Winter’s finally over, signaling the need to get your rig ready for the months of hauling ahead. But with so many trailer advances driving the industry forward, you may want to trade up. “As horse travel has evolved into a part of every day life, manufacturers have responded by emphasizing safety and comfort features, which, for the professional stable owner, are key to maintaining a well-run operation,” comments Tom Scheve, president of Equispirit Trailers.
If you do decide to see what’s out there, he recommends you pay particular attention to how easy today’s trailers are to operate, and especially to how the latest designs focus on ensuring a stress-free trip for the horses in your care. “These two factors alone could reward you with untold benefits, even offsetting your upfront costs, especially as you’ll likely be spending a good deal of time on the road managing horses that are not your own,” he points out.
So, whether the success of your facility depends on having a trailer for long distance hauling or simply one that will get you from point A to point B, there’s a trailer that will provide the safety, style and efficiency you seek. Here’s a look at what’s notable and new.
It’s been 25 years since the first Brenderup trailer was introduced to the United States from Denmark, says Simon Barr. “We’ve come a long way,” he says, “from being thought of as ‘newfangled’ to becoming a contender in today’s market.” To which he adds, “especially with gas prices on the rise.”
With its signature fiberglass roof and user-friendly setup, combined with low tongue weight and chassis design, the Brenderup bumper-pull easily hitches up to an SUV or Volvo station wagon, thereby keeping operating costs down. This year the company adds SPC walling (Phenolic Resin Wall) as a standard no-rust, no-rot feature for all 2007 models.
Created specifically for larger horses, Equispirit presents its three-horse SafeLoad 3. “By filling the size void between the two-horse straight-load and the four-horse head-to-head center-load,” says Tom Scheve, “We’ve created a trailer to give horse owners the option of hauling three large horses safely and comfortably without having to jump to a four-horse trailer. On top of which,” he adds, “it readily converts to an easy-to-pull two-horse with lots of extra cargo space.”
Whereas a four-horse head-to-head center load measures 36 1/2 feet in total length, the three-horse Safe-Load 3 measures only 28 1/2 feet—just four feet longer than the two-horse model. Its spacious 52-inch wide front stall will easily accommodate a horse up to 17 hands; the rear stalls are able to carry horses upwards of 18+H with plenty of headroom. The low-angle back ramp provides individual stress-free loading and unloading for the back stalls, or you can unload all horses out the front. Furthermore, optional removable stall doors will easily convert the third stall into a large box stall, or can be used for additional storage, in addition to the standard 29 square foot dressing room (optional length is available). The SafeLoad 3 will be available for average sized horses, as well.
The models in the 2007 Sport series are engineered to provide each horse with a safe, comfortable ride, while at the same time ensuring the reliability and long life of each trailer —all at an affordable price, says Ryan Stump, marketing coordinator at Exiss. “With eight-foot-wide horse and living quarters in our three- and four-horse models, you really get the most value for the price.”
Features include extruded aluminum exterior finish, pre-painted enamel aluminum side sheets in the window and tack area, 1 5/8” x 3” side posts, interlocking extruded aluminum plank flooring system, rubber torsion axles for a smooth ride and independent electric brakes on all wheels. All Sport Trailers have side wall insulation from floor to ceiling, lifetime rubber floor mats, 50/50 rear doors with cam latches and positive hold backs, a drop-down feed window with drop-down bars per stall (except for the escape door), slant stall dividers with a slam latch system, plus body, shoulder and head separators. The patented smooth slam latch protects horses from scrapes and snags, and it’s also easy to maneuver.
The 85-plus models in the new top-of-the-line Medalist 8500/9000 and the 9900 Series “offer a wide range of innovative features to ensure you get the trailer that best fits your needs,” says Featherlite spokeswoman Nicole Ausdemore. The trailers are available in bumper-pull, gooseneck, and living quarters versions.
Standard Medalist Series features include polished cast corner caps, radius rear frame with wraparound stop/turn lights, internal rear door hardware, interior L.E.D. strip lighting on both sides of the horse area, 6” length added to the gooseneck, heavy duty camper door, chrome glass on all windows and feed doors, and larger “safety-guard” stall pads. Options include a stainless steel S-drop enclosure and electric saddle rack, and make it easy to create just the trailer you need. “For instance,” says Ausdemore, “you could take an 8541 model and upgrade it with our Medalist Series package to make it a uniquely customized trailer.”
With a 35-year tradition of custom manufacturing, Hart underscores the importance of maintaining structural integrity to ensure safety and reliability. A fully insulated, virtually dent-free 5/8” thick fiberglass roof and reinforced panels for temperature and noise control top this year’s list of innovations. Other features: a tongue and groove interlocking floor system for durability that also resists corrosion, solid upright posts, and aircraft grade aluminum fitted along the full length of the trailer.
All Hart trails incorporate “Torflex” rubber in the torsion suspension system, which provides excellent shock absorption for a smooth, quiet ride, according to Jeffrey Gasperini, sales supervisor at Coast to Coast Trailers in Ocala, Florida.
Built with Jamco’s patented interlocking plank walls and roof, the two-horse straight-load Legend Contender provides protection and strength. “Because our Legend Contenders offer a number of optional features,” says marketing manager Eric Den Hollander, “we offer an essentially custom trailer at a standard trailer price.” For instance, all models have baked enamel finishes, an interlocking aluminum SuperPlank flooring system, rubber floor and wall mats in the horse area, rear ramp with dual-camlock curtain-style upper doors and windows, QuickChange removable stall posts, one two-way pop up forced-air vent per stall, and sealed beam and shock-resistant lighting.
For options, the Contender offers 50/50 rear doors, diamond plate aluminum running boards, divider pads, additional bridle and saddle racks, clothes rod, or brush trays. Also, an optional side ramp can accommodate additional horses, a race bike, or a golf cart.
Kevin Dice, national sales manager at Keifer Built, touts this year’s latest offering, the Evolution Series. These six new 7’6” tall straight loads with side ramps “offer a high-end product at an affordable price.” The steel frame is primed with Dupont Corlar and painted with Dupont Imron 5000, and an aluminum one-piece roof and sides with a baked-on enamel finish for long life. “And,” Dice continues, “one of our Evolution models offers another feature—the capacity to re-configure the straight stalls into a
box stall, which allows you to haul horses that were once relegated to a commercial shipper.”
In addition, this year brings another option worth considering: upgrading to the celebrated Rumbar floor system. Constructed of 65 percent recycled plastic/35 percent rubber, it is not only exceptionally resilient, but also environmentally “green.”
“Our living quarters are manufactured and installed by Sundowner rather than an outside conversion company,” says marketing development coordinator Walker Carroll. “We take pride in the fact that we build our trailers ourselves, from the ground up, which allows us to offer a 3 Year Hitch To Bumper/8 Year Structural Transferable Warranty.”
All Sundowners sport full height cam latches, encased and recessed horse vents, telescoping rear divider, padded dividers, aluminum drop down face guards, smooth finish double face head and shoulder dividers, padded butt bar, heavy duty hold backs, recessed light switches, and triple wall and slant walls for protection in high risk kicking or pawing areas. New wider running boards allow for a larger step-up; the rounded edges protect horses’ legs from scrapes as they stand tied alongside the trailer. Plus, Sundowner uses a tough, long-lasting Sun Coat that’s easy to clean. It is applied on the walls and under the floor mats to prevent damaging moisture, waste and debris from corroding aluminum surfaces and structures. Last but not least, Sundowner’s easy-to-use spring-loaded ramp can be operated by adult and child alike.
The straight-load, two-horse bumper pull New Yorker “is our best-selling model,” says Daniel Koderl, national sales manager. It has a rear loading ramp and large padded stalls, extra headroom, and a compact 15’6” body length for easy maneuverability. And you can access your horses from the rear, or at the head via walk-thru doors on both sides. “And, with the dressing room in the nose, it has ample space for your tack and other gear,” adds Koderl. Trail-et offers taller 6’8” and 7’8” eventing models for larger horses.
Additionally, all New Yorkers come with a galvanized steel frame under an aluminum skin to protect against rust and a specially processed pressure-treated wood flooring system that is resistant to uric acids. One-inch-thick foam insulated sidewalls coupled with a one-piece fiberglass roof help block out road noises and keep the trailer cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Having received a patent on its latest living quarters models, Turnbow’s high-end trailers offer a revolutionary travel concept. Two- to six-horse goosenecks now have the capacity to store enough water in their holding tanks, located in “the basement, to keep you on the road for two or even three weeks. These trailers are custom all the way,” says Carl Turnbow, founder of the company. They leave very little to be desired: along with various granite countertop styles and colors from which to choose, the trailers house a washer and drier and come with a 20-year warranty on the special aluminum, easy-to-clean flooring system.
In addition, Turnbow is touting its top-selling four-horse cross-country van, which converts to a three-horse box stall rig, along with a mare and foal model that will reconfigure into two eight-foot box stalls with two standing stalls in the rear. “Horses and people are traveling farther and for longer periods of time; they need to be safe and comfortable. That’s why we’ve developed technologies to meet today’s demands for a secure, reliable ride,” Turnbow says.
When you upgrade to a larger trailer, make sure that your driver’s license meets state requirements. Reader Elaine Brock bought a large four-horse trailer, then learned—from a nice policeman who stopped her daughter for a traffic violation—that she needed a different license.