June 8, 2021

Product Review: Shocker Air Receiver Hitch

Since I was not getting a new truck, since I paid my old one off, and since I was getting my deposit back from the dealer, the only logical thing to do with that money was go on a shopping spree for some stuff I've wanted for a very long time but couldn't pull the trigger on.

Up first, the Shocker Hitch. Oh man, I have wanted this for years.

There are two ways force is transmitted to the trailer and the horse while towing: from the ground and from the truck. The trailer's suspension dampens the ground transfer, but there's nothing to dampen the force transmitted from the truck via the relatively fixed all-metal hitch, so all that force gets sent straight back to the trailer and to your horse. And we haven't even discussed the effect that force has going the opposite direction, with the trailer creating forces that are sent back to your truck's frame and to the driver.

Note that the right arrow is bi-directional - I mostly talk about the effect the truck has on the trailer in this post because I'm mostly doing this for Connor's comfort, but in reality both vehicles are transmitting force between each other. The Shocker Hitch neutralizes most of the bi-directional arrow forces.

The Shocker Hitch has an airbag in it to dampen the force coming from the truck to the trailer and vice versa. It's been out for a long time, and RV'ers report being able to leave things out on their counters while towing after getting a Shocker Hitch and finding that it hasn't moved at all when they get to their destination, it smooths out the ride that much.

First, I had to get my current hitch cut off of my truck, because the dealer sold it to me a year ago with a locking hitch pin on it and didn't have the key. Sigh.

Barn husbands with complete metalworking shops in their garage are the best

Initial thoughts? This thing is HEAVY. And big. I'm one of those that leaves my hitch on all the time, but that won't be possible with this. It weighs over 40lbs!

I took the ball and its platform off to put it on the truck to save some weight, and that made it manageable.

My next thoughts were OMG this doesn't work with my truck, because the metal platform above the air bag was touching my safety chain attachment area. So I emailed pictures to Shockerhitch, and THREE MINUTES LATER a nice North Dakot'n gentleman called me and told me it looked just fine, and also answered my other questions. Great customer service!

This is not in the instructions, but even after deflating the airbag, I had to clamp the airbag down to get it all the way in.

You put it on with the airbag completely deflated, and then you hitch up (ideally loaded, although I did not make Connor stand on the trailer while I aired it up) and inflate it until this green thing is just baaaaaaaaaarely smushed. Like 1/8".


You have to adjust the airbag for each trailer/load weight that you carry. Since this process is kind of a pain in the ass, I asked the nice North Dakot'n (hopefully you're reading that in a ND accent) gentleman if I could just leave the red thing on my truck the whole show season, and he said yes, but I need to buy a grease gun (that's an actual thing, TIL) and keep it lubricated and ideally dry. But I got the impression he'd rather I take it off the truck between uses.

I chose a drop hitch because I have a pretty tall truck, but they have a lot of different styles of couplers

But onto the fun stuff: how was it to haul with? In a word, absolutely freaking amazing. I have a newer half ton and the World's Tiniest Horse Trailer. I am not even close to undertrucked, and the fact that the trailer has a shorter wheelbase than the truck means it's stable as can be and tows like a dream. But there are always shakes and shimmies from the trailer, and all of that was neutralized with this hitch.

Picture going over a short bridge on a country road, where the truck first goes over one joint, then the trailer, then they immediately go over the second joint which causes like a whip crack effect on the driver (and the horse, I would assume). All of that was smoothed out. Wavy country roads: smooth. Concrete roads with expansion joint cracks: smooth. 


The truck rode better with the trailer and the airbag than it does without the trailer, and I have a top trim truck with a magnetic suspension, so it's no slouch when it comes to ride quality! The trailer weighted down my back end just enough to take the stiffness out of the truck suspension without any of the jerking, which made the ride quality fantastic for the driver. And presumably better for the horse as well.

While I'm bummed I'm not getting a bigger truck, I do have to admit I love this rig

And the most unexpected thing? Not only did it neutralize forces from the truck to the trailer, it also neutralized forces the opposite direction, like Connor spinning around in the trailer and pawing at stop signs. I felt absolutely nothing. Which was a bit unnerving and will make me feel better about having a trailer camera, but it also has to mean the ride is SO much smoother for the horse, so I'll take it.

Oh, since I now actually care if this hitch gets stolen, I replaced the locking hitch pin with a locking hitch pin that also has a backup cotter pin, so if one or the other fails, the hitch pin has backup. Two thumbs up!

Since Connor will be spending more hours on the trailer this summer than ever before, I hope he appreciates this ride upgrade! If it made his ride even half as nice as it made mine, he sure will.

Bottom line: It's expensive, but reduces wear on your tow vehicle and gives your horse a smoother ride, so what's not to love?

What: Shocker Air Receiver Hitch

Sizes: 12k capacity or 16k capacity. Also available for gooseneck and in a WD hitch configuration

Price: I paid $459.99 for my configuration

Where: shockerhitch.com


  1. That is very cool. We leave our truck hitched all the time so it would be tough to keep dry. We have the stabilizer system which helps tremendously. Just replaced the truck tires, and they had even wear on all four. No alignment needed. Can't wait to see how yours is long term.

    1. I'm sure it'll be fine long term, even before this hitch the trailer barely made my truck squat and my tire wear is always even (and rotated regularly!). There are some definite advantages to having a trailer as light as mine at 2200lbs empty.

  2. Cool thanks for sharing, I've never heard of this but I'll have to consider getting one! Once you've done it a few times, how long do you think it takes to take on/off?

    1. With several caveats, probably 5 minutes. Caveats being: how snugly it fits against your truck (mine is so snug, I'm going to have to clamp it down like this to get it on and the hitch pin in, which adds time), and how accessible your air compressor is, since it has to be completely deflated to get it on/off the truck and then aired up every single time you put it on. I have a battery pack jump starter on the way that has an air compressor on it, so I'll always have air right there.

  3. Also interested in details on installation/breakdown times. We are waaaay too humid + salty to leave a nice rig like that out in the elements. Thanks for your always useful reviews!

    1. Install time answer above. I'll take a video and make a sped-up GIF once I get the air compressor. You're welcome!

  4. My first thought reading this was whether I could convince my husband to haul me down the road in the trailer so I could see how it rides... Yoshi hasn't had a complaint and everyone I've put in loads beautifully into it, even those that are known to be somewhat reluctant. But I think that's a function of it being a BIG, light (photons not weight), open trailer with a ramp rather than a reflection of the ride once they're in. I also need to just do what I've been saying and stick up the old phone with the blue tooth nanny cam so I can see how it looks going down the road with horses.

    1. I know, I had that thought too. It would have made for a much better quality review post if I had had someone drive me around in it before and after! That's asking a lot though, especially for my husband who has never towed a trailer before in his life. Connor is a great loader as long as he likes the trailer, and he definitely has some configurations he's not a fan of (tall step ups and front facing straight loads are two he does not like).

  5. This is a cool product, thanks for sharing! Not sure I want to dump that kind of money right away, but my truck suspension isn't the greatest so reducing that transfer to the trailer sounds like a great idea

    1. And that's pretty much the reason it took me what, six years from when I first heard about it to buy it. It's a very expensive nice-to-have, but as I was figuratively sobbing over a bowl of ice cream about my new truck that wasn't to be (lol) it seemed like a good way to spend half my deposit! Hopefully you can get one someday, it would definitely give you a smoother ride on that truck.

  6. My coach had this on her truck and it was amazing! The only downside for her was she tows a few different trailers and horses and adjusting it before each trip got to be a bit much so she got airbags in the suspension of the truck itself, adjusted from the dash. I’m reminded to see if she’s sold the hitch, I still want it! It’s perfect for those of us with just one set up.

  7. Very cool - thanks for the review! I have a wish list for horse/truck/trailer stuff to get one day, so adding this baby to the list!