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Trailer size and horse size

From: Stephanie

I lease a 15.2 hand Morgan gelding. We must trailer around for shows and clinics, but we don't have our own trailer and neither does the owner. So, we must bum around for trailer rides which is a real drag.

There are really nice people in town that have a quite old trailer, and it's also quite small. They trailer their 14 hand pony in it, and as I also lease a 13.2 hand Welsh, he trailers great in there. The trailer is quite small, and it's a straight haul. I don't know the exact measurements of it. They trailer their 15.2 hand Quarter Horse in it, too.

However, I think that the trailer is just simply too small for a full sized horse, despite the fact that 15.2 hands is not too big of a horse. My Morgan hasn't been trailered for 2 years, actually, as he was mostly pastured after his former rider evented him to pre-training but then had to leave to obtain a working student job in the US. (I'm Canadian). He was used to travelling in a nice airy angle haul trailer. He loaded fine, but had a tendency to thrash around a tad while in the moving trailer.

I definitly want to avoid putting the Morgan in the smaller trailer; however sometimes we will be desperate for a trailer ride. He's never been in the small trailer before, and I'm wondering whether it is really so bad. After all, the trailer owners trailer their horse the same size in it all the time.

What do you think? Does it sound like it would be okay to trailer the Morgan in a trailer smaller than he's used to- and a straight haul at that?

Thank you very much for your help! Stephanie

Hi Stephanie! If the trailer is heavy and solid and hauls comfortably, so that your horse can ride comfortably, there's no reason not to use it. His height may actually be less of a problem than his length of back - if he has to step up under himself to allow you to close the rear doors, then the trailer is too small for him. That doesn't mean it can't be used, but it means that you'll need to remove the partition to give him more space and allow him to stand at an angle.

"Standing at an angle" isn't the same as standing in a stall of a slant-load trailer. The stalls in slant-load trailers are considerably smaller than the ones in straight-load trailers, so it's quite possible that your horse will have MORE room if he has the small straight-load to himself. If a Quarter Horse of the same height travels comfortably in the trailer, it's likely that your Morgan won't have a problem, provided that he's no longer than the QH, and provided that you give him as much space as possible by removing the partition.

One thing you probably should plan to do, if you haven't already done so, is to purchase and use a head-bumper. These are excellent safeguards for any horse in any trailer at any time, but I think that some head protection would be essential in your horse's case, because even if he and the QH are exactly the same height and length, your horse would probably be at greater risk for a head injury, because Morgans are a more "up-headed" breed, and tend to make themselves TALL when they are startled or worried. You can buy a foam head-bumper for very little. It's an excellent way to protect your horse's delicate poll area in ANY trailer, even an extra-tall one - and if it's a small and short trailer, I wouldn't even ask the horse to load ONCE without wearing a head-bumper.

If he loads easily and can stand comfortably with his feet spread, try taking him on a short trip or two - once or twice around the home property, for instance - to see how he hauls and how he reacts to being asked to get back into the trailer after a ride. If he doesn't have a problem with any of it, congratulations - you have transportation. ;-)


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