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Straight Vs Slant Load Trailers
 By ImaCoolCowgirl   •   26th May 2010   •   6,040 views   •   6 comments
One of the most argued topics between horse people is Straight Vs. Slant Load.

In this article we will explore the pros and cons of both styles of trailers. In the end I will give you my opinion and let you choose what you feel is best for your horse.

A Common Myth
Horses Load and Haul better in slant loads.

Straight Vs Slant Load TrailersWhat made horse people come to this conclusion? In the 1980s the first slant load trailers became available to the common horse person. The original purpose was to fit more horses in a smaller, shorter space. Also people noticed that when hauling horses in trailers with no dividers horse positioned themselves on a diagonal. This is still true today most horses also prefer to stand looking out the back. Horses also seemed to load more easily into the slant load trailers. Horse people came to the quick conclusion that horses were hauling better in slant loads. Where they to quick with there conclusion?

Smaller horses were hauled in slant load trailers at the beginning of the slant load debut. Horses such as quarters, polo ponies and smaller horses that could deal with the shorter stall length were the ones that often found themselves in the slant load trailers. The slant loads became the popular horse trailer fashion and larger horse owners wanted them too. Large horses could not fit in the trailers very well. Larger horses’ necks became cramped and unable to balance themselves. Long hours in the trailer caused them use improper muscles to balance and become sore.

It is illegal for trailers to be over 8.5 feet wide therefore the stalls can not be made long enough for bigger horses without certain flaws. You can make the interior of the trailer wider but then the wheel wells are inside the trailer and they interfere with 3-4 of the stalls. Other things manufactures do is place the stalls at a sharper slant. This cause more problems however. The severe angles in the corners don’t let the horse rest any easier. The only way to resolve that is to make the stalls wider. In the end that defeats the purpose of the slant load.

So do horses really like to haul better on a slant? There are no studies that really show that they do. Or I could have missed them in my research….

Another Common argument for slant loads is the fact horses’ travel on a diagonal in open/stock trailers. A common way to disprove this is by tying a horse in his stall against with his side against one wall. Walk away and the horse most likely will swing his hind quarters away from the wall. So obviously in a trailer a horse doesn’t stand diagonally to help his balance….horses generally just don’t like standing against walls.

When slant load trailer came out, straight loads were dark, small, and barely ventilated. Horses don’t like small, dark spaces so loading into the common straight load was a terrifying experience for most horses. When slant loads came along with a big bright spacious interior, the horses popped right in like it was nothing! But does loading better really mean they were hauling better?

Horses propel themselves with by using both hind legs and the stop by pulling their legs under them. That is the correct and natural way for horses to halt. That is why all disciplines require it, from dressage to reining.

So now you know how horses brace themselves to stop and start. So why may I ask do we force our horses to absorb the force of acceleration and deceleration in a trailer in a slanted position where he/she must use the right foreleg and the left hind leg to balance him/her self? Traveling like this puts stress on the horse causing stiffness and soreness. Hauling in a straight position helps the horse absorb the acceleration and deceleration through the length of the spinal column.

Another problem with a more than 2 horse slant load is that there is no direct access to each individual horse. Therefore you have to unload one or more horses to get to a certain horse. This could be dangerous if one of those horses gets injured and needed immediate attention.

Now for my opinion:
I feel the safest trailer is a 2 horse straight load trailer, with no mangers but with protective chest bars.

I hope you consider this article when buying you next horse trailer, and I also hope you consider it for the good of your horses.

Please to do not count this as your only source when researching Straight Vs Slant Load Trailers.

Check out some cool safe trailers by Equi-Spirit
http://www.equispirit.com/index.htm
Straight Vs Slant Load Trailers
Straight Vs Slant Load Trailers
Straight Vs Slant Load Trailers
Straight Vs Slant Load Trailers
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IggyPogo  
Actually in Monty Robert's book, he states that he and his friends took several horses for a ride in a no-stall trailer, and all the horses positioned themselves slanted facing left, to keep their balance.
  Apr 8, 2012  •  2,052 views
 
bambam roxs  
my horse is 16.2 and had to be cramed in the back of a slantload beacause nights banner horse wouldnt fit back there! but i like srtaight load
  56 days ago  •  2,064 views
 
ImaCoolCowgirl  
Thank you very much.....Fantasy: If you get a straight load trailer with a removable divider you can remove it if you are just taking one horse. Then it is more like a stock trailer...
  57 days ago  •  2,052 views
 
Fantasy Farms  
Straight loads are nice, but if you are only hauling one horse, you trailer leans to one side slightly.
  58 days ago  •  2,069 views
 
T W I  
Very interesting! Well written. :)
  58 days ago  •  2,054 views
 
Topthorn Equestri  
I have both types of trailers. I have a 4 horse slant and a 2 horse strait load. What you have said in this article I totally agree with. My horses load faster into my slant load but they are more comfy in the strait load. I have both types because if I'm only hauling 1 or 2 horses I don't have to haul the 4 horse. I normally haul 3 horses so we have to use the slant load. You have said nothing but the truth in this article great job!!
  58 days ago  •  2,080 views
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