How to Pick the Right Livestock Trailer

The Transwest Team
The Transwest Team
Mar 24, 2021
Bumper pull livestock trailer

Picking the right livestock trailer is the key to ensuring safety and to making the process of transporting livestock efficient. At Transwest, we have years of experience assisting our clients in the process of picking out a new or used livestock trailer.

Whether this is your first horse trailer purchase, or you need to add another trailer to your ranch’s operation, the following guide will help you narrow down the right trailer for your specific needs.

Gooseneck Vs. Bumper Pull

One of the first considerations when choosing a livestock trailer is whether you want to purchase a gooseneck or a bumper pull trailer. While both of these trailers may offer good benefits, the right choice largely comes down to the amount of space needed.

Bumper Pull

A bumper pull trailer is also referred to as a tagalong trailer. This is the most basic style of livestock trailer and is perfect for those who only need to haul one to two animals.

These trailers can be hitched up to the vehicle being used to tow the trailer, making them extremely easy to hook up.

A bumper pull trailer is often used when you won’t be hauling livestock very often, and you don’t have the right truck for a gooseneck trailer. These trailers are perfect for animal owners on a budget and simply need a small trailer for transporting their livestock to a nearby location. Another benefit of a bumper pull trailer is that they weigh less, allowing for better gas mileage.

Bumper pull trailers are a great fit for ponies, sheep, goats, and other small animals.


For those hauling more than just a couple of animals around town, a gooseneck will be a better choice. Gooseneck trailers offer improved stability and are safer for long-distance drives. Gooseneck trailers do require that you have a truck equipped with the right truck bed hitch in order to haul.

While gooseneck trailers often cost more than their bumper pull counterparts, the trade-off is often worth it. Goosenecks provide smoother rides, the option for a much larger cargo area, and are a safer choice for hauling multiple animals. For larger animals, a gooseneck is a must.

Living Quarters

Another option to consider when purchasing a livestock trailer is whether or not you want the trailer to be equipped with living quarters. Gooseneck trailers are often designed with a living space residing on the front portion of the trailer that rests above the truck bed.

Living quarters vary greatly in what they offer. You can opt for a living space that features a small area for a bed, equipped with storage space. Or, you could choose an elaborate RV-style living space, complete with a kitchenette and bathroom.

Opting for living quarters is a great choice for those who will be hauling livestock long distances and need to stay overnight at locations along the way. Additionally, they are a perfect choice for those who take horses to equestrian events, as they provide you with a place to sleep, get ready for events, and later unwind.

Not only do livestock trailers with living quarters give you a place to sleep, eat, and relax, but they are also often equipped with extra storage space, allowing you to keep your trailer organized.

Material Choices

Another option you will face when shopping for a new livestock trailer is what type of materials the trailer is constructed with.

The materials chosen will play a big role in how much the trailer weighs. The following are all a few options available on the market with the pros and cons of the material type:

  • Steel: Steel trailers are an extremely durable and affordable trailer choice. Steel-built livestock trailers require very little maintenance and are designed to last for years of use. However, these trailers usually weigh the most and are susceptible to rust over time.
  • Galvanized Steel: If you want the durability of steel without the risk of rust, galvanized steel may be the best option for you. Galvanized steel is treated or coated to prevent rust, which can also lead to a higher price.
  • Aluminum: If you are looking for a durable but lightweight option, an aluminum trailer is a great choice. These trailers also offer low maintenance and are rust-resistant.
  • Composite: Many newer livestock trailers are designed with a composition of materials. This might include an aluminum structure paired with a fiberglass roof and fenders. Composite trailers are a great choice for keeping weight down while retaining durability.

Straight Load or Slant Load

Another big difference when picking out a livestock trailer will be the loading style of the trailer.

There are two main types of loading styles:

  • Straight Load
  • Slant Load

Straight load trailers are designed to allow livestock to walk straight into the back of the trailer. These trailers usually feature enough room for one to two animals. They are often a great fit for larger animals, such as horses, as they feature a long stall.

Conversely, as the name implies, a slant load trailer places animals at an angle in the trailer. By angling the animals in the trailer, this livestock trailer style allows for a greater number of animals to be loaded into the bay. This is a great choice for loading up multiple sheep, goats, or other stockier animals.

Which style of trailer is right for your needs will depend a lot on the number of animals you plan to transport and the size of the animals.


Finally, when shopping for a livestock trailer, the trailer's total size will need to be considered.

The larger the animals you plan to transport, the bigger the space required. A good rule of thumb is to allow for at least 10 inches between the top of your livestock’s head and the trailer ceiling. This allows livestock to travel comfortably and to clear their throat as needed, which can be critical when debris is kicked up in the trailer or off the road.

Visit Transwest Today

Picking out a livestock trailer doesn’t need to be an arduous task. At Transwest, we are here to assist you while looking at our quality inventory of trailers. We carry all of the following livestock trailer types:

Whether you plan to transport a couple of goats or many sheep, we have the livestock trailers you need to get the job done. Come talk to our experienced staff today to learn more about which livestock trailer is the right fit for your operation.



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