I had a 2 + 1 with the 9’ plus area and sold it several years ago. I’m looking to buy a new one and am thinking I may go with a 7’. I know I probably cannot put the horse up the side ramp and back it into a stall but it would be nice to have the extra space for working and also to be able to lead the horse out… I’d like to hear pros and cons of both 7’ and 9’.
I have standard box… which I think is about 7’6" x 6’10" and my average sized WB can load in the side ramp and back into the stall–this is how he prefers to load. It’s much more roomy than the center ramp part of say a 4H head to head. I’d go with the larger box if I wanted to regularly use it for hauling a not compact horse or if I had a very large horse. I like it for loading and unloading by myself and also using the area for storage for things that are easier to wheel into the trailer versus lift into the tack room, like larger tack trunks, wheelbarrows, etc.
What I really wish I’d done after seeing a custom one for sale recently is get the 4Star Quiet Ride option and configure the partition attachments where you can haul either facing forward or backward in the straight stalls. If you want to position the horses backward, you can move the partition such that your rear bar is not all the way at the back ramp, so you have a normal chest bar and head room, and the butt bar is likewise moved closer to the doors to the box.
I had one with a 16 foot deck. Home converted from a 1964 Atco insulated trailer, which had a reefer on it originally. We bought it in 1977. It was first made into a back loading 2 horse straight haul, with a camper up front. But 15 years later, I switched it over to a side loading trailer, with a swinging partition hinged at the back. (A particularly intelligent appaloosa pointed it out to me that this would be a good plan, as he stepped up into the camper area on a VERY rainy day. He didn’t need a ramp LOL). Did away with the “camper” part, left the bunks in the overhang up front- entry out of the horse compartment. I can’t say for sure how much room I had to load, swing the back end of the horse over and into position to back into a stall, not 9’ for sure… less than that- probably closer to 7’. And it was FINE. Best to load the left hand stall first (ramp on the right side)- leaves more room for second horse to back into the side with the partition centered. It was more than fine actually, it was GREAT. I did not usually use the +1 option, just used it as a 2 horse for the most part (but had +2 in front once, when we had a mass escape of 4 horses one night!). The swinging partition made it extremely easy to load horses, even green ones or first timers, or timid horses. Big steel chest bars attached to the partition. And it was 8 feet high inside, which was a further “bonus”. Best trailer EVER. But 6400 lbs empty. Rode like a bus.
The ribs eventually rotted out of it, and I had the box cut off it, leaving the flat deck and overhang. It originally came with a hitch off a semi, a true “fifth wheel” hitch, circa 1964 which is still on my truck. It is now our hay trailer, for transporting round bales off the hayfield. It takes 17- 600 pound bales off the field at a time.
I don’t know if my memories of this great old trailer help you at all, but there you go anyway.
I have one with a 7’ plus area. I can walk my horse up the side ramp and back her in no problem. She is only 14.3. I sometimes take my friend’s 17+ hand horse as well and she can use the side ramp too, but she has to walk in forwards, then turn in a circle inside the +1, then back in. I have crammed her head in the corner to back in and she went along with it, but the circling works much better for her.