Your Guide to Buying New vs Used Horse Trailers

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Your Guide to Buying New vs Used Horse Trailers

Horse trailers , also sometimes referred to as horse floats or horseboxes, are trailers designed for the transportation of horses. The first horse trailers used were rail carriages designed to hold horses, but road usable designs rapidly rose to prominence along with the automobile.

Many different designs, features and materials have been used in horse trailers, meaning that many different options are available to the buyer. These can include inexpensive stock trailers, originally designed for use with cattle, to more elaborate trailers specifically designed with horses in mind.

More inexpensive used trailers are also available, and there are a number of key characteristics too look out for to ensure the good quality of these trailers. A wide choice of horse trailers and other Equestrian Equipment can be found on eBay.

Horse Trailer Sizes

One of the most important elements to consider when purchasing a horse trailer, whether new or used, is the size of a trailer. This can have a great impact on both the driver and on the animals being transported.

· Larger trailers can be more difficult to transport, being heavier and using up more fuel. These trailers also, however, often include a greater number of features, such as living quarters, and can often hold a number of horses. These trailers may also necessitate the use of a trailer mirror to ensure safe driving.

· Smaller trailers often require less powerful cars to pull, being lighter and generally cheaper. However, they can also include fewer features and hold only one or two horses.

· The number of horses a trailer is stalled for determines the number of horses a trailer can safely transport. Small trailers stalled for one horse are available, as are trailers stalled for six or more .

· Weight is another key factor to consider when purchasing a trailer. Trailer weight is generally measured in tons, and heavy trailers will require more engine power to pull. It is important to note that trailers that weigh over 7.5 tonnes are classed as Heavy Goods Vehicles, and the buyer should be aware of any specific legislation regarding these

Horse Trailer Materials

Horse trailers are available featuring a range of materials for the floor, frame and roof of the trailer.

· Horse trailers are commonly made up of a number of different materials, and this can include wood, steel, alloys and other materials.

· The most popular and widely available material for the flooring of a trailer is aluminium, with steel trailers also often featuring an aluminium skin. These composite trailers can also be more durable than other types of material, meaning that used aluminium trailers are often in a good condition.

· Similar materials are often used in the construction of trailer roofs, though fibreglass roofs are also available, and can be a popular choice. Rooftops made out of fibreglass can often mean the trailer is much cooler than those using steel or aluminium rooftops, though due to the difficulty of manufacture they can often be more expensive.

Hitch Types

There are two main types of hitching commonly used on horse trailers, bumper-pull and gooseneck.


Bumper-pull hitches are cheaper and take up less space than goose neck hitches, saving space in the truck bed for horse equipment, hay and other supplies. These hitches attach to the rear bumper, and can result in a greater amount of trailer sway than gooseneck hitches. Due to this, it is recommended that a good weight-distributing hitch with sway control be used.


Gooseneck hitches take up more space than bumper-pull hitches. These hitches attach closer to the trucks centre of gravity than bumper-pull hitches, offering a greater deal of control to the driver. These hitches are particularly suited for use with the larger trailers, such as those stalled for three or more horses. Gooseneck hitches are larger and heavier than bumper-pulls, meaning that they can require more fuel to pull, and leaving less truck bed space for storage.

Trailer Configurations

Horse trailers can be classified according to a number of different configurations, which determine the direction the horse faces while being transported in the trailer.

Forward Facing

Forward facing trailers are the most commonly used and widely available type of trailer, and are particularly prominent among the smallest trailers. The horses in these trailers face forwards in the direction of travel. Horses are held secure with the use of breast bars and breeching straps, which also help them to maintain balance. Due to their wide availability, forward facing trailers can often be easier to obtain.

Backward Facing

Backward facing horse trailers have become increasingly popular, due to the emergence of research, which suggests that this form of travel is most suitable for horses. The horses are secured in a similar way to forward facing trailers, with the use of breast bars and breeching straps. An additional benefit to backward facing trailers is that the positioning helps to ensure the safety of the horse in the event of sudden braking. While in forward facing trailers it is the vulnerable head and neck, which takes the force of the brake, rear-facing trailers mean the more sturdy hindquarters of the animal sustain this force.


Herringbone , sometimes called slant-loaded trailers, place the horses at an angle during travel. The key benefits of this arrangement are that the horse stalls take up less space in the trailer, which could allow additional room for other features such as living quarters . The positioning of the horses also means that they can brace themselves more naturally, rather than leaning on a breech bar. Many herringbone trailers also feature adjustable partitions, meaning the stalls can be altered to accommodate different horses with different builds and temperaments.

Used Horse Trailers

Used horse trailers offer the same features, configurations and materials as new horse trailers, but are often cheaper and can also be easier to find. Due to the fact that used trailers will have been through wear and tear from general use, there are a number of key factors to bear in mind when purchasing a used trailer, which may not be as important when buying a trailer new.

· Before purchasing, it can be useful to ascertain the age of a trailer, which can be an indicator of its condition.

· It can be important to look for rust, leakages and any damp or rotting patches on the interior or exterior of the trailer.

· Ensure that the ramp is in working order, and can be lifted by one person.

· It is important to ensure that the lighting in the living area and horse stalls run on a battery that is separate from the main vehicle.

· All metal surfaces that the horse might come into contact with should be padded to ensure the horses' safety.

· It can also be a good idea to pay attention to the corners of the trailers. The corners of the trailer should be sturdy, and resistant to any flexing.

· The tyres of the trailer should show no damage.

· Some buyers choose to pay for a professional inspection from a third party. A number of organisations offer these, and such inspections might result in the discovery of problems that may have been missed. This is usually a good idea when purchasing a particularly large and expensive trailer.

How to Buy New and Used Horse Trailers on eBay

eBay offers a wide variety of horse trailers, new and used, including a wide range of configurations and features. The full listing of available horse trailers can be found in the Sporting Goods section, under the Equestrian section.Horse Trailers/ Horseboxes can be found under the Horse Wear & Equipment section. Trailers can be arranged by categories such as tonnage, type, brand, registration and the number of horses they are stalled for. The Auction and Buy It Now buying options are also available, offering flexibility in how a horse trailer can be purchased.

Key information, such as the size and brand of the trailer, will often be prominently displayed in the item listing, making it easy to quickly see whether or not the trailer meets and requirements. Further information about the item can also be found on the item page, along with information about the seller. This includes feedback ratings and item reviews, helping to ensure that a purchase can be made with confidence.

If a specific type of trailer is required, it may be easier and more effective to make use of the search function available at the top of every page. Searches can be set to return results from within specific sections, or to cover the entire site. Further information about the search function can be found on the Search Tips page.


Horse trailers are invaluable for those who need to transport their animals, be it for work or for competition. Simple trailers suited to transporting single horses can be found, while larger trailers, which can hold a number of horses and include features such as living quarters, are also available.

If a user manages to find the trailer that is perfect for them and their horse, via searching through eBay's wide variety, then it is important to remember to ask the seller any questions regarding the item to ensure it measures up to the information on the listing.

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