Horse trailers are non-motorized trailers that attach to your truck for transporting horses. There are several different styles and models to choose from, depending on your preferences and requirements.
Extensive price ranges allow you to choose from a used livestock trailer, starting around $500 US Dollars (USD) to the elaborate gooseneck or fifth wheel luxury horse trailers with living quarters. These can run well over $100,000 USD.
The simplest and most economical of horse trailers is a livestock trailer. They have an open bay interior for loading and transporting horses. Most fit three or more horses with a step up for loading in the rear of the trailer. Their lightweight steel frames with aluminum shells make them less stable or comfortable than an actual horse trailer, however. Rusting is the biggest concern for this option.
If you do not trailer your horse often and just need an emergency, medical transport, you might want to consider a bumper pull trailer. Most people that transport their horses to occasional shows or trail rides also prefer this style, as they are cost effective, comfortable and safe. A ball hitch coupler connects to a ball under or on the rear end bumper of your vehicle. Many are fitted with a tongue jack to raise or lower the coupler for easy connection.
Depending on the frequency of use, there are many upgrades for bumper pull trailers to accommodate your needs. They come with “big horse” or “standard horse” stalls. One of the most important considerations is whether you prefer slant loading or straight loading.
The slant-load horse trailers load the horses so they stand at an angle with padded partitions between each horse. They are better for smaller horses, as larger horses prefer the roomier, straight load stalls. One of the main advantages of slant load trailers is that your horse can lower his head and breathe more comfortably and naturally. His muscles are more relaxed in this position as well. In the stall straight-loads, there is a shelf in front of your horse for feeding.
The bumper pull trailers have end loading with full-width rear ramps or step up loading. They are much more stable and solid than the livestock trailers. With the exception of livestock trailers, most horse trailers come with tack quarters to store your tack, feed and gear. They also have good ventilation systems, which is imperative on long hauls.
The gooseneck and fifth wheel horse trailers are the most comfortable, elaborate, functional and reliable. The gooseneck involves installing a ball in the bed of your truck that connects to a coupler. The fifth wheel is a more durable version of the gooseneck and installs to a kingpin on the bed of your tow vehicle.
Because these horse trailers attach in the bed of the truck instead of the back of the vehicle, it allows for more stability and a larger turning radius. The trailers do not sway while driving down the highway so the horses do not have to keep themselves positioned for balance.
These horse trailers come in all sizes ranging from two stalls to five. Most have exceptional ventilation systems, ramp loading and large, comfortable stalls. Living quarters involve sleeping quarters, bathrooms with showers, kitchenettes with self-contained or hook up options.
The larger gooseneck or fifth wheel horse trailers have side loading ramps so horses can load and unload head first without having to back out. Normally, two horses will face forward and two backward with one on the side. For those who prefer the slant-load models, they can comfortably fit 6-8 horses.
In the United States, professionally transporting horses ranges from $2 USD per mile for cross-country destinations to $5 USD per mile for local, within 200-mile (322-kilometer) trips. The price will depend on the destination, conditions and how fast you need your horse transported. Often it will take weeks to transport your horse across the country because they have to organize routes to pick up and drop off horses on the way.
If you are moving horses on a regular basis, you can easily justify purchasing your own horse trailer, even if you choose to hire someone to drive it for you. It is also nice for your horse to become familiar with his own transportation vehicle. Transporting your own horses assures you that they are comfortable and safe while traveling.