Why Use a Stock Trailer?
It is not uncommon for someone used to horse shows and fancy facilities to wonder why so many horse people still use old-fashioned stock trailers for their animals. With so many options available for slant load, rear facing, and other combinations of trailers, why would anyone want something as simple as an open-concept stock trailer?
Depending on your purpose, stock trailers have many advantages over stalled trailers.
Sometimes a large farm needs to ship large numbers of horses at a time. Most stalled trailers have a limited number of spaces for horses, usually 2-4 animals. Stock trailers have the advantage that you can ship large numbers of horses in the space that stalled trailers waste with their rigid set-ups. If you leave the center divider open, a 20’ stock trailer can comfortably manage 5-6 full sized horses, loaded on a slant. The same sized slant load trailer would likely only manage 4 horses.
Young horses should not be tied when they are shipped. Likewise, when shipping a broodmare with a foal, the mare is best left loose with the foal so that she is better able to avoid stepping on it. With a stock trailer, there is room for two large box stalls, in which one or more horses can be shipped loose. This is also the safest way to ship a horse who is injured or ill.
Stock trailers not only suit horses, but can also be used for many other kinds of animals. If a farmer has another type of animal that might need to be shipped, it is to his advantage to have a trailer that can be used for more than one species. If cleaned out, a stock trailer can also be used to ship equipment.
Some large horses tend to be claustrophobic when presented with a tight trailer. With large stalls, and loads of room, stock trailers are ideal for drafts. While you can’t squeeze as many in at once, you can often ship 4 big horses comfortably in a 20’ stock trailer, while most stalled trailers would need to be custom fitted to manage drafts.
It is easy enough to ship ponies in any type of trailer, but stock trailers do have some advantages. You can fit quite a few ponies comfortably into a single stall of a stock trailer. With two-horse stock trailers on the market, a pony breeder could easily get away with a smaller trailer that could still ship several ponies. Larger stock trailers leave plenty of room to ship carts, harnesses and other equipment.
If you have a show horse and ship out to big shows on a regular basis, there are some wonderful advantages to a stock trailer. As long as you don’t have too many horses on board, it is easy to convert one section of your trailer into a box stall. This gives your horse a place to relax in when he is not expected to be out in the ring. You can even let him hang around without a halter on, if he is prone to breaking them. The stall also makes the perfect place for grooming and tacking up your horse. No more fears of having an escapee as you remove the halter in order to bridle you horse. He can be all dressed and ready to go before you even open the trailer door. This is particularly useful if you are showing a stallion.
As you can see, stock trailers offer some unique advantages to the horse owner. While they may not be the fanciest trailers on the road, they are safe, they allow the horse the freedom to choose the best position for balance on the trip, and they offer a range of alternative uses. So the next time you see a big stock trailer pull into the show ground, consider that the owner might not just be some hillbilly cowpoke, but might in fact have one of the nicest rides in town.