March 18, 2019

Adding a Ramp to a Step-Up Shadow Trailer

The only thing I've never really liked about my Shadow 1 Horse Slant is the step up.  I don't have anything against step ups, especially not when you're able to turn the horse around and let them go out head first like I can with this one, but the platform was very, very high on Connor. 

This is the absolute worst "scale" photo for this, but the platform comes nearly to his knees.  It hits me right at the bottom of my knee.

This meant that he had to jump into the trailer - something that made him more and more anxious as time went on.  Loading started taking a while as he would take several minutes nervously dancing around and working up the courage to make the leap into the trailer. 

I joked that "My horse is shaped like a dachshund so this trailer is more of a jump up than a step up!" but truthfully I was worried about it, because I know it was physically challenging and anxiety-inducing for the little guy.

Once he's in, he loves this trailer.
Pretty quickly I knew I would be buying a ramp.  I don't like causing my horse undue anxiety, and I also know that as he gets older, jumping into a trailer is going to get physically difficult.  And if he's ever injured, there's no way in hell I could get him on that high platform.  Plus it's not like I'm planning on getting a 17hh barn elephant for my next horse - shorties are here to stay in my life.

So last month I finally bit the bullet on the ramp and a couple of other things.

Squee!
I have nothing but good things to say about working with Shadow Trailer on all this.  Shadow's parts department coordinated with my local dealer to have the ramp shipped up from Florida inside of another trailer already headed to Indiana, saving me hundreds in freight. I had planned on having a local independent shop install it, but the dealer said they would do it for $100 - uh, sold!

Like most things on this trailer, the welds are not pretty but they're functional.  A 4 Star this is not.

This is my first time having a ramp I can lift with one hand, and I am in love. 



It's aluminum, plus there are springs applying tension so it wants to be upright, making it even easier to lift.  I realize this is probably standard new trailer stuff but indulge me okay?  Haha.





So what did Connor think of this?  Well, at first there was some required neck arching and blowing because OMG THIS LOOKS DIFFERENT.  And then I asked him to get on, and he had to stand at the bottom of the ramp fretting and taking his nervous poop and working himself up for the jump he no longer had to take. He associates the trailer with an anxious jump now, and it will take time to get over that - he wasn't able to understand that "this new black thing = getting into the trailer is easy now" until after he did it.




Within about 30 seconds he followed me in, and then we got off and on three more times without even hesitating.  You could feel the anxiety leaving him as he understood he didn't have to jump anymore.


As soon as I saw him relax about trailer loading again, every penny I spent on this ramp was worth it.  He used to hop on the trailer like a puppy excited for a road trip, and I'm ready to have that version of Connor back again.  Happy early birthday, little buddy!

15 comments:

  1. That is interesting to me. I have a trailer with a step-up and one with a ramp and my horses are 100% happier going in the step-up than the ramp. They all hate the ramp and try to jump it to get in. My horses are all 16hh or taller, with the exception of my 15hh, 26yo QH, and he will load in anything and show zero preference, so maybe it's just easier for the bigger horses???????

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    1. Yeah, I'm guessing that's it. A taller horse (specifically with longer legs) wouldn't have to make nearly as big of a jump as Connor does to get into this trailer. He seriously has to get a running start, rock back on his hocks and JUMP. This is also quite a tall step up compared to other step-ups I've been around, maybe yours is lower too?

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  2. that is a great solution and it looks perfect on there! So glad Connor likes it better.

    I almost bought a Frontier slant before I bought my ramp Kingston straight load and the main reason (besides it was heavier than my Kingston) i didn't buy it was the step up was very tall. Like I had trouble stepping up into it :) HA! Short dachshund horses unite! :)

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    1. Weight is important too! But yes, dachshund-shaped horses have special requirements, lol.

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  3. Nice addition to the trailer. Some step ups are super high for our short equines and their short humans!

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  4. I personally don't like step up trailers for this reason too. It looks great on there, really doesn't look aftermarket at all. And I bet Connor will really appreciate that!
    I need to have some work done on my trailer too. It's a goose neck, so it has the foot that it rests on when it's not hooked up. Well, that foot isn't spring loaded, and it's nearly impossible to lift that thing up! I had no idea they didn't all come with a spring (my Sundowner did, and that's the only other trailer I've had). Kind of a fail from Four Star if you ask me... I wish I had known, because I would have absolutely paid extra.

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    1. I'm not a gooseneck expert, but I think it's more than a spring, they have hydraulic powered gooseneck jack feet that makes it super easy to do. 4 Star should definitely have asked about that add on! Short of that though, I think Hillary uses a power drill attached to her 4 Star jack, you might look that up and give it a try.

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    2. There are two components, the foot that pops up, and then the arm that you rotate to lift the whole thing. On the Sundowner, the foot popped up, and then you turned the jack to lift it the rest of the way. There is a hydraulic option, which they probably did offer, but I didn't want that. I just want the foot to pop up!

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  5. Very cool you were able to add a ramp!

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    1. Yeah! I don't know what I would've done if I couldn't add a ramp to this thing, I love it so much.

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  6. The trailer looks huge in that first pic!!
    I'm glad he likes it. Maybe it's just my imagination but Cupid seems happier trailering since I got fans installed :)

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    1. Don't go tempting me when I just dropped a grand on this trailer! Lol. In all seriousness, fans and cameras are on my "nice to have" list that I can start tackling now that I got the "must haves" done.

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  7. I was actually just talking to my BO about the step up vs ramp situation - she has a step up. She got it because she had horrible back problems and struggled lifting a ramp. I didn't realize they installed ramps WITHOUT all the 'help' to lift it!! It's bad enough cranking the hitch down but I think if I had to struggle under the ramp as well I'd just die.

    I'm glad Connor's ride has improved, he looks really super happy on there!

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    1. Yeah, my last trailer's ramp was made of wood without any assists, and it was extremely heavy. I basically had to get underneath it and use my hips to power clean it up - can't imagine doing that with back problems! This one is SO light I almost can't believe how easy it is to get up and down.

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