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Hauling in a stock trailer

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  • Original Poster

    Goodhors, thank you for that, but whatever we use for a divider will need to be a temporary thing that isn't going to involve welding things to the actual trailer itself-- I don't want to overstep my dad's generosity in loaning me his trailer by having stuff permanently welded into it. But in the event that I end up picking up a trailer of my own next summer, I will definitely keep this in mind!

    I do think I'm going to check out some additional mats from TSC to just go ahead and mat the front part...
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


    • #22
      I have learned that the height requirement is not only a function of the horse's height, but also the length of his stance, and the arrangement at his chest and in front of the chest.

      With the open stock trailer, your horse can usually have as much length for his body as he wants, even if you're hauling multiple horses at an angle...bigger horses just take the angle that gives them the length they want. My horse prefers a strange (to me) position in a stock trailer, he likes to stand at a very flat angle and face the back...but he hauls quietly in it and goes in willingly...even though it is only a 6'6" trailer. I don't think I'd have liked it for long hauls, but for an hour or less, no problem.

      My horses are very big. I ride a full Clydesdale, and a Trakehner who is every bit of 16.3hh with the long neck. When I had a trailer with mangers, I wanted the 7.6"...they had to pop their heads up and around a divider if they wanted to stretch down (Featherlite straight load design with a pass through) and their heads were pretty high to eat out of the mangers. The design encouraged them to pop "up" so it made sense that additional height was recommended.

      My current trailer, I also wanted the height...but mostly because the additional height came with the extra length for the big horses in the models I looked at. They have enough room in front of the chest bar to reach quite far, or stretch down to cough/relax, and they have some "play" between the chest and butt bars (about half a step's worth)...they aren't wedged in and can shift position without bumping into the bars.

      As for a trailer being "too small"...it's kind of hard for someone else to tell you (especially online) and the trailer threads on this board often contain more myth than fact (especially about trucks.) I did try to get the draft mare onto a trailer once that was ACTUALLY too small. She knew full well it was too small, and refused to load. She did put her front feet up, and even took a step in, and that's when I realized she was right, she could BARELY step up without grazing her head/neck on the roof, and if she'd actually gotten up to the manger, her hind feet probably still would have been out the door. I did load my little 15hh pinto in there though, and he did not look remotely cramped. Clearly, the trailer was designed for horses his size.

      Likewise, on my big "warmblood sized" straight load, the draft mare and the Trak step up confidently, even the first time, and when you take a step back and look at the whole picture, they just obviously FIT. I hauled a pony in there once, and as soon as she loaded, it was clear that she didn't fit. The dividers just looked the wrong height, there was enough room for her to turn around in the stall...so I had to compromise and haul her tied...which I HATE doing. I just couldn't have her swimming around in the big space, potentially injuring herself, or causing big instability in the trailer load.

      AS a final thought, hopefully what I'm making clear is "judge for yourself" one of the worst-fitting, most dangerous trailer set-ups I've ever seen was hauled by one of the snottiest horse families I've ever met. It was "warmblood sized" apparently, but when you loaded two big warmbloods into it, they looked scrunched up, back to front. The thing was a good 2' shorter from chest to butt bar than my trailer...and that 7'6" height was eaten up pretty well by the way the horses had to stretch "up" to fit in there. They regularly tried to tell other people what to do with hauling/loading. They were, ummm...well, let's just say that there were several of us who exchanged glances every time this family started giving out the advice. It's bad form to grab the new person and say "don't listen to them, they are morons and their trailer arrangement sucks." Pretty much the best you can do is give sensible advice, if asked.
      Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


      • #23
        It all depends on you, but IME, no. My first trailer was 6'6". My 16 hand Appendix (with a low set neck) turned from an agreeable loader to a leap-spin-no-freaking-way because of that trailer. It was just too short. Fortunately it was an easy sell (actually for more than I paid for it) to people with ponies, I flipped the money into a 7' trailer, retrained horse, now he falls asleep in it and all shapes and sizes of horses fit and love the nice open-ness of the stock sides.
        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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


        • Original Poster

          So when hauling horses in an open stock, do you just tie them side-by-side and let them sort it out? Is there a set distance/minimum to keep them tied from one another? Everyone I know has full-size horses; if I ever brought a friend, the height difference wouldn't be more than a hand either way. (Actually a hand smaller; mine is the tallest horse amongst my group of riding friends.)
          *friend of bar.ka

          "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


          • #25
            I have seen:

            Tied side-by-side, one to each side of the trailer.

            Tied one behind the other, all facing forward, tied to the same side of the trailer or to opposite sides.

            Two horses, cross-tied, standing face-to-face in the middle of the trailer.

            Most commonly I see longer stock trailers with 2-4 guys' horses all tacked up heading out to work cattle. In this case, the most popular arrangement seems to be the second one - horses tied one behind the other to the sides of the trailer, all facing forward.

            I haul in a stock trailer (16' x 6'6") but mine has a center divider, so I put the big guy in the larger front compartment and the little guy in the smaller back compartment, both loose. They prefer to ride on a slant, head-to-head, heads toward the center of the road.
            "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
            that's even remotely true."

            Homer Simpson


            • #26
              I'm thinking a 2x4 or 2x6 barrier at chest height (which is what we did when we hauled my 1st horse, many moons ago), but I'm also wondering if maybe I shouldn't screw some heavy rubber "sheeting" or plywood to it to hang down to the floor, to keep Horse's feet where they belong? Or would that be overkill?
              The chest bar idea is fine, no need for the rubber or plywood...how exactly will his feet get up there if he's kept in the back by a chest bar?

              I hauled horses in a trailer just like this, with simply a chest bar as you describe so there was an official "head space" in the front as opposed to the horse being able to walk all the way to the front, and the chest bar alone was fine. It was even removeable.
              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


              • #27
                Originally posted by cnvh View Post
                So when hauling horses in an open stock, do you just tie them side-by-side and let them sort it out? Is there a set distance/minimum to keep them tied from one another? Everyone I know has full-size horses; if I ever brought a friend, the height difference wouldn't be more than a hand either way. (Actually a hand smaller; mine is the tallest horse amongst my group of riding friends.)
                A word of caution when hauling in the open style with no dividers between horses. Some haul fine in a space where they can bump into each other. Some do not. We tried hauling my mare with a gelding, it was a stock trailer, essentially a two horse straight load. It had the removeable chest bar as I described in my post above, but that was it. So, the horses stood side by side facing straight foward, with nothing between them. We made it maybe 1/4 of a mile when all of a sudden the trailer was thrashing and jumping around behind the truck. I stopped the truck and basically, the horses were getting into a fight in the trailer because each did not have their own space.

                Not all horses ride well together without the divider. Now, because of that indicent, my mare will kick the crapola out of my trailer if she is in the front slant and hears a horse load on behind her. Its like she is traumatized to have another horse on the trailer with her now. I have to load her last and she is fine, or haul her in a straight load where she can see the other horse and realize they each have their own space.
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                • #28
                  Originally posted by cnvh View Post
                  Lol, I thought for sure I'd get pilloried for hauling in anything under 7'6"... I'm quite sure I'd get more than a few hairy eyeballs from some fellow boarders!
                  I have a 7 foot tall stock trailer that I hauled my 17.1 hand gelding in with no problems. 6'6" isn't so small and if you have a horse who isn't huge (or a nervous hauler) why should it matter? The biggest problem is the lack of room to put their head at a normal height. I have seen horses trailered where their withers barely cleared the roof. In my opinion that is pushing it, although they seemed to get where they were going and back just fine. I just prefer that mine have more than enough room to raise their head as high as possible and NOT hit the roof. That isn't a requirement for everybody.


                  • #29
                    The stock trailer I have used had a center divider, and I think it was made to fit six cows. That translated into 4 regular-sized horses, and I downgraded capacity to two of my big horses. I put the center divider in, and had the horses head to head. Once they were on board and had settled into a position, I tied them where they could stay in that position. They stood at angles, and ended up tied on opposite walls of the trailer, toward the center divider.

                    I believe that 4, head-to-head, my MIL would tie them at the center divider, to the closest wall.
                    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                    • #30
                      We used to put them in the bays tied facing forward but the last time they traveled they both got stuffed into the front bay, loose. Pony promptly turned around and faced backwards and the old guy leaned on him the whole way. They came out with this sweat mark from the old guy on the pony's barrel, but last time there was a deal of hard kicking and fussing and this time nothing.

                      Ours is missing the frontmost mat but we have a wooden floor and rubberized paint so the short trip was OK. We plan to add the mat back though.
                      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                      Incredible Invisible


                      • #31
                        A few years ago, two of our horses going to take some fresh cattle to water.
                        Just open the trailer door and they hop right in and stand there.
                        Drive to where you want to go, open the door and they nice and politely back out and stand there for you to cinch tight and get on and go work.
                        Once back to the trailer, the same in reverse:
                        Attached Files


                        • #32
                          I actually don't know if ours is a 6/6 or a 7 but it's a 20 foot steel bull package stock, which makes me think it's 6'6"-we even took out the divider b/c it made it harder to cram horses in there. Every horse we haul/own/borrow/buy/sell goes in that trailer and we by and large have no problems. I had one little pony sized gelding pull back and whack his head and I had one scared rescue type horse not want to load for a while. Mostly horses jump right in, as do the cows for that matter.

                          We tie them side by side, heads facing the left/center of the road side, and we tie them securely. If we're really cramming horses in there they go head to tail so half the horses tied on the right side, half on the left.

                          We never haul loose, we always tie, and we've hauled a boat load of horses over lots of different circumstances. We consider personalities and weight when we load, a crabby horse doesn't go next to a newbie and the heavy horses go toward the front. We've had all sizes of horses in there.

                          We're super happy with ours, I haven't liked the slant loads and more confined trailers as much and for sure we can't haul hay/cars/furniture in them as easily.
                          “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey