Are all-aluminium horse trailers safe?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Are all-aluminium horse trailers safe? We will discuss what all-aluminium horse-trailers are like, and explain in detail the construction system of a horse trailer. 

Are all-aluminium horse trailers safe?

Overall, all-aluminium horse trailers are safe, but in a crash, we believe that a steel trailer would offer more protection than aluminium or fibreglass. We’ll explain better the differences between all three materials below. But first, let’s see what are the advantages of an all-aluminium horse trailer:

  1. All aluminium trailers are made of metal, except the axles and hitch. This makes them more durable. 
  2. They are more expensive than steel trailers and have a higher resale value even after years of use. 
  3. Aluminum trailers are also lighter than steel ones. In fact, a three horse aluminum gooseneck weighs about one horse less than the same size steel trailer or about 1000 pounds. Depending on your towing vehicle, that weight difference can be significant in the handling of your vehicle and trailer. 
  4. Aluminum trailers rust in time, but their bright shine can be restored with an acid wash that is usually done by professionals.
  5. And finally, for the comparison, fibreglass trailers are not as common as steel or aluminum trailers, they are generally tag trailers and are the lightest type of trailers you can buy. Their running gear is usually made of steel.

All of these options can make your task seem overwhelming. The best way to answer what type of trailer is to define what your needs are. If you are going to show for the long haul then your first choice should be an aluminum gooseneck trailer. Showing generally requires traveling long distances. 

An aluminum trailer is lighter than steel, making it easier to tow and saving fuel. And a gooseneck trailer tracks better than a tag trailer behind the tow vehicle. That is very important when transporting in windy conditions. If you are looking to move your horses locally or around your ranch or farm, then a steel trailer might work well and will save money on your purchase.

Whether new or used, there are several things to consider when purchasing a horse trailer. Will it be steel, aluminium on steel, all aluminium or fibreglass? Each has its benefits and drawbacks. All steel trailers tend to be heavy and rust. They are durable but can require considerable maintenance. Aluminum-on-steel trailers are lighter, but they also have drawbacks.

When aluminium is applied to steel, any direct contact between the two metals will cause a reaction. Aluminum will essentially melt. Therefore, it is important to choose a trailer that has a barrier applied between the two metals.

One last thought about buying a horse trailer. If you are buying a used trailer, there are four things that require a serious evaluation and they are:

  •  the lights/wiring;
  •  the wheel bearings;
  •  the electric brakes;
  •  and the quality of the floor. 

Just like before buying a horse, it must pass a veterinary examination. I would recommend that a qualified third party examine the trailer and pay special attention to the four systems mentioned above. This is how you know that no matter what, you and your horse(s) will be safe on the road!

Horse Trailers construction systems explained

The constructive differences are first of all due to the choice of bodywork materials which on some vehicles are mainly marine wood, while others use fibreglass or aluminium.

Of particular importance is the material of the vehicle floor, to be preferred are materials such as aluminium or PVC while wood needs to be replaced after a certain period of time and, unfortunately, has often tragically demonstrated its limits of poor safety both due to the fact that it is a naturally perishable material and that it must also bear considerable mechanical stress during the journey, stressed both by the weight of the horse and by its movements.

In this case a few euros less for the purchase I would not call it a prudent saving.

The frames are generally made of galvanized steel which, although not as eternal as stainless steel, offers a good compromise between strength and durability and if even in the long term it can show some unsightly signs of oxidation due mostly to poor maintenance or to some impact that has scratched the galvanizing layer, this usually does not damage the structure of the vehicle.

Good maintenance solves the problem well and it takes very little about it.

In America, they prefer to build trailers almost entirely in aluminium and with braking systems (electric brakes) which in my personal opinion place them at the forefront in this sector.

In Europe, regulations and higher production costs are an impediment to adapting to different and perhaps more valid solutions. The dimensions of their trailers, optimized only for their cars and roads, on the other hand, are a significant drag on imports.

Even the superstructure that supports the bodywork is important that it is well supported by a complete metal frame that strengthens and, it is hoped that this will never happen, in the event of an accident it guarantees some more chance of safety for our precious transport.

Some attention should also be paid to the hooking eye, observing the differences between the various types proposed. Preferred are those equipped with mechanical anti-theft. The suspension system of the trolley is also a fairly debated topic.

 Personally, I think the most modern system is the torsion bar system. Unlike traditional oil-filled shock absorbers that discharge over time by varying the attitude of the trailer, the torsion bar maintains its mechanical characteristics of elasticity always unchanged over time and without maintenance costs, with the advantage of guaranteeing less roll on the trolley for the benefit of the comfort of the horses transported.

The importance of horse trailers loading systems

This is a good topic, a source of constant discussion.

Ramp yes, ramp no, straight horse, diagonal horse, horseback horse rigidly closed or left as free as possible and waiting for the horse with legs up, let’s think better without pretending to impose absolute truths.

First of all, it must be noted that a rude horse is such because it was probably, indeed I would say certainly, traumatized as a foal on its first travel experience.

Hasty operators in the sector, whether they are riders, traders or breeders, do not proceed with the due attention in order to send the “goods”, leaving the animal the time it needs to learn to climb without fear. 

The consequences can be observed during loading and unloading in a horse show; horses that back up, hurry or jump when passing the ramp require special attention and handling skills from the operator accompanying them.

Final advice 

On the market today there are a fair number of manufacturers and dealers who offer various solutions and price proposals. As it is known no one gives anything, I think that the search for the best quality in relation to the price is, as always, the most important factor to be taken into consideration in the choice, but always aimed at the well-being of the horse and the safety that we believe can give the purchased vehicle for it.

 Spending a fortune on a horse and then making it “uncomfortable” in an inadequate vehicle is an obvious contradiction. Thus make sure you choose the best horse trailer according to your needs, but also to your horse’ comfort and safety!

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on Are all-aluminium horse trailers safe?

What horse trailers are all aluminium?

The following are all-aluminium horse trailers:

  • Featherlite
  • Sooner
  • Sundowner
  • Exiss
  • Eby.

Which is better: steel or aluminium horse trailers?

Most horse owners agree that steel is better than aluminium horse trailers. They are considered to be safer and easier to tow, especially in high winds. 

Do all horse trailers have brakes?

Although horse trailers do not require brakes, it is recommendable to choose one that is braked. In 31 states, you’re required by law to keep well-working brakes on any horse trailer with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of more than 3,000 pounds.


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