Tow Vehicles and the Buying Experience
(first appeared in the July 2015 issue of The Equiery)
Chances are, if you are involved with horses, you have some sort of tow
vehicle. Or plan to get one. But what kind do you have? And what do
you tow with it? And what was it like to purchase it? And would you
purchase it again?
The Equiery wanted to know! And so do our trailer
advertisers. And certainly auto dealerships want to know. So in June,
we informally surveyed our readers, and these are the results.
Our Survey Participants
Who participated in the survey?
Mostly women! 90.5% (Which didn’t surprise us, as prior surveys
have always indicated that most of The Equiery’s readers are
• 49% of the survey participants (men and women) were over 40 years old
when they purchased their current tow vehicle, and 28% were between
the ages of 20 and 30.
Survey says...horsewomen buy trucks! And they know what they want!
Average Household Income
• Over $100,000: 57%
• $40,000 - $100,000: 31%
• Under $40,000: 11%
Are you a professional in the horse industry?
• 78.5% said no
21% consider themselves professional and will haul their client’s
horses. Only 2% of our survey takers are “for hire” and
consider themselves to be professional shippers.
About Your Tow Vehicle
Make - Ford Wins Out
• Ford: 43%
• GMC/Chevy: 37%
• Dodge was the third most popular with Toyota, Nissan, Jeep and Land Rover
Type - Trucks vs. Sport Utility
• Trucks: 81%
• SUVs: 19%
How much do you drive your tow vehicle?
• In terms of current mileage on these vehicles, the majority of our survey
takers said their tow vehicle either has between 25,000 and 100,000
miles or between 100,000 and 200,000 miles. Twelve people said they actually
have over 200,000 miles on their vehicle!
• Most of our survey takers say they only drive their tow vehicle less
than 10,000 miles a year (60%) with only 11.5% towing over 20,000 miles
Most Important Features: Power & Reliability
• The responses to the question about what you like most in your tow vehicle
varied greatly with several people commenting on the durability and
dependability of their vehicle.
• A lot of survey takers also commented on how easy their vehicle is to
drive and how well it tows the trailer they own.
By far, “power” and “reliability” were the
two words seen most in the responses.
Would you purchase the same vehicle again?
• Yes: 75.7%
• For the 24% who said they would not buy the same vehicle, most said it
was because they would want to upgrade to a bigger engine. Some owners
of SUVs would like to change to flatbed trucks so they have the option
to tow a gooseneck or bumper pull.
What You Tow
Our survey did not go into specifics on what make and model trailers you tow
but asked general questions about size and certain features that tend to affect
the weight of the trailer, thus affecting the tow capacity needed on the vehicle.
• 2-Horse Bumper Pull (a.k.a. Tag-Along): 60%
• 2-3 Horse Gooseneck: 27%
• 3+ Gooseneck: 19%
• Straight Load: 65.87%
• Slant Load: 13.49%
• Stock Trailer: 10%
Other: 10% (readers specified 2+1 trailers such as straight loads with a box
stall up front and Brenderups, which tend to haul one horse only in the “other” category)
• 70%+ said yes
The Purchase Process
New vs. Use
• New: 51%
• Used: 49%
• Over $30,000: 43%
• $10,000 - $30,000: 50%
• Under $10,000: 5%
• Purchased via dealership: 82.95%
• The rest were purchased through private sale.
We asked an unusual question. We asked if the respondent selected their own vehicle,
or if someone had selected it for them. We knew, before we created this survey,
that the majority of our readers are women. We also are aware that, until recently,
when national companies surveyed women vehicle owners, a disconcerting (to us)
number of women would report that a male figure in their life had selected their
vehicle (father, husband, boyfriend, brother, etc). So we thought we would ask
our readers who actually selected their tow vehicles.
Who selected the tow vehicle?
• We were delighted when the majority of our participants, approximately
82%, reported that they selected their own tow vehicle! Way to go, ladies!
• For those who did not select the vehicle on their own, the responses
varied on who selected the vehicle for them:
• 54% said a significant other or spouse selected it for them
• 22% said a friend selected the vehicle for them
• Siblings and parents were tied at 9%
• “hand-me-down” was only at 4.5%
Survey results indicated that most people
tow a 2-horse bumper pull
(a.k.a “Tag-Along”), straight
load with a dressing room.
Who will select your next tow vehicle?
• When asked who will select their next tow vehicle, nearly everyone stated
they would select it themselves (94.4%)!
When will you buy your next tow vehicle?
• About 54% stated they do not plan to buy another vehicle until their
current one stops working.
• 31% said they plan to buy a new tow vehicle within the next three to
• 9.6% say they plan to purchase a new vehicle this year.
A Note to Dealers
Finally, we asked in our survey what dealerships and salespeople could do to
make the buying experience better.
Most survey takers requested that salespeople selling trucks should know about
hauling and not just repeat the specs of the trucks–and specifically
understanding that hauling a live animal is much different from hauling a boat
The Buying Experience
Most of our survey takers were satisfied with their buying experience
reporting either “good” or “great” for
this question (28.7%). Only 10% said their buying experience was “excellent” and less than
one percent said it was “hard” or “frustrating.” We asked our readers to elaborate a bit more about the buying experience. Here
are a few of the more colorful or elucidating responses!
“ Actually, pretty good. Knew what I wanted and made the salesman find
“ Excellent, but the salesman did seem a bit shocked that I was making
and that I knew what I needed!”
Fine–after I bitch-slapped the salesman.”
“ First, the dealer told me about the color and interior features. Then
I told him I was more concerned about the engine size and the amount of pickup
“ Great! We found the truck on the internet, the dealership had just purchased
several, which had come off of a lease - so we were able to get a good price.”
"I have had men tell me what a nice truck my husband picked out for me. Pisses me off every time. I picked it out and bought it myself!
- Amy Kasley, rider and pony club mom pictured here with her daughters at a hunter pace this spring.
“ Great, I found the vehicle I wanted in New York over the internet, went
local Chevy dealer and they transported it to Maryland.”
“ I had my husband with me, so they talked to him more than me. Only became
interested when it became clear that I would have the final say since it would
“ The salesman seemed to think I cared more about the color of the vehicle
than the engine or features. After I told him what I wanted in an engine and
he proceded to tell me that I did not need that much vehicle. It could be because
he was trying to move something that was currently on the lot rather than bring
something in from across state lines, but I doubt he would have done that to
“ Took my daughter shopping for her truck, went to several dealers, every
person asked if we would rather buy a nice little SUV or sporty car.”
I knew what specs I needed and found it very difficult to get the dealer to focus
on that. One told me I knew more about the towing specs than his salesmen. Another
kept touting the Quadrasteer feature (they don’t make it any more, but
it makes hauling a bumper pull MUCH more stable) as being handy for ‘parking
at the mall.’ Seriously, I wanted to hit him. Eventually I bought from
a dealer that didn’t give me crap and located the vehicle I wanted in Pennsylvania,
and drove it down for me.”
No problem as my husband was with me, but in the past I have had sales folks
NOT understand the type of vehicle needed for towing a horse trailer. They never
wanted to sell me ‘enough’ truck.”
“ Excellent. Walked in, asked if they had a used one-ton diesel and bought
I did all the haggling, not my husband. I’m tougher!”
“ Pretty good... had to be sure I stuck to what I wanted. Researched heavily
what I needed before going.”
“ I knew more about trucks than the dealer”
“ Only OK once I made it clear my husband was not involved.”