how do you pick a new trailer
My BF and I are in the market for a new horse trailer, and I was curious as to what others looked into and preferred while looking for a new one. Or if you could be picky, what you would want?
Length: Add up how many horses you intend to haul and add 1 space. If you don't you'll be kicking yourself because you can't haul a friend along or that extra horse you just bought because you're not horse poor enough yet.
Height: Tall, roofs are notoriously hard to stretch up for tall horses yet short horses don't mind vaulted ceilings. Go 7 foot or taller.
Tack room: Go for one in the nose and not in the back IMO only. Those back ones leave less room to move around when loading/unloading horses. Worse part about them in my book is that when things go south they give less room for you to get out of dodge and since I don't like a 1000 pound horse tap dancing on my head those rear tack rooms bother me. Something else to consider is they also put your saddles just that much further up so if you are short that can be a problem. Also look for a sealed tack room, having horse pee run under the tack wall into your blankets isn't pleasant.
Color: White. If you doubt me go look at trailers when the temperature is warm, step in and out of all the different colors on the lot white/red/grey/black/whatever and see how warm it is inside. You'll find white will be the coolest.
Aluminum vs steel: Aluminum is more expensive but last longer, steel is cheaper and still last a good long time. Aluminum is lighter. Aluminum is noiser. Usually it boils down to your pocket book, if you can afford an aluminum trailer I would advise getting one but don't be afraid of a steel trailer.
Axles: Most manufacturers have a cheap line of trailers and one of the places they cut costs is on axles. You want axles that are rated higher then you'll likely ever put in a trailer not one that is below or just at what you can reasonably put in your trailer. As an example, a steel slant load 3 horse trailer will likely weigh in between 3000-3500 pounds empty. Your horses are probably between 800-1600 pounds each but we'll say 1000/each for easy math. So you load 3000 pounds of horse flesh in the trailer. You then load your tack room up with all your equipment to the tune of 400-500 pounds. Your trailer is now sitting at 6500-7000 pounds. That will be the minimum you want your axles to add up to so you want each axle rated at 3500 pounds, minimum. I've seen exactly what I've described with 2500 pound axles installed or a total of 5000 pounds for your loaded trailer. Otherwise you have a 3 horse trailer that you can maybe stick 2 horses in with no tack or you'll exceed the carrying capacity of the axles. Light axles lead to bent and/or broken axles. FYI, I have this exact trailer with each axle rated at 7500 pounds. Unless I'm hauling steel I'll never reach the rated 15000 pound capacity of those axles which is why I got them.
Tires: Same as above, they save money by putting lighter tires on trailers. Your tire should be rated to carry what the axle can carry. So with a 3500 pound axle each tire should be able to carry 1750 pounds. Just remember that carrying weight for a tire is at max tire pressure. Like I said above you shouldn't run anything at maximum all the time so the tires really should be able to support more than the axles if you expect to max out the axle weight.
If you are buying used to a thorough examination. Pull up the mats and look for rot under them. Crawl under the trailer and inspect the undercarriage for frame issues. Hook up to the trailer and make sure the brakes work. Last of all pull that sucker around a bit to ensure it pulls easy, if not that's a sign the axles could be tweaked. If you're not used to pulling trailers and what they should feel like with your tow rig then try pulling several of the same type you are considering buying to get a feel for how they should pull.
Other things to consider:
Stall type- slant loads are usually considered a little easier for the horse to ride in than straight loads, though the stalls can be a little bit cramped in length in some models. (I only read a little of this page but it looks like an interesting read on slant load stall sizes: Slant Load) For straight loads, adequate stall width is usually not a problem, but you should still check stall length. I avoid manger style straight loads completely- I've heard of too many instances of horses panicking/becoming unbalanced during a quick stop, rearing up into the manger area, and getting stuck.
Fully enclosed vs open- Fully enclosed trailers are very popular and often viewed as "better" but open (stock type) trailers give maximal air flow, which is important even on windy, rainy, cold days. I started out looking for a fully enclosed trailer, but ended up buying a stock type and couldn't be happier with it.
New or used- Figure out what your budget is and look at what you can get for it in both the new and used market. I got very frustrated looking at used trailers that hadn't been maintained well- 10+ year old trailers still with the original tires, never been serviced, soft spots in the wooden floor, etc. I ended up getting a new trailer that I knew was in great shape (with a warranty in case anything did come up!) A little less fancy than I had originally hoped for, but with a safe and generously sized horse area.
And finally... is the tack room well sealed? I paid special attention to the sealing between the horse area and the tack room to make sure hay/dust/etc wasn't going to seep into the tack room. Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to the tack room door itself, which has ~1/2" gap on all sides of the door :headdesk: This is the one thing I dislike about my trailer.
I went for a stock style trailer because I have a draft horse and added a side ramp so he goes on in the back and out the side no step up
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