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Straight Load Living Quarters Trailers: Dangers and Alternatives

If you're planning to own a large Straight Load Horse Trailer with Living Quarters soon, think again. Sure, Double D Trailers has built some pretty big – and gorgeous -- trailers over the years. But a large horse trailer, complete with well-appointed living quarters, isn’t going to do you much good if it’s too big to drive safely!

So recently, when a customer asked Brad Heath, our head designer and founder, to build a Straight Load Horse Trailer with Living Quarters, he decided to draw the line. This is not a style of trailer we recommend because it is simply too long to haul and maneuver.

But don’t worry, we’ll provide an easy solution for those of you who are craving your own horse palace-on-wheels. It’s a solution that gives you MORE living space and a much shorter overall wheelbase!

The Horse Trailer That Was Just Too Much…

When our recent customer asked for a straight-load trailer with living quarters, he was hoping for the perfect family retreat. Two straight-load horse stalls in the rear of the trailer would butt up against living quarters complete with a bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping area.

In a very unusual move, Brad said “no” to this request...

Normally, we do everything in our power to make your requests come true. But in this situation, Brad knew the customer would be unhappy with the end result.

“Back in 2011, I built a Straight Load Horse Trailer with Living Quarters for a client against my better judgment”, Brad explained. “She insisted it was what she wanted. But after only six months, she admitted that it was just too difficult to maneuver.”

Straight load horse trailer with living quarters

The image below shows the trailer we built for this client back in 2011.

straight load living quarters trailer floorplan

Then, here's an image of a typical straight-load living quarters model that many of our customers regularly ask for. Note the front axle is a whopping 26.5 feet from the tow vehicle pivot point. You’d basically need a football field to maneuver this thing. Not to mention the extremely heavy trailer tongue weight.

straight load living quarters trailers are difficult to maneuver.

So driving this horse trailer around would feel a little more difficult than driving a charter bus and just a little bit easier than driving a full 18-wheeler truck!

Not exactly “easy hauling” when you’re headed out for a fun weekend with your family. So, as you might expect, the 2011 client ended up selling her brand new trailer at a significant loss.

Why Do People Think They Want a Straight Load Living Quarters Horse Trailer?

It’s actually pretty common for people to approach Brad, asking for this long-style of straight-load trailer. A lot of folks ask for a Straight Load Horse Trailer with Living Quarters with the thought that “it’s better for the horses”. Or, they think, “My horse won’t fit in a slant”. In truth, the issue with horses fitting in a trailer doesn’t have anything to do with whether it’s a straight-load or a slant-load. It actually has to do with whether you have a trailer specifically designed with dimensions to haul your breed and size of horse.

Indeed, one size horse trailer does NOT fit all horses. That’s why we specialize in custom build-to-order trailers even for large breeds like draft horses and Warmbloods. This way, you can buy a straight-load OR slant-load trailer with stalls large (or small) enough to properly support your animals during travel. We even customize each particular stall, which is a perfect way to deal with your large cart horse and daughter’s jumping pony all in one trip.

Horses Prefer to Haul Standing a Specific Way

As to “straight or slant,” we’ve actually learned something interesting over the years.  If you haul your horses in a box style trailer equipped with a camera, you can observe which way they choose to stand.

Surprisingly, 99% of the time, they will turn into a slant – facing backward, away from the direction of travel.

A horse loading to face the rear of the horse trailer.

There are a lot of theories as to the “why,” but for whatever reason, horses prefer to ride in the reverse load horse trailers, according to a study on Effects of transporting horses facing either forwards or backwards on their behaviour and heart rate published on PubMed. In addition, there’s been a lot of research to suggest horses haul with less stress in a rear-facing direction. That’s why we designed our patented SafeTack Reverse Horse Trailer – it's exclusive to Double D Trailers, so you won’t find it anywhere else in the US.

This model allows you to load your horses through a large side ramp and door and walk into a rear-facing stall.  Then, to offload, you simply walk your horses straight off the back of the trailer.  We eliminate the need to ever back your horse – which results in horses who will load and unload much more happily.

Here’s a Straight Load Option You Might Like Instead

If you have your heart set on a straight-load trailer with some sort of sleeping quarters, there are still some other options.

For instance, any of the Straight Load Gooseneck Horse Trailer configurations would be available. This includes a model with 1) a dressing room in the gooseneck, 2) a mid-tack room + dressing room, or 3) a 2+1 style with a front box stall and dressing room/tack room.

Straight load horse trailer floorplans

We could also build you the Basics LQ - Straight Load Horse Trailer with Living Quarters, but the latter would be nothing but basic amenities. This will leave you with a 4-foot short wall living area with limited features like a toilet, sink, and basic cabinets. The gooseneck area could still be used for a sleeping mattress. A cowboy/cowgirl shower could be installed back in the horse area of this trailer as well. But this type of trailer would not have a kitchen, sofa, or bathroom.

Get More Living Space With a Shorter Wheel Base

One thing to notice though…

On the straight load Basics LQ Horse Trailer described above, the distance from the front axle to the rotation point for this trailer is 21 feet. This is about the same as our patented SafeTack Reverse Living Quarters Horse Trailer (with a distance of 21 feet 10 inches).

Remember, the Basics LQ - Straight Load Horse Trailer with Living Quarters only has a 4-foot short wall with limited accommodations. With the SafeTack Reverse Living Quarters Horse Trailer, you get a 10-foot short wall – more than DOUBLE the size of the hang-out trailer

Plus, the SafeTack Reverse would be built with FULL living quarters rather than the simplified Basics LQ package. And that makes all the difference, convenience and comfort-wise.

SafeTack Reverse Living Quarters Horse Trailer with 10 foot short wall

The SafeTack Reverse Living Quarters Trailer with a 10-foot short wall has more than double the amount of living space and amenities when compared to the Straight Load Gooseneck Trailer with the "Basics LQ" package. 

The point is, you’ll get more than DOUBLE the space with a SafeTack Reverse Living Quarters Horse Trailer with a 10-foot short wall as you do with a straight load, mid-tack, 4-foot short wall model. That difference between a 4-foot and 10-foot short wall will provide you with the living space you need. You’ll be able to include a full kitchen, sofa/dining area, and a separate bathroom. And, with a front axle that is 6-FEET closer to your tow vehicle when compared with the straight-load living quarter model, this is MUCH easier to tow.

So, if you're eyeing a 2 horse trailer with living quarters, we’d encourage you to consider our patented SafeTack Reverse design.  We can build it to fit your large breed horses and it will be safer – and easier – to haul down the road.

If you have any questions about Straight Load Living Quarters Horse Trailers, contact Brad here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Straight Load Horse Trailer with Living Quarters

Are straight-load horse trailers any good?

Straight-load horse trailers are usually 2-horse bumper pull horse trailers. Compared to slant-load trailers, the latter have certain advantages, but the true difference comes when you add living quarters and/or a dressing room to the trailer design. This is where Reverse Load Horse Trailers steal the show, and they prove to be better in terms of safety and practicality as well. Still, straight-load horse trailers are an option to consider when all you need is a bumper pull trailer for a couple of horses.

What type of horse trailer is the best option?

This depends on the needs and preferences you have. For example, hauling three horses on longer trips, alongside all their gear and tack, requires a gooseneck trailer with enough storage space and living quarters.

Do horses prefer slant or straight-load trailers?

Slant-load trailers are usually roomier thanks to the larger width, meaning that any horse would feel more comfortable inside. Loading a horse into a wider trailer is obviously easier, too. Horses tend to stand at an angle while the trailer is moving, hence the reason why a slant-load trailer would be an option your horse would prefer over a straight-load alternative.

Is a slant-load horse trailer better than a straight-load?

Slant-load horse trailers that feature the SafeTack design are a better option than straight-load trailers. The latter ones are usually the preferred choice when the budget is the main priority. Despite the overall advantage of slant-load trailers, your final decision should be based on the specifics of your needs.

Do you need to tie horses in a straight-load trailer?

Horses in a straight-load trailer must face forward at all times, and they need to be tied, unlike stock trailers, for example.

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