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The Reverse Load Trailer: Why This is the Best Horse Trailer Design

Published March 23, 2022

reverse load trailerWhen it comes to horse trailer designs, with so many different options out there, it can be hard to decide what’s best for you and your horses. One of the biggest things you’ll have to decide is whether you want a rear-facing trailer or a traditional forward-facing trailer.

The reverse load trailer is an innovative trailer design that has been scientifically proven to be a better traveling position for your horse. In fact, horses prefer to travel backwards in the trailer! Right now, there’s a few different reverse load horse trailer options on the market. But, only the Double D Trailers Safetack Reverse Slant Load horse trailer has essential safety features that make travel even more secure for you and your horses.

Should you start hauling your horses backwards? What do equine experts have to say about rear-facing horse trailering? And what’s the best horse trailer design for your horse specifically? We’ll cover all this and more and give you all the information you need to know about reverse load trailers. Discover how the Double D Trailers unique reverse load horse trailer design is different from the other trailers on the market, and why it’s the best option out there for you and your horse.

In this article…

Why the Rear Facing Horse Trailer is the Best Horse Trailer Design for Your Horse 

Would your horse rather travel in the trailer facing forwards or backwards? While loading or unloading your horse from the trailer, this question might have come to mind. Equine experts have also asked this question, and in 2012, a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior finally revealed the answer. 

Research Shows Horse Facing Backwards during Travel is More Natural and Comfortable

Researchers 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 comfortability.

horse facing backwardsThey discovered that horses traveling forward facing made fewer movements than the horses in the other positions. The sideways facing horses lost their balance less frequently than the other horses. And the backwards facing horses had the most movement during the journey - but researchers discovered that these horses, unlike the forward facing and sideways group, didn’t have any stress or muscular tension after the trip.

Backwards facing travel was the position that the horses were most comfortable in. And, traveling in this position had a profound impact on the amount of stress the horse felt during travel. A horse facing backwards was less stressed and calmer during trailer transportation.

Why? Well, science shows that a horse facing backwards is in a more comfortable and natural position. The researchers noted that this position allows them to “absorb deceleration with their haunches” and helps them to better 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 Forwards or Backwards Debate: Which Way Does Your Horse Prefer to Travel?

Through horse trailer video cameras and observations in open stock trailers, many horse owners have been able to watch their own horses in the trailer. Their observations have been surprising and very telling.

Recently, on a Double D Trailers social media platform, horse owners debated whether horses were more comfortable traveling facing forwards or backwards. Here’s a few of their responses:

  • “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

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

Horses Prefer Traveling Backwards! 

reverse horseIn fact, if your horse could choose in what position he would travel in the trailer, he would probably choose the reverse horse position. In official observations of horses in trailers, many researchers and experts have noticed that horses voluntarily choose the backwards facing position when left untethered in a trailer. One group of Japanese researchers decided to 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.

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 consider trailering them in the rear-facing position. Not only will it reduce the likelihood that your horse gets injured during travel, it will also feel more natural for them, helping them arrive at your destination ready to perform at the highest level.

Why the SafeTack Reverse Slant Load Horse Trailer is the Best Rear Facing Horse Trailer

When Brad Heath, owner of Double D Trailers, saw the research that showed you can reduce your horse’s stress by changing the direction he faces in the trailer, he was impressed. So he 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.

reverse facing horse trailer The final result? The SafeTack Reverse Slant Load Horse Trailer - a reverse facing horse trailer that was not just another option for horse owners, but rather, the best option for horse owners that wanted to transport their horses easily, safely, and comfortably.

It’s the only horse trailer design that corrects the safety issues that are common in other brands of horse trailers. And, even better yet, this innovative trailer can be custom designed to fit your horse’s every need. Brad Heath didn’t develop the reverse slant load horse trailer, but he 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 awarded a US Patent and has received hundreds of positive Double D Trailer reviews. So, what makes this design so special? Well, let’s take a look at the different features that make this reverse load horse trailer truly exceptional.

Wide Open Loading Area That Welcomes Your Horse Into the Trailer

In a traditional reverse slant horse trailer, the rear tack storage area is built into the empty space in the back of the trailer. And while this might look like a convenient area for a tack area on paper horse trailer plans, in real life, it makes the loading process more difficult and even dangerous.

You see, in these brands of horse trailers, 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 possibly injure you or himself.

Safetack reverse slantIn fact, there are some horse trailer brands that have a loading area as narrow as just 39 inches! Brad saw this dangerous feature and knew that he could design a horse trailer that was much safer and more reliable. He said, “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 easier, there had to be a wide open loading area, but also still room for extra storage.

The SafeTack 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 the trailer safely and without fear of an accident.

Brad says, “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.

Rear Facing Stalls that Help Your Horse Balance

After seeing all the research that showed that horses are less stressed, have better balance, and arrive more physically prepared after traveling in the rear-facing direction, Brad knew that rear-facing stalls were the best option for horses.

With rear facing stalls, your horses will arrive at your destination less fatigued, calmer and more relaxed, and ready to compete and perform.

The rear facing horse trailer design is available in both two-horse, three-horse, and four-horse Gooseneck Double D Trailers. It’s also an option for Bumper Pull Double D Trailers. And of course, with all Double D Trailers, you can custom design your trailer to add all the safety features and special details you’d like. 

Extra Side Horse Trailer Ramp For Easy Loading and Unloading

reverse slant horse trailerIn 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 backwards. 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 jumpy and 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! With the side escape door and the side ramp, your horse will never have to back up (not during loading, and not during unloading either!). He’ll walk on the trailer from the side ramp, walk to his rear facing stall, then when it comes time to unload, he’ll walk right out the trailer through the rear trailer doors. No stress, no hassle, no accidents.

Reverse or Forward Facing Travel - You Decide

One of the unique things about the Double D Trailers horse trailer design is that you can trailer your horse backwards or forwards. The slant load design 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 for you and your horses, your number one priority should be your safety and your horse’s safety. Many brands of 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.

reverse load horse trailersMost reverse load trailers have only a rear exit where all the horses enter and exit. In the case of an emergency, horses would have to be unloaded one by one from the rear trailer doors. In a traditional reverse slant load 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 side ramp doors 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.

Specially Designed Safety Features Keep Your Horse Secure During Travel

The Double D Trailers Safetack horse trailer design was designed with your safety and your horse’s safety in mind. 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, and Rumber flooring that decreases road vibration that could damage your horse’s spine. All these features combine to create a horse trailer that protects your horse and gets him to your destination safe and sound.

horse trailer design Brad Heath shared, “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 load trailer is unique.

A Unique 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 solar panels or 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?

Brad Heath is an expert at horse trailer design and has helped hundreds of horse owners build the reverse load horse trailer of their dreams. He says that 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, Brad works with the horse owner to figure out how to incorporate all the features they want into their trailer. He takes into consideration things like the breed of your horses, what type of riding you do, where you plan to travel with your horse trailer, and what type of riding you enjoy most. Brad offers helpful suggestions and recommends changes and design changes that might have slipped your mind. And with every trailer design, safety is always a top priority.

horse trailer design processThe 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.

Brad 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 Do Double D Trailers Customers Have To Say about the Reverse Load 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 here. Don’t hesitate to email Brad Heath today to start customizing the trailer of your dreams.

This article was written by Rachael Kraft and published on Wednesday, 23 March 2022. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

How do you tie a horse in a stock trailer?

Tying your horse keeps him safe during travel - if he is tied correctly. To successfully tie your horse, take the lead rope and use a quick-release knot to tie your horse to the stock trailer. When transporting your horse in the trailer, you should tie your horse at wither height, allowing enough slack in the rope for your horse to keep his head in a natural position, and be able to move his head down to clear debris from his airway.

What is a stock trailer

A stock trailer is the most basic type of livestock trailer. Usually, they are large and used to transport multiple animals at a time. These types of trailers are the most affordable and simple trailer design and usually have very minimal accessories, padding, and safety features. A stock trailer doesn’t have any interior dividers and horse injuries like falls and leg injuries are common in these types of trailers.

What is a SafeTack horse trailer?

A SafeTack horse trailer is a Double D Trailers horse trailer design that has important safety features like double hinged dividers that can swing any direction, emergency access to each horse in the trailer, side ramps that allow for walk on, walk off loading and unloading, and rear facing stalls for better balancing. All SafeTack horse trailers are made with the most reliable, durable and effective materials that minimize road vibration and keep your horse safe and stress-free. Discover all the benefits of the SafeTack horse trailer design and how it makes travel safer and easier.

What is a reverse load trailer?

A reverse load trailer is a type of 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 trailer doors. Reverse load trailers are also sometimes called reverse slant load horse trailers.

What are the benefits of a rear facing horse trailer?

In a rear-facing 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 reverse load horse trailer is the ease of the loading and unloading process. Because most reverse load trailers load from a side ramp, it eliminates the need to back your horse out of the trailer during unloading.

What is the safest horse trailer - a stock trailer or a rear facing horse trailer?

Stock trailers are not the safest option for horse transportation. In these types of trailers, because horses are transported together without interior dividers, horse trailer padding, or interior partitions or dividers, accidents and injuries are very common. They also lack temperature control and can heat up very quickly on a hot summer day. A rear facing horse trailer is a much safer option because rear facing transportation decreases your horse’s stress and horse trailers typically have more padding and other important safety features. However, the safest horse trailer is the Double D Trailers SafeTack horse trailer design - the combination of safety features and the innovative design makes for a comfortable stress-free and injury-free trip.

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. Mike and Shelly from South Carolina say their favorite thing about Double D Trailers is all the unique safety features. Tom from Florida loves the swing out tack room. Trisha from Ohio says that with her new Double D Trailer, her problem horse who hated loading, loaded all by himself, without any problems. Find out what horse owners like you have to say about Double D Trailers here.



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