A horse trailer, which is also known as a horse van, is a trailer that’s used to transport horses across long distances. As you can imagine, things can get pretty cramped in a horse trailer if it’s not the right size for your horse.
Most horse breeds can fit inside trailers that are 6 feet (1.83 meters) wide, 10 feet (3.05 meters) deep, and 7.5 feet (2.29 meters) tall. However, the ideal horse trailer size will ultimately depend on the size of the beast.
If you’d like to learn more about horse trailer sizes, I invite you to continue scrolling. I’ll describe horse trailer sizes in greater detail, as well as what things to consider when picking out a horse trailer.
Horse Trailer Sizes
As you can imagine, there is no single horse trailer size that fits all horses. The perfect horse trailer size depends on how much space it takes up and how much it will need to move freely. The more cramped a horse feels inside its trailer, the more stressed out it can become.
The standard horse trailer size—i.e., the size that will accommodate most horse breeds—measures 6 × 10 × 7.5 feet (1.83 × 3.05 × 2.29 meters), giving a total of 450 cubic feet (12.78 cubic meters) for the horse to move in.
In the end, the size of a horse trailer will differ between brands. Below, I’ll list some of the available horse trailer sizes from 2 different companies: Equispirit and Exiss.
|Brand||Size||Width||Depth||Height||Recommended Horse Size|
|Equispirit||Standard||6 feet||10 feet||7.5 feet||14-16.3 hands|
|XL||6 feet||11 feet||7.75 feet||16.3-17.2 hands|
|XXL||6.75 feet||11 feet||7.75 feet||18 hands|
|Exiss||Standard||7 feet||11 feet||7-1/6 feet||N/A|
|Large||7 feet||14-1/3 feet||7-1/6 feet||N/A|
|XL||7 feet||16 feet||7-1/6 feet||N/A|
Choosing a Horse Trailer
While the dimensions of a horse trailer can tell you how spacious it is, that’s only a fraction of the picture. There are several other key points you need to consider when looking for a prospective horse trailer. I’ll cover those points below.
1. Horse Trailer Style
In general, horse trailers fall into 1 of 3 styles—bumper, gooseneck, and living quarters.
Bumper horse trailers are trailers that you hitch to the back of your truck. It uses requires a coupler at the front to attach to the hitch on the towing car. They’re smaller than the other horse trailer styles, so at max, they can house 3 horses. You may not need a specialized vehicle to tow a bumper horse trailer.
Gooseneck Horse Trailers consists of a main trailer body that has an overhanging portion that extends to the top of the towing vehicle. These trailers can house a minimum of 3 horses, are safer to maneuver, and has extra space for hanging all kinds of horse tack (supplies).
Living quarter horse trailers are typically for show horse owners. They can include a spacious, luxurious interior for the owners to live in. Some of the more high-end living quarter horse trailers come with a fully furnished kitchen and storage room. They’re also the costliest of the 3 horse trailer types.
Horse trailers are typically made of either aluminum or steel, though some horse trailers combine the 2 materials.
Aluminum is lighter than steel, and as such, can be easier to maneuver for newbie horse owners when taking their horses on long-distance drives. While aluminum doesn’t rust, it can corrode if you don’t clean horse urine from the surface immediately. In addition, manufacturers tend to use thinner, cheaper aluminum to keep costs down, which translates to weaker walls, roofs, and stall dividers.
Steel, on the other hand, is more expensive than aluminum by a wide margin, even if it’s the same thickness as aluminum. However, it’s a lot denser than aluminum, which means your horse will have a much harder time creating irreparable dents in the walls and frames. Due to its durability, if anything goes awry while transporting your horse, the trailer has less of a chance of breaking open and damaging your horse.
3. Loading Type
There are 2 loading types to choose from—slant and straight.
Slant loading trailers are less strenuous. Horses can stand diagonally for longer periods of time than they can straight. The slightly angled floors also provide a bit of leverage for your horses to maintain balance while you turn the towing vehicle.
Straight loading trailers are easier on the horse owner. They’re also smaller, so they can’t transport as many horses per trip (2 at max).
4. Size of Horse
The size of your horse should be the main factor when choosing a horse trailer. From the description above, the horse trailer should be around 1 foot taller than the horse. The length of the trailer is usually determined by the horse trailer’s style.
The average American Quarter Horse, which is one of the more popular horse breeds in America, measures between 14 and 16 hands tall and roughly 24 hands long.
For the uninitiated, horses are measured in hands. A hand is the same as 4 inches (10.16 centimeters). Any numbers after a decimal refer to inches. For instance, a 13.2-hand-tall horse is a horse that measures 13 × 4 inches (52 inches, 4-1/3 feet, or 1.32 meters) plus 2 inches (5.08 centimeters), totaling 54 inches, 4.5 feet, or 1.37 meters.
5. Safety Features
You should take a look at the interior of the horse trailer to see whether or not there are sharp points that could harm the horses. Also, padded floors can make long-distance trips less painful on your horses’ hooves and legs.
6. Weight and Size Regulations
You must be familiar with the laws in your state or country regarding towing weight and trailer size restrictions. You can refer to the US Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration to see what weight and size laws apply to your state.