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Reverse Load Horse Trailers: Why Horses Love This Popular New Design

Last updated December 22, 2023 by Brad Heath

Horse owners love the reverse load horse trailer… and for 5 good reasons! Well, at least with Double D Trailers’ Safetack Reverse Slant Load Trailer.

1. Better balance

2. Easier loading

3. Reduced stress in unloading

4. Reverse or forward facing options

5. Emergency access to all horses

Bonus!! Double D Trailers’ trademarked safety features

We first developed the 3-Horse Gooseneck Safetack Reverse Slant Load Trailer and were awarded a U.S. Patent back in 2015. Since then, more and more Double D Trailers customers ask about the unique safety features on our rear-facing trailer.

Double D Trailers’ popular 3 horse gooseneck reverse load trailer

View All the Features Here

Why the growing popularity?  Well, horses actually prefer to travel in reverse load horse trailers. Scientific studies have shown that horses travel with less stress and fatigue – and more effortless balancing – when facing the rear.

What is a Reverse Load Horse Trailer?

A reverse load horse trailer is designed so your horses face the rear of a horse trailer rather than the front. This allows them to better brace with their strong hindquarters during braking.  Plus, it lets them naturally balance their weight while the trailer is in motion.

a single horse in a reverse load horse trailer

Brad Heath first designed a reverse load for Double D Trailers back in 2012 when a customer sent him some interesting research.

It was a study from the Journal of Veterinary Behavior that talked about horses’ reaction to this direction of travel. “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 agreed with this assessment.  Dr. Sharon Cregier conducted her own research and 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.”

Often, when horses are left untethered in an open stock trailer, horses will voluntarily stand backwards or at a backwards slant.  See for yourself next time you pass a stock trailer filled with untied animals.

This theory was even tested by Japanese scientists who observed how horses prefer to stand facing backwards when let loose in a trailer. Even other animals enjoy traveling in the rear facing direction.  Giraffes and rhinoceros are always transported in a rear facing direction.

Top 5 Reasons Why the Reverse Load Horse Trailer Is a Popular New Trend

Here at Double D Trailers, we didn’t invent the reverse load horse trailer… but we sure did make it better!

Double D Trailers United States Patent

Our design was awarded a 2015 U.S. Patent because the unique SafeTack design provides a much safer and more comfortable environment to transport horses.

1. 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.

Horses 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.

2. Easier Loading with SafeTack

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.

3. Side Ramp for Less Stressful Unloading

The study from the Journal of Veterinary Behavior showed how 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!

4. Option to Use Reverse or Forward Orientation

The Safetack Reverse Horse Trailer can work for horses in either the forward or reverse facing direction. This  dual purpose design is 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!)

One of our customers 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.

5. Emergency Access to All Horses

Many slant load horse trailers give you limited access to all of your horses with only a single small access point. The Safetack Reverse Load Horse Trailer has a side ramp and door so you can off load horses in any stall in the 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 of Double D Reverse Load Horse Trailers

Double D Trailers is known for making extremely safe designs.  Not only that, we also focus our efforts on making custom trailers for our clients.  This means almost any slant load trailer we offer can be set up with a rear facing orientation.

So, it doesn’t matter if you want a 2-horse bumper pull, a 3-horse gooseneck, or a large living quarters trailer… each of them can be built with the rear facing design.  (The only exception is our one horse bumper pull which can only be built forward facing for space reasons.)

Each of 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.  

READ MORE: Double D Trailers’ Safety Features and Materials

The Most Popular Reverse Load Horse Trailer: 3 Horse SafeTack Gooseneck

Of all the reverse load trailer options we can build, the 3 Horse SafeTack Reverse load horse trailer is definitely a favorite. This trailer has all of the standard safety features and options (with a few surprises) including:

  • Safer towing with “V” nose design and shorter wheelbase

  • Patented SafeTack design which provides a wide open area for less stressful loading and unloading

  • Reverse or forward facing orientations with the option to add a double side ramp and door for a true “walk-through” trailer

  • SafeBump fiber composite roofing system, rivetless quiet construction, SafeKick walls, and Z-Frame construction comes standard

  • Gooseneck area for dressing room and sleeping area (full living quarters option also available)

  • Customizable stall sizes and trailer dimensions to fit your Warmbloods or other large breeds

  • Factory direct pricing so you pay for the features you want most and get “more bang for your buck!”

  • Bonus “show day stall” with 3 horse model for braiding, tacking up, or horse hang out space.

Double D Trailers Patented SafeTack Design Double D Trailers Safebump Insulated Horse Trailer Roof3 Horse Gooseneck from Double D Trailers V-Nose DesignDouble D Trailers bright and airy horse trailer interior

Customize Your Reverse Load Horse Trailer Now

Safetack Reverse Load Horse Trailer For Sale: Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is extremely important to us.  Here are a few happy horse owners explaining how they use the SafeTack Reverse Load Horse Trailer.

Amy says, “By far, one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!”

Anne from Keene, NH 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!”

a woman successfully training a horse to load onto a trailer

Becky says, “My horses never have to back out… seemed safer to me.”

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 3-horse slant SafeTack Reverse Load Horse 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 forward 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 says her horses “ride quieter when they ride reverse.”

a photo of a horse standing in a rear facing horse trailer

Janet from Elbert, CO also purchased a gooseneck SafeTack Reverse Load 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’s reverse load horse trailer is “the envy of the barn… it is awesome!”

Amy from Sacramento, CA is our final story to share.  She also just purchased the popular 3-horse gooseneck SafeTack reverse load horse 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!”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a reverse load horse trailer?

A reverse load horse trailer positions horses to stand facing the rear of the trailer rather than the front. This orientation has been scientifically shown to help horses travel more comfortably with less stress and fatigue. The Safetack Reverse Slant Load Trailer loads from a side ramp into a rear facing stall.  Then, horses walk out the back to unload.

Can horses ride backwards in a horse trailer?

Many horses prefer to ride backwards in a trailer because it allows them to more easily balance during travel.  They use their stronger hindquarters to brace during braking and studies have shown reverse load horse trailers cause less stress and fatigue.

Is a slant load or straight load horse trailer better?

In the past, two-horse straight load trailers were popular because they were less expensive and allowed for easy access to both horses.  However, modern slant loads are better for four or three horse trailers because they have a shorter wheelbase for easier hauling and can be built as reverse load horse trailers. Researchers have shown that horses prefer to ride backwards in a horse trailer. For a more detailed comparison, please read our post here: Straight Load or Slant Load Horse Trailer: Which is Better?

What side do you load a horse on a trailer?

For a straight load horse trailer, load a single horse (or your heaviest horse) on the left driver’s side of the trailer.  If you are loading into a Double D Trailers slant load horse trailer, it doesn’t matter which stall you use for safety.  Our axles are positioned so a horse could ride in any stall safely. On a 3 horse bumper pull, we recommend the center stall so the horse’s weight is balanced over the axles for more stable towing and a smoother ride for the horse.

The Safetack Reverse load horse trailer from Double D Trailers is a great option if you are looking for a trailer that will be safe, low-stress, and comfortable for your horse.  To learn more about the buying and design process, reach out to Brad with your questions.

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

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