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Exiss versus Trails West

I’m looking at two older gooseneck trailers. One is a ‘99 Exiss 3H slant. The other is an 06 Trails West 2H slant. Any thoughts on quality issues with either of them? They’re both in great shape for their age. I’m only going to be hauling one, maybe 2 horses max for the foreseeable future and my towing vehicle is beyond capable for either option.

Without seeing either trailer or knowing how many miles on each or if each was stored inside or out, how the annual maintenance was done, I’d vote Exiss. From what I’ve seen, those trailers are well-built -by that I mean good welds (you can look online for examples of good v bad welds) where metal meets metal --less expensive trailers don’t weld as much --look for welds where fenders meet body, those are sometimes skipped for cost. Welds where frame meets frame are easy to see in the back where the door is. RE doors --look at hinges --good trailer have “pin” hinges –

--cheaper trailers have piano hinges – --same with latches–good quality trailers have drop handle latches, cheaper trailers have paddle latches. Look at the interior padding. It should be 1/2 to 3/4 inch rubber on the walls and 3/4 to 1" on the floor. Of course, pads can be replaced --if everything else was good, replacing pads would be something I would do. Finally, while perhaps only surface or cosmetic, rust and/or corrosion anyplace isn’t going to get better --it will only get worse. I have rehabbed a few trailers with bondo and paint --but the less rust or corrosion the better. Make sure all lights work. Rewiring is possible but not a fun job.

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I have an 05 Trails West 2H slant. It’s never been lucky enough to live under cover. I’ve replaced exactly ONE floor board. It’s starting to show it’s age a bit, but otherwise is in fabulous shape. Structurally I have had zero issues. I did replace hinges on the tack room door a year ago.
Between the 2 choices - is the Exiss aluminum? When I looked at Exiss, aside from it being aluminum, I felt the TW was a better buy for the price. It had all of what I wanted in a trailer, and the Exiss had nothing.
Size-wise, my TW is very roomy. I could probably haul 3 smaller size horses in there if I had to.


Great tips, thank you!

The Exiss is all aluminum, yes. It’s also a 3H versus the Trails West which is 2H.

Exiss. Trails west is a little more low end and lower quality

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I have a 2003 Exiss, 3 horse. The issues that I had when I bought it is the electrical was kinda shaky. The trailer would “disconnect” sporadically while driving. After several years of dinking around with it, I finally found a shop that knew what they were doing, replaced what needed to be replaced, and fixed the problem once and for all. I also had some issues with the seams around the roof leaking. Which probably isn’t an Exiss problem necessarily, but I redneck fixed that issue and it’s been fine since.

My Exiss was my first horse trailer and it’s otherwise been a great trailer. There some older things on it that are an advantage to some of the “newer” trailers out there. I have no plans on selling mine anytime soon.

I did, however, have to do a 3" axle lift on it when we got our new 2022 F350 pickup in order to get it to sit more level, which worked out fine.

The fact that you have TWO horses means you should get the THREE horse trailer. You always need space for buckets, hay bags, etc etc etc and that extra slant really comes in handy.

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My Trails West, purchased gently used (only a year) was well-built and trouble-free. After several years, I sold it for about 30% more than I’d paid.

Friend had the same exact trailer for several years, also trouble-free, and I’ve also seen others around here. Never heard that TW was considered lower-end, although I’ve heard Exiss described more than once as the lower-end of aluminum trailers (especially in the earlier years, perhaps their reputation has improved).

I’ve owned an all-aluminum trailer, and liked it a lot (eventually sold it for 25% more than I’d paid), but went back to a galvanized steel one with a wood floor for my current trailer (not a TW). I like the strength of steel (became acquainted with someone who was involved in a horrific semi versus occupied aluminum horse trailer, with devastating results, which makes me queasy just to think about so I try not to), and believe a wood floor is more comfortable for the horses.


Walk through some of the higher end trailers like Eby, Cimarron, Bloomer, even Exiss and 4 Star etc and then walk thru a trails west or a shadow and the difference in quality of materials and workmanship is very obvious

I had an Exiss two horse. It was great until it wasn’t. The wall between the horse area and the tack room was flimsy and the wall mats were very thin. A horse coliced and kicked through it. The aluminum floor held odors terribly. My seasoned show horse became a problem loader which I suspect was from the vibration of the aluminum floor. I sold it because I needed an LQ. After one ride in the new trailer, my horses loading issue magically went away. I would never buy another one.

Me too. When I was looking, the only thing Exiss had in it’s “favor” was being aluminum. It had none of the extras my TW had, and at a much higher price. It had nothing in the tack area, no carpet, nothing on the walls, nada. And it was a much smaller area. In the same price point for aluminum was Sundowner, and a couple others I can’t recall.
FWIW, regionally, not all the brands people talk about on this forum have dealers around here - I’m in Oregon. Unless you’re talking custom order for something you already know you want.
I know a LOT of TW, far older than mine, still going strong.
Other brands like Circle J, Morgan Built - not so much.
I actually got to tour a trailer building facility once. It was very interesting as they pointed out a lot of different things to consider when thinking of quality and longevity.
Unless something’s changed with TW I’d buy another in a heartbeat.
OP, get a ‘PPE’ done on the trailer you think best suits your needs for now and in the foreseeable future. Get a good look at the underside and the electrical.

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The older Exiss, we think, were better quality than the ones of today. And, it’s all aluminum. We’ve got a 95 we’re working on now and it basically just needs cleaning and normal brakes and bearings.