Choosing the Right Horse Trailer

Choosing the Right Horse Trailer

 

When it comes to buying a horse trailer, your horse’s comfort and safety should be your top priority. If you feel overwhelmed by the options, features, and types of trailers on the market, remember to consider your horse first, the trailer second, and your tow vehicle third.

Size Matters

While trailering, your horse will feel every bump, brake, and turn. It’s essential to offer your horse room enough room to keep his balance, as well as adequate headroom to keep him from feeling trapped or cramped. Otherwise, your horse may not be able to use his head and neck for balance while in transit, potentially leading to stiffness or lameness. Select a trailer that accommodates your horse comfortably, as well as one capable of hauling his weight.

If you don’t trailer your horse often, more affordable trailers may be tempting but also have less structural integrity and strength. Steel trailers weigh more than their aluminum counterparts but are more resistant to corrosion. Aluminum trailers may also cost up to 20 percent more. But hybrid trailers, like the ones we build at Trails West, combine strong steel frames with lightweight aluminum bodies, giving you the best of both worlds.

Next, consider which type of trailer will best suit your needs. If you’re taking a single horse on short day trips, a stock trailer may suffice. Larger, heavier loads with more horses will require a gooseneck trailer, especially if you’re going long distances. And if you’re going to multi-day events or on long trips, you may consider the comforts of a living quarters trailer, which combines the convenience of an RV with your horse trailer. Living quarters trailers, however, are heavier and require durable towing vehicles.

Creature Comforts

Horses fear dark, enclosed spaces. To make trailering less stressful for your horse, select a trailer with bright or white interiors. Not only will this make your trailer a more inviting space for your horse, but it will make the process of loading, traveling, and unloading safer for you, too.

Similarly, choose a trailer with window hatches in every stall. Window hatches provide natural light, ventilation, and will allow your horse to see the outside world. To avoid injury to your horse, never let him hang his head out the window while the trailer is moving.

Noise can increase a horse’s stress while trailering, so look for quiet, well-built trailers with robust and non-slip flooring. The floor and underbraces must be strong enough to handle the size, weight, and strength of a horse. At Trails West, we build our floors from Douglas fir lumber, which holds up better than any other type of flooring material on the market. Our floorboards can be replaced with ease, extending the life of your trailer.

Additionally, the bars, walls, and posts in your trailer should be padded, as your horse is bound to bump, brush, or stumble into them while in transit.

Select a trailer with broad, open access for both you and your horse. Whether you choose a straight- or slant-load trailer, a step-down or ramp entry, a wide entrance can help your horse step into a trailer with confidence. Trailers should allow the handler to exit the trailer quickly, as well as help you reach individual horses in the case of an emergency.

Smooth Operator

When considering a new trailer, be sure you can operate all its features on your own. For your horse’s safety and your own, windows should be within reach, latches should be smooth, and locks should be secure.

Consider how difficult a trailer will be to maintain. From floor inspections to brake lights, routine maintenance should be easy enough to handle on your own. Wiring, moving parts, and emergency supplies should be located in accessible locations.

If you’d like expert help with choosing the right trailer for you, reach out to the team at Trails West! We’ve been building quality horse trailers for over thirty years and will help you find the best trailer for you, your horses, and your budget.