While I am not an expert, I do have almost 16 years of trailer ownership under my belt. I’ve owned two trailers, both of which were gooseneck trailers with living quarters. The first was a two-horse, and my current trailer is a three-horse.
I also discovered that with my two-horse trailer, I could never bring both of my own horses and a friend. Having more stalls than you need allows you to develop new friendships.
With that, piece of advice #1 - Buy bigger than you think you need.
The size of your truck will probably dictate whether you get a gooseneck or a bumper pull. I am not sure I'd feel safe pulling a gooseneck if I only had a half ton truck. Piece of advice #2 - Only pull what you can pull safely, but keep in mind that goosenecks are easier to control.
I've also only had slant loads. In my first trailer, I took out the single divider, and in this trailer, I took out the rear divider, leaving the front one in place. I like to give my horses as much room to move around as possible. By leaving the front divider in place, I can can still keep two horses separated, but since I usually only haul one horse at a time, that horse can travel in the double stall created by removing the divider. As a bonus, Speedy, who is not a fan of backing out, can turn around with the extra room and walk out facing forward. Piece of advice #3 - Think about how easily your next horse will load and unload and how much room he is going to need.
The flooring in the steel trailer was wood while this one has a solid metal floor. I clean my floors throughly at least once each year, so I never had rotting boards nor have I found any corrosion. I think that if you take care of your floor, wood or metal, it should last a long time.
I actually got better fuel mileage with my slightly smaller but heavy steel trailer. The nose on the trailer was pointier and had more of a slope to the roof. This trailer, while only three feet longer, feels heavier and pushes a lot more wind with its blunter nose. I think my other trailer enjoyed a more aerodynamic construction.
Advice #4 - Choose your material based on your weather conditions and how much weight your truck can handle.
Since I travel in all kinds of weather, I like that I can block some of the colder weather by snapping the windows closed. One thing I like about the drop down windows is that I can close one or two of them to block out some of the highway noise. I can slide the "bus window" open for ventilation, and I keep all of the trailer vents open. Speedy travels more quietly with his window up. The loud truck noise bothers him.
Piece of advice #5 - Ask yourself how much ventilation your horse needs.
Since length was more of an issue than a single door entry, I opted for a rear tack. Placing the tack room between the living quarters and the horse compartment can add several feet to the overall length of the trailer. At 27 feet long already, I wasn't interested in adding another 3 to 6 feet. If I wasn't going to add living quarters, I would definitely opt for a front tack room. And while I was doing that, I would make sure it had ample space. While my tack room isn't particularly large, the living quarters space more than makes up for it.
Whether you're simply trail riding or showing, having plenty of storage space for a cooler, chairs, and other comfort items is well worth it. A large tack room can also serve as shade on a hot day and an umbrella when it rains. Piece of advice #6 - Think long and hard about how much room you need for tack and human supplies. It's probably more than you think.
If you do get a new trailer, share pictures with me. If you already own a trailer, share what you like or dislike about it. And if you have a trailer for sale, share it! I know some riders who are looking.