Transporting Minis/Ponies in a van

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Broff

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I am looking at the possibility of buying a van - not a mini van but a cargo or passagenger van on a 1/2, 3/4 or perhaps 1 ton frame. I have two pairs - one is 38" and the others are ponies at 41 and 42".

I am iffy about transporting the taller ones in a van but Nissan makes a van that is pretty tall.

A van has the advantage that the horses would comfortable in the summer because it would have A/C but I could easily put my carts in a small cargo trailer that the van would pull. The van has a side door and I would not need to unhitch the cargo trailer to unload the horses.

I have heard it done but I have never seen a van re-done for that purpose and I have only heard the positive but since nothing is perfect, I would like to hear the drawbacks of such a project.

The other possibility is to go back to the truck and trailer route. I sold my big horse trailer and need a new vehicle so I am in a good position to get the rig that I need.

I do very little hauling and rarely long distance.

I would love to hear people experience on this and pictures if possible.

Thank you in advance.
 

Karin - NaKar Miniatures

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I transport my minis in a Ford 1500 8 passenger cargo van. Have been transporting this way for years. Before that, I used a Dodge minivan.

The tallest horse I have put in it was 37" and she wasn't able to lift her head up. I would not recommend using a regular cargo van for anything larger. Of course, they have those new vans that are taller. I'm not sure about them. They look as though they could turn over easily.

I have a custom made aluminum box with a ramp that slides underneath. It really is the way to go to haul minis. Preferrably 34" and under. Sorry, I don't have any pics to post at the moment.
 

Broff

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Mine are 38" the smallest and that might be too tall. I want to look at the taller vans just the same to get an idea of how they handle. The whole idea of truck and trailer again does not appeal to me. Especially because I have not found a trailer that I like for my large minis and their CDE/ADS carts that use up a lot of space.
 

rabbitsfizz

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Just looked it up as we have so many vans but this is not one of them- 17 mpg!! Ugh, you are lucky your gas is so cheap, I would not ever look at anything that gave me under 30mpg. Still that's as maybe- I use a high top van 2.5 litre and it goes and goes and goes. It can easily take pulling a horse trailer (which is illegal over here, horses on the trailer or horses on the van are fine, but NOT both!) or even a caravan (trailer? sorry, trying to translate here!!) and would not notice a trailer with a cart on it (I have done that more than once) so, unless you need a huge engine, I would look at smaller engined vehicles, they are cheaper to buy and cheaper to run. You do not need a hi-top like mine, a semi hi would be hight enough but EU rulings dictate what I must use- I have to admit it is nice having all that headroom, I don't need it but it means I can have the dog crates at the back up high and have storage under them....
 

Miniv

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Take a tape measure and start measuring how tall different models of vans are.
 

Broff

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I was planning to use this snow day to do just that but I work from home and work got crazy today. I want to contact dealers and get measurement.

Jane, I know the problem with getting the right vehicle in the UK. When he was posted there my husband had an old Land Rover and that was a blast. On the other hand you have so many awesome driving shows and carts, I envy you!
 

teetinytex

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Glad you asked this question. I am home sick today with this nasty sore throat and stuffy nose and have been looking at a few options. I am close to selling/trading my Dodge Ram and my larger two horse trailer. I don't haul my big horse that much anymore and it would be a waste of gas to haul a mini. My gelding is 26" and will be coming first week of April I will be using him for therapy work, school visits etc. and am thinking of getting a mini van or suv, something that he could fit into nicely, however, I also don't want it to smell so trying to find out what others have done, like maybe plastic down and remove it or?? Anyways, I'll continue to follow this thread. Thanks for all the valuable info on this site.

Kathy
 

Broff

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A good stall mat with shavings should help. I am thinking that the back of the van should have windows for ventilation. Someone suggested a fan that plugs into the lighter because if I turn the A/C high enough for them to be cool, I'll be an icicle!

I keep on thinking about the smell and I am not sure how to address that. I rarely haul long-distance most of the things I do with them is inside of a 50 miles radius but it may very well happen in the near future.

I would love to hear from those who have done long distance with minis in the van.
 

chandab

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Just looked it up as we have so many vans but this is not one of them- 17 mpg!! Ugh, you are lucky your gas is so cheap, I would not ever look at anything that gave me under 30mpg. Still that's as maybe- I use a high top van 2.5 litre and it goes and goes and goes. It can easily take pulling a horse trailer (which is illegal over here, horses on the trailer or horses on the van are fine, but NOT both!) or even a caravan (trailer? sorry, trying to translate here!!) and would not notice a trailer with a cart on it (I have done that more than once) so, unless you need a huge engine, I would look at smaller engined vehicles, they are cheaper to buy and cheaper to run. You do not need a hi-top like mine, a semi hi would be hight enough but EU rulings dictate what I must use- I have to admit it is nice having all that headroom, I don't need it but it means I can have the dog crates at the back up high and have storage under them....
Wow, I'd love to get a towing vehicle that could get 30mpg empty, let alone pulling. Most towing vehicles only get like 17-20 mpg empty, and 12-13 towing; some newer ones are better, but nothing we'll ever be able to afford.
 

Broff

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In Europe they have trailers that can be pulled by a light vehicle. I priced one of the Fautras here, the one that has a place for a driving pair vehicle in front and it is 20K!! I may save on the towing vehicle but the trailer will do me in!

Has anyone built sort of portable stalls that can be put and taken out of a van when not transporting minis?

Any thoughts on the high top vans, they would give more room.
 

rabbitsfizz

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Hi Tops are great- that is what I have and there is plenty of head room for a normal sized adult (unlike me !) to stand up straight and see to the horse on the van- which is great if it is an out door show and it is raining. A semi Hi Top would give you ample headroom for a Mini but you would have to stoop slightly (depending on your height) A flat top van would give you no headroom for you and really not that much for a horse, even a small one. The "people carriers" are just dangerous, IMO, without a proper internal wooden stall, as the "skin" of the vehicle is pretty thin and although the passengers may well be safe, with bags and SIPS etc, none of these help the horse! Also the horse, even a small one could kick though the wall of the vehicle. Just food for thought!
 

Jean_B

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Another thing you really should install is some kind of SOLID barrier between you and the horses. One that is bolted to frame and floor - so that if you have to hit the brakes, the horses don't end up in your lap.
 

Broff

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Jane,

Cargo vans with thick walls are ok?

I am thinking of having mini stalls that can be secured in the back of the van in addition to a proper divider. It seems that when I am finished the van will cost me more than a truck and custom made trailer!
 

Equuisize

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When we purchased our stallion 29" and our mare 33" we hauled them home (at different times) in the back

of our Dodge Caravan.

We used a shipping box that gave them something to lean against with carpeting along the top edges for comfort.

It was well sealed, at the seams, so urine didn't escape. Shavings in the bottom absorbed most of the odor when they

pooped but it was smelly inside till that happened. Having good cross ventilation would help that.

When we brought the little guy home, as a youngster, it'd didn't seem cost efficient to haul him in the big guys, heavy,

2 horse with a dressing room. With the mare we had to haul her at quite a distance so it was really economical.

Although when we were showing putting multiple minis in a full size trailer was problem free.

If we were to use this method again......there are several safety features we would now implement.

The first one would be that there would be a safety barrier between the cargo area and the passenger area.

The shipping box or stalls would be thru bolted to the floor of the van.

We made a plywood ramp that slide in along side the shipping box but it'd be nicer to have something more light

weight but equally strong.

I have seen extra long vans set up with 3 slant load stalls for minis but do not know how they accomplished that.

It'd really be slick though.
 

Broff

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Equuisize what do you mean by shipping box? I picture a carton box with fragile marked on it and I am sure this is not what you mean!

In term of a van I am thinking a heavy duty cargo van 350, long bed with towing package and AWD. Something really solid and a high top to give them head room. My pair is 38" and they are solid little guys. I would have a double box stall with a partition made so that they are safe and can brace in case I have to maneouver. I would also have a divider between us and the back of the van. Fans for the guys of course and windows for cross ventilation.

My two problems are urine (don't want it to pool underneath the mat and it is so heavy to lift!) and smell. This is why I am still not completely sold on a van. My husband does not like trailering and this is why we are thinking a van. I used to handle a big truck and trailer so it does not bother me. Although with all the new regulations for trailering maybe a van is the best idea alfter all!
 

Equuisize

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LOL :doh:Oh sorry, didn't even think of that.

This was a framed mahogany shipping box.

There used to be a Boeing Surplus store in our area where

you could find all kinds of sturdy materials to utilize for horsey things.

I've seen similar boxes, in yards, of other industrial companies, however.

With your bigger kids I can see your needing a larger cargo style van.

A partition or sides, I believe, is necessary so they do have something

to lean against - at a slant would be even better.

We hauled a little person one time, loose, a very short distance.

She stood the whole time facing backwards, looking out the back windows.

Years ago, I read that given a choice horses would prefer to haul that way.

You would load them in from a side entrance. I don't know if that's a

popular theory anymore or not. It had something to do with the way roads

are built, their angles and they way they bank, if I remember correctly.

I understand, I do not do heavy mats either.

I wonder if you could have a pan made for the cargo area and fill it with

shavings or pellets, to absorb the urine.

You mentioned new regulations for trailering...what is that about?

Is that specific to where you live or ?
 

Margot

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We have always used vans to transport our horses. The first was a Ford cargo van. We had built a box out of plywood and 2x4's that was a three horse slant but it might not be high enough for taller horses, ours are all under 34". We than bought a high top conversion van which will hold taller horses and had a box built that fit behind the second row of seats that would hold two horses, taller ones would fit. The box had a ramp that slid under the box t use for unloading. We hauled our stallion from Texas to PA in it several times. It had AC so he was comfortable and he slept in it when we stopped at motels, we left windows cracked. We also used it to deliver horses we sold and having the extra seats was nice. We recently bought a Ford Transit Connect which is much better on gas, so far we have only moved goats but will be moving a horse next week. We have a wheel chair ramp for this since it is lower to the ground than the conversion van and we can store the ramp in the space near the second side doors. If you only have a few horses to haul this is the way to go. Horses are comfy with either heat or AC and you can see them if they do get in trouble, it is a more comfortable ride for them and if you drive carefully safer than a trailer.
 

Margot

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I can give you more information on the box if you are interested, I might have some pictures. It was heavy but two people could take it in and out and we had a rubber mat in the bottom with shavings
 

Broff

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I would love to see pictures of the box. Did you build it yourself or did you have it built?

Regarding the new regulations, there was discussions on another forum about requirements for a USDOT # that may affect horse haulers (private haulers) I have not looked, so I don't want to pass erroneous information. There were also the possibility that more rigs would require a CDL, but again I am not sure of the proposed legislation but I want to look into it.
 

rabbitsfizz

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Make very sure you have everything that legislation requires- although most policemen do not know a horse form a Llama, and most would spend their time laughing at the size of the horse, it would just be your luck to be pulled over for something routine like a light out, and meet the one cop in a hundred mile radius who had read all the rules! We also have people going round checking things at shows, so there is a real possibility that, even though I know your van would be safe, the law might not agree!

A Cargo Van, from what I can see, would be fine so long as it was fully lined with plywood, or you had, as others are suggesting, an internal box system. Mine is ply lined, floor too, as I only use it for the horses, it doers not have to double up as a general purpose van. You can get "liquid rubber" that some use on stall floors, and this works really well on the floor, you can get sealant to seal it to the edges of the floor so you do not get leaks- I would advise drilling regular and quite large holes through to the outside of the underside of the van so urine can leak out onto the ground instead of causing a small and incredibly smelly swimming pool inside!!!
 

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