One of the main attractions for me at the recent Western States Horse Expo was the Portland Equi-Trek Trailer display.
You see, a while back, I wrote about ‘horse boxes’ which are common in the UK (story linked here). I had written that post purely based on Internet information. I had never seen one in person nor been inside to feel and observe the construction, etc.
However, my takeaway from that exercise was that It seemed incredulous to me how different horse trailers could be between the US made and UK made – when they are only across the pond…
In the UK, they drive their horses in Winnebago type vans where the horse and driver are together. They also mostly have the horses travel backwards. And, if they do pull a trailer, it is bumper-pull and via an SUV! (Of course, they can use a truck, too…)
That would never happen here… or could it?
EQUI-TREK DISTRIBUTOR IN THE USA!
There is an Equi-Trek horse trailer and horsebox distributor in the USA now.
Portland Equi-Trek. How brave! I applaud their willingness to take a staple from the UK that has worked forever and bring it to the USA.
And, they were at the Expo!
So, I looked at the unit Portland Equi-Trek had there.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
I’m no expert… but from what I can surmise off of the Equi-Trek website and what I know of US trailers, here are the main differences:
1) Side ramp
2) Horse rides backwards
3) Less emphasis on tack room and more emphasis on sleep/shower/kitchen space
4) Smaller feel than most US trailers
5) Lightweight and many of these trailers can be pulled by SUVs (I could not find what materials are used for construction… looked like a fiberglass shell.)
6) Less bells and whistles than some American rigs
WHAT I LIKED…
1) I liked the idea of the horses riding backwards.
2) I liked that Equi-Trek had expertly created a small but workable living quarters in a two-horse trailer. Perfect for those overnight shows.
3) I liked the built-in water tank and hose, even on the lower-end models.
4) I liked that it was lightweight.
HARD SELL IN THE US?… Hey Brenderup Fans!
1) I think this is perfect for the Brenderup crowd, especially because the Equi-Treks have many, many more options and are bigger than the Brenderup.
2) For overnighter show people who are on a budget, this is a great idea!
3) For people who need to use a bumper-pull and/or an SUV, this is very versatile and larger trailer than what is available in the US.
4) I think the backwards travel could be a hard sell as well as the middle ramp – simply because we are not familiar with it.
5) Many of us from the USA are accustomed to huge tack areas. We are also familiar with the bells and whistles of our trailer systems.
WILL BACKWARDS HORSE TRAVEL COME TO THE USA?
I am curious about this… I wonder if a large equine trailer company will take the plunge and design an entirely new trailer that would have the horses travel backwards.
I’m figuring that would be a lot of work and money when they aren’t sure if there is a market.
For me, I’d probably consider an equine backwards traveling trailer, especially if it had the features I needed for my usage.
NICE PEOPLE, VERY HELPFUL…
I know that the Portland Equi-Trek dealer is family owned. They were nice and helpful. So, if you’d like to learn more, go to their website or contact them directly!
WOW! I remember your coverage in your original post. I would of loved to see these up close and personal, and would love to have one. Although, I think they should let YOU TRY ONE OUT FIRST, give us an exclusive personal experience with them! :)
FROM HORSES FOREVER:
Well, I love your coverage of this company. Thank you so much for putting the information out there. I’d like to add my comments, if I may?
Interestingly enough, horses travel backwards much more comfortably and safely then they do headed forwards. I’m not sure that I can provide “documentation” for that statement, but it’s a reality! Also, traditionally, they travel better untied (in most cases) which gives them the ability to balance themselves and keep themselves comfortable. If you transport a horse, untied, it will always travel backwards!
I am very much opposed to bumper pull, contrary to the European way! There’s just not enough stability, generally, in a bumper pull, even though there’s lots of them around. Generally speaking, our autos, SUV’s especially, are not manufactured to trail a one-horse/two-horse trailer on a tiny ball – just not well planned!
Being in the rescue business for many years, I’ve learned that horses will learn to trust you AND the trailer if they have lots of room to load and can travel at their own volition.
Just my thoughts ~ :-)
Shirley Hoffman, Director
Back in 68, I had to transport my TB in a livestock trailer. Oh my God! Would she beokay!?! I wrapped her with extra fluffly travel bandages and cleaned every inch, making sure she had good footing. I begged the guy to please close the middle gate. She traveled with her butt to the cab and when we stopped she mozied over to see where we were going. When we stared up again, she changed sides, the changed again. On the trip over the pass, she faced forward, angled and then backwards once we got to the desert. She was so happy when we unloaded. I’ve never used stalls in trailers since. US riders are so stuck in their preconceived ideas (where did they come from). The horse will tell you. But we do have to give them space to do that. I love these british designs but would not make them stand in a stall sort of set up. They are much happier milling around. If there is a troublemaker, they have to go behind the gate.