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Steel trailers in the South

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  • Steel trailers in the South

    We cannot afford aluminum. So, we are looking for a new stock type steel bumper pull trailer and two basic designs have people who swear by one or the other. The first type is the standard, the kind of stock trailer common in all states. Slated sides, escape door, basic step up.

    Then, there is one common in the South with much more air flow, round barred sides and a canvas top. You can see the horses inside very well and they do get wet when it rains, lol.

    These are the best examples I can find.

    Southern folks, which type works best for you? Does the more open type last longer? We haul horses, cattle, sheep and goats.

  • #2
    I personally would never haul a horse in the second, more open kind. If one gives a kick or something they could easily get a foot caught in those walls. I see a lot of cattle hauled in these here in Florida, can't say I've seen a horse hauled in one as of yet. A trailer for horses should have solid walls at least 3-4' high.


    • #3
      trailer? that is optional


      • #4
        Originally posted by Moonlitoaks View Post
        We cannot afford aluminum. So, we are looking for a new stock type steel bumper pull trailer and two basic designs have people who swear by one or the other. The first type is the standard, the kind of stock trailer common in all states. Slated sides, escape door, basic step up.

        Common sight, perfectly adequate. We had a four horse like this in the Long Ago.

        Then, there is one common in the South with much more air flow, round barred sides and a canvas top. You can see the horses inside very well and they do get wet when it rains, lol.

        To quote The Duke, "I wouldn't." I was witness to a bad incident in the Long Ago where a stallion panicked and went half-way over the top and was injured so badly it had to be euthanized. No more "soft top" roofs or open tops for me.

        These are the best examples I can find.

        Southern folks, which type works best for you? Does the more open type last longer? We haul horses, cattle, sheep and goats.
        Steel is problematical in the South due to our VERY humid climate. If you take care of it, keep it clean, park it out of the rain, and fix ANY dings, scratches, or scrapes on painted surfaces (so you don't get any rust spots started) they can be serviceable for many years. They are just high maintenance items.

        With steel I'd buy new or from someone I trusted. If you do buy used spend the money to have somebody go over it and make sure you don't get any "surprises."

        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


        • #5
          I have a steel stock combo trailer, similar style to the ones in the first link you posted, but with a slant divider and a small dressing room in the front. I bought it new four years ago when I was living in Tennessee.

          Weather isn't kind to steel and there are already some rust spots that need addressed. Nothing major, but I do need to have those taken care of sooner rather than later before they become problematic.

          Air flow is good and the animals stay comfortable even in hot weather... if you're moving. It becomes pretty toasty inside in the summer if you're sitting still, whether parked or in traffic. I do wish I had the tracks to slide in plexiglass so I could regulate airflow and keep rain out. Although the rain isn't too problematic-- it does blow in, but I've hauled through some terrible deluges and the animals are fine and stay dry themselves.

          I personally would not use the canvas top style for horses when there are other, sturdier options available these days.
          Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


          • #6
            The best of both worlds: An EquiBreeze by the folks at EquiSpirit. Plenty of open air, SUPER safe and bright for the horses. I've hauled in the depths of summer and the horses were cool & fine when off-loaded.

            <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


            • #7
              Originally posted by ChocoMare View Post
              The best of both worlds: An EquiBreeze by the folks at EquiSpirit. Plenty of open air, SUPER safe and bright for the horses. I've hauled in the depths of summer and the horses were cool & fine when off-loaded.

              Very nice, but the OP did mention they could not afford AL. If that's true then this item is a non-starter.

              One way to address heat buildup noted by Texarkana is to have the roof of the trailer painted white. We did that with our steel four horse and it was a very good decision. When we were shopping there was one trailer on the lot with a white roof and all the rest were same color as the rest of the trailer. You would walk into the white roof unit and it was clearly cooler than the others, even if it was not all that much. But it was no-cost option so that's what we bought.

              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


              • #8
                I prefer steel for multiple reasons. I have a steel horse trailer (Adam) with stock sides, bought it new 13 years ago, have had no issues & it's been here in the south the whole time. Kept outside, it's fine. Many many many friends do the same.

                I do park it on pavers & cover tires to protect them from uv death. And I polyurethaned the wood floor to seal it, which has worked great.

                I've hauled in some very hot weather & the airflow is fantastic, horses love it. A well designed, well built trailer will last a looooong time (friend repainted her 25 yr old Adam about 6 yrs ago).
                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                We Are Flying Solo


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for all the input. The first time I saw those really open barred type trailers was on TV. I think it was Houston SPCA? Anyway, several people brought up safety issue about horses that I did not consider. I was already worried about hauling sheep and lambs because of their little legs.


                  • #10
                    I have a CM that we bought in 2018, I think? It's my runabout trailer. I am very happy with the construction. Good trailer, well put together. I'm in the South, it sits outside, and I park it on pavers to get it off the dirt. Ideally it would be shed kept but then again, so would the monster Aluminum LQ that also sits on a thick gravel pad to keep those tires off the dirt

                    Get the CM, but don't get the narrow one they are showing in that link. Get the 6'8" wide interior- you'll still have fenders but the interior will be significantly roomier.


                    • #11
                      I'm in Louisiana, and started off looking to purchase a new two horse slant stock or stock combo trailer. However, the more I looked into them, the more I found that I could get much more money for a used trailer. I ended up finding a 1997 sooner on FB marketplace in basically perfect condition. I spent about $500 getting everything looked at, battery added, etc. I was looking at $8000-$10,000 for new steele stock combo, but that didn't include ANY extras such as padding on the walls or anything that I really wanted (escape doors, etc). The older trailer was $5500 and has all the bells and whistles (padding, ramp, large tack area, ceiling vents, lights in the trailer). It has been well-maintained, so for me, it was a better fit. Don't discount an older trailer!
                      Read my adventures with my 4 year old OTTB, Scott's Truluck at: Scottie's Journey, Rehabbing and Retraining a Louisiana-bred OTTB


                      • Original Poster

                        TMares, thank you for the specifics! I will definitely see what I can get.

                        We will be buying new, but aluminum is way out of our price range.

                        Thank you for all the comments. I appreciate hearing opinions.

                        The trailer I'm selling is a steel 3 horse, slant load with a tack room. Great trailer, but it's twenty years old. It's lived a good life and would do well at a different job; like hauling furniture. I bought it when I was stationed up North.


                        • #13
                          I would tell you to search on, and search frequently for a good quality used aluminum trailer. You can find them for sure at reasonable prices, because I did.

                          In 2011, we bought a 1999 Featherlite 16’ gooseneck stock trailer, complete with 5 brand new tires for $6500. It was used to haul fox hunters a couple times a year, barn kept, and didn’t even have a scuff mark on the mats. It was traded into a Featherlite dealer, who inspected it, replaced the tires and then put it up for sale on Horse Trailer World.

                          I was searching twice a day for a stock trailer- first thing in the morning and then late afternoon. I saw it when it had 10 views on the website, called the dealer and put a deposit immediately via credit card. I used the credit card because if when I went to pick it up it was not as advertised, I could dispute the charge and get the deposit back. It was as advertised and we were thrilled. 9 years later the trailer is still in great shape, and the only thing we have done to it was replace tires and add a rear loading light.
                          "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for the tip, cutter!

                            Our old trailer sold in less than 24 hours. That part was easy, lol.


                            • Original Poster

                              I found the new trailer we can afford. It's a stock trailer, but 6 feet 5 inches tall, which is tall enough, I think. It has an escape door, which we didn't have with our last trailer, yay! We haul with a super duty truck with a long wheel base (crew cab with 8 foot bed).

                              I still have several questions, though, because I have never used a straight livestock trailer for hauling horses. I hope you guys can bear with me.

                              -The first big question is length. It's essentially two compartments separated by a removable gate. The trailer length is either 14 feet or 16 feet, which roughly means two 7 foot compartments or two 8 foot compartments. Our tallest horse is 15.2. We typically have horses in the 14 hand range and are not interested in a draft or draft cross.

                              -We have two horses that are turned out together and get along well. Should we just put one on either side of the divider gate? Loose or tied? I ahve read that they prefer traveling backwards.

                              -Or, is it better to remove the gate and just tie the horses to the side the way you do with a slant load?

                              -For emergency evacuation, I think I could fit the two horses in there, along with one Shetland Pony and one standard sized donkey. All four enjoy turnout together. I think that is the only reason to pay for the extra two feet and get the 16 foot trailer.

                              This trailer would be very useful for hauling our cattle and sheep, which we actually do much more often than the horses. However, we do want to use the trailer for trips to good trail riding spots safely.
                              Last edited by Moonlitoaks; May. 8, 2020, 09:37 AM.


                              • #16
                                With a 15.2 hand horse, I would not buy any trailer less than 7’ tall.
                                "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


                                • #17
                                  It's true that 6'5" is not optimal for a 15.2 horse but is adequate. Particularly given the primary purpose of the trailer (moving cattle and sheep) it should be just fine. IF the OP had concerns then buy a "coolie hat" for the taller horse and the problem is functionally solved.

                                  All trailer decisions are compromises. This one seems to be appropriate.

                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


                                  • #18
                                    OP, I'd get the longer trailer for evac purposes. I'd also take out the divider, but that's just me. I live in ranch country. You can hop in my truck and on our drive through town you'd probably see a half dozen open-bar trailers like you posted with horses and cattle in every one. I've never heard of an accident with one of them, but that doesn't mean it's never happened. That said, in the one you got, I'd just tie the horses next to each other along the side. Enjoy your new trailer!


                                    • #19
                                      I have a trailer like the first link (the CM). Mine is a WW 16 ft horse stock trailer. I live in a hot humid climate and my horses are fine even when hauled in the summer. I much prefer it to an enclosed trailer ( had one previously).


                                      • #20
                                        For years, I hauled horses and mules and my son hauled cattle in a 16 ft steel stock trailer that was 6.5 ft tall. When one of the mules got a little taller than I had hoped as he grew, I used a head bumper on him. Hundreds of thousands of ranch horses in this country are/have been hauled around safely in 6 and 6.5 ft tall stock trailers. Like G said, it may not be optimal for taller horses, but it's certainly adequate.

                                        I did always use the divider gate, but never hauled more than two equines at a time. I put the bigger equine loose in the front compartment and the smaller one loose in the rear compartment. They generally chose to stand on a slant, head to head, facing the driver's side, so that put the one in front facing backwards and the one in back facing forward.
                                        Last edited by NoSuchPerson; May. 9, 2020, 09:57 AM.
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                                        that's even remotely true."

                                        Homer Simpson