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.
If you have any other questions about Loading Styles 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!
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?”
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.
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.