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The Journey of Double D Trailers: Excellence in Horse Trailer Manufacturing Since 1994

Last updated April 12, 2024 by Brad Heath

Since opening our doors in 1994, Double D Trailers has evolved from a simple family-owned farm supply store into one of the leading horse trailer manufacturers in the nation. Unlike typical companies in our industry, we offer a unique purchasing experience, allowing customers to commission custom horse trailers designed to meet their specific needs.

This results in more value, more safety, and more happiness. Because that’s exactly why we own and love horses, right? Horses bring us happiness!

Our Story, Straight from the Founder, Brad Heath

How Double D Trailers Began

Brad HeathBack in September 1994, Donald (my dad), Douglas (my uncle), and I (Brad Heath) decided to start a business. Although I was a full-time student at UNC Chapel Hill at the time, I left college to establish what was initially a farm supply retail store, named after our family venture, Double D Farms. We sold horse feed, tack, vaccines, and other farm essentials. Gradually, we expanded our offerings to include horse trailers alongside tractors and hay balers.

The Evolution of Our Trailers

gooseneck horse trailerWell, we started by selling other brands of horse trailers, but we quickly realized nobody really ever wanted what we had on the lot. Customers always wanted to order a different color or a trailer with different features than what we had in stock.

We would order these trailers for our customers, but there were huge wait times from manufacturers and ridiculous freight costs for shipping. Most of the trailers we were selling were manufactured out West and had to be shipped to our North Carolina location.

So, we thought we could build our own trailers and provide customers a better level of product and service. More importantly, we could custom build our own trailers to meet their specs.

When we pitched this idea to First Citizens bank, they looked at us like we were crazy. We told the bank we wanted to build horse trailers in Pink Hill, NC. Ultimately, they gave us a loan for a new factory, which we built and furnished with all new equipment.

Our first Double D Trailer was built in 1997!

Key Innovations and Safety Enhancements

1997 - 2007: From 1997 through 2007, we only built steel frame trailers with galvaneal skin. We were very successful with these. They are super safe due to the strong steel frame. Plus, they are sturdy and provide a great value to the customer.

custom horse trailerHowever, a pivotal moment came in 1998 when a customer suffered a severe injury while loading her horse. It was a slant load and had a conventional fixed or collapsible rear tack. Her horses were great loaders, so the narrow entry way door beside the rear tack was normally not a problem. In fact, this layout is still very common today among many modern manufacturers.

After loading her horse, our customer walked around the outside of the trailer and stuck her arm through the stock side slat to tie her horse. The horse reared up, breaking her arm in the process. It was a horrific injury!

The customer came to us and said, “You need to figure out how to get the <bleep, bleep, bleep> saddle compartment out of the way.  It’s dangerous!

So, we went to the drawing board and the “Tack-around” – an early version of the SafeTack – was born. Rather than a stationary rear tack compartment, this slant load trailer has a fully enclosed compartment that swings out like a second door. It leaves the entire back of the trailer open for loading and unloading.

As I said earlier, we were building steel frame / galvaneal skin trailers from 1997 through 2007. These trailers provided great value and safety, but they were lacking some of the safety features we see today. For example, they didn’t have an insulated roof to help control the interior temperature for hauling comfort. Not to mention, we needed a frame that wouldn’t rust.

2008 - 2009: In 2008, we began working on new product development and by 2009 we moved to a larger factory. We had outgrown our old facility. We went from a 6,000 square foot to a 52,000 square foot building.

Also in 2009, we launched our light weight and non-rusting Z-Frame Technology in place of the old steel frame trailers. We also rebranded the “Tack-Around” to the SafeTack and developed a new SafeKick wall system. The SafeBump roof, a leak-proof single piece fiber composite roof, was added to help control the trailer’s interior temperature.

Finally, this was the year we started using synthetic Rumber flooring a lot more.

2012: Our current factory is in Wisconsin. Once we started the new product line and developed a non-rusting chassis, clients from all over the US began reaching out to us.  They liked how our new chassis was stronger and safer than aluminum. We realized that trying to distribute from our original base in North Carolina was going to be a logistical nightmare.  So, we moved the entire factory to Wisconsin.  It’s more centrally located to service the West coast, East coast, and Canada. All of our trailers have been built in Wisconsin since January of 2012. A lot has changed in horse trailer manufacturing since we started in 1997. We used to build a “welded” product, which would rust in the seams over time. Plus, the roof would leak.

Since then, a great deal has changed in the industry. Modern sealant, paints, compounds, and primers are much better than they were years ago. And now we can use technologies like 3M VHB (like 3M tape) to bond materials without welding or mechanical rivets. So now, we build an “assembled” product similar to how they do in automobile manufacturing. Plus, there are a host of other innovations we’ve improved.

2013: In 2013, we had a customer from Texas reach out to us. She loved the SafeTack, but wanted a reverse load trailer. Laughing, I said, “Reverse who?”

I did some research and learned how reverse load trailers have been around for a long time. But ALL of the designs had major safety flaws for the horse and/or the handler.

So, in 2013, we built the first SafeTack Reverse load trailer. Soon afterwards, I filed for a patent which was eventually awarded.

Present Day: By the time of this writing in 2024, these models account for over 80% of our overall sales.

custom horse trailer

What Drives Us

The most rewarding part of running Double D Trailers is the ability to provide our customers with products that bring them happiness and fun. Looking forward, we continue to innovate the horse trailer industry with designs like our one-horse bumper pull trailer with living quarters, launched in 2022.

Our Commitment

We remain dedicated to enhancing the safety and functionality of our trailers through continuous innovation and customer education.

We’ve written a huge number of informative guides to help educate our customers.

> Horse Trailer Guides

> Maintenance Guides

> Towing Guides

> Equine Care Guides

> Equestrian Hobbies Guides

Plus, you are always welcome to contact us directly with questions.

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7719 Market St., Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, 28404

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