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Choosing a Used Horse Trailer

Choosing a Used Horse Trailer

When you need to pick a used horse trailer, put yourself in the place of the horse, and think. That way, you will most likely come up with the best solution. Here's how...
Neil Valentine D'Silva
When buying a horse trailer, the general mistake most people make is that they go for the flashy designs and sleek looks of the trailer. But this is definitely the worst way to shop for this. After all, it is not you that is going to be transported in the horse trailer―it is the horse. That is the reason why the choice of the horse trailer must always be done from the point of view of the horse, and not the person who is buying it.

Why is buying the right kind of horse trailer important? These are the obvious benefits:
  • The right kind and size will ensure that your horse is comfortable during the journey. It will ensure that the horse does not suffer from shipping sickness. Horses, being animals of the wild, are prone to be uncomfortable in closed spaces, and fever, colic, dehydration, and stress are only few of the sicknesses that the horse can be saddled with (no pun intended).
  • If you are using the horses for a competition or a show event, then you have to take extra care during the shipping. Horses transported in the wrong kinds of trailers will be quite uncomfortable during the journey, and hence will not be able to perform well.
  • Then, of course, you have to be careful of your horses on humanitarian (animalitarian) grounds. Horses are fine creatures, and they are very loving to their masters. Just for the sake of keeping these excellent creatures happy, we need to invest in good trailers for them.
Proper Room Space
The first and the most important thing that you have to look into is the amount of room the horses will get once inside the trailer. As already mentioned above, horses are animals of the wild, and any kind of closed space could make them paranoid. In fact, horses are known to bolt when tried to load into trailers. If you ensure there is enough space for all the horses you will be moving in the trailer, this problem could be solved.

Normally, a good horse can be anywhere between 15 hands to 16.5 hands tall. For such a horse, it is good if you can get a trailer that provides at least 10 feet of long foot space. Horses will also try to shuffle their legs and change stances during the journey. So make sure the space available to the horses is wide enough too. If you are getting a used trailer, it is possible that the horses that used the trailer earlier were smaller than your horses. That is the reason why you cannot buy just about any trailer. You will need to measure your own horses and then measure the amount of room they will get in the trailer.

Right Kind
There are three main kinds of horse trailers―the stock horse trailers, the straight load horse trailers, and the slant load horse trailers. These are different in the way the horses can position themselves in them.

The stock trailers allow the horses to rest quite comfortably in the trailer, and they are also the least expensive. If your horses are not quite large, then these trailers are the better bet.

But if you have larger horses, you might ideally invest in straight horse trailers. Here, you can put the horses in straight, so that they are lined up in the direction of the movement of the trailer. This position might be a bit jerky for them, but they have good leg room, allowing bigger horses to be placed easily.

Slant load trailers allow the horses to get positioned at an angle. The benefit is that it can allow more horses to fit in, but at the same time, space might be compromised. These trailers are good for small horses that are new to your stable and environment.

Light and Ventilation
Once again, you must remember that horses are basically wild animals, and if we are able to train them, that is because of their own skills and intelligence. But, it is important that they get a very good amount of sunshine and air during their journey. Ventilation slats placed at the eye level are important, so make sure the used trailer you are contemplating on buying has them. These slats actually make the horses feel that they are still in the stable and not being moved.

Light is important, or horses might even get panicky and sick within the trailer. That is the reason why it is always such a pain to transport horses during the nighttime. At the same time, there must be a very good supply of air moving into the trailer. Air is needed for the horses to breathe, but fresh air will also flush out all the malodors and stenches that might come up inside the trailer when the horses are being transported. Since you cannot clean up the horses while traveling the way you did when they were in the stable, it is necessary to get an airy trailer. Look into the paint in the interior too. If it is dark and musty inside, pass it up. You need a trailer that has bright paints and a fresh appearance―the horses will not feel so scared then.

Make doubly sure that the floor of the trailer is not worn out. If that happens, then the floor might become slippery and you can very well imagine the perils the horses might have to face when the trailer might brake suddenly. The same applies for the ramp too. Ramps are more dangerous if they are slippery, because they need the horses to move on an incline. You must also look for any jagged ends that might injure the horses. These might commonly occur in used trailers. Make sure that the bolts, fasteners, slats, dividers, etc., are safe enough for the horses to travel long distances comfortably.