Slant Vs. Straight Load?

I’m upgrading from my two horse bumper pull to a two horse gooseneck. I’m wondering if a straight load or a slant makes more sense. I’m probably going to be moving next summer/fall and could be making a long haul with my two horses. I don’t have many requirements other than enough space for my horsey things and the horses. I like straights for the access to the horses but like slants for the added storage space. What are your opinions on slant vs. straight for horses hauling comforts?

If you have big horses, make sure they actually fit (lengthwise) in the slant load you’re considering. My 2-horse slant turned into a one-horse trailer when I bought my Irish horse! (He could be crammed in there, and I did it for short trips, to take a friend on a trail ride or something, but it wasn’t ideal.)

I’m curious what you mean by extra storage space in a slant though? The triangular rear tack room some of them have?

That said… I’m still looking at a slant load this time around. I’ll just get a 3-horse slant and plan to leave out a divider, or get extra length and have them shift the dividers around, I’m not sure yet.

Personally don’t like the slants due to the uneven weight load it places on the horses’ legs. But obviously a ton of folks will disagree.


I would pick a straight load any day. I Decided to go to a show last minute and got a ride with someone who had a 3 horse slant. Her horse loaded in the front, mine was in the middle, and another girls horse in the back.
On the way home we get all 3 horses on before the front horse starts kicking up a storm. I don’t know how she managed to contort herself but she was double barreling the divider. The minute it took to get to my horse who was in the middle felt like an eternity. Luckily he didn’t get hurt, but she did break the divider. My horse and the others girls horse had to find a different way home.

Obviously one or two horses who know each other wouldn’t be so worrisome, but I still don’t like it. It’s also very inconvenient if you’re working off the trailer at a show/clinic/etc.

I’ve also never seen one “off the rack” that was big enough for warmbloods.

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I have had both with big and small horses (18.2 to 14 hh). I prefer a straight. The advantages/disadvantages are thoroughly covered in Neva Scheves’ book Buying, Owning, and Maintaining a Horse Trailer –…/dp/0876056869.


The RCMP did a study - their horses travel in the big rig backwards, frontwards and possibly perpendicular -
they put on heart rate monitors, etc. The horses travelling backwards were the best travellers and it makes sense since when breaking, the horse '‘sits’ on his bum instead of putting strain on his front legs.

However, in this discussion, I wish there was more to research and learn from…done by trailer manufacturers, or whoever.

I’ve had horses loose in a large trailer and mostly I’ve found that they chose to travel on an angle. My own horse travels well in a slant with the divider removed - but that brings in long haul issues that could be questioned as putting strain on one side of the horse.

It is a tricky question and there are die hards for both sides.

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I prefer straight loads 100%. I think my horses do, too, for the most part.

But, I own a slant load. Where I used to live and for my budget, it was easier to buy a slant since the local dealers stocked more of them in my price range. I do think it’s easier to load into a slant load/unload alone in most situations. (yeah, I get they should all be taught to self load, but sometimes horses come with deep-seated baggage that can flare up at inconvenient times) I have hauled my horses hundreds of miles in my slant load and I can’t necessarily say they were any more or less comfortable than straight loads.

The biggest problem with slant loads, as others have noted, is the potential for large horses to not fit in the stalls. Do your homework if you decide to go the slant route! A good tip is that the divider should be at least as long as your horse from nose to tail.

I have a straight load with a decent size dressing room/tack room. I like the fact that you don’t need to get on the trailer with the horse. They walk in, you do up the butt bar, and then secure the halter at the front through the emergency exit door.

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but that can also be accomplished loading into a slant… our horses self loaded so no one needed to enter the trailer with them …slant or straight loads

used to live in Kentucky where everything was a straight load (with a ramp), (or they used a van).

Moved to Texas. once crossing the Mississippi nearly everything turned into slant load and nearly all step ups

We just got what our horses preferred


just to toss this out there—what about a stock trailer?

i have this one. 1 have 2 big box stalls (horses lose in the stalls so can move and travel however they feel comfortable) and a tack room. When just hauling one horse, I have the back stall to put hay, wheelbarrows, golf carts etc.

Also because the divider comes out or can be stored along the wall, I use my trailer to haul many non-horse things–hay, jumps, shavings, furniture etc. Just a thought…

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I prefer straight all the way. My horse has trailered in both and she loads much better into a straight than a slant. I also like being able to take one horse off without having to move the others, very nice when you have to horses competing in different classes at a show. Where we currently live everything is a step up slant. We had to look really hard and pay extra for a straight load with a ramp but my horse is much happier with it.

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But with a slant, don’t you have to get on and shut the slant panel before you load the next horse?

Yes, and lots of slants only have small windows with bars and screens that you can’t reach through.

Someone made a good point about that many slants are step ups. My hunter loads like a dream with a ramp. The first time with a step up he hopped up no problem, but turns out he’s terrified to step down backwards. After that it would take him 10+ minutes to get on even after taking him alone and turning him around so he could walk off. They have long memories.
I’m happy to be east again where it’s straight loads with ramps everywhere.

I prefer a box stall. Got a nice slant load, removed the swing divider and the stupid saddle rack in the back of the trailer. Now, I have a nice stall…it’s a 1 horse, but who cares, I can only ride one at a time.

Also prefer a step up…had a great Eby combo-stock trailer (it had a dressing room…guess that made it a “combo”)…it was a step-up. When friends adopted some mustangs, the requirement for trailers to pick them up was a step-up trailer.

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Yes! I completely forgot to mention how bonkers this drives me, mainly because I rarely use mine with more than 1 horse (partly for this very reason). Depending on the style of the slant, you may not even have good access to the inner horses refill hay bags or offer water, which I don’t like.


as for loading/unloading step up and step down… at first I thought oh my god as we were used to ramp loads however we also used our show horses as competitive trail horses…they had to know how to step over things and back down so a step up trailer was zero problem for them

Our trailer was a two horse slant load, you could get either horse out without unloading both if needed as we had a door in front of the first horse… of course they would need to step down but again for our guys it was not any big deal as they could step up and down as needed. (at a three day daughter was showing her eventing horse a WPA concrete picnic table that was 40 inches high…she just wanted him to look at it so he would know what it was… he thought she want him up there so in a flash he hopped up on top of the a table…oh she was on him at the time… they looked like one of those statues of a general on their horse on the pedestal… her next comment was oh my god how do I get him down… he just sort of stepped down after cueing him forward…then on to dressage)

One overriding advantage step ups have over a ramp load a horse naturally drops it head to load.

However, for another horse who was on one of these competitive rides out in nowhere land the horse was being loaded onto a trailer with a ramp, threw it head up hitting the rear edge of roof putting a nice gash in its head. On this ride there were several vets so repairing the injured horse was not a big issue as between the riders we had at least four surgical staple guns and everything else needed, elsewhere or at different time this would have been a problem.

But again the type of trailer used depends upon what makes your specific horse comfortable…some like slants some like straight loads …

but for the preference of hauler to be the deciding factor is very low on my list of taking care of my horse.

It really depends on your horse size and the intended use. Slants can and do place more torque, unevenly distributed, on traveling horses - short trip this is very likely not a problem: long distance, it can be.

I’ve used a slant several times and will note, that on one particular occasion, one of our ponies (who was used to straight loads/stocks, but had traveled in slants before short-distance) was very, very necksore & colicky when he came off of an 18hr ride in a slant load (USPC Championships). We had taken him long distance plenty of times with no problem, but this was the first time in a slant. Of course, he had to take the same ride home and was very sore coming off of the trailer again.

That was not my only horse to not travel well in a slant: my very campaigned/seasoned TB, did not do so well when he was trailered back home from a show in a slant - funny story about that, barn-mate could not get her mare to load in the barn’s slant, we tried for hours - she refused to go home… but… she jumped RIGHT into our stock trailer with no problems. She was an awful traveler, so I asked if we could swap places and our TB could ride home with the barn… I am glad I asked because said mare proceeded to absolutely thrash the trailer the entire ride home - we stopped several times because it sounded like she was hurting herself… Back to the TB, he reportedly was not good traveling either, and was nervous/anxious the entire time which was not like him at all.

My quibble with slants is that I don’t like hauling strangers together in them, IME it has the propensity to get very dangerous very quickly, and in many slants you cannot take the other horses out if the first horse is somehow incapacitated, hurt, or disagreeing - that type of design worries me, as I’ve been in a few situations where the horse closest to the exit has been unpropitious or somehow hung up. Once when I was going with trainer to an XC school in her trailer, we had my gelding loaded first and then a few student horses; one of the horses, that was the last horse to load in, somehow got one hind end over the divider, which we didn’t discover until we were at the XC venue. We could not get the other 2 horses off until we could get her out, and it was quite stressful and worrisome trying to operate around 3 panicky horses.

That being said… plenty of bad things can happen in straights and boxes too… so it’s all about assessing your own comfort with risk, as I think all trailers are inherently dangerous.

If I had to have a slant I’d want to make sure it actually fit my bigger horses, as other posters have noted, some of them are not as generous as others; my 17h TB barely fits in some “WB” slants, and he is not a long horse.

I’d also want a slant that has other exits/ramps, besides just the one in the back.

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I prefer straight loads, I will never ever buy a slant load. I’d love a rear-facing, but they’re not that plentiful over here.
Large horses don’t fit well in standard-sized slant loads. I don’t like having to remove all horses to get to the one loaded first, in case of emergency.

IME, if my horses are loose in a big enough trailer, they will turn around and haul themselves backwards. They only go at an angle if it isn’t wide enough to turn around.

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I prefer a slant/stock combo type where I can rearrange the set up as needed- it’s got max airflow, can be arranged as box stall, etc. Straight load is my least favorite and I wouldn’t personally own one. I haul a lot for my own personal horses and have hauled professionally for several years- all of those years of pro hauling I had cameras on the horses and I feel they always rode most comfortably in box stall setups. Right now I have 2 different gooseneck trailers, both 3H stock combos, one with a rear tack and LQ and one without the rear tack. The one with the tack, I removed the first divider and pretty much use as a two horse- putting either one or two horses in the box stall area (horses that know each other, live together and travel often together) and using the third stall up on the rear tack as extra storage. The trailer without the rear tack, I also have removed the first divider so it functions more like 2 box stalls.

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Definitely seems like people love one and hate the other.

I’m not a fan of slants. I’d take a free one, but that’s it. I don’t like that you can’t get to the front horses. I don’t like that you have to hook the trailer tie before the divider is hooked, or otherwise duck/crawl underneath the divider to tie up horsey. Slants tend to be darker than straight loads, because the back doesn’t generally open all the way and you don’t have the doors to open by the horses’ heads, so you get more horses nervous with slants than straights at initial loading.

I like that with a straight, I can send the horse right up the ramp without setting foot on the trailer. If horsey doesn’t self-load, I can drop the chest bar and walk upright all the way to the front, and put that up once butt bar is up, and either before or after trailer tie is hooked. I can easily get in the trailer with the horse and refill hay and offer water.

I believe there are straights that you can completely (and easily) remove the center pole and dividers, so you can use the trailer to haul other stuff (hay, furniture).

My dream trailer would actually be a gooseneck, 2+1, like this: I love the option to offload them down the side ramp, and the flexibility of the open space in the middle of the trailer. Haul a third smaller horse, or haul a bunch of hay and equipment.