Earlier this year, we took a detailed look at rear-facing trailer designs and found that horses often prefer to travel in a reverse facing direction. This type of travel causes less fatigue and psychological stress allowing horses to arrive at their destination fresher and calmer. However, only the Double D Trailers Safetack Reverse Slant Load horse trailer addresses the safety shortfalls found in other reverse slant load designs. We are excited to showcase this unique design, which was recently awarded a U.S. Patent #9132762, so we spoke with designer Brad Heath to understand the special features of this innovative horse trailer.
What led to the idea for this new trailer design?
The idea of this new trailer design came about three years ago when a customer first approached Brad. “One of our customers sent me an article published by the Journal of Veterinary Behavior,” he explained. “The research said that horses haul with less stress in the rear facing direction.”
The customer was having trouble finding a rear facing design that had all of the safety features she desired. After listening to her concerns and doing some thinking, Brad developed the Safetack Reverse Slant load horse trailer.
What makes this rear facing horse trailer design unique?
There are several key features that make the Double D Trailers reverse horse trailer a safer and smarter option. Brad explained, “The Safetack Reverse Slant Load trailer addresses the shortfalls of what other manufacturers in the industry are doing.” He emphasized one important point. “We have not developed a reverse slant. Rear facing trailer designs have been around for many years.” Instead, he took an existing concept and applied a new layout and new safety features.
Many of these other designs include reverse slant load layouts, separated stalls, and a side entrance. The recently awarded U.S. Patent describes how, “In this arrangement, there is typically a tack storage area in the rearmost portion of the trailer where saddles, bridles, and other tack are stored. This tack storage area reduces the amount of opening space for the rear doors and thereby limits the space in which the horse can exit the trailer.”
One competitor’s design mentioned by Brad has only a narrow 39” ramp for the horses to walk down when they exit. “It’s a very confining claustrophobic space. A lot can happen to a human trying walk out that small narrow door with a large horse.”
“The problem that most trailers have is that the horse loads on the side and enters or exits out a very narrow door.” Double D Trailers eliminated this problem by adding in the Safetack compartment and double-hinged dividers. The Safetack compartment swings out like a second door allowing a wide-open area for your horse to pass. Double-hinged dividers in the interior of the trailer allow the horses to easily move through the trailer to exit without awkward backing and maneuvering. “When you’re unloading with the Safetack Reverse, you have the entire back of the trailer available for loading and unloading.”
The Safetack Reverse Slant Load horse trailer from Double D Trailers allows horses to load from
a large side door with a ramp. Double hinged dividers and the swing-out Safetack
storage compartment are maneuvered so that horses can exit through a wide
open rear opening and ramp.
Another safety feature on the Double D Trailers design is an extra partition behind the rear horse. When the rear ramp of the trailer is opened, this partition prevents the horse from immediately trying to unload. “It’s very safe to have this extra partition in place.”
This Safetack Reverse Slant horse trailer design has drop down windows on both sides of the trailer as well as overhead pop up vents at the head and tail of the horse. This allows owners to face their horse in a rear or forward direction without loss of accessibility or airflow.
With the combined benefits of the moveable rear Safetack compartment, the double-hinged divider partitions, the drop down windows, and the wide side ramp, the patented Double D Trailers Safetack Reverse slant load trailer is a truly safe and well-designed trailer. “You will find this unique to Double D Trailers. No one else in the United States has this. And now with the patent, others will not be able to copy it.”
What were the biggest challenges in designing this new trailer configuration?
Making a design that made sense on paper and also worked in real use was certainly a challenge for Brad and his manufacturers. “The biggest challenge was the double hinged divider,” he explained. “Trying to get it to swing from both ends and to figure out the safety issues associated with it was a challenge.”
When Brad designs a trailer he always likes to work in two points of escape for the horse handler. Other challenges in creating this new design involved figuring out which way was best for the horse to face, where to place the partitions, how best to incorporate the ramp, and how to maintain the shortest wheel base.
What was it like to go through the US Patent approval process?
Brad chuckled at this question because it took much longer than you’d expect. “We submitted the paper work sent to U.S. Patent office in May of 2013. The first trailer was also built sometime in 2013. The approval came in 2015.” Despite requesting a ‘fast-track’ processing for the patent, it still took 2 1/2 years for the patent to be approved.
This means that although this ‘new’ design is just now being showcased, there are already many happy Double D Trailers customers with this model throughout the United States.
What are some safety features on this design?
Since Double D Trailers specializes in custom trailers for its customers, each Safetack Reverse Slant load horse trailer is unique. “We’re very flexible in our designs!” Brad exclaimed. In addition, safety is always a top priority. His goal when he is designing a trailer is to ensure that each horse can be accessed individually during an emergency situation.
The patented Safetack Reverse Slant Load trailer from Double D Trailers can be built 4 horse, 3 horse, or 2 horse trailer. It can also be configured in a bumper pull or gooseneck version.
“It’s important to have multiple points of entry to get to horses in case of emergency and multiple points of escape to maintain operator safety.” The ramp is often placed on the “ditch” or passenger side of the vehicle so that horses can be unloaded on the non-traffic side if the rig is alongside the road. However, if desired, the ramp can also be placed on the driver’s side. It simply changes the direction of the slant.
Normally, horses load onto the trailer using the side door and ramp. When the horse is ready to unload, the handler can easily and safely lead the horse straight off the rear of the trailer. This trailer design can also be used with a forward facing orientation if that’s what your horses prefer. “You do have the flexibility of reverse facing or forward facing without making any changes to the trailer.” In this case, horses would load from the wide-open rear, and then exit through the side door and ramp. Once again, the double-hinged dividers make this possible.
“It’s a really neat design! We can replicate this for two horse, three horse, or four horse trailers.”
What has been the public’s response to this new trailer design?
The first of the Safetack Reverse Slant load horse trailers was built in 2013. Since then, customers across the nation have been coming to Brad. “We have built a number of these from the East coast to the West coast, South as far as Florida, and North up by the Canadian border.”
Each one of the Double D Trailers customers has been extremely pleased with their trailers.
Barb Pedoto of Oxford, Ohio says, “We love our new Double D Trailer! We get compliments everywhere we go and people are amazed at the Safetack compartment. … The center divider takes a little getting used to but now my horses can face the rear and travel more happily! I was drawn to Double D because of the Safetack but there are many more reasons to recommend it. So happy we bought it!”
John Polito of Colts Neck, NJ has a Safetack Reverse Slant Load 2 horse bumper pull design from Double D Trailers. More photos of his beautiful trailer can be seen here.
Karen Jones of Newnan, Georgia says, “I love my new Double D Trailer... I got their patent pending reverse/forward facing Safetack 2H Slant Gooseneck. Brad designed a hay/feed room for it and I enlarged the dressing room. I can't wait to haul my horses in it; it is so much roomier than any of my previous 3 trailers! I have one problem loader that loves being able to walk forward in and OUT! I highly recommend Brad and Double D for a great trailer designing experience, extraordinary customer service and a fabulous product!”
How can people see this trailer up close?
If you are curious about this new trailer design, you’ll have an opportunity to see it in person at the Equine Affaire from November 12-15, 2015 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Brad would love for you to come out and see the design in person. “It’s definitely a game changer for the industry. It’s a new design and something that no one else offers.”
“This is a trailer that works in the forward or rear-facing orientation. It allows you to access any horse at any time. It’s a trailer that will work for anyone, whether you’re hauling a small 14-hand pony or 17-hand horse. We build the trailer to fit the horse rather than expect the horse to fit the trailer.”
“Definitely come check this trailer out at the show.” Although Brad hasn’t showcased his trailers at live events in recent years, he knows that things are different with this design. “We feel that the value and the uniqueness of this trailer warrants that we get it out in front of customers so they can touch it, feel it, and climb all over it to see what this design’s about.”
If you’re not able to make it to Massachusetts in November, look for Brad to show off the design in upcoming events in California, Florida, and Ohio throughout 2016. Brad also added, “We always have customers all over the U.S. who are more than willing to speak with someone or let someone take a look at the trailer.”
If you would like to learn more about the Patented Safetack Reverse Slant horse trailer from Double D Trailers, there’s no reason to wait until you can see it in person. Contact Brad and he’ll be more than happen to talk to you about the design and how he can make a custom trailer to fit your specific needs.
What do you think of this design compared to other reverse slant loads on the market?
Are you planning to check out this trailer at the Equine Affaire? Let us know so we can look for you!