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When is a Stock Trailer the Right Choice?

If you grew up in farm country, you looked forward to the annual county or state fair.  It was the perfect chance to bring out your prized animals for some friendly — or perhaps fierce — competition in the show ring.

Chances are, if you looked out over the parking lot, you’d see a long line of open-sided stock trailers as far as the eye could see.  While these classic trailers can be perfect for hauling your prized hog or pair of heifers, they might not work so well for your horses.

Are Stock Trailers the Best Option for Safety?

Years ago, when we used to build a lot of stock trailers, most folks were looking for an open sided trailer with slats instead of windows.  They wanted an open interior with maybe a center cut gate to separate the front and the back.  

People were attracted by the illusion of increased air flow, cooler interiors, and a certain rough-and-ready quality. It didn’t hurt that these stock trailers also tended to save the buyer a few bucks.

Since then, we’ve noticed a few problems with stock trailers when it comes to horses.  Sure, we will still build them for our customers.  But, we want to point out a few issues that may sway your tastes towards one of our other enclosed models.

horse safetyIncreased Eye & Leg Injuries

First off, those open slats in a stock trailer can be a hazard for your horses’ eyesight.  Small pieces of gravel and other roadway debris can be kicked up by traffic and injure your horses’ eyes.  We’ve heard of this happening numerous times… to the point where we recommend you haul your horse wearing a flymask if they are in this type of trailer.

We’ve also seen horses with leg injuries due to the side slats being placed too far apart.  The distance between these slats should only be 2 1/2 or 3 inches maximum to prevent a hoof from going through.  With such small openings, any advantage in air flow is minimal when compared to a regular window with a protective screen.

No Supports for Horses to Balance -

Next, a classic stock trailer design does not have interior supports to help your horse balance during acceleration or turns… not to mention when someone needs to slam on the brakes!  Without interior dividers to help with balance, it’s not uncommon for horses to fall down when riding in a stock trailer. This can result in injury.

Air Flow & Temperature Issues -

Often, people are attracted to the idea of a stock trailer because they think it is going to keep their horses cooler on a hot summer’s day.  In reality, the type of building material used in the overall trailer design makes a much bigger impact on the temperature.

Using a heat reflective material like our SafeBump Roofing System along with a non-aluminum chassis and floor will make a dramatic difference in the interior temperature of your trailer.  Even a fully enclosed trailer with windows will keep your trailer cool and comfortable when it includes the right building materials. In addition, having a fully insulated roof and insulated side walls will also help keep your trailer cooler and quieter for your horse.

Roadway Noise -

While we’re on the topic of noise… imagine you were driving down the highway with your windows fully down.  The wind rushing in is a dull roar next to the honk of the 18-wheeler and the squeal of the motorcycle as it zooms around you.  Now, imagine what it’s like for your horse hearing these noises through the slats of a classic stock trailer.  Often, an enclosed trailer is a much quieter and less stressful option!

Cost -

Many of our clients are looking for stock trailers to save a few dollars.  And with some other manufacturers, the pricing models may reflect these savings.  But, here at Double D Trailers, we include ALL of our top safety features — SafeBump roof, insulated walls, non-aluminum flooring, Z-Frame chassis — on every single trailer we build. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stock trailer design or an enclosed trailer like our patented SafeTack Reverse Load trailer.  

So, for us, the only real difference in price comes down to building slats versus installing windows.  Believe it or not, slats are more labor intensive… so our stock trailers may actually end up costing more than an enclosed trailer design.

So, What’s the Verdict?

In our opinion, stock trailers are best used when hauling livestock like sheep, goats, cattle, or hogs… NOT horses.  Horses are more prone to injury, much more valuable, and stock trailers lack many of the safety features we would want for them.

A Look at Our Double D Trailers Stock Models

With all that being said, we recognize that many of our customers are still going to prefer a stock trailer for their animals — be they livestock or horses.  Here at Double D Trailers, we have two stock trailer models for you to choose from.

And as we mentioned before, these trailers come standard with all of the top safety features that make our trailers a cut above the rest.  This includes the Z-Frame chassis, single piece leakproof fiber composite SafeBump roof, Rumber flooring, insulated wall system with Galvalite metal, and a rivet-free design.

So, let’s take a look at your options…

Hybrid Bumper Pull Livestock Trailer

This hybrid design works best for two or three horses — with two animals securely placed in straight load stalls towards the front of the trailer.  The third horse is located behind a kick gate in an open area where he can stand at an angle.  

As an added bonus, a half-height tack storage area is located under the manger for one of the straight load stalls.  This is a convenient place to store your tack so things say organized.

This configuration would also work well if you need to haul a combination of animals… perhaps two horses in front and your son’s family of goats in the rear.  Or, that rear area could be used to store your golf cart, four-wheeler, or buggy.

(Learn more ways we can help you store large equipment along with your horses — even canoes!)

In the past, some people have tried to haul four horses with this trailer.  This could work one of two ways:

The kick gate between the front and back horses could be lowered so the rear horses actually hang their head over the rump of the front animals.  They would need to be muzzled —or very friendly with each other — to avoid biting.

We could also lengthen the design to provide enough room for four horses to be truly straight-loaded into the trailer.  Unfortunately, this would result in a 20-foot plus trailer which might be difficult to maneuver.  Plus, the tongue weight on this bumper pull design would be hefty—requiring a 3/4 ton truck for towing. At this point, we would really recommend a gooseneck trailer instead.

Bumper Pull Livestock Trailer

And finally, we have the most classic model of stock trailer.  The interior of this trailer is mostly open with just one center cut gate.  This design could work for horses, but for the reasons mentioned above, we mostly recommend it for livestock animals like goats, sheep, cattle, or hogs.

Even so, this trailer has all of our top safety features and it’s an excellent choice if you have your heart set on buying a stock trailer.

If you have any questions about the best type of trailer for your own specific needs, be sure to reach out to Brad.  He's happy to help!

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