Balanced Ride trailers anyone?

Looking for peoples’ experience with Balanced Ride rear-facing trailers. I found a thread where someone said that they are repurposed Hawks, which would be awesome.

For unknown reasons, my mare has developed an extreme fear of backing out of the trailer, and I know she prefers to stand backwards when in a stall-type trailer. Yes, we are working with a trainer, but trainer is saying to look at other trailer options. Mare does not do slant loads. So I’m kind of stuck.

Would need a bumper pull. Can live without a dressing room

Have you thought about stock trailers? I love my trailer but with my not so good hauler I wish I had bought an extra wide, extra tall stock trailer. I think she could balance better in one of those than a straight load. But - hind sight is 20/20 and maybe she would not.

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No experience with the ones where they ride backwards, they look interesting but I’m not sure about resale. If the only problem is that she doesn’t want to back out, then how about one of the straight load trailers with a side ramp where she can walk out forward?

I second the stock trailer idea. Mine is an Exiss stock combo. I had them put a 2-horse setup inside but it’s removable and then it’s just a box stall. By default it comes with a center swing gate making two boxes inside.

Risa is a dealer and I think a member here - she would know everything there is to know about them.

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I’ve had my balanced ride bumper pull for 3 years now and love it. I bought it for my mare who would get sweaty, nervous on the trailer and have a butt bar mark from sitting on the butt bar everytime I trailered her in a traditional bumper pull. Once getting the balanced ride she was calm about being trailered and no more sitting on the butt bar. Every horse I’ve trailered in it rides so well, highly recommend them!


A stock trailer would be my other option. Would want the 2 box “stalls” configuration. A ramp would be preferable to step up, I think.

Definitely check the height. My Exiss STC is very high off the ground and I ended up adding a ramp. I wouldn’t have if it were just a box stall and they could turn around, but it’s usually in a 2 horse straight load config and that is a BIG step down backing out. I like the ramp over two full back doors. Either horse can be unloaded and the other one is secure. They can also do the 2+1 type setup where there is a side ramp up front and the horses can walk out forward.

I had a open box stock trainer (small at, IIRC, 14 or 16 feet) with no ramp. My mare would step up in it… turn herself around so she could ride backwards and then hop off.

I don’t have any experience with the rear facing trailers…but I recently ordered a Hawk trailer through Risa (who does the Balanced Ride) and found her to be especially helpful! Even before I committed to a deposit, she was willing to take the time to go through all the options I was considering and make really good suggestions. She won’t tell you what you should order, but she will tell you what’s available and the pros and cons so you can make an informed choice.


I have one. Lovely trailer. PMing you.

I bought a customized Balanced Ride this spring for the same reasons as OP. I have a gelding who is really worried about the trailer.

The Balanced Ride is a fantastic trailer, but that was no surprise (I have owned an Equispirit, made by Hawk for the last 20 yrs).

Risa was very helpful and patient through the process. I customized my gooseneck so that straight stalls can be forward (resale), backwards, or dividers removed to make one or two box stalls.

And drumroll…I have been so busy with work, life, and farm projects that I haven’t taken the horses anywhere! But I am planning to start hauling in the next few weeks and will PM the OP with feedback from my horses on backwards stalls.

What is your current set up? My old man had developed an aversion to backing off of my old BO’s step up trailer… he would back off, but he was scared and would snort etc. It was a slant that was too small for him and he couldn’t see well while backing off and stepping off into the “Abyss”. He does great with my Colin Arndt. It’s a straight load with a ramp that’s actually big enough for him. He will load and unload himself now. The Balanced Ride trailers look really nice and look like something my boys would prefer.

I’ll never forget my old BO’s reaction when I turned him around and walked him off her step up… “I can’t believe you just did that!” Like it was some kind of horrible sin. :rofl:

I’m curious if folks find these improve the ride for horses with hock or SI issues. I’ve got a mid-teens gelding with a lot of life left in him who loads and travels really well except for the fact that long rides really stress his hock arthritis. When I check on him at pitstops, he’s inevitably spread his hind legs really wide, dropped his back and braced through his topline to balance. I know it’s stressful for him and a rear-facing position seems like it would be a significant improvement, but I’m wondering if anyone’s bought this type of trailer specifically for that purpose (versus a horse with fear issues, etc).

My horse still braces and spreads his legs very wide in the BR trailer. He’s got significant SI issues. I think no trailer will be all that comfortable for this particular horse.

Would love a call about this, and email a photo if you can!
Always figuring for the horse!

Thanks, Risa

Hi Risa, we’ve talked about it before but kind of as an aside. I’m going to take out the center divider for him and make a big box stall. I’m sure it’s not a problem with the trailer, he’s just got significant issues. I love the trailer and everyone else who uses in the trailer loves it too. :slight_smile:

I have a stock combo: it has a slant divider to use it like a 2H slant, but I leave the divider out and use it as a box like a regular stock trailer. My horses easily turn around in it to walk off front facing. It has a dressing room up front, which I also appreciate.

But bumper pulls with side ramps are becoming pretty common. I know Hawk makes one. That might be a better option than a totally new configuration. Walk on the back ramp, walk off the side ramp.

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@grinanride, for horses with less significant physical problems than @Pezanos horse, or for senior citizens that just “aren’t as young as they used to be” but are still very rideable sort of thing, have you found riding facing backwards helps significantly with comfort during travel?

I know your website links to a couple of articles indicating backwards-facing transport is less stressful for the horse, but it still seems like there isn’t a ton of research on the matter. It’s interesting to think about from a riding/training perspective because we don’t want our horses going around balancing on their forehand while under saddle so if the goal of riding is to get the horse to start to shift weight back over the hocks and carry from behind, it’s interesting to think about how we are allowing them to go back to their preferred way of bearing weight in a rear-facing trailer set-up. I guess it makes sense to me - in that case - that we have a lot less control over how they transport compared to the control we have over their posture under saddle, so it makes more sense to work with nature than against it.

Sending you a PM Abbie

I got one due to the Balanced Ride design, and the Hawk quality- which I was more familiar with seeing in person locally over the years. Having had a few horses at the time including a problem loader/unloader and youngster, I wanted options for loading as a walk-on/walk-on, walk up the back ramp & turn around to rear-face, use as a box or straight stall. Probably more importantly I needed a design that was user-friendly and safe for me to load, access & unload 1-2 horses at a time while traveling on my own. Every horse traveled happily in it for both local & longer distance trips.
I decided to sell my gooseneck version only to order a Balanced Ride bumper pull. Risa is awesome to work with! While waiting for the new trailer I’ve been fortunate enough to have friends’ standard straight load trailers to use, BUT I can’t wait to have a Balanced Ride again! I feel confident that my horse would agree :sweat_smile:

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