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7 Things to Consider Before Buying a Single Horse Trailer

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If you just have one horse, you may be thinking about purchasing a one stall horse trailer. These single horse trailers are great for doing one thing, transporting one horse. If that’s all you have, it may be a perfect fit.

Purchasing is a big decision though. Before you go ahead and purchase a single horse trailer, there are some things you will want to take into consideration.

gray horse and a mobile trailer

1. How Well Your Horse Trailer Loads

If you already have your one, single horse, then you should assess how easily he loads into and out of a two horse straight load trailer. If you have issues loading into a “normal” trailer, a single horse trailer probably won’t be a good option for you.

If you haven’t purchased your horse yet, keep in mind that horses, by nature, don’t like small confined spaces like horse trailers. The smaller and darker the space, the more resistant the horse is going to be to get inside.

2. How Tall Or Wide Your Horse Is

Traditionally, single horse trailers were designed for cowboys that just needed to haul their horse from place to place to assist with cattle drives. The cowboy often wasn’t going to ride more than one horse so there was no need to have a trailer that was larger or heavier than needed.

Most of the vintage single horse trailers are going to have a low ceiling and narrow walls. This was fine for the quarter type cow horse back in the day but, these days, we tend to breed horses taller and wider.

Take into consideration how tall and wide your current (or future) horse is before purchasing a single horse trailer. You want to make sure there is enough head space and width to comfortably accommodate him.

3. Towing Safety

There can be safety issues with towing a single horse trailer vs a two horse trailer depending on the type of trailer you purchase.

Older models, like the vintage Miley horse trailers, often had only a single axle. This tends to result in a more unstable ride for the horse.

Additionally, many individuals with smaller vehicles feel that a single horse trailer is a better option so their smaller car or truck can pull it. That isn’t the case at all. You still need to verify that your vehicle is rated for the total weight of the trailer and everything in it, including the horse.

You see, most of the older single horse trailers that people consider purchasing were made out of steel. Combine that with a 1,000 pound trail horse, and some hay and a saddle and you are probably headed over the limit of any small vehicle you may have considered to use to tow.

When purchasing a trailer, stability and weight are factors. Don’t overburden your towing vehicle and always make sure you are well within the recommended towing weight for your safety as well as your horse’s.

Just because a vehicle CAN tow a trailer/horse combo doesn’t mean it should. A lot of times it isn’t the towing part that is the problem, it’s the trying to stop part that get people into trouble.

4. Resale Value

Getting a horse and a new trailer are both exciting prospects and, as horse owners, we don’t usually think about selling either at the time we are purchasing it.

The reality is, there will come a day that you will either get out of horses completely OR finally have the budget to get that newer, fancier trailer you have always dreamed of. At that point, most people will sell their old trailer to help pay for the new one.

Single horse trailers are only useful for a very small portion of the equine community. That means, if you do ever want to sell it, your buyer pool may be severely limited.

Additionally, because a two horse trailer can often cost just as much as a single horse trailer, when given a similiar price point, most folks are going to opt to purchase the larger trailer than the smaller one.

On the other hand, if you are fortunate enough to find one of those rare vintage steel trailers and you take the time to fully restore it, it may earn you a nice return on your investment.

horse looking outside trailer

5. Is One Horse Enough

This is an interesting question and there are two sides for it. On one hand, you don’t ever have to worry about your friends asking if they can come along with you. Their horse simply won’t fit.

Plus, they probably won’t ask you to trailer their horse for them either unless their horse is a really good loader.

On the other hand, if you do want to ride with a friend, your friend will either have to find their own ride or you will have to make two extra trips.

Also, anytime you do have a horse trailer, keep in mind that your non-horse trailer owning friends usually start to come out of the woodwork so if you aren’t willing to lend out your trailer, be ready to tell them that!

6. Condition of the Trailer

When purchasing a used single horse trailer, you should take great care to evaluate the condition of the trailer. Most used single horse trailers on the market are going to be older, steel trailers.

I have seen these trailers go as cheap as $300 but, that is a drop in the bucket compared to the restoration work that some of these need just to make them road safe let alone sturdy enough to haul a horse in.

Be prepared to inspect and have to repair everything from rust issues, bad floor, new axles and more. Just as with anything in life, if the trailer seems like it is a really great deal, you have to ask yourself why?

7. Purchasing a New One Horse Trailer

For those folks who really have their heart set on a single horse trailer, there are some manufacturers who still make them.

These may be harder to find and, often, won’t be sitting on a dealer lot, but they can be a much better option for the weekend trail rider who wants a quality trailer for just one horse.

There are various models available on the market. They come in a variety of different configurations, depending on manufacturer. This includes straight load and slant load as well as bumper pull and gooseneck.

The largest consideration, when purchasing new, is cost. At nearly $17,000 for the least expensive model, with no extra options, you would really need to be dead set on a one horse trailer for that price point to make sense.

If it does, that is awesome, but if you are on the fence at all, remember that you can always tow just one horse in a two horse trailer but towing two horses in a single horse trailer is not generally safe.

Final Thoughts

There are pros and cons to getting a single horse trailer. For the right situation and the right towing vehicle, they can be absolutely perfect. Before purchasing one, be sure to take into consideration both your requirements now as well as what they might be in the future.

Above all, remember that a single horse trailer is not the answer to pulling a trailer if you have a smaller car or SUV. You must always check your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations and make absolutely sure your vehicle is rated for the weight of both the trailer and the horse and tack inside.