Last Updated on February 10, 2022
Have you ever wondered what is the width of a standard semi trailer? And have you ever wondered what it’s like for horses to travel on them?
We’ve answered all your questions below regarding transporting horses on semi-trailers.
What Is The Size Of A Standard Semi-trailer?
Semi-trailers come in many shapes and sizes. The standard trailer dimensions set by the U.S. Department of Transportation may change from state to state, but here are the general dimensions.
The semi-truck trailer length should be between 48-53 feet. The width should be 8.5 feet. Have you wondered how tall semi-trailers are? The height should be about 13.5 feet.
The federal government doesn’t enforce many restrictions on the height or length of semi-trailers. However, the width is always standardized so that the trailer can travel safely down the lane next to other cars. A few exceptions to the width of the trailer may be made for rearview mirrors that extend past the sides of the trailer.
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Horses And Semi-trailers
You may have been driving down the road and were surprised to see animals on a semi-trailer. These kinds of trailers are called livestock trailers, or animal transport trailers. Cattle are the most common animals to be transported on large livestock trailers. However, other animals like hogs, sheep, and yes sometimes horses are also seen on livestock semi-trailers. There are three main types of livestock trailers.
The most common semi-trailer for animals is the enclosed type. This type has several open gaps and slats in the metal siding for airflow but is fully enclosed on all four sides and is covered with a roof. This ensures that the animals are not exposed to anything on the road, and offers the most amount of protection to keep the animals safe. This is one of the strongest and safest types of livestock trailers.
The next common form of semi-trailers is the fence-type trailer. This is the cheaper and lighter version of the enclosed trailer. The fence-type is enclosed on the sides but leaves the top roof open. This makes for easier cleaning of the trailer and more airflow for the animals. However, because the animals are exposed to the elements it is only recommended in regions with warmer weather.
The third type of animal transport trailer is the van type. While this is the most expensive option, this type is used for high-profit animals who need greater attention and care. The cabin temperature can be kept stable in these vans, which makes them ideal for traveling through regions with harsh weather. Animals are also not exposed to the elements, and there is no risk of an animal getting its head or leg stuck through the sides of the trailer.
Each of these types of trailers is either made out of aluminum or steel. Aluminum is the lighter-weight option and is commonly used for the van and enclosed trailers. Steel is heavier and a better option for fence-type trailers that have less structure to them and need more stability.
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Safety With Animals And Semi-Trailers
Many people are concerned when they see a large number of animals on a semi-trailer. How safe are these animal transportation options?
Using semi-trailers to transport animals is very common on ranches and farms. Many restrictions are enforced on the maximum weight allowed for each trailer and truck combination to ensure animal safety. Regular checks should be done also to confirm that safety features, like brakes, electrical wiring, wheel bearings, and tires are all in good shape.
An inspection of the trailer itself should also be done regularly. The floor of the trailer should be clean and free from rotting or damage. Many trailers have non-slip rubber mating installed to make things safer and more comfortable for the animals.
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Loading a large number of animals onto a semi-trailer can also pose some safety risks. Everything must be done calmly and with enough time so that no one is rushing. An inspection of the outside of the trailer and doors should be done to make sure there is nothing the animals could injure themselves on as they load into the trailer. Horses should always be tied with a slip knot so they can stay secure, but also not become trapped in case there is an emergency.
The front of the trailer over the axels’ can support the most weight, so heavier animals should load first. Smaller animals can then load in the back to even out the weight of the trailer.
Safety also needs to be the main priority for the driver of an animal transport trailer. Safe speeds should always be maintained. Keep in mind the breaking time for such a heavy load is greatly increased. Plenty of distance between the trailer and cars ahead of it should be kept.
Weather conditions need to always be considered as well, as they will affect the travel time in addition to the animal’s comfort.
While transporting a large number of animals on a steel trailer can seem a little harsh, many people have turned their semi-trailers into comfortable spaces not only for the animals but for themselves too.
The Country Estate Villa trailer from Featherlite is one example of a luxury trailer. In addition to having space for the horses, this trailer has copper sinks, an electric fireplace, a gas stove, and room for a flat-screen TV. There are also four slide-outs that accommodate for more space in the living quarters.
The Country Estate Ranch model from Featherlite is a similar style of a horse trailer, but with more emphasis on the horse’s comfort. Thick stall pads, electric fans to keep cool in warmer weather, and water troughs with their own drainage lines keep the horses comfortable. You can keep an eye on how your animals are doing with the surveillance video cameras in the stable area.
The standard semi-trailer can be surprisingly helpful in transporting horses. As long as safety and comfort are a priority for the animals, semi-trailers are a useful tool for any equine owner.