Dressing Room, Tack Compartment, Living Quarters, or None of the Above?

One of the next things we will need to know is if you need any kind of dressing room or tack compartment or a horse trailer with living quarters.  Or maybe you just need to haul horses.  If you are not sure, here are a few points that can help.

Do You Need a Dressing Room?

Do you need a place to change clothes?  Or, maybe you need a place to haul supplies.  Then you may need a dressing room.  Dressing room refers to a room walled off from the horse area, usually at the front of the trailer and usually with a separate entry.  The dressing room wall can be stationary or can swing.  The majority of horse trailers we sell have some type of dressing room, with the majority also containing saddle racks.

What is a “shortwall??”

Do You Need Tack Storage?

If you need a place to haul saddles you will need a tack compartment of some kind.  If you also need a place to change clothes or store supplies and a separate place to haul saddles/tack you may need a trailer with a dressing room and a tack compartment.  If you need lots of storage space you may need a midtack compartment in addition to the front and rear compartments, and you may want under-manger storage as well.

When we refer to tack rooms or compartments we are referring to areas set up to haul your saddle/s in the horse trailer.  Some terms we use in discussing tack storage are front tack, rear tack, collapsible rear tack, permanent rear tack, midtack, side tack, and tack under mangers.

Slant load horse trailers, the vast majority of horse trailers sold, may have either a front tack or rear tack, or they may have both, many times with the ability to move the saddle rack to either location.  Rear tack walls can be collapsible or permanent. Trailers with rear tack compartments usually have double rear doors, with one door for tack and one for horse loading, but occasionally seen are rear tack compartments with side access.

Tack storage in straight load trailers may be found under mangers accessed from the outside through small doors, or in the dressing room (front tack).

Both straight and slant loads may have midtack compartments between the dressing room and horse area. Named for their position approximately midway of the trailer, midtack compartments reach from one side of the trailer to the other, and may or may not be set up for tack storage.  Many times they are used as separate “mudroom” entry, or as storage for hay and feed or other supplies rather than as tack rooms.  Occasionally you will see a midtack compartment only big enough to hold saddles.  These are sometimes known as side tack compartments.

Do You Need Living Quarters?

If you need a place to cook, bathe and sleep you may need a horse trailer with living quarters, or LQ as they are commonly called.  In addition to full living quarters you will see partial living quarters, sometimes called weekenders or weekend packages. You will find that the term “living quarters” has variety of meanings, as does the term “weekend package,” or “weekender.”  For example, at Dixie Horse & Mule Co. we list all trailers with any living quarters features as “living quarters,” and do not use the term “weekender” to describe partial living quarters.

LQs may have slant or straight walls, with the majority being slant.  Since the living quarters are installed in the dressing room saddle racks are usually located in a rear, mid or side tack compartment, or occasionally there is no tack storage.  Additional storage space is available if the trailer has mangers.

You Don’t Need Any Storage

Do you only haul horses and not need any type of storage?  Then you may need none of the above! Stock trailers with no dressing room or tack room may be perfect for you, or we also have compact Sundowner Charter enclosed straight load bumper pulls with no tack or dressing room.

We know that what it really comes down to in every case is value–the features you want at a great price.  At Dixie Horse & Mule Co. we stock a wide variety of horse trailers with lots of useful features, all priced very competitively to help you get real value with your purchase.

If you have any questions about horse trailers and what will work best for you, call, chat, or email Dixie Horse & Mule Co.  Over 50 years of experience with trailers, horses, mules and hauling – we’re here to help you!

Glossary
Industry-wide terminology defined as used by sales team at Dixie Horse & Mule Co.

Dressing room-usually refers to a room found at the front of a horse trailer that is walled off from the horse area and may be used for changing clothes, as well as for storage. May or may not have saddle racks.

Shortwall, also known as Short wall-refers to the shortest side wall in a slant dressing room or living quarters.

Longwall, also known as Long wall-refers to the longest side wall in a slant dressing room or living quarters.

Front tack-refers to tack storage in the front room (usually called dressing room) of a horse trailer.

Rear tack- refers to tack storage at the rear of the trailer.

Collapsible rear tack- refers to the ability of the rear tack wall to be collapsed as needed, making the rear opening wider.

Permanent rear tack-refers to the rear tack wall being permanently fixed in place.

Side tack-refers to midtack compartment big enough only for saddle storage. (Does not reach from side to side of the trailer.)  A custom built feature.

Midtack-refers to a separate room or compartment located between the front room and the horse area. Reaches from one side of the trailer to the other.  Many times referred to as a “mudroom” and used as a changing room, but may be outfitted with saddle racks, or used for storage.  Midtacks may be “pie-shaped” or slanted, or straight walled, depending on the layout of the rest of the trailer. A custom built feature.

Swing tack, or Swing Out Tack-refers to the ability of the saddle rack to swing out for saddle placement.

Moveable saddle racks-refers to the ability to remove the saddle racks as opposed to the racks being welded in place.

Living quarters trailer-refers to a horse trailer outfitted with equipment and features that allow cooking, sleeping and bathing.  This term can mean both full living quarters and partial living quarters.

LQ or LQs-commonly used abbreviation for horse trailers with living quarters or more than one horse trailer with living quarters.

Weekender or weekend package-widely used description usually meaning a horse trailer has some kind of partial living quarters.  This term varies in meaning from trailer to trailer, so it is important to review features carefully. (DHMCO does not use the term weekender or weekend package.)

Fully self-contained living quarters-refers to living quarters that have a generator or access to RV electrical hookup and can be used as a dwelling.

What is a horse trailer shortwall?

The size of the dressing room is usually referred to in feet.  The walls may be straight across and square or rectangular, or slanted, depending on the horse loading style.  The term shortwall or short wall, refers to shortest side wall in the dressing room in a slant load trailer.  The opposite wall is called the longwall, or long wall.  (TIP: As you are shopping if you see only the shortwall measurement you can figure the approximate length of the long wall by adding 5’ to the short wall measurement.)   Since shortwall is measured in feet, if the short wall is significantly less than 1 foot it may be referred to as “0’ shortwall.”  (Always keep in mind that all measurements are approximate.  If you need an exact measurement, please let us know.)

Slant or Straight Load, or Box Stalls?

How do I load thee?  Let me count the ways…

Next we will need to know if you want a slant load or straight load, or a third, less common option, box stalls.  If you are not sure, here are a few points about each that may help.  As you shop, keep in mind that whatever you feel most comfortable loading and pulling is what you need to buy

Straight load horse trailers (also called side by side trailers) are most commonly seen in 2 horse bumper pull models in which the horses load facing the front of the trailer and stand side by side.  The horses are usually separated by a partition of some kind, and the trailer may have mangers. 2 horse straight load bumper pulls are the most compact of all horse trailers.  Very occasionally available are 1 horse bumper pulls that are about the same length, but not as wide as the 2 horse models.  The benefit of the 2 horse straight load bumper pull or gooseneck trailer is shorter length, and therefore less trailer weight, than a slant load hauling a comparable number of horses. Usually equipped with ramps, many straight load trailers can be used to haul a variety of other things as well as horses.

Another type of straight load trailer is the “head to head” loading style in which horse are loaded facing each other. These trailers are longer than a slant load hauling a comparable number of horses. Head to head trailers usually have an “aisle” between the 2 sections, for ease in loading and to allow head space for the horses, and a side ramp as well as a rear ramp.  Usually found in gooseneck models, 4 horse head to head (HTH) trailers are most commonly found, with 2 horses facing 2 horses.  6 horse head to head trailers are occasionally available, with 3 horses facing 3 horses.  Custom-built models may be available for more horses.

While combination dressing rooms/tack rooms are fairly common in straight load horse trailers, full living quarters are only occasionally seen. (We happen to have one in stock at this moment!) Be sure and check back for our next article discussing your storage and living quarters needs, “Tack Room, Dressing Room, Living Quarters or None of the Above?”

Floorplans are intended to show stall configuration only. Click to see full size.

Click to see more Straight Load Bumper Pull Horse Trailers

Click to see more Gooseneck Straight Load Horse Trailers

Click to see more Head to Head Horse Trailers

Slant load horse trailers, the vast majority of horse trailers sold, allow horses to load and travel with their heads toward one side of the trailer and their rumps the other.  Horses are loaded from the front of the trailer to the back.  The slant compartments are separated by dividers.  The most common type of slant load has the horses’ heads facing the driver side (or street side) of the trailer, due to the fact that the majority of people lead their horse with their right hand, on their right side.  Very, very occasionally you will see “reverse slant loads” which load the horses with their heads facing the passenger side, or curb side of the trailer. (This requires that you lead your horse in to your left, which is certainly possible, but not commonly done, and is why reverse slant loads are seldom seen.)  Slant load trailers can be equipped to haul a variety of other things as well as horses, but their biggest benefit is number of horses hauled and ease of loading.

Slant loads are found commonly built for up to 6 horses, and can be custom-built for more. Full living quarters are most commonly found in slant load horse trailers.  Dressing rooms and rear tack compartments are often found in slant load trailers.

Floorplans are intended to show stall configuration only. Click to see full size.

Click to see more Slant Load Bumper Pull Horse Trailers

Click to see more Gooseneck Slant Load Horse Trailers

Click to see more Slant Load Living Quarters Horse Trailers

A third, much less common, option is box stalls—a trailer built specifically with open “boxes” separated by partitions, much like box stalls in a barn.  Many straight load trailers, as well as head to head trailers, can often be configured into either box stalls or straight load stalls, and with a bit more trouble, slant load trailers can be configured similarly (but with slanted stalls) so there is not often a need for a trailer built specifically this way.   Box stalls are useful if you haul mares and foals, if you need to haul a horse and carriage, hauling can come in handy should you need a place for your horse/s to stay overnight, and can be used to load/haul horses that are not tame.  These trailers may or may not have tack storage or dressing rooms and only very rarely have living quarters installed.

Floorplans are intended to show stall configuration only. Click to see full size.

Sundowner, among others, offers a versatile trailer with 2 straight load stalls and a box stall.

We know that what it really comes down to in every case is value–the features you want at a great price.  At Dixie Horse & Mule Co. we stock a wide variety of horse trailers with lots of useful features, all priced very competitively to help you get real value with your purchase.

If you have any questions about horse trailers and what will work best for you, call, chat, or email Dixie Horse & Mule Co.  Over 50 years of experience with trailers, horses, mules and hauling – we’re here to help you!

Glossary-

Straight load horse trailer – refers to a horse trailer in which horses are loading facing the front or rear of the trailer.

Slant load horse trailer - refers to a horse trailer in which horses are loaded with their head facing the side of the trailer, with their rumps facing the other side of the trailer.

Driver side, or street side, of trailer – refers to the side of the horse trailer that is on the same side as the driver of the towing vehicle.  Also referred to as “street side” of the trailer, meaning the traffic side.

Passenger side, or curb side, of trailer- refers to the side of the horse trailer that is on the same side as the passenger side of the towing vehicle.  Also referred to as “curb side” of the trailer, meaning the non-traffic side.

Head to head horse trailer  - refers to a loading style in which horses are loaded facing each other. A type of straight load trailer.

Dividers- Most usually used in discussing slant load partitions between horses, but can be any partition between horses.

Custom-built – refers to having a horse trailer specially built to your specifications.  Adds significantly to cost, and may affect resale negatively.

Enclosed or Stock Side Horse Trailer?

The next thing we need to know is if you have a preference for an enclosed trailer or open stock trailer.  These terms refer to whether the horse area is enclosed or open.  If you are not sure, here are some points to help you decide.

Enclosed Living Quarters Trailer

Let’s compare the differences between enclosed horse trailers and stock side, or open side, trailers, and true stock trailers.  We will discuss general, commonly-found features.

Fully enclosed trailers have full walls on both sides, with some type of window at head and rump of the horses. The windows may drop or slide.  Rear doors may be double doors, ramp with dutch doors or single gate, and may or may not have windows.

Enclosed Bumper Pull Trailer

Loading style may be slant, straight or box stalls. Ventilation is usually provided by overhead vents and by opening the windows. Fully enclosed horse trailers may have a variety of features, with rubber on the walls and floor mats being the most common.  Most of them have some type of dressing room, and usually have some type of tack storage in either the dressing room or a rear tack storage area, or both.  They are considered an upgrade from open side trailers and are priced a bit higher.  These trailers are built specifically for horses, but can be used for any type hauling suited to weight capacity and build.

Open/Stock Side Horse Trailer

Open side, stock side, or stock combo are all names for horse trailers that have slats or air spaces along both sides at about horse head height above a solid wall.  The slats may be covered with Plexiglas, but are usually open.  These trailers may have a variety of tailgate styles with single tailgate, or a swing/slide tailgate being the most common, and may be suitable for hauling livestock as well as horses. Ventilation is provided by the open slats.

Open/Stock Side Bumper Pull Trailer

They usually have dressing rooms and many times have tack racks/storage in the dressing room.  Rear tack compartments are very occasionally seen on this type of trailer since the area must be enclosed to keep the tack dry.  Stock side horse trailers may have a variety of other features.  They are priced a bit lower than the enclosed models.  Built specifically for horse use, but can be used for any type hauling suited to weight capacity and build. Living quarters are most commonly seen in enclosed horse trailers but are occasionally found in stock side models as well.

Stock Trailer Interior

Another option, true stock trailers have solid sides with slats above, or may be completely open.  They have no dressing room, and are built specifically to haul “rough stock”, or untamed livestock, but they may certainly be used for hauling horses as well.

Stock trailers are usually priced lower than stock side horse trailers, but due to lack of tack storage are not often used for horses.

Gooseneck Stock Trailer

 

 

 


Glossary - Visit Horse Trailer Lingo for more

Enclosed horse trailer-refers to horse area with solid sides and some type of window at head and rump.

Dutch doors- refers to door split in half horizontally so that upper and lower sections swing independently of each other.  In horse trailers Dutch doors are usually found above ramps that are integrated into an opening.

Stock combo horse trailer- also referred to as Stock side horse trailer or Open side horse trailer- refers to horse area with air spaces or slats at about horse head level above solid sides, and usually having some type of tack storage or dressing area.

Stock trailer – refers to a trailer designed specifically to haul untamed livestock.

Bumper Pull or Gooseneck?

You are ready to buy a horse trailer, but not sure which style you need.  Here are some helpful points that can help you decide.  Our staff will be glad to help!

First Things First–Bumper Pull or Gooseneck Horse Trailer?

Let’s begin at the beginning. Do you need a bumper pull or gooseneck horse trailer? This is one of the first questions I ask when customers call. If they are new to hauling horses, they may not know. Here are some things our sales staff reviews with them in order to help them make their decision.

Bumper pull trailers are hitched to back of the towing vehicle. Gooseneck trailers are hitched in the bed of a pickup* truck. Both require hitches to be installed on or in the vehicle, but many towing vehicles have bumper hitches installed from the factory. This means almost anyone can use a bumper pull trailer. If you have an SUV-type towing vehicle, you must use a bumper pull. If you have a pickup you may be able to pull either, depending on the length of your bed and cab and towing capacity.  Bumper pulls may be less expensive, and bumper pull hitches are less expensive to have installed.  Other reasons people buy bumper pull trailers is that they may feel more comfortable pulling them, or they may have a small spot to store the trailer.  And yet we sell many, many more goosenecks than bumper pulls!

So why would you want to pull a gooseneck trailer if a bumper pull will do?

Bumper pulls usually haul a maximum of 4 regular size horses, while gooseneck trailers can haul up to12 horses, or more. Why is this? Gooseneck trailers, with proper hitch placement, position the combined weight of horse and trailer between the front and rear axles of the truck. Bumper pulls position the weight on the rear of the towing vehicle, putting the load on the rear axle, and causing a slight lift to the front of the vehicle. This lift** is increased as the load in the trailer increases, and, if overloaded, will negatively affect steering ability. So, if you need to haul more than 4 horses/heavier loads, you will need a gooseneck trailer.

If you have any questions about bumper pull or gooseneck horse trailers and which will work best for you, call, chat, or email Dixie Horse & Mule Co.  Over 50 years of experience with trailers, horses, and hauling – we’re here to help you!

*Pickup refers to full size pickups intended by the manufacturer for use in towing.

**NOTE: The manufacturers of vehicles intended for use in towing bumper pull trailers take into account the weight on the rear axle and will list the maximum towing capacity. On some vehicles the bumper hitch may also be labeled with this weight.

Horse Trailer Tire Tips

A few days before travel:

  • Check all tires and spare (when “cold”–not driven more than a mile) for proper pressure with tire gauge and inflate to maximum pressure stated on tire a few days prior to your trip so that you have time to discover and take care of leaking tires before departure.
  • Check all tires and spare for any apparent damage.
  • Check pressure when “cold” every day for a few days before departure.  Good tires/valve seals do not lose significant air over a few days.  If yours are, they stand a chance of blowing en route and need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Ensure that all tools needed to change tires are loaded and accessible, including a good spare.
  • Make sure you have the number of a service company that can help you with flats or problems along the way, in case you need any assistance.

NOTE: If you notice a lump or apparent manufacturing defect on a new tire still under warranty, take pictures of the tire and contact your tire dealer or manufacturer for guidance. If there is any question, change the tire before the trip and get with the manufacturer or dealer when you have time. Manufacturers require the tire to be returned in defective condition in order to be replaced at their cost. (A blown out tire is too damaged to determine the cause and will not be covered.)

During your trip:

  • On long trips, check all tires by inspection and touch at each gas/water/feed stop.  If too hot to touch, too hot to travel! Pull into the shade and wait until they cool off.
  • If you run over something, find a safe place and check your tires as soon as you can.  Using caution, inspect them for obvious damage, listen for air escape, look for low inflation, check tire pressures with tire gauge if you suspect significant air loss.
  • We do not suggest stopping on the side of the interstate or road.  If you have to drive on a flat tire to get to a safe place, carefully do so. (Reduce speed, put on flashers, etc.) Most modern trailers have torque flex axles which equalize the load and the rim will not be damaged, but if not, your life is worth much more than a rim or fender.
  • If you have a front tire blowout, using caution, check the rear tire on that side for damage/leaks.  It is likely you ran over something.  (Might as well check ‘em all while you’re at it.)
  • If you do not feel confident in changing your own tire, call a mobile service company to do it for you.

Q&A: What Causes Tire Blowouts?

Don't let this happen to you!

  • The majority of blowouts are caused by overheated tires.
  • The major cause of overheating is tire underinflation.  This can affect new and used tires.
  • The danger of a blowout from underinflation increases dramatically in hot weather.
  • Other common causes of blowouts are leaks and punctures from road hazards.

Blowouts are not covered by the warranty on new tires.  An extended warranty on your horse trailer will reimburse you for the cost of the tire if you have a blowout.  We offer extended warranties on all of our horse trailers – be sure to ask if you would like to know what is covered.

* Always stop in a safe place to check or change tires.  The side of the interstate or road is NOT safe!

Before hitting the road, be sure to read our Horse Trailer Tire Tips!