Horse trailers have grown from modest two-horse steel contraptions to elegant lodgings for horses and people. Options and pricing vary, so examine which features best meet your needs before investing in a new or used trailer.
Types of House Trailer Pulls
Equine trailers are offered in gooseneck and bumper-pull versions. Gooseneck trailers require pickups or semi-trucks as towing vehicles, but certain bigger SUVs may safely tow bumper-pull trailers.
Gooseneck trailers attach to a ball in the towing pickup’s bed over the rear axel. This decreases swing and makes gooseneck trailers more stable than bumper pulls, even if they are larger. They can haul more horses and contain space for larger tack rooms or living quarters. However, their weight may qualify them as commercial vehicles, depending on each state’s weight regulations. Gooseneck trailers have tight turning radiuses, so they are easy to back and park, but untrained trailer haulers may turn too tight and damage bumpers. Gooseneck trailers range in size from two to nine horses, and they retail from $13,000 to $70,000 for new versions.
Bumper pull trailers attach to a ball hitch at the rear of the towing vehicle’s frame. These trailers weigh less than gooseneck trailers and cost less. Their turning radius is bigger and makes them tougher to back up, but it also decreases the chance of damaging bumpers in tight bends. Larger models require sway bars for stability. Bumper pull trailers range in capacity from one to four horses, and their price tag runs from $8,500 to $19,000 for new models. This is a wonderful alternative for folks that pull only one or two horses or tow SUVs.
Horse trailers are offered in straight, slant, and head-to-head forms. Each setup is safe, so the option depends on the horseman’s tastes.
In straight loads, the horses face the front of the trailer when they are inside. This is the most common type for tiny, two-horse trailers. A middle partition separates the horses from each other, while butt bars prevent the horses from backing out until the handlers are ready to unload. The handlers walk inside the trailers with the horses and exit through doors at the front.
Opening the front escape doors during loading illuminates the trailer and minimizes the horses’ claustrophobia.
Horses brace with their front legs as the tow truck reduces pace, so they have good balance.
Straight load trailers are thinner than slant load trailers, so they fit into narrower parking spaces.
Most straight-load trailers will only allow two horses.
Rear and side ramps boost safety while loading and unloading, but they also increase the trailer’s weight and put greater strain on the towing vehicles.
In slant loads, the horses stand diagonally side by side with their heads facing left. The swinging dividers separate the horses, and the handlers secure these closed as each horse loads.
The trailer is shorter but fits more horses.
Horses can turn around and unload head first.
Slant load trailers appear more open, so they alleviate a horse’s claustrophobia while loading.
The United States Department of Transportation regulates width at 8.5 feet.
Handlers are unable to unload just the horses in the middle or front of the trailer.
Head-to-head trailers hold four to six horses, depending on the design. These trailers have two or three stalls at the rear of the trailer, an open space in the center with a loading ramp, and two or three stalls at the front of the trailer. The horses in the front stalls stand facing the rear of the trailer.
Handlers can discharge one horse from any point in the trailer, which makes this a fantastic alternative for professional horse carriers.
Seeing other horses in the trailer comforts scared travelers.
The unit can be transformed into three box stalls.
Head-to-head trailers are longer and weigh more; therefore, they require larger towing vehicles.
They cost more than slant-load trailers that pull the same number of horses.
Modern horse trailers contain a number of safety and convenience features.
Windows that can be lowered
Some slant-load trailers have drop-down windows on the head side. These add light and ventilation to the inside. The handlers drop the windows and safety bars to feed and water the horses. In hot months, the handlers may drop the windows and leave the safety bars up for extra air flow. Trailering with safety bars down is not safe because the horses may try to jump out of the windows or get eye damage from debris. Some drop-down windows contain screens to maximize air flow while protecting horses’ eyes.
Ramps attach to a trailer’s rear with hinges. When folded down, they allow horses to enter and exit on moderate inclines. This promotes safety in a straight load trailer; when horses back out, they will not face unexpected drop-offs, which can cause them to fling their heads or skin their legs. Ramps can be slippery and must be adequately designed to prevent collapse under a horse’s weight. Some trailer models incorporate an additional side ramp for loading and unloading.
Water tanks are mounted in dressing room corners. These are built from translucent plastic, so the water level is always apparent. The hoses attach to the tanks’ bottoms, so the water is gravity fed. Full water tanks increase trailer weight, so use caution if the trailer weight is already close to the towing vehicle’s capacity.
Cameras in the horse area make it feasible for drivers to check on the animals without stopping. This allows them to handle any concerns promptly and make the trip safer.
Some trailers have excess room at the back of the horse compartment, so some manufacturers fill this with a rear tack. These may be fixed or collapsible and incorporate saddle racks and bridle hooks. Handlers can become caught between rear tacks and horses, so they must take caution if their trailer has this feature.
Most trailers feature dressing rooms, and dressing rooms often have saddle racks and bridle hooks so they can act as tack rooms. This type of room is positioned at the front of the trailer and is broad enough for individuals to step into and change clothes. A large room increases a trailer’s length and weight.
Some slant-load trailer builders incorporate stud doors in the first stall. Most internal gates start at the ceiling and end at the horses’ bellies, but stud gates go all the way to the floor. This prevents stallions or other aggressive horses from kicking at their trailer mates. These gates can be troublesome to close if not mounted properly.
Living quarters are normally situated in gooseneck trailers, but some manufacturers include tiny living quarters in bumper pull trailers. Living quarters range from tiny weekender packages without running water to deluxe accommodations with stainless steel amenities and slide-outs. Living quarters trailers cost more and are heavier to tow. They range in price from $30,000 for a new, entry-level, weekender living quarters trailer to $400,000 for top-of-the-line luxury. Living quarters are a fantastic choice for folks who show their horses or love horse camping.
Aluminum trailers cost more than steel horse trailers up front, but they have fewer maintenance expenditures over time. They weigh less, and this helps handlers safely carry more horses within a specific vehicle’s towing capacity. These trailers do not endure impact as well as steel horse trailers, so this raises the possibility of injuries in an accident. Horses that kick may destroy trailer walls and leave holes with deadly jagged edges.
Steel trailers are heavier than aluminum trailers, so they have less motion transfer. They are prone to rust, but galvanized or galvanneal options eliminate this problem. Steel trailers cost less than aluminum up front but have additional maintenance costs since they need paint to prevent rust. Steel trailers endure impact better, so they’re a smart choice for horses who kick. They also give extra protection for horses in accidents.
Popular horse trailer brands are well-constructed and offer a number of alternatives for horsemen. Some brands allow buyers to custom order their trailers and get exactly what they desire.
Featherlite is the pioneer of aluminum trailers. Their all-aluminum trailers have 3/4-inch rubber mats, rubber coated tie rings, and spring-loaded slam latch gates. The dressing rooms contain adjustable saddle racks and water-resistant grass flooring. This company manufactures bumper-pull and gooseneck trailers with slant or straight loads. They range in capacity from two to six horses. Living quarters options range in size from four feet to 17 feet and vary from weekender packages to elegant complete campers.
One reviewer on TrustPilot.com notes that her Featherlite trailer “pulls great every time she pulls it.” Another writes that he acquired a new 45-foot horse trailer with living quarters but already has difficulties with sagging outer doors and failed hinges on the ramp. He says that he has only towed the trailer 15,000 kilometers.
Logan Coach manufactures aluminum bumper pull, gooseneck, and living quarters trailers. These trailers range in size from a tiny two-horse Crossfire bumper draw to the luxurious seven-horse XTR gooseneck. This producer employs Whiz Proof aluminum board flooring sprayed with Vortex spray rubber and topped with SureGrip rubber mats glued to the floor so that the mats do not shift during transport. To safeguard the trailer, Logan Coach adds 48-inch-tall twin kick walls sealed with Vortex rubber coating.
One reviewer on HorseTrailerWorld.com reports that she hauls an average of 600 miles each week through adverse weather, and her trailer is “very easy to handle and tows nicely.” Another reviewer notably loves “the huge windows and robust structure.”
Double D manufactures each trailer to the buyer’s specifications. This is a cost-effective approach to obtain a bespoke trailer without dealership markups. These trailers have zinc frames, white zinc Galvalite interior skins, and aluminum outer skins, so they are robust like steel trailers yet lightweight like aluminum trailers. The company’s Safe Tack rear tack swings out like a second door and removes the possibility of handlers becoming caught between rear tacks and agitated horses. Large windows increase air flow, while grated stall partitions let horses see each other. Buyers can personalize their trailers online and get cost estimates before purchase. Double D offers nationwide delivery at a cheap flat rate.
In the Chronicle of the Horse Forum, one commenter appreciates “the quality of the workmanship…solid, nicely built and tows beautifully.” Another commenter states, “On the two-horse straight load, anything that would make the trailer capable is extra. “When everything that makes the trailer pleasant for horse and person is added, the price jumps from 11,500 to over 17k.”
Trails West manufactures aluminum trailers with steel frames. Their wood floors prevent heat transfer from the road and keep the interior cooler. Rubber wall matting and triple wall construction prevent horses from harming the trailer with kicks. Sizes range from a two-horse bumper draw to a six-horse gooseneck.
On Facebook, a Trails West trailer owner comments, “I would give them 0 stars, but it’s not feasible. After seeing first-hand the manner in which they respond to their consumers on social media, I would NEVER suggest anyone that I know to buy one. ” Several other reviewers claim that Trails West refuses to fix trailers with manufacturing faults.
Another reviewer reports, “I have owned a four-horse slant-load gooseneck for 15 years… The trailer was fantastic for showing in 4-H and for all the clinics we have attended over the years. ”
CM manufactures steel and aluminum trailers. These trailers include telescoping rear dividers and retractable internal slant gates for horsemen who prefer hauling without dividers. This company’s steel Drover model is one of the few steel gooseneck horse trailers available on the market with drop-down windows.
On BarrelHorseWorld.com, one CM trailer owner says that she enjoys “everything about it except where the tie rings are located inside; it’s hard to get a feed bag in the appropriate spot and kind of awkward.” Another writes that “the welds, hefty latches, floors, and the insulated roof were what sold us too. extremely well-made trailer. ”
Brenderup is a unique trailer built in Europe but sold in the United States. The fiberglass structure makes this trailer easy to haul with SUVs. These trailers look small, yet they can hold two huge horses, such as draft breeds or Thoroughbreds.
In the Chronicle of the Horse forum, one Brenderup owner states, “I’ve owned a Brenderup for 5 years, carried one or two horses for travels as far as 1,000 miles round trip with my minivan and never had any trouble.” Another comments, “The ramp was little more than a glorified piece of plywood. I think the entire thing changed into a parallelogram when it started moving; the sides were so narrow.
Think Safety First.
When acquiring new or used trailers, safety is the most critical feature. Consider the towing vehicle size, spend time learning about optional features, and thoroughly inspect any prospective purchases to select the best, safest trailer to match your needs.