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Straight Vs Slant Load Trailers
 By ImaCoolCowgirl   •   26th May 2010   •   5,659 views   •   7 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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