Entering into close, dark spaces can spook the most stalwart horses, yet we expect them to step into a trailer without missing a beat. Fortunately, thanks to today’s design and material technologies, we are able to provide sufficient space, increased ventilation and a number of safety features that will help ensure a stress-free travel experience for most horses.
Neva Kittrell Scheve, a veteran in the trailer industry since 1983 and author of The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer, underscores the importance of considering your horse first when choosing a trailer. In this article she’ll help us understand how to get the right trailer to fit your horse.
- How tall is your tallest horse? Does the trailer give that horse enough headroom? Can he stand comfortably without bumping his head when loading?
The horse should have enough room to use his head and neck for balance and to lower his head to cough out dust and debris he may have inhaled in the trailer. He also should be able to spread his legs both forward and backward and to stand easily without having to lean or scramble to find his balance.
- The breed of your horse is also important. While a 16.2 H Thoroughbred might need a tall trailer, a 16.2 H Warmblood not only will need a tall trailer, but one that is wide, too. With the heavier horses, especially drafts, weight becomes an issue from both a hauling perspective, as well as from the potential damage a larger horse can cause.
- Young or green horses may not be accustomed to entering into small spaces; therefore, they likely will need some extra TLC as they learn the ropes. Even though it’s ultimately up to you, your handler, or your trainer to instill confidence and trust in a youngster, having a trailer that is light, airy, and open can help make the process easier.
- Your horse’s temperament also plays a role in your finding the right trailer. If you have a calm, easygoing horse, you can pretty much pick and choose your trailer as long as it gives adequate space. But if your horse is high-strung and nervous, finding a trailer that will help to alleviate his anxiety make make things better for both of you. Providing more interior space and extra comfort features (windows, vents, removable dividers, etc.) can make the difference between your horse feeling comfortable or anxious.
When choosing a trailer, first consider your horse. Make sure you have adequate room for your horse to be comfortable, and try to provide light, ventilation and good footing to help him be more confident in his ride.