Horse Trailer Brands To Avoid

Feb 20, 2024 | Super Equestrian


Let's be honest, horse trailers aren't exactly glamorous. but they're the workhorses of the equestrian world. These metal boxes transport our beloved horses from one place to another, whether it's a showground or a casual gathering. 

However, not all trailers are made equal. Some are frankly unsafe, potentially turning into accidents waiting to happen. Trust me, I've witnessed my fair share of troubling situations when it comes to these trailers.

I've been hauling horses for longer than I care to admit, and in that time, I've learned the hard way which brands to steer clear of like a spooked mare at a rattlesnake roundup. I'm talking about the trailers that rattle like a tin can in a storm, the ones with welds weaker than a wet paper bag, and the ones where the floor has more holes than a Swiss cheese factory.

Now, I'm not here to name names (yet). But let me just say that there are some manufacturers out there whose idea of quality control is throwing a bucket of bolts at a metal box and hoping for the best. 

And let me tell you, those trailers are not the ones you want to entrust your beloved four-legged friend to.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Horse Trailer

The horse trailer (also known as horsebox) is a transport van for horses. Mainly two types of horse trailers are there. One is bumper pull trailers and the other is gooseneck trailers. They are found in different shapes, and designs considering the number of horses they can carry. Think about buying a house for yourself. 

You check if the rooms are enough for your family, how big it is, the floors and walls, and if the overall finishing is suitable or not.

Likewise, when you buy a horse trailer, you must ensure certain factors such as– safe construction, durability, typically how many horses will travel, and so on. Without further delay let's discuss the core factors that will help you to make a wise decision.

1. Safety

Don’t go after a fancy look! The most crucial factor to consider while purchasing a horse trailer is, safety for your horses. But how can you say the horse trailer is safe? You can look for the following things for assurance:

a. Sturdy construction with high-quality materials

When it comes to construction, steel is the strongest element for horse trailers. All steel trailer 

provides a well-structured trailer for hauling your horse. The steel frame used in it gives strong support to keep the horse safe and comfortable during travel causing no problems whatsoever.

The inside of the trailer has to be strong as well as the outside of the trailer. The walls of the trailer have to be thicker to prevent the kicks of horses.

b. Proper weight distribution and balance

Your horse trailer should have the capacity to take the weight of your horse. You need to check 

when horses enter into the trailer, it holds the balance rather than being imbalanced from any side. 

c. Reliable brakes and axles:

You need to have a tow vehicle to pull your horse trailer. For this using appropriate breaks is super important. If you do not use a break, every time you stop your tow vehicle, horse trailer will push your vehicle. When you are pulling a single or double axle, you must maintain 60/40 rules which is to keep 60% weight in the front axle and 40% weight in the back axle for safe transport.

d. Secure doors and latches

Your horse trailer should have a wide and safe getaway. If you want to choose a horse trailer make sure it has a large, open entryway for your horses. The horse trailer has to be spacious enough so the horse can exchange their position in the trailer. Not only large, doors and latches have to be secure also. Indeed, it is suggested to choose a horse trailer that has safe loading and unloading options. 

e. Adequate ventilation to prevent overheating

The horse trailers should have vents on the sides of the wall, overhead for proper airflow. As the trailer is an enclosed place, it gets easily overheated by the horse. Overheating can affect a horse’s respiratory system.

2. Comfort

Comfort level should get the highest priority when choosing a horse trailer. It is important for your horse’s happiness as well as to make your journey enjoyable. 

a. Spacious stalls with sufficient headroom and legroom

The stalls should be big enough for little movement of the horse. Ideally, stalls are six feet wide by seven feet high inside. The space also depends on the height of the horse. If your horses are above 16 hands, width and height will increase to give enough space for headroom and legroom. 

You can easily make more spacious stalls by making them wider or changing their angle. 

b. Smooth, non-slip flooring

The horse trailer’s floor has to be non-slippery. For this, you can choose rubber mats that cover the front and back of the horse trailer. You can swipe up the urine and other horse waste from the rubber mat easily. 

Wooden floor covered with rubber mate make the best combination. Pinewood or oak wood is the most used material for the trailer’s floor. It's best to avoid aluminum floors as water and moisture make them rusty over time. 

c. Adjustable partitions for different-sized horses

When you load different-sized horses, you can use adjustable partitioned walls. This wall can create a room space within the existing space.

d. Padding on walls and dividers to prevent injuries

Any sharp objects or pins on the wall can bruise, or scrape the horses. To prevent these, the wall of the horse trailer should have paddings at least thirty inches thick. Not only the wall, divider also should be covered with at least two inches of padding to keep the horses safe.

e. Good air circulation and temperature control

Look for a horse trailer that has a roof vent above the horsehead and enough wide windows. 

Windows allow lights to enter and in hot weather, windows control the temperature. Inside the horse trailer heat becomes congested which can irritate the horse’s nose and overall well-being. Vents and windows prevent all these issues providing air circulation inside out. 

3. Durability

A horse trailer has to be durable enough to carry the weight of your horse. Keep this in mind, if your horse trailer isn’t durable, it may have a potential risk to injure your horse’s life. 

The following steps you must check for a durable horse trailer:

a. Use of corrosion-resistant materials

  • Stainless steel: This material easily resists moisture from salt, rust, and other materials that can decay the trailer. It is an expensive option. If you can not afford this, you can go for the painted still option which is way cheaper than stainless still. 
  • Aluminum: A decent coating of aluminum can provide the same corrosive resistant effect as stainless steel but this is less expensive.
  • Galvanized steel: This can protect the trailer from corrosive elements. However, it can scratch and wear off over time.

b. Well-welded seams and joints

Professional welding prevents cracks and breakage. It allows a clean, durable joint of the trailer. If you notice spot welds, you can use continuous welds to strengthen the spots. 

c. Regular maintenance and repairs

  • You have to inspect the band regularly for any sign of spot or decay. Early prevention can get you free from a worse situation and lower repair costs.
  • If any bands are damaged, you should change them as early as possible without putting your horse’s life at risk. Replace the band before any major failure.
  • You should lubricate the bands regularly. Proper maintenance can increase the functionality of the bands and offer smooth operation.

4. Red Flags (Brands to Avoid)

You should check before relying on any brand to avoid major risks. Knowing the brands can help your hard-earned money invested in a good brand. You must consider the mentioned Points below-

a. Brands with a hisory of safety recalls or accidents

  • Brenderup: Many brands have some occasional issues. Among them, this reputed brand has recalls for its defective electrical systems, ramps, and doors.
  • Exiss: This particular brand has been reported with accidents in recent years. Issues such as faulty brakes, axles, and several structure elements are included. 
  • Hart Trailer: This brand has a bad reputation in the market for its poor quality of hitches, axles, and flooring.
  • Circle H Trailers: Bad tire quality and defective brakes are reported about this brand.

b. Brands with poor customer reviews and complaints

Some brands have been reported badly for their poor customer service. Some customers also have complaints against them. Such one is—  Sundowner trailer. Though it is durable enough,this brand provides poor customer service with delayed delivery. According to the quality, the price seems quite high.  

C. Brands known for using cheap materials or shoddy workmanship

Another brand is  Country Manufacturing, this brand received quite negative reviews for its poor weld, leak, and non-durable build quality.

d. Brands with limited warranty coverage or poor customer service.

Some brands provide minimal warranty coverage. Such brands are Trails West Trailers and Diamond Trailers. Some customers reported difficulties with the warranty and exchanging defective parts. 

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5. Alternatives (Recommended Brands)

There are so many durable brands, with great build quality. You can easily choose from picking one-

Cimarron: These trailers are very spacious and designed with a luxurious look. This may be an expensive option but it sets the bar high with its cosy comfort level and sturdy construction. You can choose this brand if there is no budget issue. 

Double D trailers: This brand provides a great service. They are designed with living quarters. Horse owners have several advantages like safety divider, z-frame technology, and rust-resistant galvanic skin

Featherlite trailer: All aluminum made, safe and reliable, suitable for anywhere to camp. They also offer a 3-year restricted hitch and warranty. This brand serving the market for more than 40 years. 

Conclusion

We've reached the end of this bumpy ride through the world of trailer brands to avoid. Hopefully, your palms aren't sweating and your horses haven't bolted for the hills just yet. 

Remember, the goal here wasn't to scare you into ditching your trailer altogether but to empower you with knowledge. And when it comes to your horse's safety, there's no such thing as having too much.

So, let's recap. 

We've talked about shoddy welds that would make a blacksmith weep, floors flimsier than a first date's small talk, and customer service that'd make a snail scream in frustration. We've named names, dodged potholes, and hopefully, helped you steer clear of the equine equivalent of used car lemons.

But here's the thing: this ain't over. 

This is just the beginning of the conversation. Because the truth is, out there in the vast equestrian universe, there are more trailer brands than grains of sand on a beach. 

And some of them, well, let's just say they deserve their own cautionary blog post (hint, hint).

And if you're still feeling lost in the maze of trailer brands, well, that's what the comments section is for! Share your own horror stories, the brands that sent shivers down your spine and made your horse snort in disgust.

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