The 4 horse head to head horse trailer is a popular model that has been around for many years. This trailer design provides a solution to handlers who want to haul more than two horses, while still having access to each horse individually. Despite these attractive features, this trailer design has some major drawbacks.
The 4 horse SafeTack Reverse trailer from Double D Trailers provides many of the same perks as a classic head to head trailer. Plus, it addresses all of the safety issues! Read on to learn why our model is a much better option for your horses.
Advantages of a 4 Horse Head to Head Trailer
In a 4 horse head to head trailer, two horses are loaded from the side doorway, angled into position, and then backed into rear-facing stalls. Then, two more horses are loaded from the rear into straight load stalls. This leaves the horses “head to head” with a small area in the center of the trailer to act as an aisle way.
This is a classic 4 horse head to head trailer from a competitor brand.
Two horses would face forward and two horses would face backward with a center aisle way.
Every single horse can be accessed individually for loading and unloading. This can be an advantage if you are making multiple stops to pick up or drop off a friend’s animals. Plus, any one horse in distress can be off-loaded without having to unload all of the trailer’s occupants.
The 4 horse head to head trailer shown below also has a combination dressing room / tack storage area separate from the horse compartment. This is where you can store your tack, grooming supplies, snacks, and show attire.
Finally, the center aisle way of a 4 horse head to head trailer can be used as a “show day stall.” This can be a useful place to tie your horse for tacking and last-minute grooming. Or, you could let your horse loose in the stall to wander free instead of tying them to the outside of the trailer.
Problems with the 4 Horse Head to Head Trailer
There are also several major disadvantages to this head to head trailer design.
First, let’s look at the human amenities. In a 4 horse head to head trailer, all of your equipment (show day clothing and sweaty tack) needs to be stored in the same forward dressing room. It would be easy for all of your equipment to become jumbled together and for expensive show attire to become stained.
Next, head to head trailers do not promote good interactions between horses. Many models do not have any sort of head dividers to separate unfriendly travel companions. To make things worse, some trailer dealers will suggest that a 4 horse head to head trailer could actually accommodate 5 horses.
This 4 horse head to head trailer has several safety disadvantages.
In the video linked here, the dealer says, “You’ve got tie rings that you could stand a horse in between there, so technically you could fit five horses in this trailer.”
This is a very poor idea because that center horse would not have any sort of dividers or supports to help him balance while the trailer is in motion. Unlike in a stock horse trailer, the center horse would not have enough space to move around and adjust his balance because he would be surrounded by the heads of the other four horses. If any of the animals don’t get along, you can imagine the biting and kicking that would follow.
Besides the lack of head dividers, this trailer design only has simple chest and butt bars holding each horse in place. A panicky horse can easily rear up and get a leg stuck over one of these bars. This will put your frightened horse at risk for an injury and even more frantic scrambling to get free.
This 4 horse head to head trailer does not have head dividers to separate unfriendly horses.
Plus, butt and chest bars can be dangerous for a panicky horse.
Finally, loading the front two horses can be a huge challenge. Those front two horses would need to be walked forward onto the side ramp, angled into position, and then backed into their rear-facing stalls. This much maneuvering for an uneasy loader could be very difficult.
Brad Heath, owner of Double D Trailers, says, “I think this is a dated design, which has been the only solution for handlers needing to haul more than two horses, and needing the ability to access each horse independently.”
He went on to explain that head to head trailers are popular with Warmblood or large breed owners who are afraid that their animals would feel cramped in a 4 horse conventional slant load trailer.
“The ‘head to head’ trailer was born out of necessity and has remained available over the years for the simple fact that nothing else ‘better’ has been available. Today, the 4 horse SafeTack Reverse trailer provides a much better option!”
Reasons Why the SafeTack Reverse 4 Horse Trailer is a Better Option
The SafeTack Reverse 4 horse trailer from Double D Trailers manages to address every single issue outlined above. In addition, it provides several other benefits that make this trailer design superior in safety and usability.
Just like the head to head trailer, the SafeTack Reverse also allows you to…
- Access Each Horse Individually – Every trailer from Double D Trailers is custom designed to meet your specific needs. We can easily design a trailer with multiple side entry doors and ramps so that every single horse can be accessed individually for loading and unloading.
- Use a Show Day Stall – With one of the horses unloaded, you can swing over the partition to easily create a day stall for tacking up and show prep just like in the head to head design. Read more about show day stalls in our article comparing the 3 horse SafeTack Reverse to the 2+1 trailer design.
- Transport Large Breed Horses – Our slant load trailers are different from conventional slant load trailers. We can easily customize your trailer with extra width or height to fit large breed horses.
This 4 horse SafeTack Reverse trailer from Double D trailers has individual access to all four horses.
It also has an easy walk-on / walk-off design for safer loading.
The SafeTack Reverse trailer is better than the 4 horse head to head because it has…
- Separate Spaces for Tack and Dressing Room – The SafeTack trailer has a fully enclosed tack compartment in the rear corner of the trailer for storing your saddles, bridles, pads, and grooming supplies. The entire compartment swings out like a second door to allow a wide open rear entry way for loading and unloading your horses. This SafeTack storage area will keep your dirty and sweaty tack completely separate from any food or clothing that you choose to store in the forward dressing room area.
- Forward or Reverse Facing Options – Rather than being constrained by the trailer’s design, the SafeTack Reverse trailer allows you to decide which way your horse travels the best. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that horses travel in a more natural and stress-free manner when they are in the rear-facing direction. All four horses could travel in the rear-facing direction, or you could load each horse according to his individual preferences.
- Keep Unfriendly Horses Separate – Tubular head dividers will keep unfriendly neighbors from picking or biting at each other during a drive.
- Shorter Overall Trailer Length Means Easier Towing – Even with Warmblood sized stalls, our trailer would be around a 24 foot box length. The minimum length on a head to head trailer is around 28 feet. A longer trailer is harder to maneuver while driving.
- Safer Loading and Unloading with the SafeTack Reverse – This is the biggest advantage of our SafeTack Reverse so read below for more details.
Safer Loading and Unloading with the SafeTack Reverse
The biggest reason why the SafeTack Reverse model works better than the 4 horse head to head has to do with safety during loading and unloading. Our model has a true walk on / walk off configuration so you never need to back your horse!
In the SafeTack Reverse trailer, you can walk your horse onto the trailer through the wide open rear entry way into a forward facing stall. When you’re ready to off load, you can simply swing the dividers and walk your horse forward off a side ramp. If you’d prefer to load your horse in a rear-facing orientation, you can load from a side ramp and walk them back into their stall. Then, off load by walking forward off the rear of the trailer.
The trailer interior is designed to be bright and airy with rattling noises minimized. Our goal was to create a friendly and inviting space that would feel safe for nervous travelers. We’ve had many clients tell us that our design helped their problem loaders finally learn to walk calmly onto the trailer.
This slant load design also has several advantages over the straight load configuration present in the 4 horse head to head trailer. Straight load trailers almost always require horses to back off of a trailer which can be very scary for some horses.
Plus, straight load trailer stalls only have butt and chest bars to keep the horses in place. Scared animals can easily get a leg stuck over one of these bars. In their struggle to free themselves, they can injure themselves and their travel mates.
Instead, our slant load design has telescoping Z-Frame dividers with thick padding that quietly lock into place. Even the final horse has a full divider holding them in their stall so you can safely approach their head without fumbling with a butt bar in the “kick zone.”
Additional Safety Features on the SafeTack Reverse Trailer
We’ve written entire articles about the numerous safety features on Double D Trailers. Here is a quick break down of the other major perks our design will have over the 4 horse head to head trailer described above.
- Z-Frame Construction – This is a superior building material that is both lightweight and strong. It is much safer than an aluminum horse trailer design.
- Rumber or Lumber Trailer Floors – Read this article to learn why we do not like the WERM flooring found on the featured head to head trailer.
- SafeBump Roof – Our roofs are designed to protect your horse if they rear while also regulating the temperature of the trailer.
- SafeKick Walls – Thick protective wall coverings designed to take the blunt force of your horse’s kick.
- SafeTack Technology – This patented design includes a fully enclosed tack storage area that swings out like a second door for safer loading and unloading.
- Reverse Load Option – Research suggests that horses haul with less stress in a rear facing position. Choose which orientation works for your horses.
- Large Windows and Ventilation – Maximize your trailer’s light and air flow to help your horse feel safe and comfortable.
- 3M Chemical Bonding – Metal fasteners can cause excess noise while the trailer is in motion. Our 3M chemical bonding system makes for a quieter ride.
If you have any questions about our SafeTack Reverse 4 horse trailer, please reach out to Brad Heath for assistance. He can help you design the perfect horse trailer to fit your horse’s needs.