How To Paint A Horse Trailer: 8 Easy Steps & Helpful Tips

Sharing is caring!

Want to know how to paint a horse trailer? Wondering if you, a regular horse owner, can do it yourself?

The answer is a resounding yes! If I can, you can, and here are all the tips I learned as I went through this process myself.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t skip steps
  • Prep your horse trailer well
  • Use rust and heat-resistant paint

Materials You Need To Paint A Horse Trailer

Painting a horse trailer the right way needs some planning. To maintain your trailer and keep it looking nice, you need to carry out all the steps in order.

newly painted horse trailer, how to paint a horse trailer

So, the first thing you need to do is use this list as a guide to the materials you need to have ready to start your trailer painting project.

This might vary a little depending on the type of trailer you have, the pre-painting maintenance you need to carry out, and your trailer size. You may or may not need everything on this list, depending on what method you want to use.

But all the basics are here to get you started right.

  • Paint gun or paint sprayer
  • Power hose
  • Long handle sweeping brush
  • Sanding disk and sander
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint rollers
  • Primer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Spray paint
  • Oil-based paint
  • Stiff wire brush
  • Protective clothing, including a mask
  • Ladder
  • Paint thinner
  • Large tarp

Right, that pretty much covers the main tools you will need for a finished paint job. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty details.

Also Check: 45 Unique Custom Horse Trailer Decals Ideas

How To Paint Your Horse Trailer Steps

It is best to follow each step to get the best results.

Step 1 – Clean Your Trailer

The first step you need to do is thoroughly clean your horse trailer to remove as much dirt as possible. A great way to do this is by washing the trailer with a power hose and using a brush to scrub loose the grim.

Step 2 – Set Up Your Horse Trailer

Once your trailer is clean, set it up in your painting location. This should either be outside or in a large, well-ventilated barn.

To protect the ground, put a large tarp under the trailer. For your safety, place wheel chocks on your wheels so your trailer can’t roll accidentally.

Cover your tires to prevent paint from getting on them.

Step 3 – Sand The Trailer

Once you’re all set up, use your sander to remove the old paint and any rust spots. Rust can be a particular problem if you have a steel trailer. Try to do this with a consistently smooth finish all over your trailer.

Step 4 – Protect Surfaces

Use your painter’s tape to cover up any areas that you want to keep clean of paint. You can use masking tape as an alternative if you prefer.

Step 5 – Apply The Primer

Once you have everything prepped, it’s time to paint on the primer. The easiest way to do this is with a roller, but you can use a paintbrush if you want.

If you want, look for a rust-resistant primer. Paint specialists, Rawlins Paints, point out the importance of a good primer:

“Making sure all metal surfaces that are to be painted have been correctly prepared and primed. You will save time and money this way, and more importantly, get the full lifespan of the product.” [1]

Step 6 – Apply The Paint

There are several ways you can apply paint to your horse trailer once your primer is dry. The best finish comes when you use a paint gun. However, some people might not have access to one of these or find them tricky to use.

If you don’t have a paint gun, the next best way is to use a roller and paintbrush. Use the roller to paint over the large surfaces and get the nooks and crannies with your brush.

Another option, which many people use, is, spray paint. You will need quite a few cans of spray paint to finish the job, but it is doable. You definitely want to make sure you wear a protective mask and goggles when doing this.

Step 7 – Apply A Second Coat

Everyone I spoke to during my research on how to paint a horse trailer said to always apply a second coat of paint.

You need to wait a minimum of 1 full day before painting a second coat. If after another day you feel it could look even more amazing, apply a third and final coat of paint.

Step 8 – Final Touches

You’re in the home stretch now, and your horse trailer is looking like new. There are just a couple of final touches.

Remove all tape and check for small spots missed with paint. Using your judgment, you might want to touch up these spots with a small brush.

Finally, if you really want to make your trailer shine, finish with a wax and buff.

As you can see, it isn’t too hard to paint your trailer but will take some elbow grease and time.

This lady painted her trailer by herself, and it came out great. Check out how she did the work.

Now, let’s take a look at the type of paints that are suitable for the best living quarters horse trailers and for the others as well.

Best Types Of Paint For A Horse Trailer

Not all types of paint will work well on a horse trailer. You need to choose one that is weather resistant and helps protect your trailer’s material. Waterproof paint is a must, regardless.

Also, choose a paint that best suits the type of metal your trailer is constructed from, which is usually steel or aluminum.

Choose Rust Resistant Paint

You need to use rust-resistant paint on your horse trailer. Any metal that is exposed to moisture, be it rain or horse urine, is at risk of rust or corrosion.

a trailer with rust resistant paint on it, how to paint a horse trailer

Rustoleum is a popular paint brand that other horse owners told me they used, and it’s fairly economical. However, some equestrians say that it doesn’t hold up as well as other options.

Tractor paint is a more durable option to consider, and if you don’t have a tight budget and have access to a good paint gun, then automotive paint will give you lots of color options and a really polished finish.

Choose Paint That Tolerates High Heat

Another really important quality the paint you use must have is the ability to tolerate high temperatures. Metal sitting out in the sun can get pretty hot.

This heat will wear your paint job out pretty quickly. One study into heat-resistant paint found that the “sample containing 0.6% silica showed the best performance under heat no visible cracks even at 140 °C” [2]

Professional Horse Trailer Painting

If you don’t have time, worry you’re not up to the task, or wants a really special finish taking your trailer to a professional is worth looking into.

Painting your horse trailer this way will end up costing a lot more, but you will get a truly professional finish if you choose your service provider well.

Read our guide about how much does it cost to paint a horse trailer.


Can you paint a horse trailer with a roller?

Yes, you can paint a horse trailer with a roller. It is one of the best and easiest tools you can use if you don’t have a paint gun.

Can you paint a horse trailer with a brush?

Yes, you can use a brush to paint a horse trailer, it will be slower than with a roller, but it will still work.

Can you spray paint a trailer?

a men spray painting a horse trailer

Yes, you can spray paint a trailer. Just make sure you use one that is suitable.


At first, I thought learning how to paint a horse trailer would be beyond me. But after doing my research and trying it myself, it wasn’t bad at all!

a painted horse trailer, how to paint a horse trailer

Have you painted a trailer? How did you do it, and how did it come out? I’d love to hear about your experience!


  • 1. Whiley M. Rust-Inhibiting Metal Primers & How They Work | Rawlins Paints [Internet]. Rawlins Paints Blog. 2020. Available from:
  • 2. Formulation of Heat Resistant Paint from Palm Oil Based Resin by Using Nano-Silica Particles [Internet]. Researchgate. IOP Conference Series Earth and Environmental Science; [cited 2022 Sep 29]. Available from:
Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
Find her on FACEBOOK
Read her latest ARTICLES.
Learn more about HER

Leave a Comment


Want The Best Care For Your Horse? Subscribe to our EXPERT RIDER Tips