Differences: Slant -v- Straight load?
I'm starting to look at trailers... I have 2 horses, 16 hands and smaller. Someone I'm acquainted with is adamant about slant load. Would someone who is not a sales rep please tell me the differences, and why they feel that way? Is there anything you'd suggest I pay particular attention to? How does one choose a trailer??!! :shock:
Most horses will load in a slant load much, much easier than a straight haul. Some will load a few times in a straight haul, then start refusing to get in, that tells me the configuration is hurting or distressing them. On the straight haul side, it's much easier to back up and usually cheaper to buy.
If you've ever ridden the subway and couldn't find a seat, you probably stood sideways so you could brace against the movement of the train starting and stopping. Same principle with slant loads. It's just much easier for horses to balance themselves. It's ironic that the majority of trailers are straight loads while most horses prefer slants. If you do look at slants, measure the length of the stall to make sure your horse's will fit length wise. They can be very deceiving.
Maybe it's urban legend and maybe not. Slant loads were developed by watching how horses would stand when hauled in stock trailers, at an angle.
For myself, I find it easier to load and unload horses in slant loads. I've also had almost no issues loading horses into slant loads while I know lots of people having issues in straight loads. Maybe it's a matter of training and maybe it's because of how they have to stand. Just my personal observations so your mileage may vary.
I think it is more important that the stall fits the horse, than whether a trailer is straight or angle. My horses didnt like a stock trailer because it left them too much room to stumble around. I think they feel more secure in my straight haul because it is well padded and is confined enough to support them. A well laid out angle haul should offer the same (I.e. padding, support confinement, etc). Unfortunately, many of the angled trailers I looked at we're surprisingly short and wide in the stalls cramping the horse front to back (limited head space) and not supplying the support on the sides.
As for loading and unloading, I prefer the straight. It does take some additional training, but the horses basically load and unload themselves slowly and carefully. Mine rush into and out of an angle haul. The straight forces them to back out, which I find much safer.
With all that said, I only haul short distances. For longer distance hauling, an angle haul might be more comfortable for the horse.
I have an older straight load - it requires some convincing to get my horses into it. My second trailer is a slant load - it requires no effort to get them into it. So, needless to say, I have a strong preference for my slant load.
Size is important with the slant load. Mine is 7 ft high and about 6.5 ft wide with about a 7.5 ft stall length. The tallest and longest of my horses is 15 hh and its pretty much a perfect fit for him and he seems very comfortable in it. I don`t think I would like to put your 16 hh in my slant more because of the length issue than the height (although all is relevant). Bigger slants are available on the market, as well as straight load 'warmblood' models for the more substantial horse.
My slant does not have a saddle compartment in the back. To load I open up both big and small doors and it gives a nice spacious appearance to it, something I could not get with the straight load. The other thing that I do with the slant is to lead my horses out (not back them out - which I am sure is another debate in itself) and they are very content with that. I had to put a ramp on the straight load to solve a couple of problems I had with two horses - one of who didn`t like that step up and the other who didn`t like taking that first step back. Problems that have not presented themselves with the slant I believe because of my aforementioned comments on it. So if I did buy a straight load today, I would buy one with a built in ramp.
Before I got my new slant a couple of years ago, I made a list of all the must have and nice to have features I wanted in my next trailer (I was on a budget so was prepared to give up somethings but not all). I checked out web sites and magazine articles I could find on the subject. I skulked around horse shows and dealerships checking out units. I talked to the occasional trailer owner when they happened to be innocently standing by their trailer. I would have bought used but couldn't find one (essentially in pristine condition) to suit me at the time so I went new. I didn't end up with a luxury model but I am quite happy with the one I did get. My must haves included things like rubber bumper, rubber mats, torsion suspension, electric brakes on both axles, walk in tack room, screened windows that opened on both sides, roof vents, interior lights plus size of course.
By the way, as an informational item, my sister hauls her two horses loose in a stock type trailer. One chooses to face front, the other to face back -- both standing at slight angles.
Good luck in your quest.
Thanks so much for the valuable input!! Yes, I think my friend prefers slant load because she feels it's much safer for the horses if they're comfortable. I appreciate the advice, especially about haunting equine venues and talking to owners. That helps me a lot.
Slant load - my horse absolutely refuses to haul in a straight load...he hates being trailered.
Slant!! I OWN a 2h straight and I don’t use it because I dislike it! I have a big 16.2 horse and you know what I think of my trailer? Its TOO BIG!!!!! There is unnecessary room for my horse in it. You have been given great info, but a huge bonus of slants if you can load and unload yourself. It is possible with a straight load but its tricky.
If I can also suggest getting a step up instead of a ramp. Horses find this much easier. Yes some horses have trailer problems but 90% of not getting on has been on straight loaders with ramps.
I'm just going to tack on a couple of additional remarks. Re colour: I think horses like entering a trailer with a lighter coloured interior as they can see inside better before entering (perhaps other members can provide comments on their experiences with that). Re ramps: While my old straight load did have a ramp the new slant load does not for the following reasons: 1) it was just getting too darn hard to lift the ramp (bad back) and 2) because the slant opens up so wide the horses just don't seem to have any trepidation about going in which kind of relates to my colour comment.
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