Need Help Choosing a Horse Trailer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help Choosing a Horse Trailer

At some point I'm going to need a horse trailer. We have a 1999 Ford F350. It is not a dually but has a gooseneck hitch and a trailer brake controller. Right now I only have one horse. I live in southern Nevada so the winters are mild but the summers are brutal. I don't need a trailer with living quarters but it would be nice to have enough room for tack and supplies. I would like to make sure my horse is as comfortable as possible when I need to transport her.

My towing experience is limited to driving a Suburban with two small children moving from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest pulling the largest trailer we could rent from Ryder. My husband has hauled all sorts of things (cars, JD tractor, building supplies, etc.) on our BigTex trailer but we have no experience with moving a living creature so any and all suggestions are welcome.
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 08:19 PM
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Not sure exactly what the question is.

Can your truck pull a two horse trailer? (sure sounds like it).
Can you learn how to haul a horse trailer? (most likely; only requires practice and common sense and a bit of empathy for the animals).
What kind of horse trailer should you get? (one that fits your horse, that your horse will get into, that you can afford, and is in road-worthy condition)

Or is it a different question than those? You may need to get a bit more specific to get useful answers.

Short horse lover
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Not sure exactly what the question is.

Can your truck pull a two horse trailer? (sure sounds like it).
Can you learn how to haul a horse trailer? (most likely; only requires practice and common sense and a bit of empathy for the animals).
What kind of horse trailer should you get? (one that fits your horse, that your horse will get into, that you can afford, and is in road-worthy condition)

Or is it a different question than those? You may need to get a bit more specific to get useful answers.

That is just it. I don't know.


Slant vs straight load. Which is better if I have a two horse trailer and am only hauling one horse (but might haul two horses?). I am really worried about hauling a horse. I know my husband's truck can haul lots of stuff but hauling a horse is very different from hauling stuff. I went online and looked at trailers but they were so expensive and, dare I say it, fancy. I don't need fancy or horribly expensive just something that will get my horse from here to there and keep her comfortable and safe. What brand of trailers do people find reliable?



And loading her isn't an issue. When my trainer came to pick her up Lulu had to step up into the trailer (no ramp) and Lulu just walked up so I don't think getting her into a trailer her will ever be an issue.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 08:57 PM
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Not sure what your budget is or your future plans with your horse. You have a plenty big pickup but based on my past experience and what I like.... quick version!

I prefer a gooseneck, much easier to pull and back/turn around.
Get a tack room. I miss mine.
Maybe a stock combo would work?
Tack in the front, stock trailer in the rear.(not a fan of rear tack rooms) You will also get the air flow and openess of the stock that most horses prefer. Mine have been hauled in a stock trailer all their life but when we briefly owned a "real" horse trailer with drop down windows and dividers they hated it until I took the dividers out.(That is an option as well- pulling the dividers out to give your horse room. But stock combos are usually cheaper)

Aluminum vs. steel, depends on how much money you have to spend and what kind of roads you travel. I loved my aluminum trailer for going down the paved highways and freeways. I prefer steel for bad, rough dirt roads, easier and cheaper to weld or fix.


Don't buy a single axle.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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@COWCHICK77 Thank you! The problem is I don't know enough to know what I want or what my budget should be. Except for the gooseneck. My husband insists on that. I would rather not spend too much but I worry about transporting a living thing. I can just put my dogs in the back of my van and drive away but transporting a horse is more complicated.


I don't even know enough to understand what, "Don't buy a single axle." is but I will pass that information along to my husband. We will mostly be traveling along paved roads. 90% of the time we will be traveling only 15-30 minutes away from home but sometimes we will be driving a couple of hours from home.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissLulu View Post
@COWCHICK77 Thank you! The problem is I don't know enough to know what I want or what my budget should be. Except for the gooseneck. My husband insists on that. I would rather not spend too much but I worry about transporting a living thing. I can just put my dogs in the back of my van and drive away but transporting a horse is more complicated.


I don't even know enough to understand what, "Don't buy a single axle." is but I will pass that information along to my husband. We will mostly be traveling along paved roads. 90% of the time we will be traveling only 15-30 minutes away from home but sometimes we will be driving a couple of hours from home.

I get what you are saying, so my suggestion is, whatever you buy make sure it is sound. At least where you live, rust isn't a big problem.



Single axles are a pain. They are very rough riding and depending on what axles you have, at least with a tandem you can limp it somewhere if you blow a tire. I know there a lot of little, single axle, run about trailers day work guys use in the south but I hated pulling one especially on a highway, you get a lot of jerking back and forth.

Husband and I joke about us needing about 4 different trailers for all we like to do.(small stock, big stock, horse with tack and big living quarters..LOL) So keep in mind there is no perfect trailer if you have a broad spectrum of horse(and cow) activities. I suggest prioritizing within your price range.

I like window shopping here:
https://horsetrailerworld.com/Search/TrailerSearch.aspx
We sold our stock combo and strictly have a stock trailer so I am shopping for a 4 horse with a tack and/or small weekender package.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 10:29 PM
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Here comes a near book of ideas and information...
So...some of what I've learned is through the school of experience and hard-knocks..
Slant load, straight-load, stock are all options you have when looking for a trailer.
Many will disagree with me but in my experience I've found some horses do not like to enter a slant load trailer as most have a rear tack compartment {not collapsed} and it is a dark tunnel area.
They also not fit all horses depending upon stall configuration length and width...common width is 6' in a slant not fit a long and lanky horse in any slot. Today though more are finding 7' - 8' width trailers fit their horses with more ease.

Straight load allows a horse to enter and stand with their head at a relaxed angle and look forward or out side windows as they go down the road.
Straight load trailers that have a center divider that moves also can load a horse who is claustrophobic, and can also offer a horse to stand slightly angled/slanted if they choose depending upon the rear closure door{s}.

A stock trailer offers several combinations of tying straight, to a slanted angle or actually leaving loose to stand as they wish.
Most stock trailers have a single wide rear door, some have a option of a slide section so you can slip in or out and not open the entire door if you not choose.
Stock trailers also offer with a single rear wide door the ability to use the trailer to transport household items, lawn care items and such...

Some trailers are step up. some are ramps the horse walks up into and backs down out of the trailer...
Some trailers have open slat sides {stock}, some are fully enclosed with sliding windows and roof vents, some have drop down windows and sliders or open slats and any combination you can think of.
**If you do drop-down windows please never transport your horse with their head able to be stuck out the window...Yes, imo idiots do this and one vehicle traveling close going past just decapitated your horse...and it happens!!!**
Make sure any trailer is tall enough to fit your horses you own so they can enter/exit without striking their head or rubbing the ear tips as it can really upset a horse causing chaos.
In a straight load trailer height also often gives you a wider and longer stall length. Common today is 7' or higher head clearance.

It is rare that a trailer for horses is only one-axle but one axle dual wheels is done and actually is pretty stable to tow.
Most trailers are dual axles but single tire so total of 4 tires on the trailer unless you have a huge trailer or tremendous weight in which case you may have a triple axle trailer.
So, common is dual which offers safety if you have a blow-out your trailer not crash to the ground on that side.
Dual axle offers a more comfortable ride for the horses and a better load distribution of weight over greater surface area of floor supported.
OK...suspensions on trailers do vary and need some investigating but if your hubby has trailered before then he also knows some about suspension and then about different classifications of trailer weight carrying ratings on tires and tire speed ratings...not going down that one as really complicated.
Different combinations of metal, steel and aluminum and fiberglass are on trailers today.
My understanding of goosenecks is depending upon configuration of the trailer some have the front wall can move, hence it can not be locked completely and your tack compartment is well, what it is..
Some have the rear tack compartment and the front is a dressing room and sleeping/resting space over the truck bed made or just a large storage area made from them...all up to the owners discretion and choices.

My suggestion would be to do much reading about different brands...all have good and bad reviews.
Read about different options, the kind of interior of the trailer and when you think you have basics understood go to a few dealers and then look at what is on the lot and ask questions so you can now apply information learned to hands-on seeing.

As for your truck...a one-ton single rear axle truck has capabilities to tow many trailers but not all.
It is more though that you must know what the truck was made with so you know the capabilities of the truck engine, gear ratios, transmission along with cooling systems, brakes, suspension...
If you have the truck, find a trailer you can tow safely well within the capabilities of the truck.
Remember that whatever the truck ratings are they are never tested with a live cargo load...always stagnant weight of boat, camper....
Always make sure you leave room and not put your truck to its very limits or rated capability.
There is more others will touch upon and many opinions.
The above I wrote of are what I have learned over years of towing horses and other kinds of trailers.
I have towed gooseneck and bumper pull and there is a time and place for either.
And a big one is you drive roads to get from one point to another.
No matter where you go though you will be at some point towing on grass, dirt and soft pack roads...
Trails...dirt roads and trail heads are not paved parking lots.
Horse show grounds are often grass fields with trailers lined up next to another...
Barns are often dirt parking lots and where you will park your trailer is often not paved...
Know your trucks capability and yours as the driver of the rig...drive smart and within your abilities gets you out and home often safest.
Always prepare for the worst and then you can only be pleased with the better you shall encounter.

Enjoy the exploring of trailers, designs and features available...do dream.
Enjoy the journey in your search.
...
jmo...
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 10:56 PM
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You've gotten lots of good advice. I'll just add my personal preference.

I usually haul one horse. But I love my three horse slant. I can tie one to the driver's side and it's looking somewhat forward. I've had one or two that preferred looking toward the back, and I can accommodate them.

Although, I could just haul my personal horse, I seem to end up trailering others either singly or in pairs.

Some years ago, I read a study that showed it was less stressful on horses' joints to stand in slant loads during trips. Easier to adjust to turns, bumps, and changes in speed. It wasn't done by a trailer manufacturer, either. I seem to recall it was Univ of Kentucky.

I bought a trailer with a steel frame and aluminum skin. The steel has a bit of give for when I end up in a pasture, though I never intended to. And the aluminum keeps the weight down. Welders told me it would be easier to repair/weld the steel frame if it ever needed it.

Have fun shopping!
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-21-2019, 11:24 PM
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We have a Titan Royale 3 horse slant. It does not have a rear tack room.

The things i like:

It does have a front tack room with bridle hooks, a swing out saddle rack and plenty of room for stuff.

It has lights in the horse area, the tack room and outside. This comes in handy if you trail ride a little late and have to untack and load in the dark.

We had a 35 gallon water tank installed, so we can take plenty of water with us. (Arizona)

I like the slant because it keeps our horses separate, contained/secure while loading and unloading, and provides them with some support to lean on in case of a hard stop.

One of our horses does not back out, so it has plenty of room for him to turn and walk out.

I don't prefer a ramp, as they are not that common in the West -- ours has a step down, which is fine for all of our guys.

I lobbied for a four horse gooseneck, but my husband wanted to stay with a 3 horse bumper pull.

My goal this summer, when it gets to hot to ride a lot, is to learn to hook up and pull it myself so I can go wherever and whenever I want. Our horses are solid and steady at loading and unloading, so I just need to practice a little before heading out on my own.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-22-2019, 10:28 AM
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I have a Shadow aluminum 3-horse, slant. Love it. It has a tack room as well.
Pretty easy to maneuver. We were going to just get a 2-horse, but the 3-horse was a better deal. I prefer a slant load, but really it just depends on what you like.
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