Trailers angle vs Straight haul

Not sure if this is the rights place to post this. But just wondering what everyone’s opinion is on angle haul trailers vs straight haul? What’s the easiest on the horse pros and cons for both?

Just an experience we had…we have an oversized 2 + 1 trailer…7’ wide, 8’ high, 21’ in the stall area, GN trailer. Several years ago we shipped 3, mature horses from Ok. to Va. straight through…the two front facing, straight load horses made the trip fine and exited the trailer into a paddock where they bucked, rolled and played. The 3rd horse who hauled slanted in a 4’ wide stall seemed exhausted and was put into a box stall to rest. IMO…when standing in a slanted position…the horse is ALWAYS shifting and balancing where the strait standing horses can lock their joints and rest. JMO!!


There have been studies - the RCMP did one on horses in their semi trailers while travelling around the country.
They put heart rate monitors on the horses, took temperatures, and whatever. Long and the short of it was the horses traveling backwards travelled the best in that they had their hocks and bums to support them when braking. The front
facing horses have to balance on their front legs when braking, putting stress on their joints.

Other than that it seems to be personal preferance depending on a person’s experience. I like slant load, others not so

Threads abound here on COTH.


Thank you for the replies I was also wondering does anyone buy the trailer before the horse? I am planning on getting warmblood size trailer, you never know how tall the next horse might be.

I think straight load is better for large horses and I like that the horse can self load, I don’t need to get into the trailer to shut the dividers.

As far as trailer before the horse, people certainly keep trailers longer than horses, especially trainers.

We haul our horses in open stock trailers, many times saddled and loose and practically every horse stands at a slight slant, head to the left, even if they are the only horse in a big trailer.
We think that is because highways are crowned in the middle and the left is the higher side, maybe enough to make a difference how a horse feels the road?

Many people in the West/SW haul many hours every week to rodeos and practically all haul today in gooseneck slants.
I doubt that those horses would work for so many years and be hauled all their lives regularly and stay sound into their old age if hauling at a slant was not working well for them.

I expect there may also be horse preferences.
Not every horse likes the same kind of trailer or driver.

I wonder if the slant in a 2-1 trailer is too angled for comfort?


I love straight load traliers as thats what works for me best. I only have ponies (and I ever only ever plan on having ponies) so they could easily fit into a slant load trailer, but I’ve used them before at barns that I worked at, and I just didnt like them.

We work out of our trailer at times and if you are hauling more than one horse, you may have to move and unload to get to the one you want. This is one of the main reasons why I like my straight load. Its much easier for me to take the one I want off and then be able to put them right back.

Thats just what works for me the best! Plus I’ve been squished in slant load trailers enough getting out the door when theres a tack room in the back. Not a lot of room to unload that first horse in my opinion. But to each their own of course!

I have two 3 horse slant/ stock combos that I love. I don’t like ramps or straight loads at all!! I have removed the dividers in my trailers and the horses ride very comfortably no matter the distance. If I’m only hauling one horse, I’ll put one divider back in and make a box stall so they can be loose. My slants are very easy to do since it’s pretty much just myself loading and unloading most of the time- my horses all self load and I can actually load a couple at a time plus they don’t have to back off the trailer. I can unload the first without unloading the second but I can’t imagine why I’d ever want to do that? My trailers are also plenty large enough that the 18H WB I had previously fit as well as my friend’s 17+ H draft cross who rides with me regularly

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There’s a trailer out there for any preference. My experience with my big draft crosses who are 16.3-17hds is that even having bought a custom slant load trailer with the stalls angled more and made wider to accommodate their bigger bodies, they still got hip rubs so I went back to a straight load and haven’t had any further problems. And I wouldn’t have another step up trailer if you paid me. Can’t stand them. One too many barked shins was all it took.

I will say the custom Merhow (the one mentioned above) which I ordered without a rear tack, was the easiest to load anything on. It was very open and inviting, and even my big boys could turn around and walk off of it. Hated the hip rub issue. It was a deal breaker.

ETA: The cutoff point for slants seems to be 16.1hds and above, and you probably need a straight load. 16hds and below, you’re fine with a slant. YMMV if you have say Friesians which tend to be somewhat long bodied, you might find that a 16hd Friesian may still travel better in a straight.

I prefer the straight load with larger horses. In a slant, they seem to get hip rubs, and the greys come off covered in aluminum rubs! Got the straight load 4 Star 2+1 and it is amazing. No rubs, lots of room. Very open and airy! Wide but light ramps! The other thing I did not like with my slant type trailers, was that they seemed to be quite noisy and made banging noises. I will always do head to head trailers from now on. Plus I can unload any position on the trailer without worry and removing many horses. I was also not a fan of removing the horses from the slant.My opinion for my farm is that the straight load in the configurations that I have are the safest. They are not however the shortest!


I prefer straight loads and after doing my research I would have gotten a rear facing one. However in my area of the world those are a PTA to find AND ungodly expensive. I ended up with a very old (but well cared for) Logan Malabu II straight load with no ramp. Hauls great, easy to park and every horse I have had in it comes out bright eyed and bushy tailed. We haul anywhere from 30 min to 10 hours to get to shows. The horses in the slants tend to be more tired imo.

One thing to be aware of with older straight load models is horses can and have tried to go out the escape doors or manger windows. How do I know this? My baby OTTB had attempted both. Both times we exited the trailer with nothing more than scrapes and a bruised pole (he got stuck ON the manger and wacked his head). He hasn’t tried either again and we are getting close to were I can self load him.

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A slant trailer has the advantage of cramming more horses into a smaller floor space and shorter deck length. Longer and bigger horses can sometimes benefit, as the slant can sometimes be adjusted to give more space than a regular 2 horse straight haul. The negative is that you can’t get to any of the “interior” horses, if something happens all horses usually must be unloaded before you can attend to a problem with one of the forward horses. “Something happening” is something like a horse is down in the trailer, sick or injured, nightmare time (think about that when you are looking to buy a trailer… what happens in a worst case scenario?) A positive for the slant load is that horses can turn and unload forwards rather than backing out. A straight load, if a 4 horse head to head, has many advantages, including a side load option, which allows for exiting forwards instead of backing out. Deck length is longer for these trailers, due to leaving the loading and turning space in the middle of the trailer. A few 2 horse models also offer this option. I saw a 2 horse trailer, straight load, that loaded in the FRONT, horses facing backwards, and unloaded out the back, walking forwards the whole way. But it was crappy built, very light construction IMO. I have also seen a 3 horse angle haul that loaded and unloaded the same way, in the front, and out the back. So there are a number of options available if you look, whatever suits you is probably available. What you choose depends on your life experiences so far, and the horses you currently are transporting.

My own situation is a 3 box stall trailer, which loads in the back, with swing doors that latch firmly to close each horse into it’s stall. Horses ship loose, and find their own preferred manner of travelling. Front stall has a side door to unload if necessary. Center stall has no access (other than man door) other than unloading the third stall first. Unloading is done forwards, which I like. It used to be a six horse slant, but I did not like the sardine like stalls with no access. So I had it ripped apart, and rebuilt this way. It’s old, very solid, and I didn’t pay much for it, and it suits me and my horses. Doubles as stabling at local shows. I can ship up to six horses in it, two to a stall, cowboy style, if necessary.


I’ve noticed that, too, Bluey.

When left to their own devices in a large open trailer with no dividers, they usually travel on a slant, head facing left, too.

Everybody has their own opinions. Either way I’d buy w/b oversize to take care of future travellers. In my trailer there is insulation over the roof and it saves on heat in summer and dripping in winter.

I have never - in 40 years or so - had barked shins from backing out of a step up.
I have seen horses slip off the side of a ramp load several times.

Again, pick your poison, good and bad in all.


This is so much preference: yours and the the horses! I much prefer a step-up straight load, but I have had horses that like them too! I really hate getting into any trailer with a horse, (having to close dividers, load, tie, etc)) so my self-loading horse in a straight load solves that problem. If you’re getting a horse and don’t have a trailer yet, it might be good to find out how the horse has already trailered, and if it seems amenable to change.

From what I have seen, hauling Clydes all the way down to minis, if left to their own devices, they haul slightly slanted. We had a camera on the yearling we just hauled across the country in a ‘box stall’ set up and the vast majority of the 1200 mile haul he was facing forward, looking out the left window of the trailer. I had always been under the impression that horses would turn backwards, but his apparent stance of comfort was a slight forward slant to the left.

With the straight loads, which we have an oversized two horse BP now, but had a 2 horse slant originally(it had some extra height, but I don’t remember it being extra wide), my previous gelding was not long enough, or wide enough, to really use much of the straight load trailer for support. Not that you want them in a squeeze shoot, but I feel like he hauled more comfortably in the slants where he had the ability to use the sides for bracing when he needed it. The one time I rode in the straight load trailer with him, he was weak anyways and i think he would have done better with the walls/dividers to lean on…but who knows, maybe he would have fallen on his face during the turns if he was in a slant because he wouldn’t have had the breast bar…

The Clydes traveled great in the straight loads because they filled it all up. That trailer was a custom made 4 horse that could be made into box stall. Most of the time we hauled as box stalls, but they also traveled equally as well if all the dividers were in place. The front horse typically turned and faced the back horse. The back horse stayed facing the front horse.

The minis do what they want. hahaha.

I have grown to really like the idea of the 2+1 set up(best of both worlds) I loved the Clyde trailer, and we essentially used it as a 2 +1 setup most of the time. I think that will be my next trailer whenever I am in the market for one.

I will add that all of our horses would self load, even in the slant loads. While we did have to walk in to close a divider, we didn’t tie from the inside. They wouldn’t get tied until we came around the outside, just like in a straight load. And, we also have only ever had step up trailers. But everything at the Clyde farm was ramp. I think both have their benefits and places. My next trailer will probably have a ramp though. The minis have a hard time with some of the step ups/downs.

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Entirely personal preference - as others mentioned, my biggest worry with the slants are if horse 1 needs OUT NOW, you have to get the others off first. Not ideal or safe in an emergency. I did have one horse though that could not ride in a straight - she would lean on the butt bar and rub to the point of rubbing off all the hair and splitting the skin open on her tail. We covered the bar and any potential surface in foam, towels, cotton, and vet wrapped and tail wrapped her tail but she would just rub it off and we’d be back at blood. During that time, we upgraded from a 2 horse BP to 3 horse slant GN and never had another problem with her rubbing or leaning. If you’re loading by yourself a lot, and your horse isn’t quite the perfect and reliable self loader, I’ve found that straight loads are easier to do yourself - slants get a little tricky when you have to scurry in behind them to get the divider in or get the divider out and catch the lead as they start to unload.

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One other point - some horses just cannot travel on the right hand side of a straight haul - the road cambre is too much for them. If you have such a horse, switch sides and usually problem solved. The correct way to load is to put the heaviest horse on the centre line, usually.

I don’t mind the horses riding in a slant load, but I don’t want to load them that way. I’ve been around too many “I’m fine until I realize I’m actually going somewhere” kinds of horses and I do not like to try to get out of their way via either ducking under a slant load barrier to the front to get to the escape door or trying to get out the back at the kicking end while they are thinking “backing out is a really good idea”. I’ll admit though, I have very high levels of trailering anxiety.

I don’t prefer the window in front either on a straight load, as I’ve seen a yearling try to escape that way (one of my first exposures to trailering as a kid). I’d ideally like no window in front, two escape doors, one on each side and nice bars that I can actually duck under so I don’t get squashed into the front of the trailer. I’ll generally keep the door open but not the whole way when I load so that it doesn’t look open. Just enough so that I can push it open and step out if need be.

the real question is Ramp or Step up

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