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Hay Racks and Hay Pods: Get the Facts on Hay Storage

Last updated October 14, 2023 by Brad Heath

Looking for a Hay Rack for your new Horse Trailer?

Plus: Some Hay Tips for Long Trips

Horses love hay.  Any equestrian knows that plenty of hay is a great way to keep your horse happy, occupied, and warm on trips away from the farm.  But sometimes the issue of “transporting that hay” can be of a challenge.

If you’re carrying a full load of horses, the question of where to keep your extra hay will likely be solved with one of two options:

First, you may keep it in your tow vehicle – either in the bed of a pick up or the trunk of your SUV. The second option is to store the hay in your dressing room or living quarters area of your trailer. 

Both of these solutions are less than ideal because of limited space or the eventual mess that a bale of hay leaves behind (no matter how careful you are – hay will get everywhere!)

When designing our custom horse trailers, we gave this matter some extra thought and came up with three better ways to store your hay safely (and cleanly) right on your trailer. Two of these options are relatively inexpensive and can be very handy when it comes time to pack up and go. 

By the way… it goes without saying, but all of these options work well for straw too if that is your bedding of choice!

Hay Storage Option #1: SafeTack Hay Bale Holder

hay storage horse trailerLet’s start off with the easiest and simplest solution.

As you may know, our SafeTack slant load horse trailers have a fully enclosed tack storage area in the rear corner of the horse trailer.  This lockable compartment swings open like a second door to allow a wide open passage way for horses being hauled in either the forward or reverse facing direction. 

This patented design also comes with an interesting hay storage solution…

Two fold-out pegs can be mounted on the side of the SafeTack compartment to provide a resting place for a single bale of hay.  The bale is stacked vertically against the wall and then strapped down with bungie cords.

“It’s just a cool spot to be able to carry a bale of hay along with your horses,” explained Double D owner Brad Heath.  The SafeTack hay bale holder is a very inexpensive and easy way to add an extra bale of hay to your trailer without any extra mess or space issues.

Hay Storage Option #2:  Install a Hay Rack

hay storage horse trailerA hay rack is a permanently mounted rack on top of your trailer that is perfect to hold several bales of hay securely on your trailer.  The side walls of the hay rack will do a great job of keeping your hay bales inside the rack even at highway speeds. 

Our one piece no leak fiber composite roofing system is extremely strong, so it can easily handle the load of your hay rack and its contents. 

Plenty of air flow on all sides of the hay will keep the hay fresh and discourage the rotting that contact with solid surfaces can promote, especially in humid weather.  If you are concerned about a rainy day, you can also store your hay in a hay sleeve like this one to keep your hay dry.  Larger hay sleeves can be purchased from other vendors.

If you want to stack multiple layers of hay bales onto the rack, use tie down straps to secure the hay directly to the hay rack – just as if you were tying down a roof luggage rack on your car.  The hay rack will put your trailer’s height at about 11-feet – well below the legal limit of 13’6” for most states.

And since we mentioned luggage… the hay rack is a great place to store things other than hay as well!  Use this space to store luggage bags, coolers, camping gear, bags of feed or even spare bedding.  With the right tie down, you can secure nearly anything to a sturdy hay rack.

If you decide to purchase a living quarters horse trailer, the hay rack may also be used to permanently mount things like your trailer’s generator or water tanks.  This way it is “out of sight” and “out of mind.”

This handy addition to your custom horse trailer is a great way to increase storage space with relatively little extra expense.

Hay Storage Option #3: Fully Enclosed Hay Pod

This final hay storage option is a great way to keep your hay out of the way, dry, and fully protected from the elements.  A hay pod is a roof-mounted hay storage container that has a lid on top with gas shocks for opening and closing.

While nice to have, they are expensive in comparison to our other hay storage options.  We have built these in the past, but it is not something we regularly provide for our customers.  So, if you’re interested in a hay pod, check with Brad to see if it’s the best fit for your particular trailer design.

Hay Tips for Long Trips

  • hay storage horse trailerSoak your horse’s hay.  To help cut down on dust your horse breathes while in a trailer, make sure your hay is as dust-free as possible.  Soaking your horse’s hay is one easy and effective solution.
  • Provide plenty of hay to keep your horses warm. In cold weather, a steady supply of hay will help your horses keep warm through digestion.
  • Bring a hay bag for each horse and then enough hay from your home barn to last 1-2 weeks in their new location.  This will help your horses adjust.
  • Always check hay for mold.  Hay that is left in poorly ventilated damp areas is prone to mold over time.  This can be toxic for your horses, so always check your hay for mold before feeding.
  • Allow your horse to lower his head to clear particulates from his lungs.  Your horse should have enough slack in his trailer tie that he can snort out any dust he inhales while munching on his hay inside the trailer.
  • Different types of hay are good for different horses.  For example, pure alfalfa has a lot of digestible energy and is best for horses with higher caloric needs (like performance horses or broodmares.)  This type of hay may increase urination and the animal may require more water to compensate. 
  • Ask your veterinarian for advice on which type of hay is best for your horse.  The main types of hay include legume hay (alfalfa, white clover, red clover, and birdsfoot trefoil) or grass hay (Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, timothy).

 If you have any questions about adding hay storage to your custom horse trailer, contact Brad here.

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

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