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Trailer question

From: Chuck

Dear Jessica,

My wife is the rider, I am the computer user and school teacher, but

we are wondering if their is any health or safety issues related to trailering slant vs. straight load. We are in the market for a larger trailer for her Hanoverian Warmblood (16 - 3 but wears an 86 blanket). We have found a great variety of slant loads, but very few choices of straight loads. Is this just a function of our area NE Georgia or is the

move on to slant loads ? If this is a trend for good reasons could you fill us in ? Finally what are we to do when most slant load are too short for her mare ?

Thank you in advance for you help, Chuck & Zanne Hunt

Hi Chuck and Zanne!

You're right, there's been a trend in the last few years, with slant-load trailers becoming more popular. They may well remain popular with owners of small horses, but they're not what I would recommend for owners of large and/or long horses. I say "and/or" long because I own a long-backed mare that would have to fold like an accordian to fit into most slant-load trailers, even though she is under 16hh!

With a large horse, you're almost certainly going to want a straight-load trailer. Slant-loads simply don't provide the room that big horses need to stand comfortably. Slant-load trailers were designed to allow people to put more horses into a single trailer, and this can work well if the horses are small, but it's very uncomfortable for the larger ones. If you're considering a slant-load trailer, look for one that has longer stalls (measure them yourself -- and measure where your horse will actually stand, from nose to tail). On paper, the stalls of a slant-load trailer may appear to be of a reasonable length, but that measurement was taken on the diagonal, from one front corner to the opposite rear corner, and that's not how your horse will stand in the stall. You need to measure it yourself, from center front to center back.

If you're considering a slant-load, look for one without mangers -- they just take up space that the horse desperately needs. And look for one with a front ramp.

I'm going to make a very strong suggestion to you, and to all of the other people who have written to HORSE-SENSE with this question and with other trailer questions. I've always said that there were two things I could do with HORSE-SENSE: I can give people information, and I can tell them where to find information. I know some things about trailers, but I'm not an expert in trailer design and construction, so I can't give you all of the information that you need. Fortunately for all of us, the foremost US experts on trailer design and construction have just published a book on the subject! I've read it, and it's wonderful. If you have any questions about trailers, this should be on your bookshelf. If you're planning to purchase a new or used trailer, buy this book and read it before you go shopping. I'll say it again: if you're going to buy a trailer, BUY THIS BOOK FIRST.

Here's the information:


by Neva Kittrell Scheve, with Thomas G. Scheve

ISBN: 0-87605-686-9

US $24.95

Those of you who own "Hawkins Guide to Horse Trailering on the Road" and "Hawkins Guide to Equine Emergencies on the Road" will already know the quality of information that Neva Scheve provides.

I'll be adding this book to the "Horseman's Bookshelf" section as soon as I finish writing the review, so you should be able to find and order it from through my pages in about one week. ;-)


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