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Grand Master SKA with Tack Compartment
Grand Master SR with Full-Height Tack Compartment
          

   

We didn’t have time to integrate the Grand Masters into the main text field, so for a while at least, you can click on the cloud to bring you to this Grand Master page. If you’ve read our Böckmann main page, some of the feature descriptions on this page may seem familiar. But this is newer text (with more detail in some areas), so if we didn’t make a point clearly enough on the main page, maybe it will be clearer here. And with that preamble out of the way…

       

The Grand Master is available as the SKA, with a well-equipped half-height tack compartment that spans much of the front of the trailer, and the Grand Master SR, which has a full-height tack compartment in front of the left stall. That’s the only difference between them. They’re so similar in fact that they’re identical from the outside. Most of this writeup consists of text that applies to both models. When we get to the tack compartments, we’ll specify when a paragraph refers to the SKA or the SR.

First off, the eye-catching Grand Masters are for horses to 18 hands. With the adjustable chest & butt bars (a standard feature), they can be set up in seconds for horses of various sizes. Thanks to a light loaded tongue weight and aerodynamic shape, the Grand Masters may be pulled safely by many of today's smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs, crossovers and trucks. Böckmann trailers have been in production since the late 1950s and they're sold in over 30 countries. Even though their designs are advanced, they're also well-proven in millions of miles of real-world use.

The Grand Masters are loaded with thoughtful features for safety and convenience and the comfort of your horses.

Let's start with the horse area. With the center post stall divider, you may swing the front or rear panel of the divider aside for additional working space. The stall divider and walls are padded and there are kick panels as well. The stall divider, post and chest & butt bars are easily removed without tools.

       

The Grand Masters feature Böckmann's Multi Safe System (MSS) chest & butt bars, which offer several benefits over the bars in most trailers. First, MSS bars are quick & easy to use, so the MSS butt bars let you get out of the kick zone quickly. Second, the MSS bars are adjustable. There are 2 height adjustments on the chest bars and 3 adjustments on the butt bars. The butt bar mounts are angled, so as you lower the bar for a smaller horse, it also shortens the stall.

Third, MSS stall bars have an external emergency release capability. The exterior tie loops serve as the bolts for the chest and butt bar wall mounts. If a horse gets caught over or under a bar, unscrew the associated exterior tie loop (using the handle of the standard-equipment lug wrench) and the wall mount comes down without the need for someone to get in the trailer with a panicking horse. That's thoughtful design lacking in most trailers.

And let's add a fourth point - the MSS bars are quiet. If you've heard the racket the stall hardware makes in a lot of trailers, you and your horses will appreciate the interior calm of a Böckmann.

       

The Grand Masters have two sliding windows on each side. In addition, there's a roof vent/skylight and the self-furling rear curtain is so easy to use that most folks run with it up. This combination makes for a bright, inviting and well-ventilated interior. Body height is big-horse friendly at 7'6"+.

   

The Grand Masters come with hay bag loops and flat-backed feed buckets (which have their own wall mounts), so there's plenty to keep the horses occupied while aboard. Another thoughtful feature on Böckmann trailers is their 2-color interior lights. Flip the switch one way for human-friendly white LED light. Flip the switch the other way for horse-calming blue light.

       

   

As with most Böckmann trailers, the Grand Masters have a 5' tall ramp for a more comfortable incline than the more common 4' ramps. The ramp mat has molded toeholds and there's lift assist in the form of a pair of gas springs. Unlike the torsion springs that provide less assist as a ramp goes up, gas springs provide consistent force over the ramp's entire travel. And one more feature on the ramp - in case you're wondering how to reach that self-furling rear curtain, look closely at the license plate holder and you'll see a curved step below the tag location and another step above it.

Here's another feature the humans can appreciate - The Grand Master's mat is bonded to the floor and the edges are sealed. Horse wastes don't reach the structural floor and clean up after a trip is a breeze. Just sweep or hose it out. No need to lift mats. Grand Master models come with an extra layer of mat under the horses' front feet.

Since we mentioned the structural floor, we should tell you what it is. The structural floor consists of transverse extruded aluminum panels, with extra reinforcement in the high load areas. The chassis consists of corrosion-protected galvanized steel and the Grand Master's body is of fiberglass. Fiberglass has been the material of choice in the boating industry since the early 1960s, so it has proven its worth in hard use.

       

Let's move on to the Grand Master SR’s (aka “GM SR” or just “SR”) tack compartment. As mentioned earlier, it’s a full height compartment in front of the left stall. Easily access your saddles and tack through the exterior door on the left side of the nose. But if you're inside the trailer, no need to walk all the way around. There's a standing-height tack door inside the trailer. And while we're talking doors, there's a groom door in front of the right stall. In the GM SR, at the right stall, head space is over 6 feet from the chest bars to the front wall. Even with the full-height tack compartment, there's about 3 feet of head space forward of the SR’s left stall.

           

The Grand Master SR's full-height tack compartment is much larger than you'll typically find in a European trailer. There are two telescoping saddle racks on an offset post. Rotate the post and extend the racks to easily access your saddles while standing next to the trailer. There are two shelves above the saddle racks and another two shelves along the front wall of the compartment. On the back wall are a telescoping shovel, a telescoping broom and a 5-place whip holder. Down low near the whip holder is a releasable elastic strap to secure small items in the rear corner.

At the front of the SR’s tack compartment, there are 4 bridle hooks on the front face of one of the shelves. You may have noticed the red and black things in one of those shelves - those are the two folding stools/steps in 2 different heights (they're a standard feature on the Grand Masters). On the exterior door, there are two storage nets, a mirror and a tack hook. On the interior door is another mirror, another tack hook and a third storage net. To save you some math, that’s 6 tack hooks, 3 storage nets and 2 mirrors in the GM SR.

Now for the Grand Master SKA’s (aka “GM SKA” or “SKA”) tack compartment…

   

   

As with the GM SR, saddles and tack are easily accessed through the exterior door on the left side of the SKA’s nose. There’s an interior tack door as well, in front of the right stall. Completing the door arrangement, there’s a groom door in front of front of the right stall, right next to the tack door. It’s an easy reach.

       

Böckmann fits a surprising number of useful features in the SKA’s tack compartment. There are two telescoping saddle racks and on the back wall, there are 2 bridle hooks, a 5-place whip holder, a telescoping shovel and a telescoping broom. There are two deep shelves along the front wall of the compartment. In one of the shelves, there's a recess for stowing those feed buckets we mentioned earlier. On the exterior door, there's a storage net, a mirror and a tack hook. On the interior door, there's another pair of tack hooks, giving a total of 5 hooks in the SKA There's also a pair of removable elastic straps for securing or hanging light items.

Standard accessories with the Grand Masters and other models include a lug wrench, wheel chocks, a hitch ball cover (it's recommended that you keep grease on the ball) and an anti-theft "ball" that you pop into the coupler. Böckmann trailers have an integrated coupler lock. Pop that dark blue ball into the coupler, turn the key and it's locked into the coupler so a ne'er-do-well can't just hook up and drive off.

Here's yet another Böckmann thoughtful feature - a status indicator on the side of the coupler. The status indicator pointer will be in the blue zone if the coupler is properly secured on the ball. If someone tries to put it on a ball that's too small, the indicator will be in the red minus zone. If the coupler isn't connected properly, the pointer will be in the red "X" zone.

The thing that initially draws many trailer shoppers to Böckmann trailers is their ease of towing. Böckmann trailers may be towed safely by many of today's smaller and more fuel-efficient SUVs, crossovers and trucks. The rule of thumb for domestically-produced horse trailers is that they carry 10-15% of their load on the hitch, which results in a loaded tongue weight in the 600-800 lb. range. By comparison, a Böckmann carries only 3.75% of its load on the hitch.

The Grand Master has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 2700 kilograms, or about 5950 lbs., so even loaded to the maximum, 3.75% of 5950 works out to a loaded tongue weight of about 223 lbs. And to reiterate, that's when the trailer is loaded to the maximum. Most folks don't run with a trailer loaded to the maximum. Thanks to that light tongue weight, many folks who pull a Böckmann for the first time comment that there's little sensation that they're pulling a trailer.

Most horse trailers built in North America have electric brakes, which require you to have a brake controller in the tow vehicle. And many brake controllers need to be adjusted as the load in the trailer changes. With the Grand Master's inertia-actuated mechanical brakes, life is much simpler. The brakes apply braking force automatically in proportion to the load in the trailer. You don't need to fiddle with a brake controller. In fact, you don't even need a brake controller!

Here's a simple description of how Böckmann’s mechanical brakes work: As you slow your tow vehicle, the trailer's coupler assembly compresses slightly, pulling a rod, which pulls a short cable to each brake drum. (The cables allow the wheels to move up and down without interfering with brake operation.) The empty trailer compresses the coupler assembly with a certain amount of force. Load one horse and there's now the weight of the trailer plus 1000 lbs. or so of horse to compress the coupler assembly with more force, producing more braking force. Load a second horse and now it's the weight of the trailer plus 2000 lbs. or so compressing the coupler assembly to produce proportionately more braking force. While electric brakes are common here in the States, in most countries, mechanical trailer braking systems as on a Böckmann have been the predominant design for decades. They're simple, safe and reliable. No electronics to fail, no brake fluid to change, no brake lines to rust out.

   

But wait, there's more... Grand Master models ride on Böckmann's WCFPlus® coil spring suspension. Nicer domestically-produced horse trailers ride on torsion axles. Torsion axles are fine, as Böckmann puts them on their smaller models, but a coil spring suspension (with shock absorbers) provides an even smoother ride. If you like the ride of your motor vehicle, take a peek behind one of the wheels and you'll likely see it's riding on coil springs. As you'd expect, the Grand Masters ride on radial tires and as you might not expect, they come with aluminum alloy wheels as standard (including spare). Wheel bearings are sealed, eliminating the annual task of packing bearings with grease recommended by most trailer manufacturers.

   

A little earlier, we commented on a Böckmann's ease of towing. It's very easy to connect and disconnect and the ramp and stall hardware are easy to use, but it's also easy on the vehicle. Thanks to the light tongue weight and aerodynamic shape, a Böckmann can be towed safely by smaller-than-typical tow vehicles. (Above are a couple of factory-provided photos. Those are older models, but we like those photos because they show that in many countries, the tow vehicle is a car.) Here are Böckmann's tow vehicle minimum requirements:

The tow vehicle must:

Have at least 125 horsepower. Here in the States, most folks pull a Böckmann with a smaller SUV or truck with 6-cylinder or turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. These typically have well over 200 HP, so the horsepower requirement is easily met.
If truck or SUV (meaning a vehicle with a higher center of gravity than a car), must have a wheelbase of at least 100 inches. These days, even a compact sedan often has a wheelbase in the 105" range. We're not suggesting you tow with a compact sedan, but we use this example to emphasize that the vehicle doesn't have to be huge to meet the 100" wheelbase minimum. (Since we brought up the subject, compact sedans often meet or exceed Böckmann’s minimum horsepower requirement as well, but most are rated for little or no trailer hitch weight.)
Must be able to handle the trailer's maximum tongue weight. As calculated earlier, even loaded to the maximum a Gramd Master’s tongue weight is only about 223 lbs. Even smaller SUVs are often rated to handle at least 300 lbs. tongue weight. As mentioned earlier, the tongue weight for a domestically-produced horse trailer is typically in the 600-800 lb. range. A Böckmann puts far less load on the tow vehicle's rear suspension for a smoother ride. And the vehicle remains more level for more predictable handling. If you're not sure what tongue weight your vehicle is rated for, the information is often in a towing section in the vehicle's owner's manual. Quite often, the maximum tongue weight will be 10% of the tow capacity rating. For instance, if they've assigned a tow capacity of 5000 lbs., more often than not, the vehicle will be rated to handle 500 lbs. tongue weight. (But please note, this is just a guideline. Rely only on the official number in your owner's manual or from the vehicle manufacturer.)

       

The only option ordered on the trailers shown here is the large "Competition" graphic. Everything else you see here is standard on the Grand Masters.

(Please note that the blue & white light and suspension pictures are detail shots we took of Portax models, but the details of the lights, suspension components and underside of the floor are representative of the same components on the Grand Masters. In those suspension shots, the black rectangles are where we blotted out the photo date stamps.

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