if boxing in a horse box then i do slant as its better or what we call herribone
if on trialer they normally are made in uk head to head as straight up
i have had allsorts of trialers from rice, to richardson to pegasus to ifor williams
rear and front unloads
i would now always chose a front unloading trialer
which is the correct size width and height for my horses
some as in equi tek trialers or little lorries ride with horse facing backwards
ie ramp end bonnie has travelled all ways as most of my horses have
but i much prefer a slant - as a horse can balance better
Having owned a 4 horse head to head for almost 15 years and a 3 horse slant now for almost two years I prefer the slant load without a doubt! My large warmblood horses fit just fine (my trailer is 8 feet wide) they travel safer and I love the fact they can stick their heads out the side of the trailer at the shows, munch away at their hay nets and have all the fresh air they can breath. As well as I can see them from some distance away if I am at ringside watching the action
They are most definetly the best trailer configuration out there in my opinion!
In the 4 or 6 horse size a head to head. If you look at slants, particularly 4, 6, or 8 horse slants, pay attention to the stall sizes, many manufacturers squeeze more stalls in by making the stalls smaller, then for more normal size stalls they will label them "warmblood" size and the trailer with be more expensive.
A 4 horse slant load will be a little shorter trailer than a 4 horse head to head, but a 6 horse slant and 6 horse head to head will be about the same length in the horse area.
With head to heads you have the center aisle to put things like tack trunks, hay, or even a pony.
In a head to head you don't have to unload all the other horses to get to the one in the front.
I once saw a compromise between the two, a custom trailer that had 3 straight load stalls facing the rear in the mid section and 3 slant load stalls at the rear. Side and rear ramps.
I greatly prefer head to heads for the easy access to all of the horses, being able to move the dividers and give horses a stall and a half if need be, being able to make a section into a loose box area if need be, and having different options to haul a horse depending on what works best for that horse.
Just curious, what are some of those miriads of reasons?
We actually call it herringbone here rather than slant.
Horse preference during transportation is that they most often choose to stand herringbone.
The reason you see so many rubbed tails when they're travelled forward-facing is because they use their back ends to balance, when they should be using their head and necks.
The research done in the UK by the University of Edinburgh backed up why herringbone by suggesting that there was effect of orientation on balancing ability and they found it easier to balance herringbone or slant, provided they were in where they could move their heads and necks and were properly and adequately supported with partitioning and there was good non slip flooring. Coming in 2nd was travelling facing away from the direction of travel. There's research that indicates that travelling really long distance on straight roads rear facing is preferable. But we don't have any such thing as straight roads or enormous distances!
Then herringbone optimises the space available. So you can transport 2 or 3 horses without needing any more space than you'd need for 2 travelling straight.
Gives more options for transportation: I travel with a host of combinations: Horses only. Pair of horses and 2 carriages. 4 horses and 1 big carriage.
The carriages are loaded first and on the back - using an electric winch which is permanently floor mounted at the back of the truck and not where any horses stand. Basically a tensile cable and hook is fastened to the carriage and the winch operated push button to bring the carriage up the ramp. (no pushing and pulling and having carriages rolling out and over you!) They're then chocked and kept secured and attached to the winch so they're not slipping and moving about and a partition placed in front of the carriage as extra safety. Because the horses are herringbone they can see the carriage/s too. Next to the winch on either side are equipment lockers and a load of clip things for fastening or hanging stuff (like carriage shaft/driving whips/livery coats etc). Grooms door is down this far end too.
For me an essential is also having a grooms door AND a side ramp and this just totally removes one of the potential disadvantages of herringbone loading more than 2 horses in that it enables access to all in there. My side ramp is just a little forward of the middle of the truck. Then there's a big ramp at the back.
The way my truck is configured because I need the flexibility with the variety of combination loads, I can actually alter the partitioning and change it from a herringbone load to a straight load. When it's like that there's a big empty space at the front (or 1 or 2 carriages) and then a pair of horses can stand facing either facing forward or away from the direction of travel and standing at the back. Truth is that though I built it so it would do that, I've never actually done it.
Again for me an essential is having power operated ramps. So they're just press button. I can't be doing with all that heaving and pulling and riving stuff about where you end up with a bad back and not able to do anything. (that's the engineer in me!)
Photo of mine showing central side ramp arrangement is here:
I was wondering, because here, some rodeo contestants, that haul long and all year around, say that some of their horses in slants end up with a sore right shoulder, eventually.
I would not know, we only use a 16' gooseneck stock trailer with one middle partition if we have to haul more than a horse or two, like some cattle in front.
Our horses are trained to jump in there and not turn around and most do choose to stand at a slant, front end to the left.