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Blue Ribbon horse trailer review

Blue Ribbon Livestock and Horse Trailers, built in Ohio

Factory review by H. Kent Sundling,

Why they are different 

Thinking of the horse first is what Clint Leonard, Blue Ribbon president, has at the top of his list when he created his line of horse and stock trailers. Clint’s years of experience in owning and selling horses, shows in the outstanding features found only on the signature Blue Ribbon Trailers. If you’ve been to the All American Quarter Horse Congress, you’ve heard of Leonard Truck & Trailer’s special Living Quarter trailers well known at Congress. Blue Ribbon horse trailer review.
All in the family since 1963 when Stan and Peg Leonard added selling horse trailers to their horse business. Their sons Clint and Clark joined the business as they the company grew. Clint Leonard serves as president of Leonard Truck & Trailer and Clark Leonard as general manager for the company’s operations. Starting on a back road, and growing to its present location on an 18 acre facility with a huge inventory and a variety of trailer brands, parts department, service department and trailer manufacturing facility.
With Clint’s vast experience in selling dozens of trailer brands through their stores, he knows first hand the pros and cons of trailers that are on the market today. Clint used that knowledge to create an exceptional trailer with the needs of horses at the top of the list. Focusing on quality and durability, Clint started with his team of engineers including wife Tiffany, also a structural engineer and began his long term Research & Development of manufacturing trailers. Evolving from the research was a new company Blue Ribbon Trailers. Blue Ribbon Trailers, distributes a large selection of trailers to Leonard Truck & Trailer as well as the other Blue Ribbon dealers across the United States and Canada.
A unique custom safer feed door with a built in window with bars that swings sideways is just one of the many outstanding features in Blue Ribbon’s design.

Blue Ribbon’s work force is comprised of highly skilled welders from the trucking manufacturing industry, with a great understanding of weight distribution and close tolerances. Blue Ribbon uses conversion companies such as Sierra, Trail Boss and Bunk House or dealer choices. With a skilled manufacturing work pool, Blue Ribbon has celebrated 5 years in one of the worst times in the trailer business. Clint has sold and fixed most other trailer brands and knows how they hold up 5 years later and now happily reflects on how well his own trailers are holding up. Fit and finish on Blue Ribbon trailers is excellent, you can tell when the owner is directly involved.

When you’re the boss improving design just takes meeting with his engineering team down the hall. The move to Ohio, using welders that are use to high quality close tolerance trailer building from semi-trailers, shows up in the finished Blue Ribbon trailer. Lower freight costs, efficient crew and low overhead gives Blue Ribbon a price advantage in the aluminum horse and livestock class.

Just-in-time inventory like automakers, keep component builders 3 days ahead of production. Tier One automotive manufactures in Ohio, supply components like powder coated gooseneck frames, axle trolleys, battery boxes and other components for Blue Ribbon.

With wiring problems being a common problem with trailers, Blues Ribbon has taken a proactive approach to the wiring harnesses installed on every trailer they build. A convenient access panel and color coded wires and connection seals makes trouble shooting and diagnosing electrical problems an easy fix.

Glad to see just two trailer widths 6’8″ and 8’1″ on horse trailers and all horse trailers are 7’6″ tall with an 8 foot long neck. Gooseneck noses are double angled from 27 degrees to 3 degrees for aerodynamics and to fit most short bed pickup trucks.

Reinforced jack base welded from floor to wall so it doesn’t buckle even when you drag it. Or am I the only one who forgets to raise the jack.

Extra strength from longer welds with 45 degree mitered corners. Rear frame posts have stiffer, thicker beveled corners.
This is the door frame jam, 1 1/4″ by 4″ main post. Rear frame is 2″ x4″ x1/4″ thick.Reinforced Rumber rear bumper (picture left), it won’t collapse if your horse steps on it.

No need to grease hinges with these trailers. Another great feature on Blue Ribbon’s Trailers is the nylon bushings and stainless pins in the hinges. Blue Ribbon produces their own high grade hinges.

Any door that comes in contact with a horse is hand built with hinges welded on. There is 32 inches of welded hinges on rear doors. More surface to weld to with a miter joint.

Blue Ribbon trailers have bolt on fenders, we all screw up fenders once in awhile, I think fenders need Velcro.

Aluminum boomerang gusset on all four corners inside on horse trailers for a refined look and outside on stock trailers for rugged good looks.

Boomerang gussets frame around glide outs and where there are 3 doors in a row. Blue Ribbon’s design has left no detail overlooked in quality and durability. Also continuous welds on boomerangs which are 1/4″ thick 10″ x 10″ boomerang corners.


2×4″ I-beam floor stringers

Tongue and groove extruded floor planks fits like Lincoln logs.

Very solid floor, ribs hold the mats in place

Trailer floor set on stands to stay square

Level floor compete ready for walls

Door fasteners attached when doors are flat

Clean factory in tight spaces

Components on rack next to wall jig

Wall jig keeps them uniform, overhead crane takes walls to the floors

Wall posts are closer together at the neck

The starting of a door

Extra vertical post for dividers

Second wall jig,  components on rack next to jig

As much welding as possible is done flat for penetration

Reinforced wall posts T’d  for stalls

Extruded aluminum exterior

Floor is 2″ x 4″ I-beams on 12″ centers. All on stands on clean floors, the trailer pictured here is ready for the roof. More details on how the roof is built below.

Bracing on solid stands, keeps the trailer square with walls and floor connecting.

Single lock keys for drop down doors, mangers and doors

Siding edge trim

Standard aluminum wheel jack slides under the spare

Curved radius running boards are safer for your horses legs

Bolt-on embossed aluminum fenders

Sizeable quality grade rivets on the cove

Heavy duty double framed door

 Solid Huck bolts like you see on truck frames, connect floor frame rails and neck frames. The floor rails, running boards and extruded frame are welding at the ends.

Huck bolts (giant rivet machine), gives you less distortion from welding,


Double bottom frame rails with 4 inch I-beam, .188, x 4 inch strap welded on the end of the I-Beam floor, 8 3/4 inch bottom rail which is hucked to  the floor strap and welded to the floor, interlocking extruded planks.
Rounding corners on the running boards protect a tied horse. Takes more time, but when the horse comes first, this is how you do it.

  Sleek Aerodynamic Design

Powder coated steel gooseneck frames

The neck wall starts flat…

…then bends around the gooseneck frame

Completed front nose

Nose rail, huck bolted to steel gooseneck coupler frame. Picture right shows the coupler pipe reinforced on top.
Unique nose angles, improve pulling easy, slight 3 degree angle on side to 27 degrees nose angle with triple radius works with short-bed trucks. 12 ” post spacing in nose, for strength.

The Roof   Starts as a roll of aluminum for the one piece roof.  At the end of the trailer, roof jigs spread out the aluminum skin. Then every 3 inches, stainless screws attach the aluminum skin to the trailer coves and nose.

In the roof bows, Blue Ribbon uses commercial grade 3-M VHD tape.

On 32 inch centers, the roof bows are welded on the right side to the coves and then pushed up with hydraulic pressure to the left cove and welded together under compression. Then next bow is welded on the left cove first rotating back and forth for a even tight roof with straight walls.

This roof arch increases strength and makes it hail resistant. The pictures below show the step by step process for a tight strong one piece roof.

Good looking roof inside and out. It’s tight, will tolerate hail better and the compression arch of the bows makes it stronger.

Roof Seal

Extreme tape from 3-M, pliable semi flexible seals roof seams for a uniform application. Look at most trailer roofs and you’ll see the seam sealant splattered on like 1st grade art class. Blue Ribbon rolls on the sealant over the screws and roof edge to seal the aluminum roof and keep sealed as aluminum expands and contracts.

Guillotine Livestock Gate

Blue Ribbon started with stock trailers. No surprise that they are good at it. Guillotine gate over fenders on 8′ wide, stock trailer, keeps the gap covered. It just locks into place on the fender and off the fender. Great divider panels with a reinforced floating gate, that moves the entire divider panel front to back and has a sliding gate.

Extruded aluminum siding with superior quality welds

LED’s so you can check on the critters on those long drives

 Show animals, livestock won’t catch on due claws from gate frame on floor

Boomerang fishplate reinforced on gate

Tight roof keeps the noise down for calmer animals

Safety gate

Rumber bumper takes the abuse of loading livestock

Rolling center gate

Blue Ribbon factory ramps, built in the rear doors with the refined look of engineered ramps with a special 270 degrees spring flex with no preload. These springs are manufactured locally.

 Alpaca trailer with a full basement, could be a trend in horse trailers. Basements  give you more storage and we always need more storage space.

Blue Ribbon also makes show pig trailers and other custom rigs.

Clint Leonard implements his ideas into the features of Blue Ribbon. The adjustable gooseneck coupler uses two set bolts to be more adjustable.  “Half the time you need to be in-between the holes.” Which is true, my trailer has the holes and I’m either 1.5″ too high or 1″ too low. Two set bolts are tighter than a single and you don’t have to worry about wear and the oblong thru pin. Blue Ribbon uses a spacer tube on the coupler for big trailers

Above we talked about the automotive wiring loom used on the trailers. The connections are heat shrunken on wire connections going to automotive cable. More trailer lights than anyone with more standard marker lights, all LED of course with 8 diodes in the brake lights. Clear LED have that bling bling look.

Rubber mats from Akron Ohio

Rubber mats take special skills, cutting, gluing and screwing on the kick walls, bulkheads and floor mats.

Double brake lights are another one of those extra features that Blue Ribbon has as a standard feature on their trailers, natural line of sight height for double brake lights.

Reflective tape all along the side, more than is required by DOT, but safety for you and your horse is the goal at Blue Ribbon.

Rear doors will open independently

Door wiper for independent rear doors keep them both sealed.

Drop down feed door handle….

…doubles as door latch

Simple stall divider latches… ….are the best kind

You want this much room above your trucks bed rail

Large side double door frames with miter welds

Double framed around windows

 Well framed bulkhead

Blue Ribbon uses Dexter torsion axles with 22 degrees up. This gives good clearance for holding tanks and pulls easier. 9/16 stud with self adjusting brakes, big trailers use triple axle for better brakes, lower tongue weight.

Clint believes in triple 7k axles over tandem 8k or 10k for heavy trailers. Of course it does give you more braking and it’s easier to find parts on the road for 7k Dexter axles. Clint does final inspection of all trailers, so you know where the buck stops.

2 x 8 square tubing on each side of axle trolley on 8 ft. wide, huck bolted to frame rails. Eight ft. wide’s have powder coated steel subfloors for axles, 6.9 wide have steel axle mounts.

In-House Production Department For

Producing Quality Blue Ribbon Components

Big white board for build check list

Parts and components on rack next to jigs, no wasted steps

Tools don’t get lost

Clean floors and efficient use of space

 3 bay shop for hitches and brake work

Bushings for cam latch make them quieter and move easier

Acid wash to clean welds and brighten the aluminum

Custom trailers and production slant loads

Double framed doors, door hardware installed flat and then set up in trailer  Door frames are built square, noses are built square, all has to be square when added to the trailer floor and walls.

Enclosed tubes reinforce gooseneck wall connection, (picture right.)

Made to fit your saddle

Saddle racks slide out

Adjustable saddle racks…

….space the way you want

Used Clint’s horse for loading

Easy stepping in

Roomy stall

Double stall post

The Versatile CW convertible trailer, from slant…to box…to cargo trailer

All in one.

CW economy trailer is a transformer, the divider moves around, so convenient

Blue Ribbon also has a line of long lasting aluminum custom car trailers.Custom car trailers are built heavy duty like horse trailers.  Open trailer (left picture) with a working floor and cabinets.

Leonard Truck & Trailer, one of Blue Ribbon’s dealers, has a one stop shop approach to its North Jackson, Ohio location, offering sales, parts, service, an insurance department and financing.
Yes, the team at Blue Ribbon Trailers and Leonard Truck & Trailer make everyone feel right at home whether their trailer need is small or big. This type of outstanding service is hard to come by.   

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