Owning and caring for horses is often seen as an expensive hobby, particularly when owners participate in horse shows, racing, or trail riding. Transporting horses requires special horse trailers, which can be expensive, that can accommodate a horse’s size and weight. Buyers can find affordable options for purchasing horse trailers, however, without compromising safety if they keep a number of points in mind while shopping for their trailers.
The first issue when making an economical trailer purchase is understanding which types of horse trailers are available. Each type of horse trailer has both advantages and disadvantages for horse owners, depending on an owner's specific circumstances. Buyers should also research mechanical aspects of horse trailers, such as brake system options and weight restrictions, to ensure that they purchase a horse trailer that can meet the challenges of their transportation demands. Additionally, horse trailer manufacturers outfit their models with various features that many horse owners find user-friendly. Unfortunately, added features generally increase the price of a potential horse trailer purchase. To make the most economical purchase, buyers should evaluate each feature on its own merits to determine if the feature provides benefits that justify the feature's cost. Affordable horse trailers can be purchased through equestrian retailers, as well as on the online auction site, eBay. Before purchasing a horse trailer, consumers should know about the types of horse trailers available, loading options, trailer brakes, the number of axles, and horse trailer features.
Types of Horse Trailers
Since horse owners' situations vary, manufacturers offer a wide selection of horse trailer models. Generally, these models can be classified into three main types: straight-load trailers, slant-load trailers, and stock trailers.
In a straight-load trailer, horses load at the rear of the trailer and remain facing forward throughout their transportation. Horse handlers lead a horse into the trailer from the back and exit the trailer from a small escape door located at the front of the trailer. If the trailer is wide enough to accommodate two horses, a partition in the middle of the trailer keeps the horses in position.
Although straight-load trailers serve practical purposes for many horse owners, there are two drawbacks to their designs that buyers should be aware of before shopping. First, the front-to-back positioning of horses limits the number of horses that can fit into this type of trailer in comparison to slant-load trailers of the same size. Additionally, some horses have more problems maintaining their balance in this type of trailer because of its front-to-back orientation.
Inside a slant-load trailer, the positioning of a horse is angled in relation to the trailer's centre line. This allows horse owners to load more horses into the trailer compared to straight-load trailers. Horses typically experience less strain when travelling at an angle because their bodies can respond more quickly to changes in the trailer's momentum as the trailer makes turns, accelerates, or stops. Unfortunately, the maximisation of space within a slant-load trailer can compromise its appropriateness for hauling multiple large-sized horses without creating a cramped environment for the animals.
Stock horse trailers are unique because they allow a horse to position itself freely within a trailer. Unlike straight- and slant-load trailers, stock trailers have no partitions to keep a horse in place. This is problematic, however, when transporting aggressive horses as part of a group. To minimise the chance of injury due to aggression, buyers should look for stock horse trailers that are divided into large box stalls. Box stalls keep horses separate, while permitting them freedom to turn at will.
Getting a horse into a trailer sometimes challenges even the most experienced handlers. Therefore, shoppers looking for horse trailers should assess the loading options which are typically found on trailers to determine which type is best for their horses.
Step up load
Permits horses to step into the trailer from the ground by lifting their legs independently
Provides a metal ramp extending from the back of the trailer to the ground, which horses use to walk into a trailer
Step-up loading is only available on trailers which are low to the ground and benefit horses that shy away from the sound produced by walking on a metal ramp. Ramp loading is safe for trailers of any height and include side panels when the angle of the ramp is steep. Because of their more sophisticated design, however, trailers that feature ramps are typically more expensive than step-up trailers.
Trailer brakes help drivers control their horse trailers during transit. Although the European Union allows horse trailers under 750 kg to remain brake-free, larger trailers must have functioning brakes. In general, there are two popular options for trailer brakes: electric and hydraulic.
Electric brakes work in conjunction with a trailer's tow vehicle via a wire connection. By connecting the trailer to the vehicle, a trailer's brakes engage when a driver presses the vehicle's brake pedal. In some cases, electric brakes can also be activated by a manual control box installed in the vehicle, which allows the driver to activate the trailer's brakes independently from the vehicle's brakes. Hydraulic brakes, on the other hand, engage automatically when a trailer's hitch registers a certain level of forward pressure from the trailer as a towing vehicle reduces its speed.
Number of Axles
Manufacturers develop horse trailer models that can contain one, two, or three axles. Since axles are typically associated with a trailer's weight-bearing capacity, buyers who carry multiple horses per haul require at least two axles on their trailers. Although single axle trailers support up to 1,500 kg, buyers whose hauls approach the maximum weight should consider purchasing a twin axle trailer, which offers a noticeable improvement in manoeuvrability and stability.
Horse Trailer Features
Manufacturers include a range of special features on horse trailers, which some buyers may find useful. It is important to assess the potential benefits of each feature before shopping, however, because added features typically increase the price of horse trailers.
Feed areas are small spaces at the front of a trailer where users can place feed for horses. This option is particularly helpful for horse owners who transport their horses over long distances. In some models of horse trailers, temporary, large-sized feed bags fasten to the interior walls of a trailer within the feed area. Owners add feed to the feed bags through small windows or doors from the outside of the trailer. Accessing the feed area from the exterior of the trailer is a safety precaution designed to protect both owners and horses from any mishaps associated with owners entering the trailer.
Horse owners who frequent equestrian shows or distant horse trails need to transport their saddles, as well as their horses, over long distances. To make hauling saddles more efficient, manufacturers offer saddle storage options on some of the trailer models. Simple saddle storage options include a small area where saddles can be placed on a permanent rack, but more sophisticated options include adjustable racks that carry each saddle individually. Since horse saddles are typically the second most expensive piece of equestrian gear that riders purchase after the horse, buyers should be proactive when protecting their saddle investments by choosing the most secure saddle storage options they can afford.
Many equestrian activities demand that riders wear specific clothing. To make switching outfits more convenient, some horse trailers include changing areas for riders. These areas are separated from the main part of the trailer that houses horses and are accessed through individual exterior doors. Within changing rooms, manufacturers often include storage options for clothes and boots as well as seating, mirrors, and countertops to make changing outfits easier.
In basic horse trailer models, natural light provides illumination through the trailer's windows. This can be problematic, however, on cloudy days or at night. To adequately illuminate horse trailers in any situation, buyers can opt for horse trailer models that feature electric lights. These overhead lights increase safety for both horses and owners during loading or unloading and help to keep horses calm during nighttime transport.
Insulation moderates temperatures within horse trailers by acting as a barrier to external elements, like wind and sunlight. For horse owners who transport their horses through a variety of weather conditions, buying trailers, which include built-in insulation, ensure their horses have the best protection from the elements. Built-in insulation also increases the comfort of handlers and riders as they work or change inside the trailer.
Buying Affordable Horse Trailers on eBay
eBay offers buyers a wide selection of new and used horse trailer options, which can match any horse owner's budget. To access horse trailers, buyers use the search field that is located on every eBay page, and type in relevant keywords related to the trailer models they want to purchase. For example, typing in "Bateson horse trailer" provides search results that include every horse trailer available on eBay that is manufactured by Bateson, a well-known trailer maker. Using different keywords varies results, so buyers can experiment with a number of keywords to browse through their horse trailer options.
Since delivery can be an issue for horse trailer purchases, buyers can utilise eBay's handy distance sorter to locate horse trailer offerings within their local area. Buyers can communicate with sellers directly through the Ask a question link within a product listing to ask if it is possible to collect a horse trailer in person. Communicating with sellers about delivery options should be done before a sale is initialised to ensure a smooth and satisfactory eBay purchasing transaction.
Since owning horses is frequently a costly undertaking, horse owners can employ a thorough purchasing assessment before shopping for a horse trailer to determine their most affordable option. This assessment helps owners purchase an affordable horse trailer model that does not compromise safety or usability. Understanding which types of horse trailers are available is the first step in purchasing a trailer that can match an owner's transportation needs. Which type of trailer is most beneficial relies on the number of horses a trailer carries and how the horses are positioned within the trailer. Owners can then research their options regarding the capacity and mechanical capabilities of each trailer they are considering for purchase. Additional features add cost to horse trailer models, but these costs often offset the increase in the purchase price of a trailer because of the benefits that the features provide. Luckily for trailer buyers, eBay offers a wide range of horse trailer models, which can match any buyer's budget and transportation plans.