How do you measure a horse trailer?

In this article, we will answer the following question: How do you measure a horse trailer? We will explain what is the right way of measuring a horse trailer. We will also discuss how big are horse trailers and how to know which one is the best for you. 

How do you measure a horse trailer?

When measuring a horse trailer you must find the height of the trailer, the interior dimensions of the storage options, and the exterior dimensions. The dimensions of a horse trailer vary widely. The measurements allow you to properly plan your trip or to know precisely the details of the sale of a horse trailer. 

Here’s how you measure a horse trailer:

  1. To measure the height of a horse trailer, one trick is to put a ladder adjacent to the highest point on the trailer with the horse trailer unloaded and level. Use a tape measure to determine the height of the vehicle. Measure from the highest point on earth for the most accurate measurement.
  1. To measure the length of the horse trailer, measure from the front-most corner of the back to the length of the trailer, but don’t measure the tongue. Measure the width of the rear of the trailer, not including wheel wells, if the wheel arches protrude from the trailer.
  1. To measure the volume of the horse trailer, measure the height of the inside of the trailer from floor to ceiling, the length of the rear wall of the doors, and the width from side to side. Multiply the three measurements to get the cubic volume. 

For example, a trailer advertised as a 13-foot trailer indicates that the length of the rear wall of the doors is 13 feet. The cubic feet measurement indicates the cargo space of the trailer, for example, a trailer with interior measurements of 10 by 6 by 4 meters has a volume of 240 cubic meters. 

How to measure a horse trailer axle?

All horse trailers have an axle. Sometimes due to bending or rust, these shafts need replacement. This is a task that can be completed by doing it yourself with some simple hand tools. The process begins with measuring the age of the shaft and ordering a new one.

  1. Raise both sides of the trailer and support it securely on jacks.
  2. Remove the tires.
  3. With the help of your assistant, measure from the front face of one cube to the front face of the other cube. This is the axle tread, one of the two dimensions that you must know to get the correct replacement axle.
  4. Measure the distance between spring centres. An easy way to do this is to connect the end of the tape measure to the outside of one spring and measure straight down to the inside of the other spring.

What are the different sizes of horse trailers?

In addition to grooming, lodging and food, the horses must be transported from time to time, either locally or over a long distance. Knowing the right size horse trailer for your needs will ensure that your animals travel in comfort and arrive safely at their destination. 

Horse trailers come in incline or straight load designs, with or without options, and vary in height, width and weight.

  • Standard straight load: A standard straight-load trailer design is a side-by-side rear door entry trailer where the horseheads face the front of the trailer. The standard size comprises the smallest horse trailer, which typically has a stall width within approximately six feet. These trailers typically have a square roof, with a floor-to-ceiling stop height of seven feet and a total length of the trailer of 10 feet. 

The standard trailer for horse sizes is from 14 to 16 hands. The roof should be extended to 7 feet, 6 inches for horses up to 16-3 hands, and an additional two inches for horses in 16-3 to 17 hands. Horses measuring 16-3 to 17 hands should have an extra one foot in trailer length, too.

  • Extra Large Straight-Load: Additional large straight-haul trailers have post lengths of 11 feet. They are six feet wide, but the ceilings extend to a height of 7 feet, 8 inches. With large cargo trailers, they are straight axles with widths of 96 inches, which represents a heavier load for the larger horses, ranging from 16-3 17-2 hands tall.
  • Double Extra Large Direct Loading: Additional double straight-haul trailers have the same length of 11 feet as the oversized one, and the width is maintained at 6 feet 8 inches. Height is 7 feet, 8 inches. The shafts extend to 102 inches wide. The extra-large double model typically houses horses ranging from 18 to 19 hands.
  • Custom-built straight load: Custom-built horse trailers accommodate horses that are 19 hands and taller. Draft horses with weights approach 2,000 pounds that fall into this category. The trailer must be at least 8 feet tall, with a 12-foot stopping length in addition. The tires and axles must be upgraded to support the additional weight with the addition of additional floor supports and the brace.
  • Tilt-Load: Tilt-load trailers differ in design from straight-load trailers in that the horses are loaded from left to right on an incline within the stalls. Due to the diagonal stalls, the overall length of the trailer is still shorter, measuring only 8 to 8 1/2 feet below the centre line. 

However, the length of the diagonal will approach 10 to 11 feet. Tilt-load trailers, due to their smaller size, cannot accommodate horses more than 15-3 hands tall. The tilt-load trailer has additional tailler tags with less hauling weight for the tow vehicle and more manoeuvrability.

How to choose a horse trailer?

There is an ideal horse trailer to choose for everyone. An ideal horse trailer comes equipped with premium quality wheels and tires that range from 13 to 14 inches depending on the type of trailer. In addition, to prevent the trailer from moving when left in static, they include a brake so that the horses do not suffer any mishaps.

A good horse trailer offers different capacities depending on the horse transport needs. The smallest is capable of carrying up to 1600 lbs. And the largest should have a capacity of up to 5000 lbs. 

Therefore, analyze the characteristics of your animals and select the product that best suits your requirements from our wide range of horse trailers.

When it comes to horse trailers types, we must mainly distinguish the following three:

  1. Open: When looking for horse vans and trailers, one of the most typical is the open one, as long as we only carry one horse at a time. This type of trailer is ideal and more than enough for short distances since, in addition, it has the smallest size of the types detailed here. It is a very practical trailer.
  1. Cabin: It is an ideal trailer for trips that are going to be a little longer. However, to perfectly care for the animal, it is also recommended for short distances. One of the peculiarities it has is its ventilation system, which is very beneficial for the horse and very useful when looking for good vans and horse trailers.

In addition, it has a platform on which the roof and the cabin door are arranged, which in turn protects it from all kinds of weather adversities, both water and sun. On the other hand, it even includes food and water dispensers. It is suitable for one or two horses, depending on the model.

  1. Combined: When we are unable to decide on one of the two above, the best option is a combined trailer. It is open, just like the first option we have proposed. However, it can be adapted to the cabin shape, so that the horse is better secured.

The roof they have is canvas and, for their part, the railings are a little higher. When we are going to go short distances and the previous option seems too much, but we want to take care of the animal from adverse weather conditions, this can be a good choice. It can also help us to travel long distances on time.

FAQ on How do you measure a horse trailer?

How big is a 2 horse trailer?

A standard 2 horse trailer is 6’ width, 7’ tall and has a stall length of 10’. Of course, depending on the horse trailer brand and model, it can vary in size and the weight is capable of holding. 

How many horses can fit in a trailer?

Up to six horses can fit in a trailer, depending on the size and model of the trailer. When transporting more than one horse, the minimum height inside the compartments must exceed the height at the withers of the tallest animal by at least 30 inches (almost 75 cm).

How tall is a draft horse trailer?

A draft horse trailer should be at least 8’ tall. A draft horse weighs on average 1,400 to 2,000 lb and has a height of 16 to 19 hands (64 to 76 inches)  As these are heavy horses, you will need a spacious trailer to transport the horse in safety and comfort. 

What are the top 5 trailer brands for horses?

The top 5 trailer brands for horses are:

  • Sundowner;
  • Featherlite;
  • Trials West;
  • Exiss;
  • Titan. 


In short, depending on how many horses we are going to take and how far we are going to go, we can choose different types of horse trailers and trailers. In turn, it will depend on our priorities. If in doubt, the best solution is to consult a professional.

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