Step Up vs Ramp Horse Trailer: Choose the Right One

Jan 03, 2024 | Super Equestrian


Step Up vs Ramp Horse Trailer

Wondering which horse trailer would be the right choice for your horse? Is it the step-up or the ramp one? Different varieties of horse trailers are available in the market. Among them, step-up and ramp-style horse trailers are the most popular. 

In this article, we are going to discuss the key differences between step-up and ramp horse trailers. At the same time, we will provide you with the best advice on choosing the right styles of horse trailers for your equine companion. Let's dive in!

Step Up Vs Ramp Horse Trailer

Both step-up and ramp horse trailers provide some distinct features. You can easily evaluate which one would be suitable for your horse if you understand the key differences between these two popular horse trailers. Let's examine them in detail:

Define these trailers

Step-up horse trailers are basically a special type of vehicle, where the horses have to step inside it using a ladder-like device.

Step Up Vs Ramp Horse Trailer

On the other hand, a ramp horse trailer is a vehicle that requires horses to walk slowly over a slope-like device to enter the trailer.

What are the key differences between step-up and ramp horse trailers?

 

Key AspectsStep Up Horse TrailerRamp Horse Trailer
Suitable forHealthy horsesToo young, older, post-surgical, or injured horses
Adds extra weight to the trailerNoYes
How about shorter breedsNot favorable Favorable 
Chance of slidingLessMore
Needs support while entering into the trailerNoYes
CostAffordable Expensive 
Availability Easily available Not easily available 

Step Up Horse Trailer

Step-up horse trailers are widely used nowadays due to some special reasons. Let's discuss all the details of this horse trailer:

What features does this horse trailer offer?

These horse trailers are generally prepared with steel or aluminium. Steel is most commonly used due to its durability, strength, and affordability. The price of this horse trailer increases when it is prepared with aluminium, but this metal protects the trailer from rusting. Let's examine the features that step-up horse trailer offers:

  • Loading and unloading device: This horse trailer is designed with an entrance floor so that you can easily load and unload your horses in a step-up and step-down manner. 
  • Unique entry door: A complete length of rear entry door is available which ensures easy access into the trailer.
  • Secured trailer door: The rear door is prepared from steel which ensures better boundary-protecting property.

Besides these, a step-up horse trailer contains all the general features that other types of trailers contain as well. Although you have to arrange a lot of things to organize your horse trailer perfectly, there is some vital equipment that is highly required to ensure safe traveling with your horse. Read this article: must have horse trailer accessories to know about them.

What are the advantages of this horse trailer?

  • Easy to enter and exit if trained properly: Horses can easily enter and exit from the trailer without any support.
  • Not slippery: Since this horse trailer is not designed with a sliding style, there is no chance of slipping. 
  • Lighter in weight: It does not add excess weight to the trailer.
  • Ensure simplification: Due to having a slip-resistant surface and obstacle-free entrance, this trailer ensures simplification.
  • Free of sounds: This trailer does not cause any sounds while loading and unloading.
  • Fewer moving parts: Since this horse trailer has fewer moving parts compared to the ramp one, regular maintenance is not required, which will save you money. 

Are there any drawbacks to this trailer?

  • Step-up horse trailers are not suitable for older or injured horses because they find difficulty entering and exiting the trailer by stepping up and down. 
  • Horses with shorter breeds, who have less than four feet height can not use this trailer due to their shorter length of footsteps.
  • You must train your horse before approaching a step-up horse trailer to it, because your horse may jump into the trailer and get injured.
  • Most of the step-up horse trailers have a narrow space. If the trailer is not big enough, it will be difficult for the horse to get out of it, so the horse should be properly trained so that it can easily get out of the trailer by following some tricks.

Ramp Horse Trailer

Although ramp horse trailers are not widely available and somewhat expensive, still this trailer is in high demand these days. Let's unravel the reasons for this huge requirement for ramp horse trailers:

Why do you need a ramp for your horse trailer?

  • It is suitable for smaller breeds who have small footsteps.
  • A convenient option for horses with physical issues.
  • The horse's leg does not stick to the ramp, which ensures safe loading and unloading.
  • Provide flexibility and balance while walking over the ramp. 
Ramp Horse Trailer

What features does it provide?

Ramp horse trailer ensures gradual incline due to its unique design of ramps. Different types of ramps are available for horse trailers. If you have a good understanding of these ramp types, you can have a clear idea about the unique features this ramp trailer provides. Let's discuss them all:

Rear ramp: This type of ramp is attached to the backward portion of the horse trailer. If the horse trailer has a large rear door, it makes the rear ramp to load and unload horses quickly in a convenient way. 

Side ramp: Some horse trailer has a side ramp that is designed for inexperienced and fearful horses 

Sliding ramp: This is one of the special types of horse trailer ramps. It contains two parts to ensure easy and safe use of this trailer. One part is attached to the trailer and lifted to the ground. Another part is foldable, which allows you to fold and unfold the sliding ramp easily when required. 

Both originally designed and portable horse trailer ramps are available in the market. A portable ramp is easy to use and does not require much labor to install this ramp. So, you can purchase any type according to your needs. 

What is the downside of a ramp horse trailer

What is the downside of a ramp horse trailer? 

  • It is slippery due to its sloping design, so you must cover the ramp by using a floor mat or protective coating over it. 
  • Most of the ramp is prepared with aluminium frame, which is quite expensive.
  • Causes sound during loading and unloading.
  • The ramp horse trailer contains more moving parts like hinges (metallic objects or bearings that attach the trailer to the ramp) locks and springs. They are prone to rusting. 
  • Requires additional maintenance.

Choosing The Right Horse Trailer

Before choosing your desired horse trailer, you must consider some important factors. Let's examine those factors in detail:

What factors to consider for choosing a horse trailer?

Number of horses: Before purchasing the horse trailer you must consider the number of horses you have. Then you can evaluate the length and width of the trailer stall based on your horse's number and their overall height. 

Because some breaded horses are very tall in height. So, you must ensure their easy access and convenience during loading and unloading.

What factors to consider for choosing a horse trailer

Horse's age and physical structure: Very young (who are in the primary stage of training) and older horses are not physically fit to use any loading device without the handler's support. Moreover, sick and post-surgical horses need support to enter into the trailer. So, you must choose a trailer considering this factor. 

Characteristics of the breed: There are some breeds that have some abnormal characteristics by nature and express aggressive behavior. You must choose a large-sized trailer for them so that they can easily adjust there without any conflict with each other. Considering the length of their footsteps you can select the loading style, whether it is step up or ramp. 

Space inside the trailer: Trailer space is very important to consider because you need to take some important accessories along with your horse during transportation. So, whether you purchase a step-up or ramp-style horse trailer, you must think of how much space this trailer provides. 

Towing capacity: It indicates the measure of the maximum load that your particular horse trailer can carry safely. You should collect information about the towing capacity from the manufacturer of that particular horse trailer.

Affordability: The most important thing is your budget. A step-up horse trailer is a budget-friendly option but a ramp horse trailer is costly and not easily available. 

Pivot point: A trailer with a low pivot point (causes the trailer closer to the ground) helps the horses easily incline to the trailer. A ramp horse trailer can provide this benefit. If you need this feature you can use a ramp horse trailer. 

Which horse trailer would be right for you?

You must consider your preference and budget along with your horse's physical characteristics and comfort when purchasing a horse trailer. If you think your horse is healthy enough and has high footsteps, you can purchase a step-up horse trailer. 

Those horses who can not mount into the trailer due to their leg problems can easily enter via the ramp with little effort in their affected leg part because of its low pivot point benefit.  In such cases, you can go for a ramp horse trailer.

Which horse trailer would be right for you

You have already understood that the ramp increases additional weight to the trailer. But if you use a spring-loaded ramp, it will allow easy lifting. Even you can lift this type of ramp with one hand.Suppose you are going to climb the roof with the help of a ladder. When you notice that the ceiling is far above you, don't you get scared?

The same is true of some horses. There are many horses that get scared and back away when loaded into a step-up horse trailer. Ramp horse trailers will be more suitable for them.

A Ramp horse trailer is preferable for rescue horses as well because they have been in abusive situations for a long time and need rehabilitation.

Sometimes a horse's back leg gets caught in the stairs of a step-up horse trailer during unloading, this is a common scenario. In this case, you can go for a ramp horse trailer. 

But if you are able to train your horse properly to let them learn the process of step-up horse trailers, this problem may be solved. So, you badly need assistance from a professional horse trainer. If you are looking for an expert, who can guide you in this situation, read: How to find a reputable horse trainer. 

Now imagine, you have purchased a ramp horse trailer considering your horse's leg issues, but now your horse is completely fine. So, you want to go back to the step-up horse trailer. 

Then what can you do? You can convert your ramp horse trailer to a step-up one easily by following a simple strategy. Watch this video convert ramp to step up to learn the steps. 

Care and maintenance

After purchasing the required styles of horse trailer you must ensure its adequate care and maintenance. This is the most important thing to increase the lifespan of your horse trailer maintaining its quality. Let's have an idea about the strategies to increase the durability of your particular horse trailer: 

How can you increase the durability of a horse trailer?

  • Regular monitoring can help you to investigate if your horse trailer has any problems or not. If you inspect your trailer regularly you can ensure immediate repair of it. 
  • Check whether all the important mechanical parts such as brakes, tires, axles, and other parts are in perfect condition or not.  
  • Clean the trailer regularly after every use and keep it in a garage with proper covering.
  • Don't exceed the towing capacity during loading, which may decrease the lifespan of your trailer due to overloading. 
  • Ensure regular servicing by a professional mechanic. 
  • You must take special care of the ramp horse trailer. Since this loading style is specially designed for those horses who are aged and have problems with their leg, that's why you must care for the trailer in such a way that doesn't cause any harm to those horses. So, when any rusting or breaking issues occur you need to arrange more sheets to fix those problems.

What can you do to prevent your trailer from rusting?

Always inspect the trailer to see whether any rusting appears. Special monitoring is necessary for those trailers that are made from steel and metallic portions of trailers. If you find any signs of rusting, provide a good quality lubrication to that area. 

Always clean and ensure dryness to the rust-prone area of your trailer. Ensure that moisture does not accumulate in the trailer. Apply rust protector paint to the metallic portion of your trailer.  

How often should you change your trailer bearings?

Trailer bearings are parts of trailer tires, allowing resistance-free movements by ensuring easy rotation. Check the condition of the bearing while servicing and ensure immediate replacement. Even if no problem is found during servicing, it is safe to replace these bearings once every year.

If you are interested in getting a well-researched review on a popular branded horse trailer, check out the great post: Shadow horse trailer problem. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many loads can a trailer ramp carry?

A typical horse trailer ramp can carry up to 0.68 tons or 24000 ounces loads. But this loading capacity can vary from trailer to trailer. So, it is wise to check the user manual or specification of the particular trailer before using it. 

Can horses stay in a trailer overnight?

Horses can stay in the trailer for eight to nine hours if there is adequate food, water, and other basic living needs available. Additionally, you can ensure a proper ventilation system, mosquito or other insect-controlling system, and sufficient insulation facility for a comfortable overnight stay of your horses in the trailer. 

Is it possible to turn a regular trailer into a horse trailer?

Yes, but make sure that the overall environment of the trailer is suitable for horses or not. 

Manage sufficient ventilation systems and decorate a tack room where all the necessary equipment is properly organized. Besides, arrange a suitable loading device which may be portable or installed by skilled personnel for safe loading and unloading.

In Brief

Both step-up and ramp horse trailers play a great role in ensuring the safe loading and unloading of horses during travel. Both are used for individual purposes. But you should train your horse properly to use these loading devices in the correct way. 

This blog post discussed how you can choose the right trailer for your horses. If you have any opinion regarding this article, please comment. You can share this article with those who are concerned about choosing the right horse trailer for their horses.

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