Horse trailers come in many styles— slant load, straight load and stock trailers are the commonly used types, with owner preference playing a significant role in the type used. When teaching your horse to load and transporting it to shows, competitions and trail rides, you want your horse to remain calm throughout the loading and riding process.
How do you know what trailer is the best choice for you and your horse? To find the answer, you’ll need to consider several factors. This blog post will round up some of the most important things you should look for and consider when choosing a horse trailer.
Six Considerations to Help Find the Best Possible Trailer for You & Your Horse
- Choose a True Horse Trailer. There are horse trailers and livestock trailers. Even though you could use a livestock trailer to transport your horse, it would be wiser to choose a trailer that’s built with horses in mind. Are you going to be transporting more that one horse? If so, you’ll want to consider purchasing a trailer with separate compartments for your horses to ride comfortably in.
- Consider Loading Types and Loading Location. Between straight load and slant load trailers, many horse owners find that a straight load trailer makes it easier for them to exit the trailer after loading the horse and less costly. A slant load trailer could be more expensive but may be less stressful on your horse due to the fact that most horses prefer to stand diagonally, with their tails in the direction of travel and having more room, a slat trailer is wider and heavier to help with bumps. This type of trailer can also help the balance for your horse when taking turns and braking when they are standing at an angle. Additionally, you can choose either trailer types in a rear loading trailer, side loading or one that offers both. A side load door allows you to unload the horse in a forward motion, rather than having him back his way out.
- Look at Trailer Construction Material. Today’s trailers are constructed of steel or aluminum. Both offer advantages and disadvantages, with the aluminum trailer being lighter (for an easier haul) and the steel trailer being easier to repair. Equally important are the materials used in the flooring. Ensure the flooring is safe and sound, particularly when buying a used trailer.
- Size Up the Trailer Interior. The average-sized horse will ride comfortably in a trailer with interior measurements of 7 to 8 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Obviously, a pony or miniature horse doesn’t need as much space, and a large horse might need more. Use your horse’s size to find the ideal interior size.
- Think About Venting, Padding and Other Features. The smaller features, such as venting and padding, contribute to your horse’s comfort and safety. You’ll also want to pay attention to lighting, storage space, and partitions and gates, as these features can make a big difference when you’re on the road with your horse.
- How Long Will You Be on the Road? Do you need a regular trailer or one with living quarters? If you’re on the road for an extended amount of time for the horse show circuit, adequately sized and comfortable living quarters for your horse can make life easier for both of you until you return home. Trailers with living quarters are more costly. While it’s important to stay within budget, it’s also vital to ensure that your horse is comfortable and safe.
After the Trailer Purchase
Once you’ve considered all the important criteria of selecting the best possible horse trailer and made your purchase, you’ll want to follow up with continued learning. Learn how to maintain your trailer and towing vehicle. Knowing what you should check for trailer safety and security is vital to enjoyable traveling with your horse. Likewise, as you learn about your trailer, your horse should, too. Teach her how to load and unload prior to traveling, with the goal of having your horse feel calm the whole time. Patience, practice and knowledge will play important roles in ensuring that traveling with your horse is stress-free and comfortable for everyone involved.
Carrie Yaeger of Curt Manufacturing, the leading provider of towing accessories for the equine industry, has been riding all of her life. She started showing quarter horses when she was 2 years old around Eau Claire. With the help of her older cousin, she rode in a class known as “Lead Line”. At age 5, she finally got to ride by herself, riding Western and English. She showed Quarter horses and P.O.A.’s (Ponies of America) all over the country until she turned 16 and retired from the show ring. These days you can find Carrie at Oakland Percherons, her family’s farm west of Eau Claire, WI. We own and show Percheron Draft Horses; 12 Mares (Molly, Kylie, Cleo, Faye, Kate and Darcy just to name a few) and 3 Stallions (Tim, A-Rod, and Darth), along with 2 Quarter Horse Mares (Peanut and Storm). Carrie and her family show at the Wisconsin State Fair, the Minnesota State Fair, and many others fairs around the Mid-West.