Trailer Opinions

Can anyone offer their opinions/preferences in horse trailers? I have ridden/owned horses for a while but just now beginning to have the need to trailer (to trails, events, vet, purchase horse).

How do you load, how do you prepare for a short vs long haul, etc. I appreciate all the details!!

Thank you in advance :slight_smile:

People could go on for days on this topic. My preference is straight over slant, but plenty of people prefer otherwise.

I love a GN, but in my case I’d need a lot of trailer for all the equipment and that would mean more truck, so it actually makes sense for me to have a BP and put one carriage in the back of the truck. It also means when I’m not competing, I do not have to haul 30+ feet of trailer anytime I want to go someplace.

What I would recommend is to ask everyone you know/meet who owns a trailer the following questions:
What do you like most about your trailer
What do you like least about it
What would you do differently if you bought it again
Is there a brand you recommend
Is there a brand you steer clear of

even better if you can get a tour (people love showing off their trailers)

The answer is “it depends”. What are you going to be using it for? What kind of horses are you going to be hauling?

For example, when I’m showing, I show big hunt seat horses all around the southern US. Primarily Texas, but we have a bunch of shows in Oklahoma and surrounding states. I prefer a big, slant load gooseneck that has the height and width for my large horses, but I prefer the stock-esque style build over the completely enclosed style since it has better airflow and it’s usually hot where I travel. The gooseneck is better stability for multi-hour hauls and highway speeds.

When I’m not showing and generally just using my trailer to run around to vet appointments, or moving a mare/foal pair, or little local events I prefer my little bumper pull. I have a few smaller western horses that fit very well in it and it’s not a pain in the butt to bop around in. It’s a three horse slant, and I can fold the slants back to fit the bigger horses when needed. Better gas mileage, easier to maneuver.

I prefer slants over straight loads, but mostly because I have a lot of horses. If I only had 1 or 2, I’d be very interested in a 2+1. They aren’t popular in Texas, though, so they tend to be pricey. A friend of mine has a four horse gooseneck with four straight stalls and a mid loading ramp that I would also consider using, but for the length of that trailer, I could get a 6-7 horse slant.

The best recommendation I’ve ever had is - if you’re hauling a lot, go ahead and try to buy new. That way everything is under warranty. If you are buying used, make sure someone knowledgeable gives the trailer a once over - especially with gooseneck trailers in the last couple of decades, we’ve seen a lot of bad welds that crack and cause major issues. If they’re caught, they’re fixable - but if they aren’t it can cause disaster.

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I’ve always preferred slant loads but I’ve had a couple of straights that did the job until it didn’t. I have had horses that scrambled in the straight loads but rode like a champ in the slants. I like my GN, a three horse and the horses seem to like it as well, plenty of ventilation, large tack room up front and a rear tack as well. Some of my friends who have large LQs also bought a small two horse bumper pull for short local hauls.

Another major question to consider is what do you plan to use as a tow vehicle? There’s a lot of difference between makes and models, tow packages (included or not), 4WD vs. 2WD, dually, etc. - so that will determine in large part which direction you should look first.

Experience affects trailer choice a great deal. I was looking at used two horse bumper pull trailers.

Straight over slant load because the older two horse slants tend to have less space in the stalls (length and width) than straight loads. The newer slants I’ve seen have larger stalls.

I wanted a ramp because I’ve seen a horse slip a hind leg under a step up when backing off. I’m fine with step ups when the horse can turn around to come off, but I was looking at two horse straight loads.

I wanted big windows for air flow. Man doors on both sides for easy access. Top doors above the ramp that could close independently.

I wanted no centre post at the back, a divider that could swing right over, and solid bum bars. Because I once had a horse who banged his stifles on the centre post and trailer frame when he tried to go into the trailer (McBride). Because I once had a horse sit on a bum chain and bend the S hook open.

A tack room was a nice to have, but not a must have (I didn’t get it).

I ended up with a 30 year old Merhow and I love it. It’s rusty in places and will be getting some work done in the spring, but it’s been out once or twice a week since the beginning of July this year.