What to Look for in Buying a Horse Trailer

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Horse trailers are specifically designed to safely transport horses from one location to another. A wide variety of trailer styles exist, in many sizes. Choosing the right trailer can make hauling your horses a pleasant experience; choosing the wrong trailer can make it a drag. The trailer's a big purchase. Know what you're looking for before you go horse trailer shopping the first time.

New or Used

New horse trailers are guaranteed to be in nearly perfect physical condition and come with warranties; used trailers can save thousands of dollars off retail prices. Purchasing well-cared-for used trailer can give you good value for your money, but you have to carefully inspect used trailers to make sure no potentially dangerous problems exist that could cause injury to your horse.

Safety

Safety is the most important thing to keep in mind when you are looking at purchasing a horse trailer. A horse trailer with bad flooring is unusable. Wood flooring should be sturdy and free of rot or soft spots. Metal areas of a trailer should be rust-free. Visible rust is a sign that a horse trailer is not in ideal condition. Check the trailer thoroughly for any rough or sharp edges, or other flaws that could injure your horse. A trailer that is not 100 percent safe is not worth purchasing.

Size

Horse trailers are designed to fit a number of horses comfortably -- not to pack in as many as possible. A small trailer might be fitted to hold a single horse, a pair or even three. Larger trailers comfortably comport four to six; some hold 10. Some, designed to be pulled by semi-trucks, can hold even more. When you are trailer shopping, make sure you buy a trailer that will comfortably fit all of your horses. If the trailer has dividers, which divide the space inside the trailer into individual slots for each horse, make sure each slot is long and wide enough to accommodate your horses. Large horses may require a taller trailer with more room between the dividers.

Trailer Style

Bumper-pull trailers hook to towing hitches fastened at the rear of your truck; gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailers require towing equipment located in the bed of the truck. Smaller trucks can not safely pull gooseneck trailers. Gooseneck trailers are generally larger than bumper-pulls and require heavy-duty pickups, generally, to move them. Stock trailers can serve horses, but they are also meant for other types of livestock. Stock trailers have more open design and sometimes lack dividers. Specialized horse trailers are made for horses only; they feature dividers and other horse-specific creature comforts, such as windows in every slot and ramps for loading and unloading.

    Photo Credits

    • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Author

    Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.