Horse Trailer Loading Positions: Which is Right for You and Your Horse?

Horse gazing out of horse box. Google image.
Horse gazing out of horse box. Google image.


There are a lot of decisions to make when choosing a new horse trailer, from the type of hitch to the amount of storage inside.

Another huge decision you’ve got to make when looking at horse trailers for sale is the position in which your horse will be traveling.

For some, it’s simply a matter of preference, but owners of large or small horses should carefully consider their horse’s travel arrangements since these horses may travel better in certain types of trailers.

Let’s walk through the most common trailer load types available today.

    Slant Load. A slant load configuration is a great way to save space if you’ve got multiple horses that you haul together regularly. With a slant load, the horses stand at an angle to the driver, making it easier to fit more stalls in without creating a lot of extra length on the trailer. If you’ve got a problem rider, though, slant loads can be harrowing since you can’t unload a single horse of your choice at any given time. Instead, you have to take horses out in the reverse order that you loaded them.

    Straight Load. In a straight load trailer, horses typically load by walking straight into the stall. They face the front of the trailer squarely and have another horse in a stall at their side. Straight load stalls tend to be longer and wider than slant load stalls, making it uncommon to find straight load trailers designed for more than two horses. Their biggest disadvantage is that horses must be backed out to be unloaded, which can lead to accidents.

    Reverse Load. Reverse load trailers are a different beast entirely. Like a standard slant load, they require that you load your horses in one at a time, securing the first before the next can load. However, because the hinges on the dividers can swing both ways, you can easily unload your horses without having to back them out again. In bigger reverse load trailers, you may even have a side loading door to give you even better access. Unfortunately, reverse load trailers are still very expensive in the United States and the configuration is rarely available for a two horse trailer.

    Box Stalls. Another option that many horse owners don’t consider is the box stall trailer. Even though most horses tend to ride standing up, some horses, including older animals and mares in foal or with babies at their side, may do better when allowed to freely get up and down. Miniature horses also benefit from box stalls, since there’s no risk of sliding under or through dividers made for much larger horses. You can choose to add a single box stall to a custom trailer or purchase a trailer containing nothing but box stalls. Box stalls take up a lot of space, reducing the number of horses you can transport at once.

Like there are lots of types of horses for different types of riders, there are plenty of loading positions for different horses.

If you’ve found one loading type tends to work better with your horses, it’s a good idea to continue to use that configuration so your horse won’t become a problem loader.

However, if you can try out a different loading style with your horse before you buy your next trailer, you’ll have a better idea if your horse will be accepting of the new design.


Did you know?
A horse trailer or ‘horse box’ was invented in England in 1836 by Lord George Bentinck. Pulled by six horses it was invented to get his racehorses from one track to the next.

1 thought on “Horse Trailer Loading Positions: Which is Right for You and Your Horse?”

  1. I like how you constructed this article, but perhaps, the part that I liked the most was when you mentioned that once I find the right loading type that works well with my horse, I should stick with that. We recently bought a new trailer, and now we’re figuring out how to deal with it. The right loading pattern is one thing, but I think maintenance is also very important. Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot.


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