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How To Pick A Horse Trailer

Sep 8, 2008
Buying a trailer the first time can be overwhelming if you don't know anything about rigs. It's best to take a friend with you who hauls their own horses. Even then, you'll still have to provide information on your horse and truck to make sure you get the right trailer.

Where to Find a Trailer

Most people would rather not pay full price for a trailer if they don't have to. Look in the classifieds of your local newspaper; go to your local tack store. Both will have ads for trailers; the tack shop might have a photograph of the trailer which is always helpful. You can also ask the staff if they know the person selling the trailer, about the type of trailer, etc. You can also post an ad at the tack shop for a trailer which might quicken the process. It will take a while to find the right one, so be patient.

Used trailers can be found on websites, but you're always taking a chance if you buy off the web. It's better to buy the trailer off a lot -- new or used -- because you can check out the overall condition of the trailer; see if there are rust spots or other damage the seller hasn't fully disclosed. Make sure you get a warranty if one is available.

The necessary details

You'll need to know the length, width, height and weight of your horse to make sure you get the right size rig. They come in a few standard heights: 7 feet, 7 feet 4 inches, and 7 feet 6 inches. Most 15 to 16 hand horses will easily fit in a 7 foot tall rig, but the added height is an advantage if plan to get another horse in the future or want to haul someone else's horse. If your horse is over 16 hands, you'd want to get the 7 foot 6 inch rig.

You need to know the weight capacity of your hitch and the towing capacity of your truck. And finally, you'll also need the gross trailer weight, which is determined by adding the weight of the trailer and the weight of the cargo you'll carry inside it. Don't forget to include all the other horse gear -- saddle, show clothes, tack, water buckets, hay, and anything else you'll be carrying. Make sure you don't exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle or the weight capacity of your hitch. All trucks have labels and paperwork saying what their towing capacity is. Make sure you have this information when looking for trailers.

Slant Load or Straight Load Trailer

Most slant loads come with a dressing room which is great for horse shows or trail rides. Make sure to measure slant loads and well as straight loads since the dressing room may take up space for your horse and may then be too short and narrow.

Some manufacturers think slant loads are less stressful for a horse because they can lean on the dividers to rest if needed. You can also turn your horse around in a slant load and don't need to worry about backing them out if it's an issue for your horse.

The Material Choice

The majority of rigs are made of either steel or aluminum. Steel is stronger, heavier and will hold up in an accident or crash. A steel trailer will cost less, but you may need to spend more on upkeep later if the trailer rusts. Since the steel trailer is heavier, it will affect the towing capacity of your vehicle, so keep the weight difference in mind. An aluminum trailer weighs less then a steel trailer and will be more expensive. However, an aluminum trailer will hold its value better and want to trade up for a new or larger model. Aluminum trailers tend to dent easier, which could be a problem if your horse is restless when being moved and tends to kick.

Before you start looking for a rig, do some research. Go to a horse expo, check out a truck dealership. Consider sharing your rig with a friend who also goes to horse shows. He/she can help with the gas costs and you'll have someone to go to shows when other people at your barn may be busy. Be safe, stay within your budget and have fun wherever you go!
About the Author
Philippe Wiskell is a writer for HorseClicks, classifieds of horses for sale Iowa, horses for sale Kansas, horses for sale Kentucky and other states. Philippe is also a featured author at www.ArticleKing.com
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