Purchasing a horse trailer is an expensive investment, and
before you buy you should ensure that you know exactly what
you need. As with any large purchase, it's extremely important
to do some research before you spend your money.
The information below is designed to help you choose the right
horse trailer for your needs. Regardless of what you're looking
for, these tips will help you find it more quickly and feel
more confident that you're making a smart purchase.
New or Used?
Assuming that you can find exactly what you need in the used
horse trailer market, there's really no reason to buy a new
one. If you do decide to purchase a used trailer, make sure
it's been well-maintained and that all necessary repairs are
taken care of (or knocked off the purchase price).
The main reason a person might consider buying a new trailer
is out of fear of an unseen problem with a used unit. Avoid
this by educating yourself as much as possible about horse
trailers before you begin to shop.
Types of Horse Trailers
Horse trailers come in three main types:
Stock horse trailers
are open as opposed to enclosed, and usually have slatted
sides. Some horses prefer stock trailers because they don't
feel closed up and they have a little more freedom of movement
and position. A major benefit of a stock trailer is the fact
that it can be used to haul other things aside from horses.
It is a basic all-purpose trailer- although during rain or
snow the lack of cover can be a problem.
Slant-load horse trailers
allow the horses inside to ride at an angle, which can often
make them more comfortable, particularly during sharp stops
or accelerations. Slant load trailers, however, can be uncomfortable
for larger horses; the typical slant-load stall only has about
eight feet of useable space. Also, because the horses will
be using opposite sides of their bodies to brace themselves
depending on whether the trailer is speeding up or slowing
down, a slant-load trailer can be very tiring for them and
could possibly even result in unevenness of gait.
Straight-load horse trailers
are the most commonly used. Straight-load trailers allow the
horses to hold their weight evenly on all four legs and the
spine; they can, however, cause problems when it comes to
loading and unloading. Some horses are reluctant to walk into
straight-load trailers, and getting them to back out can be
a problem as well.
The debate over what type of horse trailer is better is a
hot issue among trailer owners. In order to decide which one
works best for you, you'll have to carefully consider your
personal preferences and the needs of your horses. There is
no one "right answer" in the debate between stock, slant or
straight load trailers.
Horse Trailer Construction
The construction of a horse trailer is extremely important
when it comes to how well it will perform and how long it
will last. Consider the factors below before making a purchase.Lonny
Potecho is the owner of the Trailers portal http://TrailerMe.com
Steel horse trailers have been around for the longest time,
and are extremely common. They can, however, can be somewhat
heavy, and they do require some maintenance in the form of
washing and waxing to prevent corrosion, especially if you
live in a salty climate. Because of the tendency of the steel
to break down if not maintained properly, steel horse trailers
are not always the best option. With proper care, of course,
they can last for years.
Steel-framed horse trailers are a good choice if corrosion
is a problem in your climate, or if you're not happy about
the idea of maintaining the exterior of the trailer. Steel-framed
trailers are usually made with an aluminum skin, which resists
corrosion. Only the skeleton of the unit is made from steel.
Make sure the trailer you're considering is properly designed
with some type of barrier between the steel and aluminum,
as these two metals can cause electric shocks if they are
Aluminum horse trailers are usually the most expensive, as
they are lightweight yet extremely durable. Aluminum is resistant
to corrosion, although the exterior may eventually oxidize
over time if exposed to the elements. Aluminum trailers are
typically about 15% lighter than comparable steel ones; they
also cost about 15% more. Aluminum is generally considered
the best choice.
Good suspension is essential in a horse trailer. It provides
a smooth ride for the horses and prevents unnecessary wear
and tear on the trailer caused by excessive jolting and bouncing.
There are two main types of suspension systems:
Rubber torsion suspensions work independently, so that if
one wheel hits a bump the motion is not transferred to the
others. This system is the most expensive of the two but results
in a much smoother and quieter ride.
Leaf spring suspension uses several layers of metal springs
bracketed together into a single unit. While usually cheaper,
leaf spring suspensions don't last as long as rubber, and
the inner-connectedness can cause wear and tear as well as
noise from the metal-on-metal connections.
The frame of a horse trailer is generally made from tubular
steel or aluminum. Check to see that the supports are placed
the correct distance apart (generally 16 or 24 inches) and
that the entire frame is strong enough to support what you're
hauling. The heavier your load is, the thicker the beams used
in the frame should be in order to hold together properly.
4. Walls and floor
Try to choose a trailer with a plywood floor, because wood
breathes more easily than aluminum and will provide a more
comfortable ride. The trailer's interior walls should have
insulation that is at least one inch thick. Check for wall
studs and make sure they're also at least one inch thick.
The thicker the studs, the better flexibility the trailer
will have. Make sure all floor and wall pieces are fastened
properly, ideally with non-corroding aluminum fasteners and
Your Horse's Comfort
Don't forget to consider the size of your horse or horses
when looking for a trailer. Make sure that the horse has enough
room to spread all four legs in all directions to help brace
himself if he needs to. He should also be able to raise his
head and extend his neck fully without hitting the ceiling
of the trailer. Have measurements of your horse available
when shopping for a trailer.
The horse trailer you purchase should also have adequate ventilation
for any length of trip. Most enclosed trailers have slats
or windows on the sides as well as vents in the roof. This
is extremely important, as the inside of a horse trailer is
extremely susceptible to mold and dust.
Make sure your trailer provides enough light for the horse
to feel comfortable inside. A dark trailer will cause the
horse to balk at entering, and may cause him to act out of
fear during a long trip.
Finally, check for any other details that might cause your
horse injury. Windows should be recessed into the trailer's
walls to prevent sharp or protruding corners, and the walls
and stalls should ideally be covered with rubber to keep the
horse comfortable if he bumps or leans against it.
Horse Trailer Manufacturers
When purchasing a horse trailer, it's wise to look for a brand
name that has been around for several years and proved its
worth on the market. Spending a little extra for a horse trailer
from a known manufacturer can be worth the extra performance
you'll get out of the unit over the years. The following are
a few well-known horse trailer manufacturers.
Horton has been producing general-purpose haulers and vans
for the last 30 years. They specialize in steel-framed, aluminum
skin horse trailers with rubber torsion suspension systems.
Exiss is the third-largest manufacturer of horse trailers
in the world, and produces quality trailers with extra details
such as theft-deterring latches and hinges, extra-wide loading
doors, and super-thick insulation and wall studs. Their trailers
are made from all aluminum.
Sooner Trailers are known for producing standard as well as
custom-built horse trailers. They specialize in all-aluminum
trailers with patented folding troughs and tapered noses for
Kiefer Trailers make aluminum horse trailers in straight load,
slant load or box stall varieties. They build extra-large
standard and custom trailers with patented leak-proof roofs.
Hart Horse Trailers have been in business since 1968 and specialize
in customized details such as insulated roofs, interlocking
floors and double-framed doors. Their trailers operate with
TORFLEX rubber ride torsion suspension systems.
The Bottom Line
Choosing a horse trailer doesn't have to be intimidating.
The key is to do plenty of research and to know exactly what
you need when you start shopping. The more you can educate
yourself on the various factors of horse trailers, the better
equipped you'll be to deal with a decision when it comes time
For a great place to start looking for a horse trailer, try
the classifieds at www.trailerme.com. This website offers
high quality used trailers at bargain prices, and it's a great
place to find the perfect horse trailer for your specific
About the Author
Lonny Potecho is the owner of the Trailers portal http://TrailerMe.com