A Short Introduction to Horse Trailer Styles
When you’re looking at horse trailers for sale, you can easily become overwhelmed with options. It’s important to know what type of trailer you’re looking for before you even start shopping, which means getting a little cozy with horse trailer lingo. You’ll not only be more confident when calling to ask more about a trailer that catches your eye, but you’ll be certain the trailer you choose will be perfect for your animals after reading this quick horse trailer primer.
How Does it Load?
There are three main options when it comes to loading your horses that give each type of trailer their names. These are:
Stock Trailers. A stock trailer is an open-sided trailer that’s empty or mostly empty inside. They generally don’t come with any sort of dividers and can be used for transporting a wide variety of farm animals. Horses transport well in these open containers provided it’s not too cold or hot outside and the ceilings are at least seven feet high. Older stock trailers may only have six foot ceilings, so check this carefully.
Straight Loads. A straight load trailer allows the horse to load so he’s standing with his legs parallel to the direction of the trailer’s wheels. Many small two-horse trailers are straight loads with a divider in the middle, allowing you to convert it into one big box stall. They’re great economical choices, provided you can teach your horse to back straight out of the trailer. Bigger horses tend to ride better in straight loads than slant loads.
Slant Loads. A slant load trailer positions horses so they’re standing at an angle to the trailer’s wheels and direction of travel. Some horsemen believe that horses travel better this way, but the official jury’s still out. Small to medium horses reap the most benefit in these trailers, since the stalls can be narrow. Horse owners like slant loads largely because they can haul more horses with less trailer length. You’ll still have to back your horses to unload, though, unless you opt for a reverse slant load option.
What About Hitches?
There are two main hitching types: gooseneck and bumper pull. A gooseneck is a more stable type of hitch that mounts in the bed of the tow vehicle -- it’s great for trailers designed to haul four or more horses. If you’re considering a trailer with living quarters, they will mostly tend to use gooseneck hitches, as well.
Bumper pulls are often less intimidating to pull, since they’re hitched to the ball on your bumper and follow the path of the vehicle nearly exactly. Bumper pulls are great options for horse owners who haul no more than four horses at once, since they tend to shimmy as the trailer gets longer. They can often be pulled with the truck you’ve already got, making them a big cost saver.
Choosing your favorite trailer type is a very personal decision, based on your budget, current horses and long-term travel plans. Armed with a little knowledge about the different types of trailers, it should be easier to narrow your options and find the trailer that’s perfect for you and your horses.