Although horseboxes continue to find an increasing number of takers, the same also holds true when it comes to people looking for horse trailers, and owing to the quickly growing online marketplace, websites like eBay offer their customers a plethora of options from which to choose. What drives most people towards horse trailers, as opposed to horseboxes, is the fact that they offer a reliable and safe way to transport horses, for a considerably lower price. What also helps is that other associated costs are lower, given that horse trailers do not carry a legal insurance requirement, there is no annual MoT to pay, and there is no additional road tax either.
Turning to eBay when looking for horse trailers is a good idea, given the variety on offer. However, it is recommended that buyers learn about the different types of horse trailers on offer, horse preferences, and other aspects that go into buying a horse trailer; and when it comes to buying used trailers, knowing just what to look for certainly helps.
Types of Horse Trailers
Horse trailers available through eBay come in different sizes, designs, and colours, and the materials used to construct them also vary. Buying one depends on various factors, which include establishing how much space is required, choosing between forward- and backward-facing alternatives, and choosing between bumper pull and gooseneck variants.
Bumper Pull or Gooseneck?
Bumper pull trailers, also referred to as tag along and drag trailers, are towed with a trailer's hitch welded to the rear end of a vehicle, typically at the bumper, but it can also be welded to any other part of the frame. The welded portion needs to be sturdy, as it needs to support the weight of a loaded trailer, and bumper pull trailers make use of a ball and coupler during the towing process.
With gooseneck trailers, the hitch is welded to the vehicle's bed, ensuring they do not come loose, and gooseneck trailers are typically used with pickup trucks. Towed using couplers found in pickups and similar vehicles, the hitch ball can be attached and detached easily as, and when, required.
How Many Horses?
Horse trailer sizes available through eBay vary greatly, and while buyers have the option to buy trailers designed to transport single horses, there are also those that transport two or more.
Most single horse trailers available through eBay do not weigh very much, and, as a result, can be towed using normal cars as opposed to pickups or 4x4s. Consequently, these are great options for drivers whose driving licences do not include the B+E category. These trailers tend to provide enough space to transport a pony or a horse, and are ideal for horses that do not like partitions or company whilst travelling.
Double horse trailers come in various sizes, and can be found with specifications to transport all sizes of horses, from ponies to hunters. A good double horse trailer should come with a well-designed partition, and the partition should ideally come with the ability to retract, in case only one horse is being transported.
Multiple horse trailers, as the name suggests, are designed to transport three or more horses, although most models do not offer comfortable space for a third horse if the other two are large, primarily because of weight restrictions. These trailers are ideal for people who wish to transport two large horses, while also having a little extra room for tack, and they can also be used to transport three or more ponies.
Trailers With Living Space
These trailers have helped to bridge the gap between horseboxes and horse trailers, given that they offer users a usable amount of living space or room for tack. Ideal for people who drive long distances, they do away with the need of having to maintain a second vehicle.
Forward or Backward
While human beings prefer facing in the direction in which they are travelling, research suggests that horses prefer facing backwards whilst travelling, and this, researchers say, is because of the physics that go into a horse maintaining its balance. The British Veterinary Association, through a study based on examining responses of horses travelling forwards and backwards, showed that horses facing backwards displayed considerably lower heart rates. Results of the same study also showed that horses facing forward while travelling tend to hold their heads in positions that are higher than usual, they tend to move more frequently, and they also tend to whine more.
This, as has been noted, is because when travelling facing backwards, horses have more room to lower their neck and head, which helps them to balance. Facing backwards can help during acceleration because horses can lean against the rear partition by taking their weight back onto their hocks. It is also believed that when horses have their front legs at the vehicle's rear, they can deal with cornering-associated lateral pressure in a better manner because the front legs of a horse offer more stability when subjected to lateral force.
This, of course, does not imply that all horses like travelling while facing backwards, and coming by horses that prefer travelling facing forward is not uncommon. However, if a horse seems stressed when travelling in a forward-facing horse trailer, trying a change of direction is definitely suggested.
Other Horse Trailer Considerations
When looking for a horse trailer, there is more to consider than just the towing style or size of the trailer. When buying a first horse trailer, hiring different models for short trips is suggested, as this can help identify what best suits a horse. The trailer should come with enough room for a horse to move its legs and maintain its balance while moving. Stall length should be taken into account, again, to offer a horse some movement space. Trailers that come with full-length divides can cause horses to scramble because they cannot spread their legs, causing problems with balance.
Loading a horse into a trailer should be easy; and the bigger the windows, the brighter the interiors. If wanting to trade up from existing models, part-exchange should be considered. Establishing if any given postcode is insurable is suggested, given that certain regions within the UK are hotspots for trailer thefts. Thinking about security measures like hitch locks, wheel clamps, database registration, and security marking, as a result, is suggested.
Buying Used Horse Trailers
As with buying a new trailer, establishing the size of a required trailer at the very onset is suggested even when it comes to buying a used horse trailer. Buyers should take into account that used horse trailers come in various conditions, and while some may be as good as new, some others are best left alone. As a result, used horse trailers should be checked for any kind of damage, which can be in the form of structural damage, fractures, rust, and more.
The floor should be checked for signs of rotting and rusting, and if a trailer comes with mats, lifting them to perform a check is the way to go. Rust on the wheels can be indicative of trouble, and if there is free play in a wheel, it may require new bearings. The tyres' tread should be checked, and any bulging or cracking on the sides is a bad sign. Brakes should be checked, as should all electric fittings, hitching mechanisms, ramps, and doors; moreover, checking the roof for leakages is also recommended.
Buying a Horse Trailer on eBay
Buyers have scores of options when looking for horse trailers on eBay, which include single horse, double horse, forward facing, backward facing, back ramp, and side ramp alternatives. Some of the brands on offer include Ifor Williams, Rice, Bateson, and Richardson; and since different trailer buyers favour trailers of different colours, eBay buyers are presented with trailer colour options like green, blue, red, brown, black, and pink.
Prices of horse trailers available on eBay vary significantly because of factors like size, quality, and brand names. However, given the wide variety on offer, buyers can expect to find trailers in accordance with their budgets, and looking for well-maintained, used horse trailers is always an option.
Buyers wanting to get their trailers shipped to them may have to bear postage and packaging costs, which can vary from seller to seller. A good way to save on additional postage and packaging costs is to look for local sellers, and there are also some that offer free collection in person.
While new trailers made by reputable manufacturers that are sold on eBay undergo stringent safety checks, the same is not the case with some substandard models, and when it comes to buying a used horse trailer, extra caution is required. Establishing just which size is required is among the first things to do, and equally important is ensuring that a horse receives a comfortable drive. Choosing between different materials used to make horse trailers is also required, and primary options include aluminium, steel, and fibreglass. Deciding which roof material to go with is also needed, since fibreglass roofs offer typically cooler environs as compared to aluminium and steel.
Certain precautions when using a horse trailer should be maintained at all times, which include driving safely and keeping a veterinary-specific first aid kit and an emergency kit in the trailer. Although insurance is not a legal requirement, the option to avail of the same is always available, and a number of users are known to insure their horse trailers, citing peace of mind as a reason. Opting for breakdown cover is also recommended, given that horse trailers are known to break down from time to time.