Buyer’s Guide: Enclosed or Stock Side Horse Trailer?

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!


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. Let’s compare the differences between Enclosed Horse Trailers and Stock Side, also known as Open Side, Trailers and true Stock Trailers.


Enclosed Living Quarters Trailer

Enclosed Horse Trailers

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.


Stock Side/Open Stock Trailers

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.


True Stock Trailers

Stock Trailer Inside

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.

Gooseneck Stock Trailer

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




If you have any other questions about Enclosed, Open, or Stock Side Trailers and which will work best for you, call, chat, or email Dixie Horse & Mule Co.  We have more than 50 years of experience with trailers, horses, and hauling – we’re here to help you!