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Ramps Versus Step-Ups: Increasing Safe Loads with Your New Custom Trailer

There are so many cool things you can put into custom horse trailers that it hardly seems right focusing on something as “boring” as a loading ramp, but as it turns out, this very pedestrian piece of equipment is a big decision when you’re designing a trailer for your favorite horse.  There are plenty of trailers with ramps and plenty that are designed to be stepped into, but it’s impossible to say that there’s a clear winner between the two.


There are a number of reasons why you might like to pay a little extra for a nice beefy ramp on your new trailer, including:


Ease of Loading Horses.  Older horses, young horses and horses with foot problems are more likely to balk at stepping into a trailer.  A ramp, on the other hand, provides a gradual incline that eases your horse into the trailer with little effort on their part.


More Secure Horse Backing.  Backing a horse out of a step-up trailer is downright scary, there are no two ways about it.  A smaller two horse trailer won’t always have the space to turn a horse around for unloading, forcing him instead to step down.  The sudden drop can lead to accidents and injuries in horses just learning to trailer or those otherwise distracted.


Flexibility for Loading and Unloading.  Unlike with a step-up, where you’ve got to be sure to park somewhere pretty level to be able to load and unload, a ramp can handle some variation in the terrain without forcing the rear of the trailer up so high your horse can’t load or unload. 

Ramps Can Be Slippery.  Bare aluminum or steel ramps can be incredibly slippery, and even more so if your horse has been walking through wet grass.  Sliding isn’t a trust-building activity for horses, so without adding a mat or having a protective coating installed on the ramp, they’re more of a detriment than a help.  At Double D Trailers, we mount ramps at a lower pivot point than most builders which creates less of an incline and reduces the risk of slipping.  Not to mention the traction surface works well for grip even on wet rainy days.

 Good Ramps Are Heavy.  This is a common misconception.  Well built ramps can be heavy without spring assist but if installed properly, you can lift your new ramp easily with one hand.

 You Only Haul One Horse.  It’s hard to find a one horse trailer, so even horse owners with only one horse tend to buy a two horse trailer.  All of that extra space means you’ve got plenty of room to turn your horse any direction he needs to go before heading out.  However, whether loading or unloading one horse or four horses a ramp will help prevent a skinned knee or injury to a leg.

 Because we build our custom horse trailers from the ground up, we’re happy to let you decide what’s best for your horse, from the stall placement to the ramp (or lack thereof).  Both ramps and step-ups are great options for the right horses and owners, but if you’re still having trouble deciding, give us a call at 1-888-244-2029 and we’ll walk you through your choices. 

We would love to hear your comments, questions and experiences regarding ramps, feel free to post below!

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