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View Full Version : Deciding on a new horse trailer, how do you choose??



AdrenalineJunky
Jun. 17, 2012, 03:15 AM
We are in the market for a new horse trailer since our new warmblood does not fit in our current one (lol). We need something that can be at least 7foot wide and 7'6tall. There are just so many trailers out there these days that I am having the hardest time deciding which one would be the best for us :(

On that note, I would really love to hear what all of you like and don't like in a trailer and why. What brands do you like? Do you prefer and angle haul or a straight load? What additional options did you add to your trailer? Now that you have had your trailer or know of a trailer a friend has, what would you change if you could change anything at all?

Any and all opinions would be greatly appreciated!!

Eleanor
Jun. 17, 2012, 03:55 AM
For the big guys I like a straight haul better then angle. The stalls are bigger and give more room for the horse.

I have had both angle and straight and I like stright haul trailers best. Also you don't have to go wider in a trailer if you go with straight. I like the walk through trailers over the ones with the tack storage under. Walk in dressing rooms are great but I can live without. and a ramp on the back for easy unloading.

ElisLove
Jun. 17, 2012, 04:46 AM
I like angle hauls for the fact that they look so much more open to a horse that might be a bit more wary of trailers, though all my horses except one have been easy loaders that could load into anything.

If you are doing long distances a gooseneck is much preferred to a bumper pull as it is more stable which can help horses to arrive less tired than in a BP.

I wouldn't change too much on my trailer. I in general only haul one horse to nearby shows (between 5-25 minutes). It's a slant load, BP 2 horse with a tack room in the front and a small fold up "tack room" in the back. The saddle racks that come with it are useless as the saddles just fall off but I usually have my saddle in a tack box or can take it in the car or wedge it somewhere else in the trailer so it doesn't fall. I did drive 14 hours to a show with it with 2 horses. The horses were fine, but definitely more tired than the next year when I did the same trip but had them professionally hauled in a huge 7 horses middle loading gooseneck pulled by a semi. This trip was on a flat straight line roads. I would not have hauled my own on a long distance trip in curvey, mountainy road in my BP.
I would have liked to have bars with screens on the windows by their heads so when we stop for breaks on a bit longer trips they get more fresh air. Right now I either have to put the windows down all the way and they can stick their heads out which worries me with all the stupid people in this world and if they spook and yank their heads in quickly they could hit their heads, or I have to leave the windows up with just the very small actual window open.

ShotenStar
Jun. 17, 2012, 09:55 AM
Before buying trailer #3, I crawled through lots and lots of trailers with notebook in hand. I made notes about fit and finish ... how smooth are the welds, how are things like butt and chest bars connected, how are the door latches, where are the lights, what are the options, etc. There are some types of latches I just do not like; there are some types of ramps I prefer. Once I found a trailer line that had a majority of the features I wanted, the final order was easy to make (it was a big Hawk GN).

*Star*

OneMoreForTheRoad
Jun. 17, 2012, 12:26 PM
I have an Exiss 3 Horse, Slant-load gooseneck, with a large tack room in the front. After we bought it I had a ramp put on and had attatchment points welded onto the bottom of the dividers so that I could put on extra pieces that made the dividers go all the way to the floor (I use it for long trips, when I put hay and shavings bags in the front stall).

For the most part I only use it for going to local shows (at the most 90 minutes away). But once or twice a year I use it to go on longer trips, 10-15 hours. It's perfect for the local hauling but I only tow 1 maybe 2 horses in it now and on the long trips I normally only have one and I take out the dividers a trailer them loose.

I prefer straight loads to slant loads, the only reason I bought my trailer was because I had a horse who fell over in a straight load, and could not trailer in one anymore (he had anxiety and would literally start shaking in the trailer).

IFG
Jun. 17, 2012, 12:52 PM
I love Kingstons Trailers. I have seen loads of them over the years. They are airy, roomy, hold up well, and hold their value. I have the two horse bumper pull straight load. I used to compete many week-ends 3-4 hours from home. Now my horse is semi-retired, I still love the trailer. If I were to get a dressing room, I would get a GN. The bumper pulls with dressing rooms are IMHO unwieldy.

reay6790
Jun. 17, 2012, 03:23 PM
I did a lot of research on here and in general about price and quality. I ended up with an extra tall, extra wide, extra long Hawk BP straight load. I added a bunch of options including full rear doors with added ramp, dressing room with carpeting, 3rd set of windows, a fan, drop down escape door windows, adjustable butt and breast bars, and I changed the interior padding color.

I LOVE love love my hawk. my horses seem to really like the trailer as well. both of my boys have ridden in it now and no complaints from them.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer1.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer4.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer3.jpg

TheJenners
Jun. 17, 2012, 04:42 PM
Ooo your Hawk does look nice! :yes: It is a walk-thru (or whatever it's called when you lead the horse in and then duck under the chest bar)?

OP, it depends on your preference and your budget. I prefer a straight load for various reasons, mostly because I grew up with straight loads. I would have loved a head-to-head. So my little trailer that I zoom around town with is exactly the same type of trailer I first experienced: 2H BP with one of those tiny little dressing rooms under the manger. Yes, a PITA sometimes :lol: but I love it. It's a '94 Charmac (http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s720x720/398928_3985243511096_581222225_n.jpg), and it's actually getting all new shoes tomorrow.

Our other trailer is our big 'un. DH did a bunch of research and wanted a Bison (I think?), but settled on a Logan Coach, (http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/282046_2258696148491_5110623_n.jpg) which is constructed the same way. DH wanted a slant load, not a head-to-head, and it has a huge LQ, and he's already lived in it for three months when he was in CA for training. The thing I really like it is the flooring, under the mats the floor boards are slanted so urine runs out instead of pooling. Kinda like \\\\ but obviously not that sharp of an angle. We bought it new and there have been issues with the generator and wiring, and the shower leaked and ruined the floor, but the customer service has been EXCELLENT. DH has one of the Logan Coach guy's number on speed dial, and if there's a problem it's usually fixed within a week!

Dance_To_Oblivion
Jun. 17, 2012, 05:55 PM
I am obsessed with my trailer, and take every opportunity to tell people about it. It is a 2 + 1 gooseneck with a dressing room. The "horse" part of the trailer can be configured as 2 straight stalls with a smaller stall in front (separated by a wall), two equal size boxes, one large box and one smaller box, or take everything out and have a huge empty space. There is a door from the dressing room to the horse area so I can tack my horses up with out me or them leaving the trailer (GREAT in the rain!). I have a back ramp and a side ramp so you can easily unload one horse and leave the other in. It is also extra tall and extra wide so my 17.3 Warmblood fits comfortably :)

Mine is a Kiefer Built, but others have similar trailers.

Calvincrowe
Jun. 17, 2012, 08:41 PM
I've had both a steel 2-horse slant load (TrailsWest) and a straight load 2-horse (Hawk). Both were good trailers. Here's what I liked about both:

Slant: easy to load by yourself. Yeah, yeah, every horse should "self-load" but let's be honest--they don't. With a slant it is simpler, especially that first slot. Open, inviting for new loaders.

Hauled very well, easy to maneuver, nice big tack room. (I'd never buy one without a tack room/dressing room).

Straight load: Huge--extra long, extra tall, so it fits even a huge warmblood easily (couldn't get my slant that tall). Open, inviting, bright white, cooler with the fiberglass roof/aluminum construction. Love the Rumber floor--no maintenance! No mats! Lots of light and windows. Lighter in weight than the slant steel. Huge dressing room as well, with lots of options for adding saddle racks and whatnot.

Harder to load the non-self-loader, but doable.

I love having a ramp on the straight load, as the slant was a step up, but no biggie.

I won't go back to a slant steel at this point. Hawk is a wonderful trailer! My SIL and I share it, and we always get nice compliments on it wherever we go.

lintesia
Jun. 18, 2012, 01:01 AM
I have a Logan 3-horse GN slant, which I am overall very happy with. I had several things customized which I feel really enhance its usefulness:

1. The divider between the first and second stalls is a stud divider, so if I don't have three horses, I can use the first stall for hay or tack trunks.

2. I had the triangular part of the dressing room closed off with its own door and it serves as the place for all my tools and buckets, which means the dressing room stays much cleaner. I don't have a rear tack, so the rear stall is larger.

3. I had a door added so that you can access the dressing room from the driver's side as well as the passenger side.

4. I opted for rumber flooring.

5. I went for the power jack... so easy!

6. Finally, I had a camera installed so that I can monitor the horses.

ChocoMare
Jun. 18, 2012, 09:22 AM
I understand your dilemma! Been there done that.... but like ShotenStar, we did our research over a two-year period. We crawled through trailers, paid extreme attention to the welds, flooring, undercarriage, etc. Really liked the Hawk, but after attending a seminar by Tom & Neva Scheve (authors of The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer (http://www.equispirit.com/info/horsebook.htm) -- and former designers for Trail-Et and Hawk) and speaking with them personally, we went with an EquiBreeze, the open trailer option of the EquiSpirit. All their years of design work and focus on safety is brought to bare in the EquiSpirit and it shows.

We chose the EquiBreeze (http://www.equispirit.com/equibreeze/2-gooseneck-features.html)since we live in the warm southeast and truly had no need for a fully-enclosed trailer (the one pictured in the ad is ours). It is built exactly the same as the EquiSpirit but with the open concept-- two-horse straight load gooseneck, Extra Tall & Extra Wide for our draft mares. The ramp is soooo perfectly balanced that it takes only two fingers to lower or raise it. I ADORE the easy open door latches. You just pop the bottom and lift the bar out. Then they just snap closed when you put the bar back. The dressing room has plenty of storage space and the whole trailer is well lit, inside and out.

Due to budgetary constraints when we bought it, I didn't choose the power jack. If I had to do it all over again, I would have sprung for it.

Above all, the customer service from Tom and the others at EquiSpirit is exceptional. If you want to talk to Tom, you do... no listening to "Press 1 for Joe, Press 2 for Jane." They even sent me pictures while it was being built so I could see the progress. They'll deliver or you can pick up. If you choose delivery, they ensure that your trailer is washed locally right before they drive up to you. We chose pick up and it was Tom that met us, walking us through every inch of it. That kind of service is priceless.

GotMyPony
Jun. 19, 2012, 02:02 PM
OP - ChocoMare didn't stress this so I will! It would be very helpful if you actually got and read the Scheve's book The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer early in your search. Very, very helpful on understanding the basics before you start shopping: goose vs BP; aluminum vs. steel vs. aluminum & steel; compatibility with tow vehicle; slant vs. straight; annual maintenance guidelines, etc., etc. It's well worth that investment of time before you make that big investment of money, and understanding the basics will help you figure out exactly the style and configuration best fits your unique needs. Then you can do the fun part which is checking out all the different brands and how they compare with your own list of must haves and with each other.
When I was doing my research I also went to horse shows, hunter paces, trail heads, etc., scoped out all the trailers and asked people if I could look at theirs if it was something I thought I might like. That way you can actually see how the gates fasten, if anything protrudes into horse area, etc. Turns out most people like to talk about their trailers almost as much as about their horses!

AdrenalineJunky
Jun. 20, 2012, 04:16 AM
I honestly can't thank all of you enough for your feedback! We have been looking at some Logan trailers so I'm glad to hear some positive feedback on them. I hadn't actually heard of the Hawk trailers but I found a dealer in the next province over so I'm hoping if we get out there we will be able to take a look at those as well.

I think that book is exactly what I need so thank you for bringing it up!! I will try to get my hands on it and that should hopefully help me figure out what exactly will work for us.

TheJenners
Jun. 20, 2012, 05:21 AM
Can't say enough good things about ours. Honestly, the only "problems" have been in the LQ portion, and I think a lot of it was because they aren't designed to be used for long-term housing. The shower wouldn't have leaked if it wasn't used twice a day for three months solid (and more when I visited over a long weekend).

PM me if you want or have questions, whatever I can't answer, I can ask DH. He is the expert!

Chall
Jun. 20, 2012, 07:55 AM
I bought the book, read it but still have a question. Do horses need to lean on something to keep their balance? OneMoreFortheRoad mentions her horse fell over (I assume in a straight load), so she now has a slant. The inference is that horses use the slant to lean against for balance. Which also leads me to ask, is a box stall any help if your horse needs to balance against something?

TrotTrotPumpkn
Jun. 20, 2012, 11:12 AM
No, but in a box stall they have room to spread their legs out to balance, but really mine tend to stand at a backward angle in a box stall. In a perfect world I prefer box stall, but that isn't necessarily realistic...

Slants and straights have their own pros and cons, but the worst con is if the stall size simply isn't large enough for your horse to comfortably lower his/her head and relax (also drain out snot) on a ride. Just my opinion.

OP, how big is your truck? To do a slant for a giant horse you need to go very wide. If you are limited in truck capacity it might be easier to find a warmblood sized straight load.

Dance_To_Oblivion
Jun. 20, 2012, 11:15 AM
Which also leads me to ask, is a box stall any help if your horse needs to balance against something?

I have found that my horses consistently turn around and ride backwards in the box stalls. All of my horses seem to ride very comfortably in the box, and they could of course lean against the walls if they needed to.

Flagstaff Foxhunter
Jun. 21, 2012, 08:39 PM
I did a lot of research on here and in general about price and quality. I ended up with an extra tall, extra wide, extra long Hawk BP straight load. I added a bunch of options including full rear doors with added ramp, dressing room with carpeting, 3rd set of windows, a fan, drop down escape door windows, adjustable butt and breast bars, and I changed the interior padding color.

I LOVE love love my hawk. my horses seem to really like the trailer as well. both of my boys have ridden in it now and no complaints from them.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer1.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer4.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer3.jpg

I know a couple of Hawk owners and they are GREAT trailers. I'd love to own one. Having a bunch of big horses, I want to caution you about slant loads. Most of them are just not long enough in the stall to accomodate a really big horse. Even our Sundowner 8' wide puts hocks against the rear wall. The first slant load we bought appeared to be big enough but we had to resell it immediately.

We currently have a Featherlite straight load and it's very spacious and hauls well. But avoid the model that has an aisle between the two horses going into the tackroom. Seemed like a good idea, but it's a PITA to keep the horses from picking at each other, and the head nets Featherlite installed are a great way to peel the halter off your horse's face so he backs off the trailer naked.:eek:

AKB
Jun. 22, 2012, 10:39 PM
I love my 2001 2 horse, straight load Sundowner for my 1600lb Irish Draught. It is roomy and comfortable. The ramp is easy to lift and easy for horses to negotiate without slipping. I have no idea of what the new ones are like. If you get a used Sundowner, have a trailer guy check the floor and frame to be sure there is no corrosion.

vxf111
Jul. 1, 2012, 01:02 AM
I did a lot of research on here and in general about price and quality. I ended up with an extra tall, extra wide, extra long Hawk BP straight load. I added a bunch of options including full rear doors with added ramp, dressing room with carpeting, 3rd set of windows, a fan, drop down escape door windows, adjustable butt and breast bars, and I changed the interior padding color.

I LOVE love love my hawk. my horses seem to really like the trailer as well. both of my boys have ridden in it now and no complaints from them.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer1.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer4.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h207/reay6790/trailer3.jpg

I have this exact trailer except gooseneck (and standard colored padding ;)). I have BIG HORSES. I am IN LOVE!

My horse is just plain too big/long for a slant. If your horses are big, I would hugely suggest straight load!

Katyusha
Jul. 4, 2012, 04:55 PM
I'm also looking for a trailer but know nothing; which makes this an arduous task. What defines extra tall and extra wide? I have a 17h draft x who will not load onto a trailer unless he feels it's big enough for him: unfortunately, I never measured those trailers. Also how do you determine I'd the price is right? I'm looking at a cotner 2000 squire trailer for $5k; it seems a lot for a 12 yo trailer? I'm also looking at a 94 Kingston for $3800. Both are said to be extra tall and both are supposed to be in food shape, minimal rusting.

Any advice on price points ? Have no idea if they're asking too much. One is 7'4 and the other is 7'5. Are either of those big enough for my horse?

KrazyTBMare
Jul. 4, 2012, 05:57 PM
I went with Trailers USA and got a custom built trailer. It is like a stripped down Hawk. I wanted a Hawk but for what I wanted (2h straight load dutch doors ramp xxl model) it was going to be $15000+ and I just could not do it. I was able to get everything I wanted for $12000 with the Trailers USA. Its nothing fancy but its safe, well made, big for my horses, great tack room, perfect size and weight for my truck (f150) and really everything I need in a trailer.

My trailer is 7'6 tall, 6'6 wide. The dividers are completely removable to make it a big box stall or to haul anything else that will fit in it. It weighs 3200# which is important to me with my truck. The only thing I didnt get with it is hay bags but thats no biggie.

Another reason I went with this company was that Tay, the owner, actually listened to what I wanted, what I had to spend, talk about my trade, etc. When I contacted other companies they basically said that I wasnt going to find what I wanted for the price I could spend. No one ever followed up with me. I had emailed Tay a few times and called him a couple weeks after that to get details on getting the trailer built, etc. I was not getting quoted a good enough price for my trade so I told him I was going to have to wait to sell my trailer before buying the new one. He followed up a couple of days later after our talk to see if I had any other questions. Then about a month after talking, he sent another email just touching base. 2 weeks after that was when I sold my trailer and called to make the deposit and start building my new trailer.

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/527389_3419187165641_424066806_n.jpg

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/295275_3419178485424_550791017_n.jpg

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/548530_3419183525550_551735690_n.jpg

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/540266_3419184485574_1477636502_n.jpg

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/549384_3419185445598_269750509_n.jpg

TheJenners
Jul. 4, 2012, 07:23 PM
I'm looking at a cotner 2000 squire trailer for $5k; it seems a lot for a 12 yo trailer? I'm also looking at a 94 Kingston for $3800.

Check online, like trailerworld.com, etc, and see what comparable prices there are. Yes I think $5k is a bit high, but I am not familiar with the brand at all. FWIW, I paid $3200 or $3400 for a 13 year old Charmac 2h bp in 2007. Very lightly used, a little bit of kick damage on a door. I think the price was a titch high or just right, and it's been a great trailer that I'm very happy with.

KrazyTBMare
Jul. 4, 2012, 09:04 PM
FWIW I purchased my '96 silver star 3h gn with extra large tack room for $8500 and other than a few little things, it looked great. We replaced one area of the ceiling in the horse area, redid the wiring, and sealed the seams on the roof. The floor was perfect, tack room really clean, and everything in working order.

spotmenow
Jul. 5, 2012, 10:58 AM
We had an Eby stock combo custom built for my 17.2 hand draft cross (my other horses are also quite large). We found that most of the standard floor plans had a lot of room in the tack area, not so much in the horse area, even in their "warmblood" sizes. Custom building with the better companies like Eby, 4-Star, etc. isn't really that much extra. Since we figure on keeping this trailer for 20 years, an extra $1500 up front wasn't too hard to swallow.

We did find that most of the manufacturers are out west, so "deals" were harder to come by on the east coast...