Returning Home – Post Trip Clean-up Tips

After a trip, if you are like me, all you want to do is prop your boots up! You worked hard to prepare for the trip (and used our handy preparing checklist) and had a wonderful time with your favorite horse.

But before you start dreaming of your next adventure, it is important to properly clean-up and store your trailer. This will make sure that your next trip is a success too!

Unload & Secure Items – Unload and secure all items including animals, equipment and supplies. Items that are to left onboard for your next trip should be safely stored.

Floors – Raise the nose of the trailer (and be sure to level the trailer afterward if you a LQ/fridge). Remove mats in the horse area and wash out thoroughly with soap and water. Let the area dry and re-install mats. If you have aluminum floors, it is critical that you wash the floor frequently to remove the urine, as it is corrosive to aluminum. Treated wood floors do not require washing as often but we recommend at least monthly or after no more than two uses.

Black and Gray Tanks – Drain and wash out black and gray tanks. Add a bit of water back when finished and add deodorizer. This will keep your trailer smelling good until next use!

Holding Tank and Water Lines – Drain and flush fresh water holding tank and water lines. Add fresh water just before your next trip. This will prevent that rotten egg smell.

Winterizing – If you are in freezing conditions, be sure to keep the interior of the trailer above 40 degrees so you don’t have to “winterize” the water system. You can do this with the onboard heating system or the use of a small electric heater.

Cleaning – Washing and clean the interior and exterior of the trailer with soap and water, as needed, to protect your investment and keep it looking good!

LP Tanks – Check and replace the LP tanks as needed. I suggest you always carry two full LP tanks as spares. Store them safely.

Parking and Storing – Park your trailer and plug it in to household power. Be sure your 12-volt master switch is in the “on” position and leave your refrigerator running. This will recharge your onboard batteries and prevent your refrigerator from having mold and mildew issues. If you are storing the trailer for an extended time, leave it unplugged from household power and leave the 12-volt master switch off and open the refrigerator door. A few days before its next use, plug it up and let it charge before saddling up!

Frequent Checks – Check your trailer frequently between each use to be certain all systems are ok and that you have it ready for your next trip with little effort or time required.

An opportunity can arise at any time and we sure would not want you to miss a trip because you are not prepared!

Enjoy your trailer and call us toll free anytime if you need anything. It is our pleasure to serve you!

Happy Trails!



What is the correct tire pressure?

What really is the correct tire pressure???

Talk about a loaded (and yes, pun intended!) and confusing question!

That question can get you quite the variety of answers. It is stamped on the tire. It is located on the data plate of the vehicle. It is in the owner’s manual. And everyone you talk to is an expert – they know someone that used to know a person who heard of a person that knew a tire expert who had the correct answer.

The answer to this mystery is so simple that most folks won’t believe it!

Correct air pressure is however much, or however little, it takes to achieve even tread wear.  Yes, it’s that simple. Think about it – if you are achieving “even” tread wear, your tires will run cooler, last longer, ride more comfortably and be much more efficient on fuel consumption than if they are under/over-inflated.

The first step is to make sure you have the correct weight rated tires on your vehicle. The load carrying capacity will be stamped on the tire. Multiply that by the number of tires on the vehicle and be certain that it equals or exceeds the GVWR of the trailer.

To check how the tires are:

  • Load the trailer completely.
  • Inflate tires to recommended pressure as listed on the sidewall of the tire.
  • Inspect the tire for bagging or bulging. If none, proceed to next step.
  • Take it for a test drive. Drive it several miles and check for heat in the tires. If it is uncomfortable to the touch, they are underinflated. Heat is the worst enemy of a tire! Heat causes 99% of ALL blowout.
  • Check the wear pattern. After you run several hundred miles, check to see the wear pattern. If there is more wear in the center of the tread, it is over-inflated. If both edges of the tread are wearing more than the center, it is under-inflated.

Our goal is for you to NEVER have a blowout! You can always call us to ask any other questions or if you need any advise on tires.

Happy Trails!


How to Prepare Living Quarters for Your Next Trip


Click for Printable Checklist

“Oh no, there’s no hot water!!!”

“It is free-eeZING in here!!”

“What is that smell?!?”

These statements strike fear in your heart as you enter your living quarters – the fridge is off, the heat isn’t working and the toilets – well you can imagine the type of mess that could happen. These little details can turn a relaxing trip into one that is stressful and uncomfortable.

Don’t be a victim of these statements! By preparing your living quarters for your next trip, you can discover any problems ahead of time and take care of them. In this checklist are things you can do in the weeks and days before your trip will ensure your trip goes off without a hitch!

Mechanical Systems – Be certain all mechanical systems on your trailer – lights, brakes, bearings, hitches, latches, doors, windows, ramps, dividers, tie hooks, tires, etc. – are ALL in good safe working order.

Onboard Power – Plug the “shore power cord” on your living quarters system up to the proper AC electric outlet of 30AMP and 120VOLTS. Check to be certain you have 120V power in the trailer by operating the AC system, microwave, and/or wall 120V outlets. If no power, diagnose problem or have a qualified tech do so.

Battery Charging – If your trailer has a 12VOLT off/on switch be sure it is in the “on” position so the onboard charger can charge up the batteries. If they fail to charge, diagnose and fix the problem.

Propane Tanks – Be certain your LP tanks are full and that the appliances – stove, refrigerator, furnace, etc. – are all in good working order. If not, diagnose and repair.

Water Systems – Fill the “onboard” water system, operate 12VOLT pump, test commode, shower and all lines of the faucets and drains for leaks and proper operation. Connect the “city water” up to the trailer and use the correct pressure reducer to test the system same as with onboard 12VOLT pump. If you find a problem, well, you know the drill.

Water Tanks – Test black and grey water tanks for leaks. Be sure they are empty at the beginning of your trip so you have maximum use of their holding capacity.

Refrigerator – Be certain your refrigerator works on AC and LP if its a dual use model, and be sure it cools to the desired temperature. It should be as efficient as your home refrigerator.

Storage – Check all cabinet doors, drawers and any movable items to prevent damage during travel and secure all items before travel.

Systems Check – Make one final systems check, supplies check and safety check a few days before your trip.

Remembering to prepare and check all of these items is a critical key to an enjoyable trip. Please call us if you have any questions or need further information on checking any of these systems.

Happy Trails!


– – – – – – –

Coming up next time on the blog – proper tire inflation!

What do you want to know about your trailers? If you have a suggestion for our newsletter, please let us know!

How To Prepare Your Horse Trailer for Your Next Trip

There is no better way to ruin a trip than a “broke down” horse trailer. You are loaded with kids, dogs, horses, perishables (and who knows what else – where does all that extra baggage come from?) and the last thing you need is to be broken down on a busy highway, or anywhere else for that matter.

There is no way to guarantee this won’t happen but there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of this happening to you.

Before your trip (we recommend several days before),

Walk Around – Conduct a thorough and complete “walk around” the horse trailer looking for anything that could indicate a problem. If anything is wrong, fix it before you leave home.

  • Broken wires
  • Broken/cracked lights
  • Under-inflated tires, including the spare tire
  • Broken windows
  • Inoperative latches
  • Defective hitches
  • Broken safety chains
  • Broken or missing emergency brake cable
  • Doors that don’t properly close
  • Oil or grease on the hubs
  • Missing or loose lug nuts
  • Anything dragging or hung up under the trailer

Connect to Truck – After the walk around, connect the horse trailer to the truck. Check to be certain all lights work properly, brakes are adjusted correctly, trailer clearances are correct and the level the trailer for best operation and braking.

On the day of the trip,

Connect to Truck – Check to be certain the hitch is locked, safety chains are fastened to the truck and the emergency brake cable is secured to the truck.

Loading – Park the horse trailer on level ground if possible to load the stock. Be certain the loading doors and dividers/gates are open and secure so that you are not preoccupied with them handling the stock. Load and secure the stock and close all dividers/gates and secure correctly.

Walk Around – Do one final walk around before you leave home to be sure everything is working properly. If not, fix it. If it isn’t right before you leave, it will only get worse along the way!

Always remember (and maybe use as a tongue twister for your brood), proper prior planning prevents a poor performance!

We are always available to answer any questions or to provide advice for your trips. Feel free to call us toll free!

Happy Trails!


Which horse trailer brand is the best?

What brand of horse trailer is the best??  We are often asked this question!  And our answer? “Buy the horse trailer that best fits your needs and your pocket book.” 

It is tempting to think that when a seller says “My brand is the best!” it is a fact, but it is actually an opinion based on a financial investment.  Brand is irrelevant, as ALL American made trailers are excellent products and are built to US DOT specifications else they could not be on the road. 

While there are horse trailers that have more features or more attention to some details and we all certainly have opinions and favorites, that does not translate into our choices being the “best” for others! 

There are many configurations, styles, features, options, types of construction, etc., to be considered in making your choice of which horse trailer to purchase, but it does not have to be confusing:  buy the horse trailer that fits your needs and your pocketbook. 

We usually have around 300 horse trailers in stock, and we would love the opportunity to help you find the horse trailer that best fits you!

We want to earn your business today!!

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!

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!


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.