Five Tips for Buying a Used Horse Trailer


I’ve been relatively quite this weekend because I was waiting to see if the bit of a surprise that I had planned was going to come to fruition. And guess what? It did!

Over the past few months or more I have been casually searching for another horse trailer. Nothing was wrong with my current trailer, mind you; it’s only that after several years of ownership I wanted something different. But, I was very particular as to exactly what I wanted. My husband, who is in equipment sales, would pull up ads for me at home in the evenings. While each trailer he found resembled my wish list, each time I responded with, “that’s not it.”

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That was until about mid-week last week when he found “the one.” We quickly called to make certain that it was still available and made an appointment to see it. Today we did just that. It was everything I had hoped it would be so we brought it home. The purchase inspired this week’s blog post that includes tips on purchasing a used trailer.

I am many things but a woman of means is not one of them so my trailer purchasing budget is really quite small. I make no apologies. I think most of my readers are similar to me. Yes, my new trailer needs a new paint job and some minor repairs but it meets my requirements perfectly. Here’s what I got:

Circle H ’98 three horse slant load stock combo horse trailer

Twenty-four feet long with seventeen foot box; 6 ½ foot ceiling height

Tack compartment/dressing room

Good flooring. Rubber mats.

Good tires and wheels

My current trailer is a two horse straight load with living quarters that I’ve not often used. It’s also a more traditional enclosed horse trailer rather than the more open stock trailer type that I just purchased. It’s ideal for those who enjoy traveling to overnight horse shows and trailer rides and who don’t wish to pick up the added expense of a hotel room. Me? I’m more of a stay in a hotel room kind of girl. But, if you’re interested in that sort of thing this may be just the trailer for you. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting additional information soon.

In any event, seeing that I just went through this experience, I thought I might share with you some tips that I followed in order to ensure a successful purchase:

Comparison shop. I looked at prices for similar new and used trailers in order to make certain that the asking price was fair.

Complete a thorough inspection. Although I had already seen photographs online, once I arrived to see the trailer “in person” I first completed a general overview of the entire trailer. This inspection wasn’t a close one. At first, I only walked around the outside and then the inside of the trailer.

For my close interior inspection I lifted the floor mats to check for any signs of rot. I went over the interior with a fine tooth comb so to speak looking for anything that might cause injury to a horse or anything that seemed unusual or amiss. Next I checked to see how freely the gates swung and if latches easily opened and closed.

For my close exterior inspection I first looked for any obvious defects some of which are to be expected on a used trailer. I also gave a close look to the hitch and the condition of the tires. We also hooked up our towing vehicle to make certain that the lights worked properly.

Inspect the undercarriage. An important part of any trailer, look for signs of rust or other damage. This is a good area to get an idea as to the structural integrity of the trailer.

Be aware of your towing vehicle’s weight limits, etc. This issue wasn’t really a concern for me as my “new” trailer is similar in size and weight to my current trailer but, if you are moving up in size, this is definitely an area you will want to consider.

Take a test drive. If at all possible take a test drive. Even if the trailer is empty this should give you a good idea as to how the trailer will haul.

I’m excited about my new purchase! I’ve wanted a slant load for a long time. By nature of its design this trailer is a lighter weight than my current trailer. It has fewer amenities that I don’t need. And finally, it will allow me to haul more friends when we go on trail rides.

The best part of all? My red horse seemed to love it! She hopped right on as if this had always been her trailer! Buying a used horse trailer need not be complicated after all. In the words of my husband, “when you find what you’re looking for you should buy it!”



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