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The Equestrian’s Ultimate Guide to Horse Trailer Must-Haves

Last updated February 28, 2024 by Martin Nikolaev

Horse Trailer Must-Haves are features that make transporting horses convenient. Often, however, these "must-have" items tend to be different for every horse owner, depending on preferences; but ultimately, they all boil down to one central purpose: having a horse trailer that optimizes safety and comfort while transporting their horses.

Whether you’re looking for a gooseneck horse trailer, a bumper pull horse trailer, or even a living quarters horse trailer, this complete guide will ensure you have the 17 Horse Trailer Must-Haves. From safety equipment, comfort features, accessories, and more - you’ll be able to trailer stress-free, safely, and with confidence.

Safety First: Essential Safety Horse Trailer Must-Haves

There are a lot of things on horse trailers that are negotiable and come down to preference. One thing that can’t be compromised on is safety features. Make sure that your horse trailer, whether you’re buying new or used, has the following safety features in place:

#1. Solid Construction

A lot of horse trailers on the market today are still being constructed with aluminum not only in the shell of the trailer but on interior aspects of the horse trailer too. Despite it being proven over and over again that aluminum is not a safe choice for trailer construction, many trailer manufacturers continue to use this material to build their horse trailers.

Aluminum horse trailer dividers are easily breakable.

A client shared with us that her horse broke the all aluminum chest bar during travel. Double D Trailers uses Z-Frame for all aspects of horse trailer construction, including interior dividers in the horse area. 

At Double D Trailers, we use a material known as Z-Frame technology, which is a much better choice for horse trailer construction.

Z-Frame offers many benefits over aluminum, including:

  • Better temperature control. Z-Frame has been shown to reduce heat transfer by up to 75% in comparison to aluminum.

  • Corrosion resistant. Compared to other materials, Z-Frame is able to withstand elements such as rain, hail, snow, salt, and extreme temperatures without corroding.

  • More durable. Of course, the most important thing when it comes to horse trailer construction is durability and strength. A study released by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that the Zinc alloy (used in Z-Frame) has a tensile strength of 37,999.9 PSI whereas pure aluminum has a PSI rating of only 13,053.4.

Read More: Z-Frame: Learn About This Safer Option than Aluminum Horse Trailers

#2. Roomy Loading and Unloading Area

Having a narrow and confined horse trailer is not only uncomfortable for your horses, but it’s dangerous. It’s important to make sure that for the safety of both you and your horses while loading and unloading from the trailer that your horse trailer is equipped with a wide loading and unloading area, including wide ramps. This will ensure that your horses aren’t feeling trapped or panicked when trying to load or unload from the horse trailer, and it also gives you as the handler room to move out of their way if you need to.

Unloading off of a Double D Trailers SafeTack Reverse load horse trailer.

Double D Trailers patented SafeTack design addresses and solves the safety concerns surrounding horse trailer loading. This horse trailer design features wide trailer ramps, a tack that swings completely out of the way to provide more room in the trailer, double-hinged dividers, and the ability for the horse to face forward or backwards.

Read More: SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer: Designed to Lessen Travel Stress

#3. Horse Area Safety Features

Two horse area safety features that are exclusive to Double D Trailers and considered to be “Horse Trailer Must-Haves” for the safety of your horses are the SafeBump Roof System and the SafeKick Wall System.

Every horse owner knows that there are a lot of things that can go wrong when traveling with your horses in the trailer. That’s why it’s important to have every safety precaution in place that you possibly can. Both of these technologies were designed to keep your horse protected from injury in the event that they kick a wall or rear up against the trailer roof.

A horse loaded into a Double D horse trailer.

#4. Emergency Exits

Having multiple entry and exit points, such as both a rear door and side ramp, are standard Horse Trailer Must-Haves on the Double D Trailers SafeTack Reverse trailer. These allow you access to all of your horses during an emergency.

Most side load horse trailers come standard with only one single doorway. If an emergency occurs, this means that you only have one access to get your horses off of the horse trailer quickly. This becomes especially dangerous (and nearly impossible) if you are hauling more than one horse at a time. Having multiple exit points on your horse trailer is, therefore, crucial.

Two horses loaded onto a Double D horse trailer.

#5. Brakes and Lights

Brakes and lights are Horse Trailer Must-Haves that should always be on your list. They will make sure that you are able to see when traveling, and also BE seen when traveling. Your horse trailer should have a properly working braking system and also be equipped with as many lights as possible. (The more lights, the better!)

Lights on the rear of a horse trailer

Comfort Matters: Comfort Features Your Horse Trailer Needs

Because you and your horses will likely be spending a lot of time in your horse trailer, comfort is an aspect of Horse Trailer Must-Haves that shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether you have a living quarters trailer or a standard horse trailer, there are comfort features that will be standard across the board:

#6. Ventilation

Making sure that your horses are receiving adequate ventilation during travel is important for both comfort as well as safety. When it comes to the horse area, having windows and fans in their stalls will make sure that they are staying cool and comfortable during travel.

Fans inside of a horse trailer stall.

Of course, we can’t talk about ventilation without mentioning horse trailer construction again. If you’re placing your horses in an all-aluminum horse trailer, no amount of ventilation is going to keep them cool baking on a hot summer day. Opt for a trailer that is constructed with a more heat-resistant material to provide an overall more comfortable and temperature regulated environment for your horses.

#7. Adequate Lighting

Lighting is a Horse Trailer Must-Have if you want a comfortable ride for your horses. Whether you’re traveling during the day or at nighttime, horses like to see. Not only should your horse trailer interior be adequately lit, but make sure that you choose a horse trailer that has a bright interior. This creates less panic among horses, so loading them becomes a breeze.

Bright horse trailer interior

#8. Flooring

This Horse Trailer Must-Have makes sure that the floor is not only safe and durable but also comfortable for your horses to stand on. Keep these objectives in mind when choosing the flooring material for your horse trailer.

Rumber horse trailer flooring

At Double D Trailers, we use Rumber flooring, which has been proven to be a client favorite over the years. Rumber flooring in horse trailers is easier to clean, horses ride well and comfortably with it, has excellent traction and grip, and has less heat transfer and vibration being transferred to your animals.

Read More: Why We Don't Recommend WERM, Polylast, or Rhino Lining for Your Horse Trailer Floor

Feeding Horse Trailer Essentials for Travel

One of the most important things about traveling with your horses is ensuring that they are adequately fed and hydrated while being transported in the horse trailer. In order to make sure of this, there are a few feeding accessories that are considered “Horse Trailer Must-Haves”:

#9. Hay Nets/Feed Bags

Having hay nets or feed bags added to your horse trailer is a popular must-have among horse owners to make sure that their horses can be easily fed while traveling.

Feed bag inside of a horse trailer stall

#10. Water Tank and Buckets

Some horse trailers have watering systems installed inside of the horse trailer, but that is not the safest option. Throughout the years, we have seen these watering systems cause injury to horses during travel. Instead, it’s recommended to have a water tank installed in your horse trailer and have a bucket to fill and offer your horses water at stops.

Bucket for watering a horse inside of a SafeTack storage compartment

Must-Have Horse Trailer Accessories

When you think of accessories, you may think of things that are not necessary. However, these accessories are Horse Trailer Must-Haves. When it comes to trailering your horses, anything that can keep your trailer more organized and convenient is a necessity.

#11. Tack Organization

There are many methods of keeping your gear organized inside of the horse trailer. Exclusive to Double D Trailers is the patented swing-out SafeTack compartment. This rear tack storage area acts as a second rear door and swings completely out of the way of the rear of the horse trailer. Not only does this allow horse owners to keep their saddles and gear nice and tidy, but it keeps your gear completely separate from your horses during travel. The SafeTack compartment is also able to be locked to make sure that your gear stays secure.

SafeTack storage compartment helps to keep tack and gear organized.

#12. Trailer Camera

A horse trailer camera is a Horse Trailer Must-Have that proves to be a great investment for many horse trailer owners. A lot of horses travel very well in the trailer with no issues whatsoever. However, there are also a lot of horses that do not travel well and need to be monitored to ensure safety. Purchasing a good horse trailer camera provides an extra layer of safety as well as peace of mind.

Check out this client-submitted video of a Double D Trailer owner that has a horse get stuck while inside the horse trailer. Watching their horse trailer camera allowed them to get to their horse quickly and prevent injury.

#13. Hydraulic Jack

A traditional crank jack on a horse trailer requires a lot of manual labor, and it can wear out over time. Electric jacks are standard on a lot of horse trailers these days. These jacks are more simple and convenient, easier to maintain, and make it so that anyone can connect or disconnect the horse trailer (even those of us that are a little more strength challenged).

Hydraulic jack on the front of a gooseneck horse trailer.

Horse Trailer Must-Haves for Legal Compliance

Making sure that your horse trailer is road legal is a very important aspect of being a horse trailer owner. When it comes to staying legal and abiding by regulations, the best rule of thumb is to check with the DMV of the state that you reside in. However, there are a few general things to keep in mind as Horse Trailer Must-Haves in this area:

#14. License

The type of license that you’ll need for driving with your horse trailer in tow will largely depend on the weight of your truck and your horse trailer. Depending on the state that you are located in, if the weight capacity of your tow vehicle and trailer is heavier than 10,001 lbs., then you may be required to have a special type of drivers license such as a CDL, or keep a logging record such as an ELD or RODS.

Some states require horse trailer drivers to get a CDL.

#15. Inspections

Most states require an annual inspection. There are some states that issue a permanent plate so that getting the yearly inspection is not a requirement. Again, you’ll need to check with the state DMV to find out the specific requirements for your state in particular.

Getting your horse trailer inspected per your states guidelines is important.

Read More on This Topic: Important Laws and Rules to Know Before You Tow a Horse Trailer

Horse Trailer Must-Haves for Easier Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining your horse trailer, a lot of horse trailer owners get overwhelmed. How in the world are you supposed to keep up with maintaining everything on your horse trailer?! A good idea is to start with aspects of your horse trailer that are considered “crucial” and therefore “must-haves” to keep maintained.

#16: Proper Storage

Storing your horse trailer properly is one of the biggest aspects that contributes to simpler horse trailer maintenance overall. Keeping your horse trailer covered in a shelter or barn is the most preferable means of horse trailer storage. If you don’t have this type of storage accessible, there are horse trailer covers available on the market. Keeping your rig covered and sheltered from the elements is a Horse Trailer Must-Have as it will promote the longevity of most elements on your trailer including the paint/graphics/exterior, tires, windows, and more.

A horse trailer parked underneath of a barn shelter.

#17: Cleaning Products

Keeping your horse trailer cleaned on a regular basis will boost its lifespan. As with anything else - if it sits and collects dust, dirt, and mold; it will start to decay much faster. The exterior of your trailer should be cleaned and waxed regularly, and it’s recommended to clean the inside of your trailer after every trip if possible.

A Double D gooseneck horse trailer hitched to a tow vehicle.

Read more on how to deep clean your horse trailer.

Why Are These Horse Trailer Must-Haves So Important?

There are many different aspects of “Horse Trailer Must-Haves” that need to be thought about. From safety, to comfort, feeding and watering, convenient accessories, legal regulations, and maintenance - making sure that you are adequately prepared for anything and everything is part of being a responsible horse owner. When you make sure that your horse trailer is properly equipped to hit the road, you’ll be ensuring that both you and your horses have the safest and most comfortable travel experience possible.

Frequently Asked Questions About Horse Trailer Must-Haves

Should horse trailers have bedding?

Yes, it’s recommended to have some type of bedding inside of the horse area in your horse trailer. The reason for this is that bedding provides an extra layer of traction between the horse and the horse trailer floor. With urine and/or manure during travel, or if the trailer comes to a sudden stop, this can allow a horse to have more grip and prevent injuries.

How can I make my horse trailer more comfortable?

Horse trailers can be made more comfortable by ensuring that your horse trailer is equipped with adequate comfort features such as ventilation, lighting, and secure flooring.

What to look for when buying a horse trailer?

The most important thing to look for when buying a horse trailer is safety. As a horse owner, your responsibility is to make sure that your horses are safe when traveling from point A to point B. Whether you are purchasing a new or used horse trailer, making sure that it has adequate safety features is a must.

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