Back in 2015, Double D Trailers was awarded a US Patent for our unique SafeTack Reverse Slant Load horse trailer. Since then, owner Brad Heath has noticed a growing trend among his customers. People love this reverse load horse trailer!
Scientific studies have shown that horses travel better in the reverse facing direction. This orientation allows horses to better balance themselves during travel. Our unique SafeTack design has many safety features that make it the best reverse load horse trailer design out there.
Experts Say that Horses Travel Better in the Rear Facing Direction
Brad first came up with the idea of designing a reverse load horse trailer for Double D Trailers back in 2012 when a customer sent him an article from the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. “The research said that horses hauled with less stress in the rear facing direction,” he recalled.
This particular study was conducted on Standardbred trotters in Italy. Researchers looked at the cortisol (or stress) hormone and concluded that the rear facing position was better handled by the horses.
Other experts agree with this assessment. Dr. Sharon Cregier stated, “A natural, or effortless balance is maintained by a forward lean over the forequarters, freedom of movement of the head and neck, and lack of threat from behind.”
She continued, “That horses can most easily maintain their balance facing away from the direction of travel has been demonstrated using stock trailers, vans, 3-horse and 2-horse tagalongs or bumper pulls.”
Many first hand observations back up this notion. Often, when horses are left untethered in an open stock trailer, our customers have noticed that horses will voluntarily stand backwards or at a backwards slant.
Japanese scientists decided to put this theory to the test in 1996 and experimented with yearling Thoroughbreds. They placed sets of two horses at a time loose in a trailer and observed their preferences during travel (see image).
Researcher’s concluded, “A horse’s body was most stable against abrupt stops when the horse was facing backward rather than forward.” Then, “it was suggested that transporting restrained horses with their heads facing backward is a rational way.”
(photo below - a diagram of the Japanese study set up.)
Even other animals enjoy traveling in the rear facing direction. Giraffes and rhinoceros are always transported in a rear facing direction.
What Makes the SafeTack Reverse Slant Load the Best Rear Facing Option?
Here at Double D Trailers, we didn’t invent the reverse load trailer, but we sure did make it better! Our design was awarded a 2015 US Patent because the unique SafeTack design provides a much safer and comfortable environment to transport horses.
Here are just a few of the top benefits you’ll find on the SafeTack Reverse Slant Load Trailer from Double D Trailers:
Rear Facing Stalls for Better Balancing: Horses in the rear facing direction are better able to balance themselves while the trailer is in motion. Any sudden slow downs will cause the horse to brace with their stronger rear end. They can also lower and stretch out their head to counter balance. This orientation is easier on the horses resulting in less fatigue, less stress, and a more natural ride.
Easier Loading with the SafeTack Storage Compartment: Conventional slant load horse trailers have a stationary rear tack storage area that blocks a large section of the trailer’s rear entrance. This requires both horse and handler to squeeze through a narrow door resulting in unsafe conditions and a nervous horse. The SafeTack storage area is a fully enclosed compartment that swings completely open like a second door. This leaves a wide open entry way in the rear of the trailer for safer and easier loading and unloading.
Side Ramp for Walk On / Walk Off: The Italian study we mentioned explained that one of the most stressful moments for a horse is when they are asked to back off of a trailer. Our side ramp allows handlers to load from the side, walk their horse into a rear facing stall, then walk directly off the back of the trailer to unload. Double hinged partitions make it easy to maneuver within the trailer and your horse will never need to back off again!
Option to Use Reverse or Forward Orientation: Many of our customers enjoy the fact that our trailer design works either in the forward or reverse facing direction. One horse owner explained that she uses the reverse facing direction for longer hauls, but often loads her horses in the forward direction when parking at an event blocks the side ramp and door. She can load from the back and then offload by either turning her horse around to walk off or simply walking forwards off the side ramp. This dual purpose design is also handy if you are trailering a friend’s horse who is not used to the reverse direction. (Although, we’ve heard from our customers that even “first time” riders do fine with the reverse orientation!)
Emergency Access to All Horses: This is another major safety improvement not found on other slant load horse trailers. Our trailer layout and side ramp door allows you access to horses located in the front most positions in case of an emergency. On a conventional slant load trailer, all horses in the rear would need to be unloaded before you can access that front horse.
Top Safety Features from Double D Trailers: Double D Trailers is known for making extremely safe designs. Our trailers come with features like tubular head dividers for better ventilation, overhead roof vents, SafeBump roofing, SafeKick walls, Z-Frame construction, Rumber flooring for less road vibration, and an interior designed to resist overheating. Our slant load horse trailers also have an extra divider at the rear of the trailer so the rear most horse is only able to unload when you are completely ready to walk them off the trailer. Learn more about our top safety features here.
What Do Our Customers Have to Say About the SafeTack Reverse Load Horse Trailer?
We make it our business to keep in touch with our customers to get their feedback on how our trailers are performing for their horses. Recently, our blog featured Anne from Keene, NH. She explained how her horses are better able to balance in the rear-facing direction.
She watches them carefully using her on-board video camera and compares their travel when forward and reverse facing. “I noticed that in the rear-facing direction, they can shift their weight more readily to the rear, allowing them to counter balance more easily.”
“I am a huge advocate of these trailers,” she exclaimed. “This was by far one of the best purchases I made. I am very pleased that I did my research and came out ahead!”
We’ve heard similar stories from other clients who did their own research before settling on the SafeTack Reverse Slant Load trailer.
Becky from Vancouver, WA has a horse that has some loading issues from his previous trailer experience. She recently purchased a SafeTack Reverse 3 horse slant trailer and is taking full advantage of the large amount of space to retrain her animals.
(photo left- customer Karen J. retrains her horse to walk calmly on and off the trailer.)
“I went with the reverse, because in theory, my horses never have to back out and that just seemed safer to me,” Becky shared. “I have two horses that have loading issues where they would bale out the back at 1,000 mph, so I didn’t want to have to take them out backwards. Everybody gets to go forwards and I like that.”
“We’ve learned to load from the back and swing around to face backwards, because that’s just the way we’ve started it…We’ll start using the side ramp here in a month or so.”
Janet from Elbert, CO also purchased a SafeTack Reverse gooseneck horse trailer. She told us that 90% of the time she loads her horses from the side and hauls them in a reverse facing direction. She told us that her horses “seem perfectly content either way."
She went on to explain that she once picked up a friend’s horse who had never ridden in the rear facing direction. “He didn’t care, was perfectly fine, came out of the trailer and was like ‘Ok! Everything’s fine!’ It didn’t bother him at all.”
“They seem to ride quieter when they ride reverse,” Janet continued. “They’re not moving around as much. I don’t know if that’s because they can brace themselves better, or what.”
(photo right- Janet W. often loads her horses from the side and hauls in the reverse facing direction.)
Amy from Sacramento, CA is our final story to share. She also just purchased the popular SafeTack reverse 3 horse gooseneck trailer. “It’s the envy of the barn. Everybody can’t wait to go to a show and get in it. It is quite awesome.”
Amy has a horse that has PTSD from his last trailering experience and she is hoping to use her new Double D Trailer to desensitize and retrain him. “I expect that it will help him to be more calm.”
She also talked about another horse she owns that is a 3 year old Irish Sport Horse / TB cross. He had never been on a trailer ride off the farm and she needed to take him to the vet. “He loaded perfectly…he came off easy..no problem,” she shared. “Everybody was pretty impressed! They couldn’t believe that he’d never been trailered before. He did great!”
The reverse load trailer from Double D Trailers is surely a great option if you are looking for a trailer that will be safe, low-stress, and comfortable for your horse. If you’d like to learn more about the buying and design process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Brad with your questions.