Hauling Horses

Equine transportation isn't what it used to be. Safer, stronger trailers are the norm, and size is no subject.

Just as the automobile, truck and SUV industries tout what’s “new and improved” about their latest models, so, too, horse trailer manufacturers endeavor to enhance their products on an annual basis. Common to almost all manufacturers is their ability to build a trailer to each person’s specifications if they can’t fulfill their needs with a regular model.

Another trend is the bigger trailer. Jamco’s Dave Dalzell says, “we’re dealing with the big-horse market now. People want extra height, because we’re breeding horses bigger. We seem to be going to the four horse head-to-head, or the six horse, even in the Quarter Horse business. We’re going back to a straight load for convenience; in a slant, with horses in the middle, it can be difficult sometimes.”

Because of the dizzying array of options, sizes and price ranges (anywhere from $4,000 to $40,000), we asked manufacturers to concentrate on their bigger models, built for the horse professional. We also asked sales professionals what they are seeing in the market. Here’s a brief look at what is being offered up in 2002.

On the Sales Floor

At Sutton Trailer Sales in Akron, N.Y., owner Edwin Sutton says he’s “seeing a lot of people who want ‘weekender packages,’ those trailers with mini-living quarters, usually a six-foot short wall in slant-load trailers. This is an expanding market, with a place to sleep, eat, stay dry and get cleaned up.”

Audrey Bernstein of Action Trailers in Danbury, Conn., sells lots of trailers with side ramps. “The head-to-head trailers are extremely popular. I encourage people to build with the option of two extra stalls in the aisle, if need be, so you can haul six to eight in a six-horse and four to six in a four-horse. I also upgrade the axles on everything, and the tires.”

And before we get into our round-up, Robbie Stidham of Stidham Trailers notes that one should look at cross members under the floor, making sure they aren’t too far apart: 24 to 36 inches is safe, but anything more, be careful.

C&C Trailers, Inc.

C&C Trailers offers a variety of custom aluminum trailers, including 3-, 4- and 5-horse models that come standard with front dressing room and rear storage, aluminum floor with rubber mats and drop-down feed doors. The half dividers are removable and there is rubber on all walls. For ventilation, a two-way aluminum roof vent and several windows do the trick. Inside the dressing room, bridle hooks, brush trays and a blanket bar is provided.

C&C’s more popular options range from swing-out saddle racks to a hayrack with ladder, and from a rear loading ramp behind the full height doors to an insulated and lined roof.

Contact information: 2651 Venture Dr., Norman, OK 73069; 1-888-360-2310;

Custom-Fab Trailers

Custom-Fab aluminum horse and livestock trailers offer many options. The trailers are of totally welded construction for strength and use no rivets. Owners like the new stall latch, which is designed for ease of use and safety. Removable rear tack and saddle racks are standard on all slant models. A walk-out door is also a standard feature. All slant stall trailers include a drop-feed door; all feed doors have separate bars that operate independently. Custom-Fab locates an 18-inch by 34-inch window at the rump of each horse for airflow. Trailers have padding on stall dividers, rubber wall padding and rubber floor mats; there’s a six-year structural warranty.

Trailers are available in two-horse through eight-horse, straight and head-to-head load, with many other options available for all models.

Contact information: Butler, Pennsylvania; (724) 548-5529;

Exiss Aluminum Trailers

Choose from two- to six-horse models, in gooseneck extruded or gooseneck extruded slant mid-tack—the tack room is behind the dressing or living quarters area and in front of the stalls. Exiss XT “Extruded” models, as opposed to smooth skin models, have an extruded aluminum exterior finish in a “rippled effect” in the horse area, with white pre-painted, baked-on enamel in the window and tack area. The XT-style, for example, is also available in the Event Living Quarter models. Exiss trailers feature .063 aluminum sheet thickness, lifetime rubber floormat warranties and a seven-year warranty on the trailer’s mainframe.

Exiss’ drop-down windows feature a drop-down bar, allowing the owner to pull windows down, and leave bars up, so the horse can’t stick his head out the window.

A very popular seller is the stock combo. It’s dual purpose, so it can be used for livestock by removing dividers. It’s the CX line, 3-,4- or 6-horse slant load.

Contact information: El Reno, OK; (877) 55 EXISS;

Featherlite Inc.

Featherlite announces two new aluminum trailers: the first standard model slant-load for larger breeds, the Big Horse Model 8549, and a bumper-pull trailer for towing behind motor homes and campers, Model 8551.

The Big Horse, according to Lonny Smith, Featherlite product manager, expands interior space while reducing long lengths common in straight-load trailers, making for easier towing. It is 7 feet 6 inches wide and tall with a 9-foot divider length and a 50-inch center. The trailer features Featherlite’s “Light-Flo” fold-down feed doors, 24-inch by 20-inch windows, extra-thick safety mats, stainless steel hardware and sealed beam running/tail lights. The model is available in three- and four-horse models.

The 8551 features a large tack and dressing room area, large stalls and is priced less than a custom model. Available in two-, three- and four-horse models, it’s patterned after Featherlite’s 8541 gooseneck, and can also be ordered 7 feet 6 inches high.

Contact information: Cresco, Iowa; (800) 800-1230;

Hart Trailers

Hart has developed a new option to eliminate the rear tack room and put in an 18-inch closet, where rear tack used to go. Now, the entire back end opens up in a full door, except for the closet, which may be left closed; it may be accessed by a door on the left-hand side of the trailer.

There are two options in front: Either a full mid-tack that goes all the way across or, on the passenger side, the company can build a closet tack room, which goes halfway across the dressing room. That keeps the trailer length short, but there’s still room for saddle racks. There’s an optional blanket tree on an optional 42-inch long door.

Hart makes two- to nine-horse models, but the company’s biggest seller is a four-horse deluxe model.

Contact information: Chickasha, OK; (888) 810 HART;

Jamco Trailers

Jamco Trailers still features its standard patented double wall and tongue and groove construction. Its Classic series, fully custom but with a number of models already packaged to fit various needs and disciplines, uses a desired model as a starting point, then customizes to each need. Jamco offers 12 models, named Contender, Heritage, Weekender and Traveler, with bed lengths from 10 feet to 24 feet.

The semi-custom J-200 Series from Jamco features 10 models, including Competitor, Cavalier, Performer, Tradition, Freedom, Stock and Cargo, and trailer beds in lengths from 10 to 28 feet.

Jamco trailers, both bumper and gooseneck, are built of hollow extruded aluminum interlocking two-inch by six-inch planks. The trailers also feature a continuous wall from front to back, which is attached to the floor with a continuous weld. Doors feature heavy weather stripping. Painted trailers have a baked-on enamel finish applied to wall planks before manufacturing.

Both lines carry a seven-year comprehensive warranty and 20-year prorated warranty on plank walls.

Contact information: Seaforth, Ontario; (800) 632-2018;

Kiefer Built

Kiefer Built manufactures more than 40 models of aluminum horse and livestock trailers, but new this year is its Genesis line, which features optional side mangers and tack compartments with outside access doors. The trailer may be ordered 7 feet 6 inches tall.

Mid-tacks are also available on all Genesis 2-,3-,4-,5- and 6-horse models. Kiefer Built’s 24-inch by 24-inch electric power feed doors are manufactured with automotive safety glass and aluminum drop-down window guards. Doors include an individual exterior control switch, plus, there’s an exterior master control switch to lock out windows when away from the trailer. A remote control key chain pendant is also available, allowing the driver to adjust the openings from the vehicle while traveling.

Contact information: Kanawha and Ames, Iowa; 1-888-254-3337;

Kingston Trailers

Although Kingston Trailers predominantly manufactures two-horse trailers, with dressing room options, the company does manufacture a four-horse model, “Derby.” Its “Windsor” and “Bedford” are its best-selling two-horse models.

The Derby Four-Horse gooseneck features a dressing room that is carpeted and paneled, and includes clothes rack, bridle hooks, dome light and sliding bus windows with screens. The trailer also features padded removable half-stall dividers and posts that provide flexibility in the use of space. Rounding out the list are roof vents, stainless steel locking door latches and tie backs on all doors, in addition to galvanized kick plates on both walls.

Contact information: Kingston, MA; (800) 504-3088;

Merhow Industries

Merhow offers many different sized trailers in different materials. Its Equistar line is aluminum over steel while its Verylite line is all aluminum. One of the largest trailers in the Verylite line is a nine-horse slant gooseneck with a seven foot six inch interior height, baked on white enamel aluminum liner, collapsible and removable rear tack and 60/40 rear doors with independent cam latches. For trailers with straight loads, the walls and dividers are padded and rubber lined.

The company offers living quarter options with its Merhow weekender package on most of its larger trailers including the three- and four-horse slants.

Contact information: 306 Depot Street, Bristol, IN 46507; (219) 848-4445;

Pegasus Vans & Trailers

Pegasus Vans & Trailers’s six- to seven-horse model, the Premier, is 34 feet long and 102 inches wide, and also comes with adjustable stalls with box stall capacity. The frames are steel fitted with fiberglass-reinforced plywood sides. Standard features include oversized doors with slide-out ramps for the tack room, a carpeted gooseneck storage area, tie-off chains, five multilevel lights, rubber floor mats and 40-inch padded sidewalls, all stainless trim, fasteners and hinges.

Trailer options include a closed-circuit TV, head and shoulder dividers, roof rack and steps and an electric motorized jack and operator.

Contact information: Sandusky, Ohio; (888) 608-1997;

Sooner Trailer

Sooner Trailer presents The Premier model, Sooner’s newest trailer featuring the company’s patented T-Lok and UltraSide construction techniques with special adhesives and a new manufacturing process without using rivets or overlapping panels. According to Sooner, sheets are formed with a 90-degree edge that isn’t visible to the eye, and are actually “folded” to the inside of trailer, then fastened internally. Available in two- through six-horse models, the Premier also offers as standard equipment the five-year/100,000 mile warranted Dexter Nev-R-Lube axles. The trailer has all the features from mats, ramps, lights and drop-down feed doors that are standard in the industry. Optional custom living quarters are available, as are feed mangers; the trailer, says Sooner, is “truly customizable.”

Contact information: Duncan, OK; 1-800-256-6668;

Stidham Trailers

Stidham offers slant loads, bumper pulls, livestock trailers and living quarters trailers. The 2002 Centennial model features a wedge nose, interior lights, break-away kit, four-wheel electric brakes, carpeted dressing room, heavy duty feed windows, aluminum roof vents of one per horse, bus windows on the rump wall, and is 7 feet tall and 6 feet 8 inches wide. Other standard features include spring-loaded, padded dividers, and sealed beam turn signals—high and lows. Also included, both bridle hooks and saddle racks. Options include feed mangers, gravel guards, loading lights and a hayrack and ladder.

Contact information: Chickasha, OK; (405) 224-6414;

Sundowner Trailers

Sundowner Trailers offers the ValueLite line, which is its most affordable aluminum trailer. The steel frame is powdered-coated and is covered by an aluminum skin. Bumper-pull models are available in a traditional two-horse straight load, and two- to eight-horse slant loads are available with unique feed doors and feed and tack department. Gooseneck models come in straight and slant loads for two to six horses. They are 6 feet 9 inches wide and 7 feet tall, with special standard features including white interior aluminum skin, drop-down feed doors on the head wall, aluminum dividers with pads, padded aluminum breast and butt bars, a feed bag and a roof vent per stall. Other standard features include aluminum tear drop fenders with gravel guard, lined and insulated side walls in the horse area, trailer breakaway safety with battery and flush mount tail lights. The six-horse is 35 feet 2 inches long. Twenty-two options are available on the ValueLites.

The SunLite line is another Sundowner option. The all-aluminum trailer is available in gooseneck (14 models) and bumper pull (10 models).

Sundowner Trailers have two stock trailer lines, the new Stampede and the ProStock. Each features a variety of doors, gates and other options. Choose from a basic stock trailer, stock and cattle combo or a stock trailer deluxe with a dressing room.

Trailers with living quarters include the Sundowner Trailblazer, Sierra and Grand Sierra.

Sundowner Trailers offers a three-year hitch-to-bumper warranty in addition to an eight-year structural warranty.

Contact information: Coleman, OK; (800) 654-3879;

Turnbow Trailers

Turnbow Trailers feature insulated side walls, a fiberglass top and a lifetime warranty on workmanship. Turnbow recently redesigned the nose section, taking all of the steel out, except the coupler, making it, according to manufacturers, lighter in weight, yet stronger and more aerodynamic.

For 2002, Turnbow features the Cross-Country Van, a four-horse hauler, in which horses load from the side or the rear and face each other. Dividers can be set cross-ways to make three box stalls. It’s 7 feet 5 inches tall and 6 feet 5 inches wide, but the company can make it wider.

Turnbow’s floor has a 20-year war­ranty and comes with mats. The sides are double wall construction with rubber kick plates. The dressing rooms are insulated, paneled and carpeted. For ventilation, the trailers come with roof vents and bus windows.

Contact information: Oilton, OK; (800) 362-5659;


Cautious mothers who keep video cameras above their children’s cribs have nothing on Omni Vision, a manufacturer of wireless cameras for, among others, horse owners who’d rather not pull off the road every five minutes to check on the precious cargo in the back.

Omni Vision currently sells three different camera models, with prices starting from $399. One major trailer manufacturer has even added Omni Vision’s system to its trailers, starting this year. For more information, call 1-800-788-7101.

Tennessee Truck Works LLC has debuted a pinball hitch that goes from gooseneck mode to fifth wheel mode in a few seconds without having to pull the hitch out of the truck.

Spokesman Bill Healy says, “Lots of people who have horses also have RV (recreational vehicle) trailers. Switching usually means lifting the fifth-wheel hitch out of the truck. Ours slides out backwards and it’s easy to do. With its pin box system, it eliminates wedging a fifth-wheel kingpin.” The product carries a lifetime guarantee. For more information, call (731) 364-6951.

From Smallest to Largest

The Brenderup full size, two-horse trailer is an option for smaller operations or as a second trailer. The company builds all models for one-person handling, including hitching and unhitching, and loading and unloading. The trailer features Inertia four-wheel brakes, which, according to the manufacturer, are designed to operate as the driver comes off the accelerator pedal and before getting to the brake pedal. Whenever the trailer tries to push on the tow vehicle the trailer brakes are being applied in direct proportion to the weight of the trailer at the time and the rate of deceleration. The brake system also has an independent parking brake, emergency breakaway and antilock characteristics. Contact information: Midland, Texas; 1-800-745-1306;

In addition, Hawk Trailers offers a two-horse bumper-pull with a pre-baked aluminum outer shell. Windows and vents provide fresh air for both equine and human passengers, walk-through doors in the front and a dressing room. Contact information: Manawa, WI 54949; (920) 596-3080;

Pegasus Trailers and Vans offers up the giant President model, which accommodates the larger breeds. The 15-horse trailer has a spread axle with a second drop-down ramp in the rear compartment. The trailer’s tack area is located in the back along with double swing doors.

Besides Featherlite’s 15-horse, 53-foot Budweiser rig, which carries the famous Clydesdale team, the company has just finished a one-of-a-kind model for a private owner. They built a box that fits on a semi that will haul six horses. Behind that, another trailer pulls another six horses. The side ramps are electric.






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