Single Horse Trailer Buying Guide

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Single Horse Trailer Buying Guide

Race horses were initially transported by special railway cars, but because of scheduling problems, specially modified motor trucks were introduced to eliminate the delays. The first horse trailers were used to transport wounded fire horses from accidents to the veterinarian. Today's horse trailers now come in a variety of designs. They vary according to how the horse is loaded onto the trailer, internal as well as external features, and the hitch method.

Buying a single horse trailer is an important purchase, because the health and wellbeing of the horse depends upon the horse trailer being both safe and reliable. When buying a horse trailer, it is important for a horse owner to consider the overall condition of the trailer, especially if the horse trailer is used. The trailer also needs to have adequate ventilation and internal features that secure the horse without causing undue stress to the animal. The buyer also needs to consider whether the single horse trailer she is interested in buying is actually compatible with her pulling vehicle. Horse trailers can be found at traditional feed and tack stores as well as online venues such as eBay.

Consider the Stall Configuration

The first step in buying a horse trailer is to determine the type of stall configuration that is best for the horse. There are a few options from which to choose, and the temperament of the horse as well as available budget are both factors to consider when determining which stall configuration to go with. The three common stall configurations include the slant load, the reverse slant load, and the straight load.



Slant Load

More room for tack; horse does not take up the whole length of the trailer

Reverse Slant Load

Horse faces the back of the stall at an angle; expensive; horse takes up more room in the trailer

Straight Load

Good starter trailer; the most affordable option

Another factor to consider is the horse itself. Some horses become anxious depending on the configuration of the stall. Therefore, before committing to a purchase, a horse owner should rent horse trailers of various configurations and test drive each type of horse trailer with the horse to determine the most appropriate fit.

Consider the Choice of Materials

A horse trailer can be made from aluminium, steel, fibreglass, wood, or a combination of the three. The buyer needs to consider durability when it comes to materials. Few if any horse trailers today are made entirely of wood due to the corrosive effects of horse urine and exposure to the elements.


Aluminium has many advantages over steel. It requires less maintenance, lasts longer, and the resale value is usually higher. The disadvantages are that aluminium is not as durable as steel, costs more, and any repairs required are more difficult and expensive when compared to horse trailers made from steel.


Steel is less expensive than aluminium and is more durable. However, it requires more maintenance to keep it from rusting. In addition, steel has a lower resale value.


This is the lightest material used in the construction of horse trailers, and it requires the least amount of maintenance. However, fibreglass is fairly brittle and can easily be damaged by a horse kicking the walls.

Inspect the Interior Features

When inspecting horse trailers listed for sale, the buyer should check all the features present inside the trailer to determine whether the interior features are well-made and durable. Check for any padding on the surface of the trailer that the horse may come in contact with. Look at the stall dividers, manger, front wall, above the rear door, or anywhere that a horse's leg might come in contact with an interior surface. The rubber bumper on the rear of the trailer floor needs to adequately cover any exposed metal that may pose a danger to the horse, in transit.


The width of the trailer stalls can vary. Sometimes the slant loads have different widths depending on whether the it is a front and rear stall. If a horse is very tall or wide, the trailer should be of a size to accommodate the horse. Ventilation is provided by open, barred, or slatted dividers. Solid dividers discourage socialisation or playing amongst horses being transported together.


Look for insulation anywhere where there is a double or triple wall because insulation moderates extreme changes in temperature, humidity, and muffles noises that may startle or stress horses.

Kick Wall

Check the kick wall located behind where the horse stands to see where the wall flexes. There should be reinforcements and padding where hooves might make contact with the kick wall.


Latches are often a good indicator of the quality of the trailer's design. Simple latches are best. The buyer should examine the the latches by working the latches and checking their functionality.

Inspect the Exterior Features

As with the interior features, it is important that the buyer do a thoughtful inspection of all exterior features to determine the overall condition of the horse trailer. The buyer should look out for obvious signs of wear and tear, and damage. The inspection should include looking at the exterior paintwork, any closures, indicator and brake lights, and the hitch.

Exterior Material

Look for cracks in paint and loose rivets. Due to expansion and contraction in hot and cold weather, cracks in paint or aluminium siding may indicate that the trailer has been poorly maintained.


In addition, check for exterior fasteners. All fasteners, locks and latches should be flush with the trailer. If they are not flush, it is an indication to the buyer that the trailer has incurred a lot of use over the years.


It is important to check all inside lights and outside signal lights, like brake lights and indicator lights. If any of the lights are not working, it may be necessary to replace bulbs and fix wiring. The buyer should also look for any corroded connectors.


When examining the hitch, one should look for stress cracks or loose welding. A plug compatible with the pulling vehicle must be present, and wire insulation should be in good condition, and show no evidence of cracking or splitting. The buyer should inspect the jack post to see that it is in good order and not damaged in any way. All latching and other related devices should work correctly when tested with the pulling vehicle. If possible, test the trailer on an open, paved parking area to see if the trailer brakes hard and stops correctly. There should be no broken parts present, and the hitch should include a safety chain and anti-sway equipment.

Carefully Check the Floors

A trailer must be the right size for the horse. Be sure that the trailer offered for sale is capable of transporting the horse. It is sometimes a good idea to crawl under the trailer to look for any heavy corrosion on any weight-bearing components. In addition, check the flooring for corrosion and any rotting wood. Strong flooring is critical for the safe transport of a horse. Be sure that the chest and butt bars are suitable for the horse. If the bars are too low, the horse can go over them, but if they are too high the horse can go under them.

There are three materials that are commonly used to make the floors in single horse trailers: aluminium, rumber, and wood. Each type of flooring needs to be inspected closely for wear and tear prior to buying the trailer.

Aluminium Floors

Aluminium trailers have aluminium floors and may be ribbed to keep rubber mats from slipping. If the floor is aluminium, lift any mats to see if the floor is chalky white with holes. These are indications of a poorly maintained floor. Look for corrosion or other damage to the flooring, especially in corners of the floors.

Rumber Floors

A new type of flooring used in trailers is called 'rumber'. Rumber is a man-made material created from recycled tires and plastic. It is extremely durable and is often used on military equipment. Although rumber can become slick with urine, it is impervious to water. Many horse owners use rumber flooring in conjunction with wood shavings.

Wood Floors

A popular type of flooring is wood flooring. Many trailers come with wood floors with rubber mats covering them. Inspect the wood flooring in the horse trailer by lifting up the rubber mat and checking the boards for splitting, drying, rotting, and cracking. Be sure to use a bright light source when examining the condition of the wood floor.

How to Find a Single Horse Trailer on eBay

To start searching for a single horse trailer on eBay, simply enter any relevant keywords into the search bar at the top of eBay's home page. For example, if you enter just 'horse trailer', the site's local search engine populates the results page with relevant listings. Using the filters on the results page, you can also narrow down the listings by selecting various search filters. You can specify that you want to see only rear-facing horse trailers or ` trailers.

You can also specify the location of the seller. As mentioned above, it is recommended that you examine the features of the horse trailer in person, and if possible take the horse trailer for a test drive to test the brakes.

To filter the listings such that only listings posted by local sellers appear, select the 'Distance' search filter on the results page. Next, input your postcode and then a search radius. This distance should be one that you are willing to travel to inspect the trailer in person.


The purpose of a horse trailer is to safely transport a horse. The trailer should be big enough to accommodate the horse comfortably and have interior features that secure the horse, while putting no undue stress on the animal.

When examining the horse trailer, the buyer should consider the stall configuration, the interior walls and dividers, as well as the interior padding. When inspecting the condition of the flooring in the trailer, the buyer should lift up any rubber mats that are present and look for any evidence of corrosion. When examining the hitch, the buyer should note whether the plug is compatible with the pulling vehicle. Any indication of corrosion or frayed wires might mean that the brakes on the trailer do not work properly. Ideally, the buyer should go for a test drive with the horse trailer.

While horse trailers are available for sale online, due to the size of a horse trailer and the need to inspect a used horse trailer in person, it is recommended that one only consider horse trailers offered for sale by local sellers. eBay makes it easy to find and connect with local sellers. 

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