer... it gave me a very strong leg to stand on. Your friend will find out when it fails its inspection. I had a small amount of notice that it was going bad, but time and a previous life caught up with my '97 unfortunately.

  3. Replies
    1. Yes! It was properly oogled and the drool wiped off when it got home.

  4. Congrats on the new trailer!! I'm in OR and looking at getting a Hawk soon and I'm pretty sure I know what dealer and which 2018 trailer you looked at. I probably won't be in a place to get one till early next year and I'm hoping that one is still available and I can make a deal on it.

    1. It looked like thar dealer had a couple model years on the lot- I bet when you're ready to buy next year he'll have a 2019 on the lot for a good price (if the 2018 is gone). I really love this trailer, so I highly recommend!

  5. i wouldlive in that trailer. For real. :) Congrats hope you feel better soon!

    1. There were many comments about how it's big enough to live in! And thanks- I've been back to the doctor and we're trying new meds to see what helps. So far I'm doing better, but I don't feel 100% and tire easily, especially in the heat.

    2. just wanted to say I hadnt caught up on your blog lately and just went and reread. So glad you found your new guy who is just gorgeous and so sorry for your loss. that sucks and was a real punch to my heart to catch up and read all that. Hugs to you!

  6. Oh man, I am so in love with this baby! My only problem is I would have hard time putting a horse in it the first few times it looks so clean and new and beautiful still!

    1. The undercoating and grease will definitely help the "new" feel (and smell). I just about cried when they said what they were going to do to it... they're basically covering the bottom 6 to 12" on the inside in addition to the whole underside because of horse poop/pee. There's more steel than expected and the shop is determined to keep it in good shape.

  7. But more importantly who is your new friend hanging out in front of the trailer??? :)

    1. Hehe, hopefully I have that written for tomorrow!

    2. Everyone is blinded by your beautiful shiny new trailer and I'm over here like "HORSE!!! There's a HORSE in the last photo!!!"

  8. That thing is sooo fancy! Love it!