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Gooseneck Horse Trailers: The Best Horse Trailer for Draft Horses and Other Large Breeds

Written by Rachael Kraft

tall horse trailer If your furry best friend is a large breed horse like a draft horse or a warmblood, you’re probably used to having to use a three-step mounting block, not being able to brush (or see, for that matter) the majority of your horse’s back, and having to find extra-large horse blankets and clothes for your enormous equine.

It's obvious that you’re head over heels for your large breed horse and his enormous heart - and like all responsible horse owners, you want your horse to be safe and comfortable while trailering. For your large breed horse, a normal size horse trailer just isn’t going to cut it.

For your draft horse or warmblood to stay safe during transport and enjoy travel, you need a tall horse trailer that will give your horse enough space to move comfortably on the road. While there are many options on the market, the best horse trailer for large breed horses is a gooseneck horse trailer. These trailers can be made to be extra tall and extra wide and are perfect for transporting even the largest breeds of horses.

In this article…

What Makes Warmblood Horse Trailers Different From Other Horse Trailers?

horse trailer for draft horsesWarmblood horses can exceed 17 hands, and draft horses can be anywhere from 16 to 19 hands. 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 can be a great horse trailer for draft horses if it has all the essential qualities to keep your horse safe. Whether you have a large breed horse or not, your horse trailer should have all the necessary safety features to keep you and your horse safe on the road.

But if you have a large breed horse, you’re going to want a few extra adjustments in your new warmblood size 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 needs. They also have larger stalls for your larger horses.

Do I Need an Extra Tall Horse Trailer For My Horse?

Horses that are cramped in the trailer during travel are not happy horses - and they are not going to want to get back into the cramped trailer for future trips. If you want to have a smooth and problem-free loading process, make sure your trailer is a space your horse is comfortable in.

But how do you know if you need an extra tall horse trailer or not? Most horse trailers for normal horses are pretty big, and the idea of hauling an even larger horse trailer can be daunting for even experienced drivers.

Most horse trailer manufacturers use the “one size fits all” philosophy. And typically, they design trailers to fit horses that are about 15.2-15.3 hands. That’s a pretty narrow window, and if your horse doesn’t fit into that category, 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 Warmblood or Draft horse that’s 17 hands or more. We can even change the width to 96” for even more head and neck comfort.”

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 and ensure that even your biggest horses will arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to perform. 

Trailer Features You Need if You Have a Large Breed Horse

Since Gooseneck trailers are designed to transport more horses and support more weight than bumper pull trailers, we recommend Gooseneck trailers to customers with draft horses or warmblood horses. But, no matter what type of warmblood size horse trailer you decide to go with, there are a few essential safety features that your trailer must have…

Trailer Feature #1: Custom Sized Horse Stalls

Like we mentioned previously, stall size is one of the most important features in a warmblood height trailer. 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 horse trailer stalls here.

draft size horse trailer 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 2 inches can make a big difference.

Trailer Feature #2: Walk On, Walk Off Loading and Unloading

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. Trailers 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 thousand-pound horse. That’s why it’s best to have a trailer with a walk on, walk off loading system if you have a draft horse or a warmblood horse.

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 warmblood horse trailers that have a side loading door and ramp, you can load your horse from the side door and then when it’s time to unload, just walk him out the back doorway.

warmblood horse trailer Double D Trailers is the best horse trailer with this system because in addition to having this simple and easy loading configuration, our warmblood horse trailers are spacious and open and give your horse plenty of room. In fact, in a Double D Trailer, you can completely turn your horse around! Yes, even if you have a large warmblood horse!

Extra space is an essential for horse owners looking for an extra tall horse trailer for large breed horses.

Trailer Feature #3: Rear Facing Trailer Configuration

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.

warmblood horse trailers 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 goose neck 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.

Trailer Feature #4: Durable Floor, Roof, and Interior Divider Materials

Since warmblood horses, draft horses, and working horses are some of the heaviest breeds of horses, when searching for a horse trailer to transport these breeds of horses, look for trailers with durable and reliable building materials.

Avoid at all costs warmblood size horse trailers that are built with aluminum materials. Aluminum horse trailers are simply not strong enough or durable enough to protect your 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 warmblood horse trailer has lots of windows, a white interior, and roofing and flooring materials that don’t absorb heat.

It’s also important to look for a trailer with a reliable construction like a sturdy Z-Frame structure, interior dividers that are well-padded and have a quick release bar for emergency situations, and a roof like 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.

towing a gooseneck trailer Making the Jump from Towing a Bumper Pull to Towing a Gooseneck Trailer

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 trailer and truck, you’ll be able to transport more horses (especially larger horses), and with a living quarters horse trailer, 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. 

What Makes a Warmblood Size Horse Trailer Different?

Gooseneck horse trailers are the best warmblood size horse trailers, and 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. First, a gooseneck trailer 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.

Second, a gooseneck horse trailer has extra space for living quarters where you can relax, spend the night, or take a break after a long day of riding. Or you can use the extra space as a dressing room or extra storage room. 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.

And lastly, gooseneck horse trailers are different because unlike normal trailers that you can hitch onto your truck or tow vehicle’s hitch, a gooseneck trailer requires a special trailer hitch in truck bed. The different gooseneck hitch placement gives you more stability while towing and makes maneuvering even easier.

Benefits of A Good Gooseneck Trailer and Truck Combination

gooseneck trailer and truckSince Gooseneck trailers do require a special gooseneck hitch placement, it’s important to make sure you have the right tow vehicle to pull your new warmblood horse 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 - during interstate travel at high speeds like 75 mph or more, travel is much smoother. That’s because there’s less wind resistance on a gooseneck trailer, making for a smoother ride and better gas mileage as well.

Another benefit of buying a gooseneck trailer is that 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 the living area in your trailer 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. 

What to Know Before You Buy a Warmblood Horse Trailer

Before taking the leap and buying your first gooseneck 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 warmblood horse trailer is to make sure your gooseneck truck 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.

How to Hook Up a Gooseneck Horse 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 gooseneck 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.   

Don’t Mess Up Your Horse Trailer Gooseneck Hitch Placement

gooseneck hitch measurementsMany 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. 

Placing Your Gooseneck Trailer on Truck

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.

installing a gooseneck hitch plateThis 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 gooseneck 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.

How To Pull A Gooseneck Trailer

Once you’ve installed your gooseneck horse trailer hitch, you’re all ready to hit the road! If it’s your first time hauling a warmblood size horse 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.

backing up a gooseneck trailer 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 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 gooseneck 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 published on Wednesday, 13 April 2022. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

How tall is a warmblood trailer?

A standard trailer is 7 feet 4 inches tall, suitable for transporting an average size horse. If you are going to trailer a warmblood horse, a draft horse, or any other large breed horse, it’s recommended that you add two inches to your overall trailer height (making it 7 feet 6 inches). This will give your horse extra head room and make loading into your warmblood horse trailer much easier as well.

Should I get a fifth wheel hitch or a traditional gooseneck horse trailer hitch?

gooseneck horse trailer hitchA 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.

Can I install a gooseneck hitch on my own?

You should not try to install a gooseneck hitch at home. A home made 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.

Where is the proper location for a gooseneck hitch?

The proper location for a gooseneck hitch is 36 inches from the back glass of the tow vehicle and directly over the center line of the axle of your tow vehicle. However, the exact location of the trailer hitch in bed of 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.

What should I do differently when backing a gooseneck trailer?

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.

Where can I get a gooseneck hitch installed?

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.

How does a gooseneck hitch work?

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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