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What are Sway Bars and How Can They Help Me?

Towing horse trailers is an exercise in patience and calm, especially when you’re traveling long distances on the highway or in high winds.  Swaying in the breeze is fine for long grass and little trees, but it’s torture on your already stressed horses -- that’s why so many trailer companies offer sway bars with their horse trailers for sale.


What Makes a Trailer Sway?

Horse trailers sway for a number of reasons, but it’s largely a question of mass versus surface area.  Lighter weight trailers that are tall, like a horse trailer, simply don’t have the right weight distribution to keep them stable when crosswinds hit.  Unlike a vehicle or trailer loaded with goods, your horse trailer has strangely distributed weight -- your horses are built on small legs that hold the bulk of their mass high above the floor.

This unevenly weighted load is ok at slow speeds in calm wind conditions, but when you get to really moving on the highway, are passed by semis that create a strong draft in their path or encounter strong crosswinds, your trailer may start to sway uncontrollably.  A well-distributed load can often compensate for this by being bottom-heavy, limiting the effect of fishtailing, but horse trailers cannot.


Enter the Sway Bar

Sway bars were invented to correct just the sort of problems horse owners encounter while on the go.  These specially designed bars are intended to keep ball-hitched trailers pulling smoothly down the road, limiting sway.  They create a better ride for your horses and a safer pulling situation for you by absorbing the sway your trailer would otherwise express as a fishtailing motion.

Sway bars are of three main types:  independent friction sway control, dependent sway control or active sway control.  Independent friction sway control uses a telescoping bar and friction pads to stop sway once it has begun.  Dependant sway control systems come packaged as a part of a weight distribution hitch and rely on the springs to create enough friction to keep the trailer in line.  Active sway control systems are also usually built into weight distribution hitches, but instead of relying on friction to stop sway, active sway control uses cams to prevent sway from starting at all.

You went to all the trouble to make sure your horse trailer was safe and secure and provided your horses with the best protection possible, but without sway control, your bumper pull trailer can still be a scary ride for your four legged friends.  Although you can pull a small tag along without sway control, you’ll find that your horses ride better, are calmer when they unload and are much more willing to get into the trailer if they have less to fear from the ride.

When you’re shopping for bumper pull horse trailers, trailers designed from the ground up with your horses in mind will always distribute weight better than those made from a one size fits all model.  The better the weight distribution, the easier your trailer will pull, but don’t forget the sway bars when you’re hitching up your new trailer.  Call us today at 1-888-244-2029 to get started on your custom horse trailer.

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