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Written by: Brad Heath
As a horse owner, we all have the same goal; keeping our horse safe. It can be difficult when you’re traveling and you’re not sure what your horse is experiencing while they’re loaded on the trailer. A horse trailer camera is a great solution for horse owners to take an extra step in keeping an eye on their horses while traveling. If you want to find the best horse trailer camera for your trailer, look no further.
An Overview of the Top Horse Trailer Camera Systems
RanchCams Trailer Camera
TadiBrothers Wireless Camera
Yakry Wireless Camera
Horses are made to roam in open pastures, not to be confined to small trailers. *Some* horses travel very well, while others are problematic loaders and/or haulers. However, even seasoned horses that have been hauling for many years can have a panicked moment out of the blue. With the unpredictability of horses, having a horse trailer camera system to monitor your precious cargo while en route is crucial for a safe trip. As a handler, you’ll have peace of mind watching your horses while traveling combined with audio. A horse trailer camera helps to ensure that your horses remain safe while driving down the road.
There are two things to consider in the installation of a trailer camera system.
Unless a camera system operates with rechargeable batteries built into the camera, it has to be connected to the trailer's power system. Rechargeable battery operated cameras can be problematic as they require recharging. Recharging can be a pain, especially if you’re in transit when the battery dies. Using a system that’s connected to your trailer for power and connects wirelessly through WiFi with the tow vehicle monitor is the best solution.
A “wired” camera system refers to how the camera communicates with the monitor. For a “wired” system, it requires a harness that runs from each camera through the trailer and all the way to the tow vehicle monitor. Talk about a lot of wires and harnesses to contend with (it’s a huge problem actually).
A “wireless” camera system communicates with the tow vehicle monitor without wires. Meaning, you plug in the monitor in the truck to the 12V cell phone charging port, pair with the cameras, and you are good to go.
Our recommendation is for the camera to be connected to the trailer for power, and the camera should be wireless to transmit the signal to the monitor in the tow vehicle.
Power comes from the tow vehicle’s wiring to the trailer plug or the trailer's auxiliary battery, which also connects to the tow vehicle.
We use RanchCams. We had a client in 2013 that wanted that particular brand in their horse trailer, so we ordered for the first time from Patrick (the owner of RanchCams). Since that time, it’s developed into a nice partnership. Patrick at RanchCams offers excellent support in case our clients need help, plus the camera works well for long-term durability. We’ve had very few issues.
There are a few things that you should ensure a horse trailer camera system has before you purchase it (and - all the ones on our recommended list have these features).
A wide angle lens will guarantee that you are able to see all your horses that are loaded in the trailer, and it will give you a better view of what’s going on.
When you’re driving down the road, it’s never completely silent. There will be noise from the road, your tow vehicle, and your trailer. Unfortunately, just being able to see your horses doesn’t always guarantee that everything is peachy in the trailer. Being able to hear what’s going on is necessary.
A camera system isn’t going to do you any good if the quality is terrible and you can’t clearly see to check on your horses.
You may never intend to travel at night, but things happen. It’s important that your camera system has the capability to switch to night mode so that you can check on your horses in the dark as well.
Of course, we never expect accidents to happen. With electronics and technology, the unexpected often happens. It’s important to find a camera system that has a manufacturer warranty, so that if something is damaged or broken, you can get it fixed/replaced.
We receive a lot of questions from clients asking “why can’t I use the available camera system on my GMC?” Well, you can…
However, it’s a “wired” system and not really practical for horse trailers. The reason being has to do with the wiring harness provided by GMC. As you can see from the photo below, it has large connectors on both ends of the harness which means you will not be able to run the wires inside the trailer frame and hide them. You either have to mount the harness underneath the trailer, on top, etc. For the camera mounted on the back door exterior, the harness will be exposed on the exterior of your trailer which is unsightly and it can easily get damaged.
Hopefully GMC will come up with a solution at some point to communicate with Bluetooth or Wifi cameras through pairing so owners can use wireless cameras (no harness).
Best For: Those who want a camera with long-term durability from a reputable brand with great customer service.
If you're looking for the best camera for your horse trailer, look no further than RanchCams. RanchCams is the horse trailer camera system used on Double D Horse Trailers. The wired trailer system with 1 camera is sufficient for up to 3 horses. RanchCams also offers some wireless camera packages up to 4 cameras, including rear view cams for backing, and checking the next lane for lane changes (these are a bit pricier.) RanchCams has both wired and wireless systems available to fit your needs. All system packages come with everything that you need to install and use the camera system.
Cameras are dust proof and waterproof and built to RanchCams specifications
Camera view is wall to wall and floor to ceiling without fisheye
Easy installation (with instructions provided in the package)
Monitor offers many adjustments: brightness, camera/channel change, single view, split view, quad view, and trigger capabilities
Full-color viewing in daylight, infrared black & white in low-light/no-light
Wireless system is fully digital and transmits via Radio Frequency (RF). This is superior to Bluetooth and Wifi for range, clarity, and signal lock.
One year guarantee. Money-back satisfaction guarantee.
Easy connections for camera and no electrical connections in the towing vehicle. In wired systems, there are no electrical connections as all the power comes from the power port/cigarette lighter of your tow vehicle
RanchCams has been selling trailer camera systems since 2004, and they still service all their products in-house.
In addition to the camera, RanchCams camera kits come with a monitor sunshade, a remote control, permanent pedestal mount, and a suction cap for easy camera mounting. The systems are delivered to work and any extras that are needed are available at no additional cost.
"Love having the camera on my horses. Gives me peace of mind in case one might fall down which happened once to our old girl on a trip. We were able to pull over quickly and get her back up before she was hurt."
-Shelley, Owner of a Double D Living Quarters Horse Trailer with RanchCams system installed
"Ours have already paid for themselves. We sat down in the truck and immedietely my kid jumps up and runs for the trailer. On the monitor it showed their mare had reared up and got her leg stuck over the divider. Luckily she was still able to have weight on the other three legs. Our plan was to unlatch and lower the divider but she reared up and my friend was able to pop the hoof right back over. Zena was totally okay. Without the cameras we would have driven 20 minutes and who knows what we would have found when we opened the doors at the trail head. The clip makes my stomach hurt but I am so grateful it turned out ok."
-Adriane, Owner of a Double D Bumper Pull Horse Trailer with RanchCams system installed
RanchCams Camera System video footage of the incident courtesy of Adriane
"This video shows when our mare Zena got her leg stuck over the divider and we were able to extricate her right away due to having the video and my kid seeing it happen before we even pulled out of the driveway. It starts with her leg already over because we had just turned the monitor on and she was already like that. Now we have the monitor going before we load. Events: Get in truck, turn on monitor, kid alerts and dashes out of truck. Kid goes in trailer while I open escape door to calm Zena since the kiddo was already opening the back up. Friend goes in with kid, I switch spots with kid. Plan was to lower the divider but as we were about to do that she reared again and we just popped her hoof back over. I have no doubt though that we would have been able to just lower the divider since it doesn't have to be lifted up in order to remove it. An unforeseen great feature. We had her unstuck within two minutes of seeing her on the camera in distress. Notice how she calms down the moment she sees her kiddo. She doesn't rear again until the moment we get her loose. We now remove that divider when hauling her alone even though she's never done that again. I do sometimes wish I had the no gap divider. We were so grateful for the cameras that day. Adults then stand there discussing how great the camera is while kiddo loves on Zena and climbs through the escape door. Her kid immediately checked her legs for injuries and we unloaded and trotted her out. She never came up lame. Luckily she was able to still have all 3 of her other feet fully on the ground while she waited for us to help. We obviously didn't move fast enough and that is why she reared so we could pop her foot over. I can't imagine how bad her injuries would have been with no camera and opening those doors 20 minutes later at our destination." - Adriane
Best For: Those who want a crystal clear monitor and a wireless camera.
The wireless horse trailer camera system with 3 cameras and a monitor will cost you around $800. A nice perk of this system is that the monitor is 7 inches, so you can see your horses on a larger display screen.
7-inch monitor with 150 feet wireless range
Split screen capabilities; full-color during the day with night vision
Backup camera has a 120 degree viewable angle
According to online user reviews, the TadiBrothers camera system is very easy to install. It comes with an instruction manual, an allen wrench, pigtails, antenna extender, and a cigarette adapter. Another great feature from TadiBrothers is that their customer service is excellent - if you’re stumped on anything there are a ton of videos on their site, and their team seems easily accessible.
Best For: Those on a budget and only need 2 cameras.
If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a wireless horse trailer camera and can get away with only having 2 cameras, this kit is for you. It’s usually priced for less than $250. You get 2 cameras and a 7” monitor.
Four-way video input
24-hour online customer service
2-year replacement warranty
Although this camera system is “cheap," it has a great warranty, and has almost 900 reviews on Amazon with close to 5 stars. If you need a budget-friendly camera system for your trailer, this one will be a good fit.
Best for: Those who only need 1 camera.
Most people probably won’t be able to get away with using only 1 camera. If you’re only hauling a little 1 horse bumper pull, don’t need a backup camera, and you just want to keep an eye on your 1 horse while traveling - this wireless camera is a nice option. Plus, it’s cheap. It’s usually priced around $150.
*Note: You can purchase this system for up to 4 cameras, but it’s really only a steal of a deal if you’re hauling a single horse.
DVR recording and playback
7 inch display screen
Easy to install
This camera system is as basic as it gets. The monitor works as soon as you connect the power cable to your cigarette lighter, and the camera is powered by your running lights. This camera system has been tested for up to 100ft at highway speeds.
Best for: Those who want a system with glowing customer reviews.
The Yakry wireless camera kit comes with 2 cameras and a monitor, and it’s priced for less than $250. What really caught our attention about this camera system is that it has over 1,000 customer reviews on Amazon and close to 5 stars.
Easy to install
HD 1080P touchbutton monitor (7 inches)
Signal tested up to 320ft.
According to customer reviews, this company really excels in the customer service department. It’s also been stated by many reviewers that when mounted, the camera system is very stable and doesn’t bounce around. One customer stated, “My total length is about 45 feet and the signal was good going down the road at 65mph.”
I know what you might be thinking. This guy is talking an awful lot about horse trailer cameras - what makes him an expert, and why should I spend my money based on what he suggests? I’m the owner of Double D Trailers. I grew up on a farm with all kinds of livestock, and I’ve been manufacturing horse trailers for over 20+ years. For almost 10 years, I’ve had a close working relationship with a reputable horse trailer camera provider, RanchCams. All of our trailers that have a camera system installed before delivery are operated by RanchCams. I’ve seen this camera operate well for customer after customer. Not only that, with selling so many trailers and then customers coming back who have added camera systems to their horse trailers after purchasing, I’ve discussed and learned their favorites over the years.
Finding the right horse trailer camera system for your trailer is necessary for both you and your horses. You can travel to your next camping event, horse show, or rodeo without having to worry about not being able to keep eyes on your horse.
Can you use horse trailer cameras on RVs?
You could, but I’m not sure why you would want to monitor the inside of your RV while traveling (unless your kids are in there - which is illegal). A camera could be placed on the exterior rear of the RV which would help with backing up, as well as seeing traffic behind you.
How many cameras should you have inside of your horse trailer?
Up to a 3 horse trailer, one interior camera is fine and one back up camera. Typically, on a 4 horse trailer or greater, you should add 2 interior cameras and 1 for backup.
How long does it take to install a horse trailer camera?
That depends on your level of handiness. Usually, it takes a couple of hours to install a horse trailer camera for the first time. The monitor takes no time if it’s one that plugs into power rather than being hardwired.
Can you record on a horse trailer camera?
This depends on which horse trailer camera system that you choose. The systems from RanchCams can record and have a built-in SD card slot.
Where to mount a horse trailer camera?
For a straight load or slant load horse trailer up to 3 horses, we find that the rear of the trailer near the ceiling is the best as you can see all of the horses, and none of them can raise their heads to block the camera view. Head to head trailers will require multiple cameras, keeping in mind that you are still best served with a view from the rear of the trailer.
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