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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I am still in the market for an aluminum bumper pull trailer-2 hors max. I know people have their own preference and/or opinions. Are step up trailers safer than a trailer with a ramp?
 

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I've used both and I like a step up better.

I'm not sure about safety, it might depend on what kind of animals you are moving, how they are trained, and other preferences you may have.

I've seen horses get hurt on trailers with ramps before, but so far haven't seen injuries caused by step up, though sometimes I've seen the horse stumble or slip going in and out they never fall down with the step up it seems.

I'm not a trailer expert but that's how I feel!
 

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I have had far less problems loading horses into step-up trailers, rather than trailers with ramps. It is purely preferential, I wouldn't say that either is safer than the other. With my horses at least, they get a lot more hasty about unloading off of a ramp and will back out much faster than with a step-up.
 

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I have had both step up and ramp trailers but I have to say that I do prefer the step up especially if loading and travelling alone. I like the step up trailer with two back swing doors so you can load one horse, do up the butt strap then shut that half at the back and then load the other horse and not worry about the first horse wanting out as the door behind him is shut. You would still have butt straps behind but the shut door makes it better to be loading the other horse while one is standing in the trailer.

I also find it easier to self load, unload with a step up but have done it with both.

With the ramp the horse has to back straight out as it could step off the side of the ramp and scrap a leg up on the edge of the ramp.

On the other hand I have seen a horse slip when hesitating at a step up and the hind leg slide under the trailer and I thought for sure the horse would injure itself but nothing happened as he straightened out.
Sometimes when first backing out of a step up the horse is frightened when it backs up and drops down to the ground but they do learn to deal with that with practise.
 

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I have both.
I find horses who load well go in and or up the ramp no problem.
I find a horse who is hesitant or has issues may not like the feeling of "bounce" a ramp gives to many..
My step up is my go to trailer and I use this more than the other one, step-up is also larger in capacity.
My step-up trailer sits on 16" tires and although that not sound a lot higher than a 15"...my entire trailer sits higher on suspension too so when looking take that into consideration for loading ease.
I can load my horse{s} and put them into a stall and close the butt chain/bar so they are contained and not leaving easily.
My trailer is a 4 horse with dedicated straight stalls in front and then a slam gate to separate sections and a open area in trailer back for 2 more to stand straight or slanted if they wish but no horse can kick or bite the one in front/back with trailer design. My trailer also can be totally opened and the horses just tied body next to body.
A step up trailer as mine is has a full swing rear door so I can have many uses for my trailer if needing say the lawnmower to the repair shop.
I do not do small door opening like you get with slant load rear dressing room layout or center rear beam cause if you have a difficult loader, many will not pass through a narrow opening going in forget if they touch it coming out....no, just no!!
I've taught all of my horses to unload slowly and they do listen for my words, "Back, Easy, DOWN" when it is time to step down they are told it...they also tip-toe in reverse feeling for, and we stop completely at the point of next step is down.

What I would suggest when looking for is for you to step in and out of several trailers yourself pretty quick as you will be leading both directions and need to get out of the way...
My must when trailer searching is it must have a full escape door in trailer front for your safety...no negotiating on that detail!!
:runninghorse2:...
 

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I hadn’t ever seen a step up ramp before we came to the US but the 3 horses we brought here had no questions when asked to go on and off.
I do have a step up now but when I replace it I’ll be looking for a rear ramp load with a wide front ramp unload
Probably because it’s what I’m used too, but I do find them easier to use
 

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I think it's all personal preference. I prefer a ramp, but they have their drawbacks. For instance, the ramps tend to get kind of water logged and extra heavy over time which can make doing things by yourself difficult. We put a winch in the back of my trailer to help with raising the ramp when I injured my back and that solved that problem. Keeping fresh springs on the ramp can help with that too, as the springs get older they stretch out and don't help hold the ramp as well as they should.

I turn most of my horses around head first to unload, and we practice stopping at the top of the ramp. They learn the "Step" command and take a step when I do, so don't unload in a hurry. If a horse is being a bit of an idiot for unloading, I'll make them back out, slowly, one step at a time and reload every time they try to rush.

I've not had a horse launch off the back of the trailer with a ramp but have seen that, both forwards and backwards off a step up, but again, it's all about training.

So my advice is to go look at both, as many different configurations as you can find, and pick what you like. Practice YOU stepping up into the back of the trailer numerous times (some of them are HIGH and hard to step up into if you're short) and walking up and down ramps to see how you like both. Pick what you like, the horse will adjust. Practice lifting the ramp and see if you can do it by yourself. I have the kind of ramp that the bottom half of the back door is ramp and 2 dutch doors up top. If I ever buy another trailer I will look for the kind with 2 full length back doors and a short ramp that folds up over the outside when the doors are closed.

The first pic is the old style ramp & dutch doors like I currently have and the 2nd is the newer configuration I would buy if I needed a new trailer. I notice that the Logan in the 2nd pic's ramp is quite a bit longer than most of the ones I've seen. I think I'd prefer a shorter ramp, less weight to lift.
 

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I prefer my step-up, was never really a fan of a ramp but I know some people love them. Just personal preference really.
 

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I have a single horse step up, it's someone's homemade rig from the 70's and we have been able to use it in such a way that it is safe, but they're are some caveats.

1. Loading/unloading on concrete/asphalt I think there's a higher chance of slippage and injury vs finding something with a ramp.

2. When Nick was getting the hang of it he scraped along his back leg once (no injury just a little fur) which I could not see happening with a ramp.


The upsides is it's fast and easy to load/unload and close. Pee drains out through the crack (my horse is weird and likes to relieve himself in the trailer) really easily. And unloading and loading on slightly unlevel ground with potholes etc is functional whereas with a ramp it helps to have a fairly level ground and you need more space for unloading.


I have heard good reasons for a ramp trailer ie:

"My horse gets frightened when the cieling comes up too fast."
"Its safer to loading with a ramp when it's wet out" (I think this one applies to a well rubberized and textured ramp)
 

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I have both. I prefer ramp for teaching youngsters. If they take too close a step going in, or too short a step coming out, they can bang their cannons pretty good. Even though they have leg protection on, it's still a surprise to them, and I don't want surprises when training. I have a friend who will never own another ramp. His Shire slipped on the way in and face planted on the ramp. Cut his lips pretty good. I have never had one slip on the ramp (knocking on wood like crazy!). I honestly have had more horses slip on the step up since occassionally a foot might land on the edge at the very tip of the toe backing out. A few times I have had a horse step off the side of the ramp, but it never harmed anything since it is no farther to the ground than a step up.
 

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I like step-ups. A friend won't use anything but a ramp. Personal preference.


If budget is a concern, go with a step-up. A ramp trailer with a SAFE, sturdy ramp that isn't too steep and can be easily raised/lowered by one person is generally only found on higher-end trailers. I have found reluctant loaders seem to be easier to load with a step-up than a ramp. I have seen horses used to step-ups try to jump the ramp and hit the center divider or slip and fall once landing in the trailer, so don't assume an easy-loading horse will automatically walk up a ramp.
 

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@SilverMaple

I've had a similar jumping issue with the horse going "you mean you want me to clear a 3' spread in order to get in?!?!"

@COWCHICK77

Thanks. I bought it from a lady who did exactly that. I get great gas mileage towing.
Its affectionately known as "the toaster" owing to the size and general shape. It was a feet to train the horse to load in and out of consistently, but it's been well worth it. And has meant pure freedom for me.
 

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My very limited experience:

If your horse wants to injure itself, a ramp is no obstacle. My horse skinned up her cannon but good falling off a ramp. It can be done. They can also manage to slide on concrete coming down a ramp.

With a slant load without a rear tackroom, you can lead your horses off, no need to back off. I think this is far safer and the horses clearly prefer it. I have a step up slant and could not be happier with that configuration.

Ramps can be very heavy unless they have air springs -- which do lose their air eventually. Another part to break.

With my horse, who hated riding in my straight load ramp door trailer, it was kind of hellish getting that ramp up with her rump pressed against the butt chain. But everything is hellish with a horse who wants out of a trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What are your opinions? Thank you all I advance for looking.

https://charlotte.craigslist.org/grd/d/waxhaw-warmblood-adams-horse-trailer/6919087609.html
Pros: Step up, good length and height
Cons: some rust

https://raleigh.craigslist.org/grd/d/kenly-horse-trailer-1995-adams/6926729850.html
Pros: Bumper pull, in my price range
Cons: some rust, ramp (for me)-but will consider if I can't find a step up.

https://raleigh.craigslist.org/tro/d/timberlake-2-horse-trailer/6925300118.html
Pros: in my price range, step up
Cons: some rust, steel-I think?

https://greensboro.craigslist.org/grd/d/asheboro-bumper-pull-2-horse-trailer/6901098539.html
Pros: all tires/wires/lights are update and very clean
Cons: out of my price range :(
 

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First trailer you need to carefully look at floor to wall seam as it has some serious rusting going on..
This is going to be a very hot interior with so few windows and not seeing ability for cross-ventilation.

Second trailer has what appears cancerous rust behind the wall panels..look very carefully.
There are no front ventilation windows or vents making it hot to travel in.

Third trailer has a lot of plywood showing which concerns me of how much rust is it covering...
Someone who knows body work and bondo tricks needs some serious looking at this trailer.
Trailer windows should of had sliders so that tells you about the kind of damage the trailer had...
Butterfly vents give front/rear ventilation but with placement also a fly mask on your horse trailering is advised to stop flying debris and intense air flow in the eyes can cause damages, minor inconvenience.


Fourth trailer is what I would buy...sadly, out of your price range.
You can see the difference though in reduced rust factor, and the nicer things of higher butterfly vent allows airflow but not in the horses eyes,
It has some nice features...
Solid back doors do reduce ventilation factor but with butterfly vents and side windows much can be worked with...this trailer may also have roof vents.
So, this trailer was posted more than a month ago so you may have more "wiggle" room than you think and affordable for you.

Always look at the posting date on bottom of Craigslist ads...
It also will give you a clue to negotiating power and... nice trailers don't stick around for long so one still listed...look with a fine tooth comb and check everything.
Being you are looking at ads from the North Carolina area tells me weather is something to consider in a open sided or no rear door ventilation trailer...
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Keep looking. I would want a trailer less than 20 years old for that price range.

My 2007 trailer was barn kept and in excellent condition. I paid $4250. For $5500 i could have bought a used Aluminum Shadow trailer.

I would definitely not buy a 20 yr old trailer unless that trailer was only owned by one person and kept under a shelter the entire time. Otherwise you are likely to have significant rust issues hidden under a paint job. That paint might look good now, but if it peels off, you will be investing $1000 for paint/labor.

If you need to save up for something better, do so. If you need to travel to find something better, do so.

CM makes nice entry level, affordable trailers, so does Calico, and Bee trailers. Shadow trailers are nice and probably the most affordable aluminum trailers on the market, if you want aluminum.
 

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I prefer a ramp, and so do my horses.

A past boarder had no problem loading and unloading her horse from my trailer, then she renovated a two horse step up (like the kind you were looking at) and her horse wouldn't get off of it. After 45 frustrating minutes, I convinced her to back up to a curb and she was finally able to get the horse to back up. Eventually she gave up trying to back her and took out the center divider so the mare could jump out.

I have seen horses Severely injured trying to load on a step up and sliding underneath, tearing up their legs. No show that day! Plus weeks and weeks of trying to reteach that horse to load.

I do have a 1998 Brenderup Prestige 2H for sale that I bought new, if you are interested. I purchased it new and am only selling because I bought a 1997 Brenderup Baron that is slightly bigger.

But the best advice I can give is to load your horse on a couple of different style trailers and haul him somewhere. Find out what your horse prefers, so you can get what is best for you both on the first try.
 

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