Buying a horse trailer can seem like a overwhelming proposition. With a few simple answers to the following questions and a check list you can find and buy the perfect trailer in your budget.
1. What is your tow vehicle? The first step to finding a trailer is to know your vehicle’s towing ability. If your vehicle is rated to pull 5,000 lbs you will need to find a light weight trailer whose empty weight plus horse weights will be under your towing capacity. Most towing vehicles are half ton pick-ups, large SUV’s, 3/4 ton or larger trucks.
2. How many horses do you plan to haul on a regular basis? This will determine if you need a 2 horse, 3 horse or larger trailer. If you typically only haul 1-2 horses for trail riding, showing, and lessons a 2-3 horse trailer is sufficient.
3. What size horses do you have? Not all trailers are a standard height or width. Larger horses need larger accommodations when traveling. The average trailer is 6’6 or 6’8 tall and 6′ feet wide. Horses over 15.2 hands may need a 7′ tall trailer.
4. What size tack/equipment area do you need? Some bumper pull trailers have small tack compartments under the hay manager and no dressing area. If your planning to show you may desire a trailer with a walk in tack/dressing combination for more space.
5. What is your budget?
Used vs New. Trailers have a long life span especially if well cared for and a well made older trailer can bring down the cost of purchasing. Well cared for used trailers can be found starting about $3000. New trailers range in cost from $5000 to $50,000 depending on amenities.
Must have trailer features:
Cased in wiring, solid floors (no wood rot or other damage), no rust on key components such as the frame or axles, emergency brake connection, trailer brakes on at least the rear axle, rubber mats on floors.
Here is a great article on trailer lines, amenities, hitch types, and stall configurations. Horse Trailer Buying Guide
Treat trailer buying as you would car buying. Compare, make a check list of features you want or need, and use multiple resources to find the best deal. If your unsure about a trailer and if it will work for you take your instructor or other equine professional with you to view potential trailers.
Where to buy trailers:
craigslist (be aware of scams)