Horse Vans/Boxes?

Anyone have one of the older ones from the 70’s-80’s? Do you like it? Got to thinking that one of them might not be a bad idea to solve my trailer conundrum. I’m sure the prices have gone up substantially with all the covid-related production issues for new trailers; might still be less $ than a tiny old bumper pull + vehicle upgrade to pull.

My “boss” and mentor as a kid had one, in the 70’s and 80’s. He made it himself, was a welder and mechanic as well as a horseman. It was a three horse box, on a one ton truck with duel wheels. The ramp was long, and he put a hydraulic lift on it. You led the horse up the ramp, turned them around, and backed them into the stalls. The partitions were hinged at the back, so would swing as required. Then put the pins in to hold the chest bars. If only shipping two horses, one on either side, leaving the center stall empty. Tie ropes on each wall for those outside two stalls. I don’t remember how the center horse was tied, sorry… too long ago now. But this rig worked well, he shipped racehorses in it for years. Usually shipped only two, leaving the center stall empty, but could take three if necessary. I don’t know why these rigs are not more popular these days, especially for those who are charged to get onto a ferry when they go somewhere. Storage in the cab overhang, behind the horses who ride backwards in the box.

A “box” to use for the conversion are available to purchase… you just have to find one with enough size and headroom from a previous commercial source, that will fit a “cab and chassis” one ton truck with a long deck space. Or, if you get lucky, you might find such a vehicle in one piece. And find yourself a welder with some equine experience.

A hydraulic lift for the ramp is recommended. The boss has his ramp in two pieces, so that the frame of the ramp came down first, and the second bit with the hinge on it, came down second, so stayed up until you were ready to unload horses. Made it lighter. But it all worked better with the hydraulic lift.

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I think you mean the horse vans that were a regular truck with the back part a horse trailer?
We used a two horse trailer to haul our show and race horses locally, but commercial vans to the further away tracks or breeding farms.
Those trucks were fine, but to load and unload they had in the middle a long ramp you pulled and horses would climb in and out thru that, then put up to three backwards, three on the back forward facing.
Our stable had a special dock they could pull up to so horses could walk almost straight out, the ramp mostly flat.

Today’s lower trailers are better riding and easier to get in and out of.
Many trailer companies today will work with you to make for you any trailer you want, ask them.

Here is one company that has something similar, but in a low to the ground model:

Yeah as Bluey said, the ramps can be pretty steep and ideally you want to load/ unload somewhere with a dock or hill. Also they get stuck a lot when it’s muddy. If you’re going to be parking in random fields at shows there’s a reason why they’ve gotten so much less popular.

Those were my thoughts, too. They’re high profile vehicles. Stability in wind & over rough terrain could be an issue. And of course the whole stuck truck problem. (What show was it my kids watched as preschoolers where one episode the characters wailed “STUCK TRUUUCK!” Maybe Dora? Lol)

The new horse vans from STX and Regent, etc are :heart_eyes::heart_eyes: . After watching people struggling to park & turn around rigs all day yesterday, the idea of loading my horses onto basically a Dodge Sprinter and cruising into the sunset is highly appealing! Waaaay over my budget, though.