Horse Trailer Buyer Tips: Slant Load vs. Straight Load
There are many design choices when buying a horse trailer. One decision that can be difficult to make is whether to buy a horse trailer with a slant load design or a straight load design. A slant load horse trailer enables you to load horses into slanted stalls (from left to right), making it more economical when hauling three horses. A straight load trailer has a traditional design in which the horses are led straight into the trailer from the back, facing forward.
Choosing a slant load or straight load trailer is really a matter of preference and practicality. You should research all the facts about horse trailers before making a purchase, and know what you'll need for your horses today and in the future. If you have two horses now, but plan to buy another horse soon, you might consider this when choosing a horse trailer.
Straight Load Horse Trailer - Pros and Cons
A straight load horse trailer features escape doors at the front, which allow you to exit the trailer easily after loading the horse. There's usually a ramp at the back for loading and unloading and one or two escape doors in the front. With some horse trailers, the escape doors are large enough for the horses to exit through them in case of an emergency. Another feature of the straight load trailer is its wheel wells are located outside the stalls.
Straight load horse trailers tend to work better for larger horses because they provide more space in the stalls.
A disadvantage of straight load trailers is they can be very big when you need one to haul more than two horses. This can cause additional strain on your hauling vehicle.
Slant Load Horse Trailers - Pros and Cons
Slant load horse trailers are convenient and economical when hauling two or three horses. With a slant load trailer, the stalls are slanted from right to left; thus, you can haul two or three horses without adding much to the length or width of the horse trailer. The wheel wells can be located in one of two places on a slant load trailer, so you can choose between a wide interior trailer with wheel wells in the stalls and a trailer with unobstructed stalls.
It has been proven that horses tend to ride at a slanted position naturally to maintain good balance, so the slanted stalls enable them to stand in a slanted position for the duration of the trip. Sometimes, however, the slant provided in the stalls might be too much for some horses, causing strain on them while riding. So, each horse owner should carefully consider this for their horse to determine if a slant load trailer is right for them.
Slant load horse trailers also have a few drawbacks. There's often a small tack area in the corner, but this usually forces the last horse to back out because there's not enough room to turn around. Another drawback is some slant load trailers are designed so it's impossible to unload the second and last horse without unloading the horse before it. This can be dangerous if there's an emergency.
When choosing between a straight load and slant load horse trailer, consider the size of your horses and how calm they are when loading and unloading. Bigger horses might be too cramped in a slant load trailer whereas smaller horses usually have plenty of room. If you have only one horse, you can still buy a slant load trailer made for two and remove the divider to provide more space for your horse. Or, you can buy a three-horse slant load trailer for two horses to give them more room to move and breathe.
Shopping for Horse Trailers
You can find numerous horse trailer brands online to get an idea of the style and design you want. One of the more popular brands is Sundowner horse trailers. These provide great features, living quarters, and more. To search online for information about horse trailers, type in keywords referring to the brand name and where you live. For example, if you live in Tennessee, you might type in "used horse trailers in Tennessee" or "Sundowner of Tennessee." More general keywords to type include "used horse trailers," "slant load horse trailers," or "straight load horse trailers."
No matter which type of horse trailer you prefer, consider all its features, benefits, and drawbacks before making a decision. Buy the horse trailer that will be comfortable and practical for your horse for years to come.