Written by Rachael Kraft
For some, a draft horse trailer is the best, safest… and only option. That’s because owners of draft horses, warmbloods, and other large breeds are used to working with horses that are over 17 hands.
Does this sound like you? You regularly use a 3-step mounting block before a ride, you rarely see the back of your horse while brushing, and you head right to the extra large section of the tack shop when finding equipment. (Yup… we thought so!)
Draft horse size trailers are built with extra width, length, and height so that large breeds feel comfortable and protected while on the road. Since you’re head-over-heels in love with your enormous equine, a normal cramped trailer just won’t do.
Many brands may claim to have a draft horse trailer for sale, but fall short when it comes to size. Ultimately, a gooseneck horse trailer with modifications for extra space is the safest option to trailer your draft horse, warmblood, or other large breed.
A typical draft horse trailer can accommodate horses that range in size from 16 to 19 hands. When you think about it, even warmblood horses are often over 17 hands in height. Large breed horses like these need more space than the average horse to be comfortable on the road. Many large breed horse owners worry that a slant load trailer will be too small and cramped for their horses.
However, a slant load gooseneck can be a great draft horse trailer if it has all the essential safety features to keep your horse safe. Large breed owners are going to want a few extra adjustments to turn a regular gooseneck trailer into an official draft horse trailer.
Typically, draft horse trailers or warmblood horse trailers are more spacious than normal horse trailers. Usually they are extra tall and extra wide to accommodate your large breed horse’s size. They also have larger stalls so the horses don’t feel claustrophobic.
Yes, you do!
Horses that are cramped in the trailer during travel are not happy horses - and they are not going to want to get back in for future trips. If you want to have a smooth and problem-free loading process, make sure your horse trailer for draft horses is a comfortable space for your horse.
But how do you know if you need an extra tall horse trailer or not? Well, consider this… Most horse trailer manufacturers use the “one size fits all” philosophy. And typically, they design trailers to fit horses that are about 15.2 to 15.3 hands. That’s a pretty narrow window, and if your horse doesn’t fit into that size range, it’s likely that he won’t be comfortable in a normal trailer.
At Double D Trailers, we know that horses come in all different shapes and sizes. For that reason, your horse trailer needs to be just as unique as your horses. So, to make sure you have the best horse trailer for your horses - no matter how big they are - all Double D Trailers are custom designed to fit your horse.
Brad Heath, owner of Double D Trailers, explained that adjusting the height and width of your horse trailer just a little bit can make all the difference. He said, “if you add just one more foot to the stall width, it supports a horse up to 16.2 hands. And if you increase the stall width by 1-foot and increase the trailer width to 90”, it will be perfect for a draft horse or warmblood who is over 17 hands. We can even change the width to 96” or the legal limit of 102” for even more head and neck comfort.”
So, if your horse is larger than 17 hands, you’ll definitely want to explore an extra tall, extra wide, and extra long trailer. This will allow more space in each individual stall for your large breed.
Custom-sized horse trailer stalls make it possible for your large breed horse to travel comfortably in a slant load trailer or a gooseneck trailer. They ensure that even your biggest horses will arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to perform.
Since gooseneck horse trailers are designed to transport more horses and support more weight than bumper pull trailers, we definitely recommend you get a gooseneck horse trailer (not a bumper pull horse trailer) for your large breed horse. But, no matter what type of draft horse trailer you decide to go with, there are a few essential safety features that your trailer must have…
Like we mentioned previously, stall size is one of the most important features in a draft horse trailer for draft horses, warmbloods and other large breeds. If your horse feels cramped or stuck in the trailer, his cortisol levels will rise and he could get sick or stressed during travel. Make sure your horse has enough space to shift his weight and adjust his balance during travel.
Use the graphic below to determine how tall and wide your horse’s stall should be depending on how big he is:
Check out the trailer design plans for each of these 2 horse gooseneck trailers.
You can also increase the height of your trailer to allow for extra head room. This helps the trailer feel bigger and minimizes your horse’s stress during loading and unloading. Adding just two inches can make a big difference.
Research has shown that the loading and unloading process is one of the most stressful parts of trailering for your horse. It can also be a high-risk situation if your trailer is badly designed. Horse trailers for draft horses that have a narrow entryway because of a rear tack area are dangerous and create a claustrophobic loading space for you and your horse.
And if you have a large breed horse, the last place you want to be is trapped between the trailer wall and your 2,000 lbs horse. That’s why it’s best to have a trailer with a walk on, walk off loading system for any warmblood or draft horse trailer.
In a walk on, walk off loading system, you’ll never have to put your horse through the stressful experience of loading or unloading backwards. In draft horse trailers that have a side loading door and ramp, you can load your horse from the side door into a rear facing stall. Then, when it's time to unload, just walk him out the back doorway.
Double D Trailers are unique because our patented SafeTack design creates a simple and easy loading configuration. Our draft horse trailers are spacious, wide open, and give your horse plenty of room. In fact, in a Double D Trailer, you can often turn a smaller horse completely around!
Extra space is an essential for horse owners looking for an extra tall horse trailer for large breed horses.
Did you know that it’s best to trailer your horses in the rear-facing position in a draft horse trailer? Multiple equine studies have shown that when horses are trailered backwards - facing opposite the direction of travel - they are better able to balance, have lower cortisol levels, and arrive at their destination with less muscle fatigue.
Believe it or not, facing backwards actually helps your horse use his strong back legs to brace when the driver speeds up or stops. And for large horses, being able to balance is especially important. As the old adage says, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” And the last thing you want is for your large breed horse to fall and injure himself in the trailer.
That’s why you should look for a horse trailer for draft horses that allows you to transport your horses in the rear-facing position. In gooseneck horse trailers from Double D Trailers, you can choose between a forward or a rear-facing design. And, in our slant load gooseneck trailers, you can even trailer one horse forward facing and one horse backwards. It’s a unique and flexible design that lets you choose how to trailer your horses based on what’s best for them.
Since draft horse size trailers are used for some of the heaviest breeds – like Belgians, Clydesdales, and Warmbloods – look for a draft horse trailer for sale with durable and reliable building materials.
Always avoid draft horse trailers built with all-aluminum construction. Aluminum horse trailers are simply not strong enough or durable enough to protect your large breed horse. Horse trailers with aluminum floors are especially prone to rusting and decay, which could lead to floor failure. We’ve even heard cases of horse’s powerful hooves breaking through a weak aluminum trailer floor during travel, causing serious injury.
Large breed horses also need a trailer with good insulation and temperature control. Since they are larger animals that can overheat faster than smaller horses, a cool, well-ventilated trailer is a must. Make sure your trailer has lots of windows, a white interior, and roofing and flooring materials that don’t absorb heat. Or, if it’s a draft horse stock trailer, look for a model with a frame, flooring, walls, and roof that will hold up over time.
It’s also important to look for a trailer with a reliable construction. Double D Trailers come with:
Sturdy Z-Frame chassis for unbeatable strength.
Interior dividers that are well-padded and have a quick release bar for emergency situations,
A SafeBump roof that’s designed to flex and bend to protect your horse’s head in the case that he rears up.
Double D Trailers specializes in creating safety features like these (and more) to keep your horse safe and sound on the road.
Most horse owners start out with a bumper pull horse trailer when they start trailering their horses. Bumper pull trailers are usually less expensive, easier to tow for first time trailer drivers, and easy to hitch to your trailer for a quick trip.
The thought of towing a gooseneck trailer that’s more than double the size of your trusty bumper pull trailer can be frightening. But, making the switch from bumper pull to gooseneck opens a world of possibilities in terms of types of trips you can make, how many horses you can pull, and more.
With a gooseneck draft horse trailer and truck, you’ll be able to transport more horses (especially larger horses). With a horse trailer with living quarters, you’ll be able to camp - or should I say “glamp” - in your trailer overnight at horse shows and events. It’s not just super practical, it’s also comfortable, enjoyable and relaxing.
Gooseneck horse trailers are the best draft horse trailers. While they are significantly larger than bumper pull trailers, their size isn’t the only thing that makes them unique.
There are three main things that make gooseneck horse trailers different from your typical bumper pull horse trailer.
A horse trailer for draft horses is much heavier than a normal sized trailer. That means that to pull it safely, you’ll need a much stronger tow vehicle. You might have been able to haul your bumper pull with your SUV or a small truck, but that won’t work for your new gooseneck trailer. You’ll need a gooseneck trailer truck that has a strong enough towing capacity to support your trailer.
A draft horse trailer has extra space for a dressing room or living quarters where you can relax, spend the night, or take a break after a long day of riding. With Double D Trailers, you can design your gooseneck trailer and customize your extra space to make it just what you want it to be.
Draft horse trailers with a gooseneck can’t connect to a regular hitch on the back of your tow vehicle. Instead, you’ll need a special trailer hitch in the truck bed. The different gooseneck hitch placement gives you more stability while towing and makes maneuvering even easier.
Any draft horse stock trailer for sale or regular gooseneck horse trailer does require a special gooseneck hitch placement. So, it’s important to make sure you have the right tow vehicle to pull your new trailer. Trying to tow a heavy trailer with an inadequate tow vehicle can cause serious vehicle damage and, even worse - could lead to a serious road accident.
But, when your gooseneck trailer and truck work in harmony, the results are incredible. Here are some of the top benefits:
Travel is much smoother during interstate travel at high speeds like 75 mph or more. That’s because there’s less wind resistance on a V-nose gooseneck trailer, making for a smoother ride and better gas mileage as well.
Hitching up your trailer is less of a hassle. If you’ve towed a bumper pull trailer, you know that hitching up can be frustrating. Blindly attempting to line up the ball and coupler can test your patience. But, with a gooseneck trailer, it’s much easier. Since the hitch is in your trailer bed, it’s much more visible and you can easily line up the coupler and hitch ball.
The biggest benefit of gooseneck trailers is the extra living quarters space. You can custom design a draft horse trailer with living quarters to create a cozy living space, a beautiful dressing room, an entertainment area, or even a kitchen. When it comes to designing your gooseneck trailer, the possibilities are endless.
Before taking the leap and buying your first gooseneck draft horse trailer, make sure you choose a gooseneck horse trailer with a “V” nose at the front. If you choose to go with a flat-faced trailer, you won’t have as much flexibility and you could even bust your truck’s windows if you jack-knife your trailer while in reverse.
However, with a “V” nose trailer, the sloped area at the front of the trailer stays clear of your truck and eliminates any possibility of dangerous contact between your truck and your new trailer.
Another important detail to remember before buying a draft horse trailer is to make sure your tow vehicle is compatible with your horse trailer. And when we say “compatible,” we aren’t just talking about towing capacity. You also need to make sure your gooseneck truck bed isn’t too high to fit under your gooseneck. Some newer truck models have higher truck beds that makes it difficult to hitch to a gooseneck trailer. Before purchasing a gooseneck truck, double check - and then triple check - to make sure it’s going to be a good fit for your new trailer.
Perhaps the most important part of getting ready to haul your horses in your gooseneck trailer is your gooseneck hitch location in your trailer bed. If your ball location is too far forward in your truck, your trailer could swing around while you’re in reverse and bust out your back truck windows. If it’s positioned even just a little bit off, it could mess up the weight distribution of your gooseneck trailer and truck combination and throw off your towing performance.
A poorly placed hitch can cause lots of problems - which is why we recommend always having a reliable company or an installation expert who knows how to install a gooseneck hitch help you out.
Many new gooseneck trailer owners ask if they can do their gooseneck hitch measurements and installation by themselves. But, installing a gooseneck hitch DIY style at home is not a good idea. For the best trailer performance, a gooseneck hitch needs to be in the “sweet spot” of your truck bed. Installing a gooseneck hitch exactly in the “sweet spot” will make sure that you are towing safely and effectively.
It’s also important to choose a high-quality gooseneck horse trailer hitch. There are many different types of hitches out there, but most of them use a “bolt-in” style, where the hitch is attached to your trailer bed using strong metal bolts.
Brad Heath has installed hundreds of gooseneck hitches, and recommends a fold down gooseneck horse trailer hitch. Specifically, the brands he most recommends are Draw-Tite, Reece, and Atwood. These companies all offer fold-down style hitches that can be folded out of the way when you aren’t hauling your trailer, which many customers appreciate. They also have more flexible placement than a traditional bolt in gooseneck hitch.
Once you’ve found a quality brand trailer hitch, and someone with expertise in installing a gooseneck hitch plate, it’s time to place your hitch in your truck. For the gooseneck hitch placement, make sure your hitch is positioned at least 36 inches from the back glass of your window. This will ensure that your trailer doesn’t come into contact with your truck.
This is especially important if you have a full or tapered nose gooseneck trailer. These types of trailers are more prone to come into contact with your truck windows because they have parts that stick out and could damage your truck exterior.
However, if you have a gooseneck trailer with a “V” nose (like all Double D Trailers), this won’t be a problem. For gooseneck trailers with a “V” nose, you could position your hitch a little differently, depending on the width of your trailer.
When installing a gooseneck hitch, it’s also essential that your hitch is placed and installed directly over the centerline of your truck’s axles. In some cases, it can also be placed slightly in front of the axles. This type of placement ensures that your trailer’s weight will be correctly distributed on the truck.
Since gooseneck hitch placement is so important and installation can be a little complicated, depending on your specific truck and trailer, it’s best to leave this job to the experts. It’s important to find a reliable company that knows how to mount a gooseneck hitch. Having a properly installed hitch that won’t cause you any problems will save you lots of headaches down the road.
Once you’ve installed your gooseneck draft horse trailer hitch, you’re all ready to hit the road! If it’s your first time hauling a gooseneck trailer, there’s a few important things to remember.
Towing a gooseneck trailer is different from towing a bumper pull trailer, mostly because it’s much bigger than a traditional trailer. For that reason, it’s important to be extra cautious when making turns, merging, and backing up.
Always be aware of your surroundings and use your turn signals to alert other drivers to stay safe on the road.
When backing up a gooseneck trailer, take it slow. Backing up too fast or turning too sharply could cause your trailer to jack-knife and collide with other vehicles or objects.
Make sure to constantly check the side mirrors and if your gooseneck trailer does start to jack-knife, apply the brakes, move your gooseneck truck and trailer forward, and try backing up again, this time much slower.
After just a few trips with your new trailer, you’ll find that towing a gooseneck draft horse trailer isn’t that much different than towing a bumper pull trailer. In fact, you might even discover that it tows even smoother than your old trailer.
If you have any questions about designing your own unique draft horse trailer for your large breed horses, feel free to contact Brad Heath today. He’d be delighted to help you design a gooseneck trailer that’s perfect for you and your horses.
This article was written by Rachael Kraft and first published on Wednesday, 13 April 2022.
A draft horse trailer should be large enough to comfortably fit a horse who is 16-19 hands tall and weighing up to 2,000 lbs. The trailer should be 7’8” tall and 90” to 102” wide. This will allow slant load stalls to fit large breeds comfortably. Extra length of 15” will also help increase these stall sizes. Look for a SafeTack gooseneck draft horse trailer designed with a wide open loading area for easier transport of large breeds like draft horses and warmbloods.
A 17 hand horse needs a larger trailer with added height, width, and length to fit their size. The SafeTack gooseneck trailer can be built with a height of 7’8”, a width of 90” to 102”, and extra length to accommodate larger breeds.
A draft horse trailer will be 7’8” tall to give them enough room to stand comfortably. The trailer will have a width of 90” to 102” and extra length can be added. This extra space is added to increase the size of the individual stall in the gooseneck slant load trailer.
A fifth wheel hitch uses a kingpin and pin receiver setup to connect your trailer to your truck. This type of hitch takes up a lot of space in your truck bed and is mostly used for campers. Fifth wheel hitches aren’t recommended for gooseneck trailers. It’s best to use a gooseneck horse trailer hitch like a bolt in style hitch or a fold down hitch for your gooseneck trailer. Bolt on gooseneck hitch installation is much less risky than other types of hitch installation. However, if you already have a camper and a fifth wheel hitch, it’s possible to adapt your gooseneck horse trailer to work with your existing fifth wheel hitch.
You should not try to install a gooseneck hitch at home. A homemade gooseneck hitch is not a good idea. DIY gooseneck hitch placement can damage your truck bed and lead to trailer performance issues if the weight distribution is incorrect. It’s much better to find a gooseneck trailer installation professional to install your hitch. They can help you not just with hitch installation, but also to add a plug in the bed of your truck and an automatic brake control system. Don’t try to do it on your own, find a reliable company to install your gooseneck trailer hitch for you.
The proper location for a gooseneck hitch is 36 inches from the back glass of the tow vehicle and directly over the centerline of the axle of your tow vehicle. However, the exact location of the trailer hitch in the bed of the truck will depend on your truck’s make, model, and construction. For that reason, it’s important to find a reliable professional to install your gooseneck hitch.
When backing a gooseneck, it’s important to reverse very slowly and avoid sudden, sharp movements. If you back up at too high of a speed or turn too sharply, you could lose control and your trailer could jack-knife and run into objects or other vehicles. Always pay attention to your side mirrors and if you can, have a passenger get out of the car to guide you.
Some trailer manufacturers and companies install gooseneck hitches in their warehouses. Search around for gooseneck hitch installers in your area. Make sure you go with a reputable company that has experience in gooseneck hitch installation.
Unlike a standard trailer hitch that you’d find on a truck or tow vehicle’s bumper, a gooseneck hitch is installed in the truck bed. And since the hitch is attached over the axles of the truck, the large amount of weight from your gooseneck trailer is more evenly and securely distributed over the truck’s back axles.
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