3-Horse Bumper Pull Trailers: Buy the Best on the Market
Did you know that you can enjoy a high-quality, brand-new 3-horse trailer without necessarily breaking the bank or opting for a gooseneck? 3-horse bumper pulls are often the perfect solution for equestrians who need spacious, affordable trailers, as long as the latter can accommodate their horses safely and comfortably. After all, horse trailer transportation is all about horse safety and comfort.
However, finding the ideal balance between build and material quality, safety features, and price is easier said than done. To make an informed buying decision, you must understand the pros, cons, and must-haves of a 3-horse bumper pull trailer. In today’s article, we’ll help you purchase the best 3-horse tag-along on the market by focusing on key aspects you should consider and highlighting the important factors that outline a safe, practical, and durable 3-horse bumper pull trailer.
8 Key Considerations When Buying a 3-Horse Bumper Pull Trailer
Wondering what are the most important characteristics you should contemplate before acquiring a 3-horse bumper pull trailer? This section provides the top 8 answers: loading style, height & width, towing requirements, construction materials, safety features, storage compartments, flooring, and pricing. Understanding them all is crucially important for making the right decision when in the market for a 3-horse bumper trailer, starting with the loading style and trailer layout.
1. Loading Style
3-horse bumper pull trailers come in three loading styles: slant load, straight load, and reverse load. Trailers come with either loading ramps or doors installed in the back or on the side. Deciding on a particular configuration should be dictated by the breed, size, health, age, and habits of your horses, alongside your budget, needs, and preferences.
In general, slant load bumper pull trailers provide more comfort for horses and allow for a fully utilized interior space. This layout enhances weight distribution and load balance. A slant load configuration improves unloading while allowing horses to balance their weight with greater ease and thus travel more comfortably while reducing fatigue and stress.
Slant load bumper pull trailers accommodate horses in an angled position, ideally facing the rear of the trailer. As stated in an article on horse trailer maintenance and trailering safety found on the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station website, slant load trailers ease the stress on horses and allow them to travel in a more stable position, especially during acceleration or when reducing speed and coming to a complete stop.
Slant load horse trailer pros:
- Horses experience less fatigue and stress
- Better load balance
- Easier and safer unloading
- Improved interior space utilization thanks to solutions such as SafeTack
Slant load horse trailer cons:
- Often more expensive than straight load horse trailers
- Large horses may not feel comfortable in slant stalls
3-horse straight load trailers most often come with a walkthrough configuration featuring a side door for the handler. Loading more than two horses in a straight configuration can be difficult because of the trailer’s width.
Straight load horse trailer pros:
- More affordable than slant load horse trailers in general
- Sometimes more suitable for larger horses
- Most 3-horse straight load trailers come with a walk-out door for the handler to exit
Straight load horse trailer cons:
- 3-horse straight load trailers need to be bigger than slant load models to provide adequate space for horses
3 horse straight load models are NOT common by any horse trailer manufacturer as this would be a 2+1 configuration. Double D Trailers always suggests a 3 Horse Reverse Load over a 2+1 Straight Load for safety reasons. Read the Top Pick section below to find out why we recommend the SafeTack Reverse 3-Horse model instead of other configurations.
Reverse load horse trailers accommodate horses in stalls facing the rear of the trailer. In a slant load bumper pull rig, such a position allows horses to be more stable during traveling. This reduces the fatigue and stress they inevitably experience.
A study by Sharon Cregier and Odessa Holmes, published on the Academia.edu website, debates the welfare of horses during transport based on popular equestrian David J. Holmes’ experience. His research on the matter concluded that horses can always find their ideal, natural position to achieve a safely balanced stance during transport. In several experiments, Holmes discovered that horses most often preferred a rear-facing position.
Reverse load horse trailer pros:
- More comfort for the horses due to their specific position which allows them to balance their weight
- Easier loading and unloading
- Better utilization of the interior space
Reverse load horse trailer cons:
- Some reverse load bumper pull horse trailers may offer restricted headroom for larger breeds
Internal Layout and Design: A Critical Factor for Ease of Loading/Unloading
Stall arrangement inside a 3-horse bumper pull horse trailer and accessibility during loading/unloading are critical factors when choosing such a rig. They determine comfort and safety levels while the trailer is in motion.
3-horse slant load bumper pull trailers with a reverse load configuration can provide unrestricted access to the frontmost horse without having to unload the other two, alongside easy unloading out the back, but only in cases they are designed to allow this. The Double D Trailers SafeTack 3-Horse Slant Trailer is a prime example of this in the bumper pull realm. This makes such a layout the ideal solution to guarantee safe loading/unloading.
Choosing the perfect 3-horse bumper pull trailer starts with layout planning, but height and width are the next important factors to ponder when the time to order your brand-new rig comes.
2. Height, Length & Width Dimensions
When comparing different 3-horse bumper pull trailers, confirm that you’re always matching the right dimensions, as there are internal and external height and width to consider. External dimensions describe the trailer’s overall size, while internal measurements give you the usable interior space. The latter always matters more, as it gives you a clue about whether your horses would fit inside and feel comfortable or not.
In various listings, overall height, length, and width would most often refer to the external dimensions. Interior dimensions are commonly mentioned as separate values, such as stall width and inside height, for example. The standard interior height of a 3-horse bumper pull trailer is 7' 4", the average width is around 7', while the standard exterior length is around 20' including the hitch. For instance, the SafeTack 3 Horse Slant Load Bumper Pull Trailer is available with an optional 7' 6" interior height, allowing horses of up to 17 hands to feel comfortable and enjoy enough headroom.
The exterior dimensions of a 3-horse bumper pull horse trailer refer to its outer length, height, and width, including all running gear, hitch, and other equipment. These values may vary, depending on the trailer model and layout. Understanding terms such as “overall box length", "height", and "width" is key when researching and comparing 3-horse bumper pull trailers.
Overall Box Length
This is the total length of the horse trailer, excluding the hitch. The box length of a horse trailer depends on its capacity and layout. With 3-horse trailers, a slant load model would most often be shorter than a straight load alternative with an approximate length of 18’.
The exterior height of a 3-horse bumper pull trailer is measured from the ground to the highest point of its upright structure, which can be a roof vent or a lighting fixture, for example.
This is the full width of the trailer, measured between the outermost fixtures on its left and right side, which could be fender flares, running boards, side steps, ladders, lighting fixtures, ramps, and so forth.
SHOWN ABOVE: Floorplan of a 3 Horse Slant Load Bumper Pull from Double D Trailers with both internal and external measurements notated.
The internal dimensions of a bumper pull horse trailer indicate the usable space inside and determine if your horses would fit safely and comfortably or not. The important interior proportions to consider and compare when in the market for such a rig include “inside height”, alongside “stall width” and “depth” or “inside length”.
The inside height of a 3-horse bumper pull trailer stands for the distance between the highest floor point and the inside of the trailer’s roof system. It’s one of the essential factors to consider when purchasing any horse trailer. It will determine if your horses will have enough freedom of movement and avoid head injury during traveling.
Stall width determines the size of the space where each of the horses stands in while the trailer is in motion. It’s yet another crucial factor to determine if your horse will be comfortable and safe inside the trailer. The size of this interior section can sometimes be made-to-order, as long as the manufacturer offers custom solutions.
Depth or Inside Length
The depth of a horse trailer refers to its inside length, measuring from the front to the back of its interior space. Sometimes, depth only stands for the size of the horse area, not counting dressing or tack rooms.
While exterior and interior dimensions play a key role when it comes to horse trailer safety and comfort, usability, and practicality, there are equally important factors to consider when searching for the best 3-horse bumper pull trailer on the market, such as towing requirements.
3. Towing Requirements
3-horse bumper pull trailers are different, and so are the towing requirements you should meet to achieve maximum safety while on the road. Take the SafeTack 3 Horse Slant Bumper Pull Trailer, for example. It boasts a reliable 2 5/16” coupler equipped with safety cables. Such a configuration allows various vehicles to pull the trailer, not only pickup trucks.
As long as your SUV or truck has the towing capacity to match and can handle the trailer’s vertical tongue weight, you should be good to go. Knowing the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of your tow vehicle plays a key role: it’s the number of the maximum weight the vehicle can handle, including its own mass, passengers, equipment, and tongue weight.
Transporting horses safely is impossible without carefully assessing the capabilities of your tow vehicle and the weight it needs to pull. The GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating) is the number to remember: it stands for the combined weight of a fully equipped tow vehicle and loaded trailer.
Several factors determine a 3-horse bumper pull trailer’s weight, such as size, fabrication methods, layout, additional equipment, load capacity, and, most of all, materials. Understanding how a trailer’s weight and safety are determined by the materials it comprises should be one of the pivotal steps of your search for the ultimate 3-horse bumper pull trailer.
It’s neither the lightest one nor the heaviest you could find but the one that can handle the intended weight and that your tow vehicle can pull safely and efficiently.
4. Construction Material
If a 3-horse bumper pull trailer is intended to haul large horse breeds, then it would be heavier than usual because of the extra materials used for fabricating a rig with bigger dimensions. If you study and compare the materials different manufacturers use, you will notice that some brands offer lighter-than-average models without compromising build quality or safety. Double D Trailers, for instance, achieves such a result by incorporating a number of patented technologies, such as the Z-Frame material used for frame construction and the flexible SafeBump roof system.
Durability, longevity, and maintenance are other aspects largely determined by horse trailer construction materials. Steel trailers are the heaviest of them all, and despite they’re flexible enough, they are prone to rusting. All-aluminum alternatives are lighter but not as flexible as they should be. Also, aluminum conducts heat and can suffer from corrosion, which means it’s not the perfect horse trailer material.
There are alternatives to go for, such as various composites and new technologies in metal fabrication. A fine example of the latter is Z-Frame Technology – a unique method that utilizes zinc and chromate to coat the inside and outside of steel tubing used for trailer frames and stall dividers. The result is a lightweight, strong material that doesn’t conduct heat and is completely protected from rust and the elements.
A 3-horse bumper pull horse trailer needs to handle quite a load, so the materials used for fabricating one should be light, cost-effective, stronger than aluminum, and more durable than steel. Z-Frame is the obvious solution we recommend because it’s all of those things and more.
Z-Frame Technology pros:
- Resistant to rust and corrosion
- Doesn’t allow tears and weld cracks
- Prevents heat conduction
- Keeps weight low
Z-Frame Technology cons:
- Exclusive to Double D Trailers
Aluminum is a widely used material in horse trailer manufacturing. Several brands produce all-aluminum models. It has some advantages, such as the fact it’s lighter than steel. Still, it’s usually too thin and brittle, making it an unsafe choice for bumper pull horse trailers.
Aluminum horse trailer pros:
- Lighter than all-steel trailers
- Resistant to rust
Aluminum horse trailer cons:
- Prone to corrosion
- Not flexible enough
- Harder to insulate due to the excellent heat conducting qualities of aluminum
Steel almost always plays a role in fabricating a horse trailer. It’s affordable, rigid, and far more flexible than aluminum, thus structural cracks are unlikely. It weighs more than aluminum, too, but it can handle the load of a 3-horse bumper pull trailer with greater ease, not to mention that it’s not a good heat conductor, which increases interior comfort.
Steel horse trailer pros:
- Affordable material that’s easy to process
- Flexible enough to prevent structural cracks and tears
- Handles stress and abuse far better than aluminum
Steel horse trailer cons:
- Prone to rusting
- Weights more than aluminum
- Harder to insulate due to the excellent heat conducting qualities of aluminum
Suspension System: An Important Factor in a Trailer's Overall Construction
While the features and factors of a 3-horse bumper pull trailer’s frame and upright structure outline its practicality, safety, and comfort, there’s another critical area to contemplate: suspension.
The suspension system of any bumper pull trailer is an important part of its construction and plays a key role when it comes to ride comfort, road stability and safety, and longevity. The suspension must be adequate and compliant with the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) and GAW (Gross Axle Weight) indicators. It’s best to rely on a rigid, yet comfortable suspension system, such as the Torflex axle system instead of relying on the classic leaf spring axle assembly. This results in better handling and far more comfortable ride for the horses.
Having overrated or underrated suspension is equally bad for your 3-horse bumper pull trailer’s safety. Even when your rig is equipped with the most adequate and advanced suspension system, it could still benefit from a plethora of safety features that ensure the well-being of your horses during transport.
5. Safety Features
Safety should always be the top priority in horse trailer manufacturing, period. To guarantee this goal is met, fabricating a 3-horse bumper pull trailer should include all possible safety features, some of which ensure horses are protected during transport while providing additional comfort.
3-horse bumper pull trailers are obviously crowded: hauling not one, but three horses requires immaculate space utilization to keep horses safe and comfortable. This is where stall dividers come in. They need to be sturdy, practical, and designed with safety in mind. Horses should be able to move their heads freely while not being too confined.
When it comes to common materials used for stall dividers, aluminum comes to mind, but such dividers are brittle, and larger horses can damage them, which can lead to injuries. Therefore, a better solution is needed. The Z-Frame Technology used by Double D Trailers does the trick: it allows for light, yet very strong full-length dividers that can handle all the stress they’re exposed to in everyday use.
The need for interior padding should always be recognized by both manufacturers and buyers, especially regarding 3-horse slant load bumper pull trailers. Padded walls and dividers are imperative safety features because they can prevent injuries if a horse loses balance and hits the nearest surface inside the trailer. If that surface is padded, It’s less likely that the horse will be seriously hurt. Double D Trailers, for example, offers custom-made stall dividers and interior wall padding for all bumper pull trailers in production.
Even the most budget-friendly 3-horse bumper pull trailer needs proper ventilation. This safety feature plays a significant role in assuring horses’ well-being. Pop-up vents above each individual stall are recommended, alongside large enough windows, preferably equipped with a mid-latch system and drop-down screens. This ensures excellent airflow while keeping horses safe from debris, not to mention the light they allow inside the trailer, which is beneficial for horses during traveling.
Double D Trailers relies on Statewide for the windows of all 3-horse bumper pull trailers. The build quality is excellent, and the design eliminates the need for extra caulking and introduces separate bars, which can stay up when the windows are down, thus enhancing safety.
A review dedicated to heat stress in horses posted by a group of authors on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website suggests that horses can only maintain optimum body temperature when they’re exposed to the right air temperature and humidity. Therefore, except for sufficient ventilation, a 3-horse bumper pull trailer must be well-insulated to prevent horses from suffering heat stress while inside.
Quality insulation not only helps maintain a balanced temperature inside the trailer but also absorbs ambient noise and vibration, which further reduces stress in horses and contributes to their comfortable transportation.
A study on horse stall confinement by Thomas R. Lenz published on the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ website explains that, when confined, horses may experience health and emotional issues. This includes bumper pull horse trailer stalls. One way to reduce the feeling of confinement is to introduce proper lighting.
There are plenty of modern solutions that can illuminate every corner of your 3-horse bumper pull trailer and thus enhance safety while loading/unloading and when in motion. The availability of side and rear loading lights, individual stall lighting, dome and clearance lights, side markers, and other fixtures is strongly advised.
In addition to interior lighting, Double D Trailers offers bright and airy interiors.
Emergency Exits/Escape Doors
All 3-horse bumper pull trailers can benefit from a full-height side exit door. Some base models boast such a feature, while others offer it as an additional option. The availability of an escape door introduces extra safety for handlers, which is why it’s an important addition to consider.
A fully loaded 3-horse slant load bumper pull trailer can weigh close to 10,000 pounds, sometimes even more. This means that adequate brakes should be an essential part of its safety features. You should be able to rely on all the braking power you can get, but it needs to be delivered gently, meaning that adequate performance and settings are key factors here.
The braking system of your 3-horse bumper pull rig can be either hydraulic or electric, and it’s most often assisted by a secondary system referred to as an emergency breakaway system that’s activated in case the primary braking system fails. Electric brakes are simpler to maintain because there are fewer components compared to hydraulic ones. Plus, they’re also easier to operate because they allow better control.
6. Storage Compartments
3-horse bumper pull trailers can be very practical if they’re designed cleverly. Using every square inch of interior space is important because it allows manufacturers to create a layout that accommodates three horses and all related tack and gear safely and neatly without having to add to the trailer’s dimensions.
Double D Trailers’ SafeTack 3 Horse Slant Load Bumper Pull Trailer is a textbook example of how every last inch of interior space can be utilized. Its swing-out SafeTack compartment in the back offers plenty of room for storage and eliminates one of the primary issues related to horse transport: unloading horses through the rear ramp safely and stress-free.
7. Flooring Material
The floor of any 3-horse bumper pull horse trailer serves more than a single purpose. It must be durable to withstand everyday use, resistant to contaminants and debris, and easy to maintain. As a safety feature, it must provide enough grip via its non-slip surface. This means that common solutions such as wooden or aluminum floors are nowhere near the ultimate choice.
There’s a proven-to-be-effective alternative to common flooring solutions: a synthetic material marketed as Rumber flooring is an excellent choice for horse trailer floors for several reasons:
- It’s easy to clean
- It’s durable and flexible
- It doesn’t rust or corrode
- It reduces noise and vibration
- It provides a non-slip surface that doubles as additional insulation
8. Price Range
A 3-horse bumper pull trailer can cost anywhere between $13,000 and $40,000+ for a base model, depending on size, layout, construction materials, fabrication methods, brand, and other factors. The price can change significantly due to additional equipment and custom touches, such as changes in the trailer’s dimension due to larger horses, safety and comfort features and accessories, and more.
Horse Trailer Brand: An Influential Factor in Pricing
Most manufacturers offer countless options for customization, but it’s their reputation that matters a lot. According to the Horse Trailer Blue Book, a horse trailer can lose up to 10% of its value in the first years after purchase, and up to 76% by the end of its 10th year. Depending on the brand’s reputation and other dynamics, these numbers can be more acceptable: 10% depreciation in the first years and up to 55% after 10 years. Therefore, choosing a reputable brand with a proven track record of fabricating quality trailers, such as Double D Trailers, is part of making a truly informed buying decision. The company is known not only for the reliability and longevity of its lineup but also for the numerous innovations introduced to the industry over the last 25+ years. Here’s how it stands against other manufacturers when it comes to 3-horse bumper pull trailers.
|Double D Trailers SafeTack 3 Horse
|Slant Load, Reverse or Forward Facing
|Customizable interior height (standard 7'4", optional 7'6")
|Z-Frame Technology, 16 Gauge Galvalite
|SafeTack compartment, SafeKick walls, SafeBump composite roof, Rumber flooring
|Base price: $39,736
|Interior height: 7'
|Removable dividers, Side exit door, Drop-down windows Base price:
|Base price: $35,900
|Interior height: 7'6"
|Padded dividers, Rubber matting
|Base price: $33,651
|Trails West Classic 3H
|Interior height: 7'
|Steel frame, aluminum body
|Wood flooring for reduced heat transfer, Drop-down feed door
|Base price: $26,970
|Cimarron 3H Bumper Pull
|Interior height: 7'1"
|Customizable designs, Various add-ons available
|Base price: $37,499
Top Pick: The Safest 3-Horse Bumper Pull Trailer You Should Consider
Double D Trailers’ SafeTack 3 Horse Slant Load Bumper Pull Trailer is a top choice to make. It’s fabricated using the latest technology, such as the patented Z-Frame and the 3M VHB bonding solution. This 3 horse bumper pull trailer is highly customizable, but even the standard model comes heavily equipped with dozens of features, such as
- Standard 2” padding on slant wall and dividers
- Remote switch lights in the horse area
- SafeTack swing-out compartment in the rear
- Full height rear doors
- Emergency breakaway system
- Floor mats in horse area
An obvious alternative to the SafeTack 3 Horse Slant Load Bumper Pull Trailer would be the 3 Horse Gooseneck Slant Load Trailer with Sleeping Quarters. It’s more than 7’ longer than the slant load bumper pull model because of the gooseneck section, but the extra length provides enough space for a sleeping area in the front, which can be a good enough reason to choose this model. Its biggest advantage and key selling point is the double side ramp, which is not available for Double D Trailers 3-horse bumper pulls, as they would be too tongue-heavy and therefore unsafe.
Deciding between this 3-horse bumper pull trailer and its 3-horse gooseneck alternative comes down to personal preferences. If you have an adequately sized pickup truck to serve as a tow vehicle and demand sleeping amenities and a double side ramp, then we recommend the gooseneck, hands down. In all other cases, the SafeTack 3 Horse Slant Load Bumper Pull Trailer is a great choice to make, not to mention its base price is approximately $5,000 lower, which gives room for custom touches.
What Customers Say About Double D Trailers' 3-Horse Bumper Pull Models
A horse trailer brand’s reputation is the result of its clients’ opinions and satisfaction. Double D Trailers’ customers who already enjoy their 3-horse bumper pull trailers often share their experience. To sum it up, here’s what they point out in their reviews, often in comparison to their experience with other manufacturers:
- "[It] pulls nicely behind my 30ft motorhome & handles well when backing/parking... at this point my mares do not walk around in their stall spaces." - Sandy Branham from Indiana
- "I had been searching online for trailers and Double D was the only one that actually allowed me to build it online... The online access initially got me to look at them and the customer service and perceived quality of the trailer was what got me to buy it." - Lory Hopkins from Pilot Hill, California
- "I wanted a trailer with a complete open rear and they provided it plus tack space." - Mayna Taylor from Deridder, LA
Your Go-To Checklist for Selecting the Best 3 Horse Bumper Pull Trailer
Choosing the best 3-horse bumper pull horse trailer takes a lot of time and comparing even when you know what to look for. Still, it always helps to have a list of key factors to consider before making a final decision. Here’s a list of the pivotal aspects to contemplate:
- Compare forward and reverse load styles in 3-horse bumper pull trailers
- Make sure you can custom-order the right stall width and height for your horses
- Research construction materials and fabrication processes to find the best solutions
- Choose rivet-free fabrication and durable, rust-resistant materials
- Check brand reputation via user reviews and comparison tests published online
- Demand all the safety and comfort features you can get for your budget
- Confirm your tow vehicle is suitable for your trailer of choice
- Opt for the best price/quality/equipment/customer service ratio instead of the cheapest trailer you can find
- Read the terms and conditions related to manufacturing a custom trailer, as well as delivery, warranty, and service
Ready to Choose? Next Steps in Selecting Your 3-Horse Bumper Pull Trailer
The key insights this guide has given you are what you need to make an informed choice and acquire the best 3-horse bumper pull trailer on the market. When you align this knowledge with your needs and preferences, you can find the ultimate solution at the right price. There’s no stopping you from getting what you want!
If you’re ready to go for it. let's discuss the details of your dream horse trailer.
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