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SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer: Designed to Lessen Travel Stress

Last updated December 22, 2023 by Brad Heath

The SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer is an innovative horse trailer model designed by Double D Trailers that has been scientifically proven to let your horse travel in their preferred position…backwards! When looking for a side load horse trailer for sale, there are many different models on the market.  But only the SafeTack Reverse Slant Load horse trailer has essential safety features that make travel even more secure.

A reverse side load horse trailer can do a world of good for your horse when it comes to travel fatigue and the stress of loading or unloading.  That’s because this layout is specifically designed to make things as easy (and stress-free) as possible.

What are the loading advantages for a side load horse trailer? What do equine experts have to say about reverse load horse trailers? And what’s the best horse trailer design for your horse specifically?

This article gives you everything you need to know about reverse and side load horse trailers.  Plus we’ll explain why the SafeTack design from Double D Trailers is different from the rest.

The Science: Why Choose a Side Load Trailer with Reverse Load Layout?

Experts have long wondered whether horses preferred traveling forwards or in reverse load horse trailers. Scientists were interested in two specific things related to horse travel: 1) Which way do horses prefer to travel? 2) Which way was physically better for them?

In 2012, a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior finally revealed the answer.

Research Shows Benefits for Reverse Load Horse Trailers

a horse in a stationary reverse facing horse trailerA study from the Journal of Veterinary Behavior took twelve horses and trailered them in three different positions - forward facing, backwards, and sideways - during a 3 hour, 125 mile journey. The researchers checked their heart rates, breathing rates, and body temperature during different parts of the journey to determine their stress levels, health, and overall comfort.

They discovered that horses who were facing backwards and sideways traveled more comfortably than the forward facing groups.  They were able to keep better balance while the trailer was in motion.  And, the backwards facing group left the trailer with almost no fatigue or muscle tension after their journey!

Researchers concluded that facing backwards or backwards at a slant was the best position for horses during travel.  Not only are these horses more comfortable, but they have much less physical stress and leave the trailer calmer and with less fatigue. Scientists could measure stress level by looking at the amount of a stress hormone – called cortisol – in their systems.

It’s not enough to answer the question. Researchers wanted to know why…

The answer: It turns out a horse who is facing backwards is in a more comfortable and natural position. They are able to “absorb deceleration with their haunches” and maintain stability on a bumpy trailer ride. A forward facing horse has less control and less balance and thus has higher levels of stress.

Other equine experts have made similar observations as well. Dr. Sharon Cregier observed, “horses can most easily keep their balance when they are facing away from the direction of travel - this has actually been proven by experiments using a stock trailer, bumper pull trailers, vans, 3-horse and 2-horse tagalongs.”

The Great Facebook Debate: Do Horses Like Traveling Backwards in a Reverse Slant Horse Trailer?

Based on the science, many horse owners began to question if their horses would travel better in a reverse slant load trailer with side loading.

Horse trailer video cameras and first-person observation accounts began flooding in.  Here are some observations from Double D Trailers customers who started watching to see which direction their horses preferred.

  • “When my horse was being transported from Orlando to Tampa, she was untied in an open cattle trailer. I was following behind her in my car, and I could see her in the trailer. The whole time, she rode in the rear position. Sometimes she would dance to keep her balance. I remember thinking it was strange that she was facing the back of the trailer, but now it makes total sense - apparently it’s the position horses prefer when traveling.” - Marcia Trotter

  • “When my horses are allowed to be loose in the stock trailer, they are always either sideways, or facing backwards.” - Dianne from North Carolina

  • “One study in Europe measured horse heart rates and other factors and found that rear-facing horses had lower stress levels after long trips. In my opinion, it’s because a horse can use its rear end muscles more effectively with a horse facing backwards, especially during slowing and stopping movements.” - Julius

  • “I vote rear-facing. Whenever I put my horses in the trailer without tying them, when I unload them I always find that they are facing the rear of the trailer.” - Sunny from Virginia

rear facing vs. forward facing horse trailers Facebook Debate

About 150 horse owners shared their opinions during a recent Facebook debate, and the majority of them argued that horses prefer to travel either backwards or slanted backwards in the trailer.

How Horses Balance Differently in Reverse Load Horse Trailers

We can’t actually ask our horses which direction they prefer, so we have to go off of observations like the ones above. Scientists have also continued to research this over the years.

Many experts and researchers have also noticed that horses voluntarily choose the backwards facing position when left untethered in a trailer. One group of Japanese researchers put this theory to the test in an experiment in 1996. They put two horses in a trailer and didn’t tether them or tie them at all.

a Japanese study conducted on rear facing horse trailers

They watched the horse’s behavior and discovered that the horses were the most stable when they were facing backwards. If a horse was facing backwards during an abrupt stop, it was much better able to remain stable and avoid falling or stumbling.

For that reason, a horse facing backwards is actually much safer than a forward-facing or a sideways-facing horse. Dr. Sharon Cregrier agrees with this claim - she says, “There have been numerous studies about horse transportation that have shown that horses that travel facing away from the direction of travel have fewer falls and fewer impacts with the horse trailer partitions and dividers.”

So, if you want to keep your horse stress-free and avoid injuries while traveling, you should transport them in the rear-facing position. Not only will it reduce the likelihood of injury, but it will also feel more natural for them, helping them arrive at your destination ready to perform at the highest level.

Introducing the Patented SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer

When we saw the research that showed you could reduce your horse’s stress by changing the direction he faces in the trailer, we were impressed. So we set out to create a horse trailer design that would eliminate the stress of trailer travel for horses and make the loading and unloading process much easier.

United States Patent for Double D Trailers

The final result? The SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer - a reverse-facing side load horse trailer design that lets you transport your horses easily, safely, and comfortably.

It’s the only horse trailer design that corrects the safety issues that are common in other reverse or side load brands of horse trailers. And even better yet, this innovative trailer can be custom-designed to fit your horse’s exact size and temperament.

We didn’t develop the reverse load horse trailer, but we did create a new horse trailer design, layout, and new essential safety features that solve many dangers horses face while traveling. This unique horse trailer design was even awarded a U.S. Patent and has received hundreds of positive Double D Trailer reviews.

So, what makes this design so special?

Well, it really comes down to the unique side load horse trailer design and walk-on-walk-off feature. Let’s take a look at what makes this trailer truly exceptional.

SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer: Easier Unloading Explained

The SafeTack Reverse Slant Load Horse Trailer is our top recommended Double D Trailers model with the patented SafeTack Reverse design. It is a 3-horse gooseneck trailer with the slant load configuration.

In a traditional slant load horse trailer, the rear tack storage area is built into the empty back corner of the horse area. This might look like a convenient area for a tack area on paper. But in real life, this narrow doorway makes the loading and unloading process more difficult and even dangerous.

side load horse trailer with rear tack storage area

In these brands, the rear tack area blocks a large part of the trailer rear entrance, creating a narrow passage for both the horse and the handler to try to squeeze through. If your horse becomes spooked or makes a sudden unexpected move during the loading process, your horse could pin you against the trailer wall and cause injury.

Brad Heath inspecting a side load trailer with a narrow escape door

When looking for a side load horse trailer for sale, there are several models that only have a single narrow side ramp for loading and unloading...

side load horse trailer with single steep entry ramp

Once again, the horse and handler are forced to back off through a very narrow doorway – which is very scary and even dangerous for the pair. There are some horse trailer brands that have an unloading area as narrow as just 39 inches!

Brad Heath showing the dangerous steepness of a horse trailer ramp

When I saw this dangerous feature, I knew that I could design a horse trailer that was much safer and more reliable.

side load horse trailer with rear tack storage area

A narrow ramp and entryway makes for a very confining claustrophobic space. Anything can happen to a horse owner trying to squeeze through such a small door with such a large horse. To create a trailer that made loading and unloading easier, there had to be a wide open loading area, but also still room for extra storage.

side load horse trailer with forward escape door

The SafeTack Reverse horse trailer design eliminates this dangerous problem. In all reverse slant Double D Trailers, the rear tack storage area is actually attached to the rear door, so it swings out for easy access. And, it leaves a wide open loading area so that you and your horse can enter and exit the trailer safely and without fear of an accident.

Safetack reverse slant horse trailer by Double D Trailers

When you’re unloading or loading with a SafeTack reverse slant trailer, there’s plenty of space - you have the entire rear of the trailer at your disposal. Since research suggests that loading is one of the most stressful parts of travel for your horse, having a trailer that makes loading simple and easy will always get your trip off to a smooth start.

Extra Wide Side Load Horse Trailer Door for a Safer Walk-Through Layout

We’ve talked about the rear door on the SafeTack Reverse Slant Load trailer, but now let’s look at the extra wide side door and ramp…

In a traditional front facing horse trailer, when you arrive at your destination and it comes time to unload your horses from the trailer, your horses have to unload from the trailer by backing off the rear.

This is a very unnatural movement for horses, especially because they are moving directly into their blind spot, which increases their stress levels and makes them more prone to unexpected and dangerous behaviors. Some horse owners have even reported horses bolting out of the trailer backwards as fast as they can!

Studies have shown that the unloading process is one of the most stressful moments for horses, precisely because they have to back off the horse trailer backwards. A stressful moment for your horse makes for a dangerous moment for you.

Double D Trailers SafeTack Reverse Slant Load horse trailer gets rid of all backwards unloading forever!

This design includes an extra wide side ramp and doorway for the horses to use during loading. This feature means you’ll never have to back up again. Your horses will walk onto the trailer from the side ramp, walk to their rear facing stall, then walk straight off the back of the trailer when it comes time to unload.

reverse slant horse trailer

No stress, no hassle, no accidents.

Rear Facing Stalls For Easier Horse Balance

Each of the horse stalls on the SafeTack Reverse Slant Load can be customized to fit the size and weight of your horse.  Often, horse owners will request extra width or ceiling height on their trailer to better fit their large breed horses.

A standard gooseneck trailer (fitting horses up to 15.2 hands) comes with a 7’4'' height and 80” width.  Then, a warmblood horse trailer can be built with a 7’6” height and 90” width.  Even larger breeds might need a 7’8” height and the legal width limit of 102” for a horse trailer on the road.

Using these customizations, you can design a horse trailer that properly supports your horses regardless of their size.  Individual stalls can even be built with different dimensions if you have horses of various sizes.

The stalls on the SafeTack Reverse Slant Load trailer can be oriented in the rear-slant facing direction. This means the horses will travel with less stress, have better balancing, and arrive at their destination more physically prepared to perform.

The rear facing horse trailer design is available in both two-horse, three-horse, and four-horse gooseneck or living quarters models. This layout is aIso available for our bumper pull horse trailers. With all Double D Trailers, you can custom design your trailer to add all the safety features and special details you’d like.

Reverse or Forward Facing Travel: You Decide!

Not all horses prefer the rear facing direction.  That’s why we give your horses an option of forwards or backwards travel.

The SafeTack Reverse Slant Load design lets you transport all your horses facing in the rear direction or all facing in the forward direction.  Then, it even allows you to transport one horse forward facing and another horse rear facing - without having to move around the partitions or change anything in your trailer.

The only thing that changes is how you load your horses in the trailer.

  • If you want to transport them rear-facing, load them in from the side door and into their stalls.

  • If you want to transport them forward facing, load them in from the rear entryway and then unload them from the side door.

However you decide to transport your horses, it’s easy and simple to load and unload. Many Double D Trailers customers love the flexibility that is built into the reverse slant horse trailer design.

Some horse owners transport their horses facing the rear for longer trips, and forward facing for shorter trips. Others load their horses in the backwards facing direction when they know that they won’t be able to unload them from a side door because of limited space at events or competitions.

This option to use reverse facing or forward facing orientation is also great for transporting a friend's horse. If your horse is used to traveling in the rear facing position, but your friend’s horse isn’t - no problem at all! You can transport one horse forward facing and one horse facing backwards.

Easy Emergency Access To Every Horse

When deciding what horse trailer is best, your number one priority should be your safety and your horse’s safety. Many brands of side load horse trailers are more concerned with making a profit than making a quality horse trailer that will protect your horses in the case of an emergency.

A Double D SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer with a side ramp

Most side load horse trailers have only a single doorway where all the horses enter and exit. In the case of an emergency, horses would have to be unloaded one by one from the single trailer doors. In a trailer like this, it’s difficult to have access to each horse individually.

But, with the SafeTack horse trailer design this dangerous problem disappears. Double D Trailers have both a side ramp and rear door that give you emergency access to each one of your horses.

You’ll be able to access even the horse in the front most position in the trailer easily and quickly in the case of an emergency. Travel confidently knowing that your horses are safe and easily accessible at all times.

Safety Features Specially Designed for More Comfortable Travel

The Double D Trailers SafeTack horse trailer design was designed with your safety and your horse’s safety in mind. Horse trailer safety features like extra side ramps, the open entryway and emergency access points for every horse allow you to confidently trailer your horses knowing that they are safe and secure in the trailer.

In fact, Double D Trailers is known for making the safest horse trailers possible. Each and every part of our horse trailers is designed with a specific purpose in mind. All Double D Trailers have features like:

  • Tubular head dividers that allow for more ventilation and visibility for your horse,

  • SafeBump roofing that keeps your horse protected in the event that he rears up,

  • Rumber flooring that decreases road vibration that could damage your horse’s spine,

  • Z-Frame chassis for extra strength and lightweight durability.

All these features combine to create a horse trailer that protects your horse and gets him to your destination safe and sound.

SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer Floorplan Layout

Here at Double D Trailers, safety is always a top priority - when I’m working on a horse trailer design, my biggest concern is that each horse can be accessed individually in the case of an emergency. And since Double D Trailers custom design each trailer for each horse owner, each SafeTack Reverse Slant Load trailer is unique.

A Unique Side Load Horse Trailer Design Specifically For You And Your Horse

If you’re searching for a new horse trailer, you likely have a list of features you want to have in your new trailer…

Maybe you need extra storage space for your equipment and tack for your competitions or events. Maybe you want a special area for a mini-fridge in your living quarters horse trailer. Or maybe you need an onboard video camera system to monitor your young horses.

Whatever your special requests are, you can have them all with a custom-built Double D Trailer. Don’t settle for any new trailer at the lot that’s missing a special feature you’ve dreamed about. Customize your reverse load trailer and make it your own with the Double D Trailer custom design process.

How Does The Double D Trailer Custom Design Process Work?

Our team at Double D Trailers are experts at horse trailer design and have helped hundreds of horse owners build the side load horse trailer of their dreams. One thing that makes the Double D Trailers design process stand out from the rest is that we build the trailer to fit the horse rather than expect the horse to fit the trailer.

Throughout the whole design process, myself and our team will work with the horse owner to figure out how to incorporate all the features they want into their trailer. We'll take into consideration things like:

  • What's the breed of your horses?

  • What type of riding do you do?

  • Where do you plan to travel with your horse trailer?

  • What type of riding do you enjoy most?

Our team offers helpful suggestions and recommend any design changes that might have slipped your mind. And with every trailer design, safety is always a top priority.

a Double D Horse Trailer inside of the factory

The horse trailer design process starts after you choose what type of trailer you want and what size you want. After you decide those two important things, you’ll start choosing the features you want online - you can customize everything from the colors and designs to unique organization spaces, camera systems, and even a SafeTack reverse double side ramp.

I will help you during the whole process, offering suggestions and possible changes that will make your dream trailer even better. And when your trailer is all finished - it’ll be delivered right to your door - no matter where you live in the continental United States.

What Customers Say About the SafeTack Reverse Side Load Horse Trailer

When Roxana was looking for a new trailer for her large thoroughbred and warmblood horses, she stumbled across a Double D Trailers article about horse trailer safety features.

She wanted a horse trailer that could keep her large breed horses safe and comfortable on the road. She said, “I knew I wanted a trailer with both side loading and rear loading doors as an extra safety precaution.”

So she started customizing and designing her reverse load horse trailer that was perfect for her horses. For Rozana, the design process went smoothly. She said, “the design process was easy due to the expertise of Brad Heath.  He was extremely thorough and knowledgeable.”

And the day her trailer arrived at Foxx Hunter Farms, her home in California, she was thrilled. She was so happy she decided to go with a rear facing design to keep her horses safe, relaxed, and comfortable in the trailer during travel.

Roxana is just one of many happy Double D Trailers customers. Discover what horse owners across the country have to say about their Double D Trailers and the custom horse trailer design process - check out our Double D Trailers reviews. Don’t hesitate to email today to start customizing the trailer of your dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a side load horse trailer?

Most side load horse trailers are customized slant load trailers with a single narrow door at the back corner of the horse trailer for loading and unloading. The very back of the trailer is then used for tack storage. The SafeTack Reverse Slant Load is a side load horse trailer with an additional rear door along with an easier and safer reverse walk-through layout.

Is a slant load or straight load horse trailer better?

Reverse slant load horse trailers are the best type of trailer layout because they allow the horse to load and unload without every backing up.  Straight load horse trailers are popular for larger breeds and two horse trailers because they are inexpensive, but they have dangerous butt and chest bars. A safer slant load trailer can be easily customized to fit your large breed horses.

What side does a heaviest horse go on in trailer?

Your heaviest horse should always be loaded on the left (driver’s side) of a two horse straight load trailer. If you have a well-designed slant load trailer, it shouldn’t matter where you load your heaviest horse.  However, we suggest you put a single horse or your heaviest horse in the center stall of a 3 horse slant load trailer balanced over the axles for the smoothest ride.

What is a SafeTack horse trailer?

A SafeTack horse trailer is a patented slant load horse trailer design by Double D Trailers that has a fully enclosed tack storage area at the rear of the trailer that swings out like a second door. This allows for safer and easier loading and unloading. Discover all the benefits of the SafeTack design and how it makes travel safer and easier with our gooseneck horse trailers.

What is a reverse slant horse trailer?

A reverse slant load trailer is a type of side load horse trailer that transports horses in a position that is opposite the direction of travel. Unlike traditional horse trailers that load horses from the rear entryway, a reverse load trailer normally loads horses in through a side ramp so they are backwards in the trailer, facing towards the rear of the trailer.

What are the benefits of a reverse load horse trailer?

In a reverse load horse trailer, studies have shown that horses are less stressed and more balanced, and arrive at their destination fresher and more ready to perform. Another major benefit of a SafeTack reverse load horse trailer is the ease of the loading and unloading process. Because you load from a side ramp, it eliminates the need to back your horse out of the trailer during unloading.

Where can I find Double D Trailers reviews?

Happy Double D Trailers customers from all over the country have shared how much they love the reverse load trailer. Find out what horse owners like you have to say about Double D Trailers here or on Google.

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