How to customize the horse space in a 4-horse slant trailer for one horse on a long trip

Hi folks!

We have a 4 horse gooseneck Exiss trailer and one horse. I’ve attached a diagram of the trailer configuration. We will be going on a long trip, from Oakland, CA to Kalispell, MT and I’m wondering if there is a way I can reconfigure the trailer to be more comfortable for my one mare, who is a 15.2 Thoroughbred.

She is very early pregnant (it will be about 2 months when we do this trip)_ and incredibly level-headed and has trailered in this trailer many times…our current setup is to have her tied loosely (so she can lower her head but not low enough to get a foot over the rope) in the two middle stalls with the divider between them removed. The only downside to this spot is this is where the wheel well is (it goes from stall 1 to halfway through stall 3, and she’s in stall 2-3) so though she could theoretically turn around there, and she has to come out of the trailer forward a few times, due to the slant and the wheel well sticking out it’s hard to do. She did also once bump her leg on the wheel well, but since then I wrap her better.

The last three stalls in the trailer all have a manger in front of them. There is a stall in the front of the trailer that is longer because it doesn’t have a manger, and it has a door in front of it with a band to keep the horse away from the door, but the weld has come undone and we are going to have to fix it. I am not sure if it’s a good idea to put locks on trailer doors to make SURE they don’t open , or if that’s dangerous in case of an accident. Right now we put snaps on the solid bar latch on the outside to make sure it doesn’t open.

There are three dividers in the trailer, so the horse in the last stall just has a door behind it, no butt bar. The previous owners added a latch to the two doors in the back to keep them closed, and again, they have very solid bar latches on the OUTSIDE of the trailer to keep it closed, and at this point we just put a snap on it to make sure it doesn’t open, not a lock. My horse isn’t anywhere near this door currently so I don’t worry. As it’s a slant, there is also a rear tack that takes up half of the back door.

It also has a really great rubber floor that seems like it would be better than putting shavings down.

What would you do in this situation? Here are some things I’m considering:

  1. Keeping her in the two middle stalls, which are shorter, but keeping her untied. I could put hay in the back corner in a hay net in case she gets turned around.

  2. Keeping her untied in the 3 front stalls. There is also a lockable door to the LQ there and I’m not sure if there’s any danger of her getting stuck in that front stall without a manger and then trying to back into the wheel well. And I’m just a little leary of giving her access to that door in the front of the stall, but it’s made for a horse to be there so I’m probably being overly careful.

  3. Keeping her in either the front two stalls or the back two stalls and strapping a golf cart very carefully into the trailer with her. I think it would be safe as I could make sure there is a strong metal divider between her and the golf cart, but the divider doesn’t go all the way to the floor so we’d probably have to add some plywood to divide it to the ground.

She is a VERY careful mare, and I have a shorter 3-hour trip coming up where I could try out one or more of these ideas. I want to make sure she’s as comfortable as possible on an 18-20 hour trip. I’m guessing we’ll split it into 3 days on the way up and 2 days on the way down. I definitely want to make sure there’s no chance of her falling since she’s pregnant.

I have also been looking into rules about whether I could ride in the LQ of the trailer so I could watch her more carefully as my husband drives. Since there is a door from the LQ to the horse area, I could even keep it open and keep an eye on her all the time. I know it’s not super safe in the back of a trailer (I just an RV that overturned the other day and nothing was left of it), but if we drive very carefully and it’s legal I may consider it.

Thank you!
Allison

I would give her two stalls, whichever two work for the rest of the stuff you are hauling. (If you want the golf cart up front, then give her the last two. Or give her the middle two if that works better.)

My old slant load did not have a butt bar and it never caused a problem. As long as there is a butterfly latch (the pole on the outside of the door with hooks that catch top and bottom) I am not concerned about them getting out of that door.

I would put in a camera system before I would ride in the horse trailer. We just brought a 3yo home about 8 hours and it was very reassuring to see him on the screen with all four feet on the floor. Most of the time anyway.

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I have done up to 16 hours a day of hauling, and I tend to leave the dividers in place as I feel they would protect the horse from being flung around in case of an accident. My horses have always arrived with no issues.

I use shavings on the floor of the trailer, not so deep as to make the horse unsteady, but enough to absorb urine and wet manure. I will make sure the shavings are damp, to avoid dust and to cool the horses feet.

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS lock all my trailer doors, every one of them. The door keys are on my truck key ring.

I have a friend who stopped for dinner on the way home from a show. After eating, he pulled back on the road, only to see the rear trailer door swing out into traffic. He knew it had been closed and latched when he pulled into the restaurant as he had checked before he went in. His mistake was he didn’t check before pulling back out.

Do not ride in the trailer. It is not safe, and in most states not legal. People have died from carbon monoxide poisoning from riding in the living quarters while in route.

Cameras are not that expensive and relatively easy to install if you are that concerned.

If you have to put the golf cart in the horse trailer I’d put it in first and then give your horse the last 2 stalls.

Agreed with the others, do not ride in the horse trailer living quarters because they lack the safety features your passenger vehicle has.