Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Trailer of My Dreams

Hey, Honey, if you’re reading this, skip the heart-shaped diamond necklace for Valentine’s Day and get me a horse trailer. And by the way, it’s snowing again, and I’m in front of the fireplace doing some dreaming.

We don’t have a horse trailer. When we moved our horses to our place, I thought it was the most important item that we needed to buy. Of course, there’s always a long list of “the most important” when you own a horse. Depending on what day it is, the order of importance changes. When faced with our first emergency, I discovered that I have really great neighbors with horse trailers who came to the rescue.

Without any prompting from me, my dear husband did research horse trailers. He likes the ones made by EquiSpirit. It’s a company owned by Tom and Neva Scheve. They have a website (equipspirit.com) with excellent articles about trailering horses, and even a book that they’ve written on the subject. I used to think the trailer of choice would be a two-horse, slant-load goose-neck. Now, I’m leaning towards a bumper-pull two horse because it can be hitched up more easily to a greater variety of vehicles. That could prove to be a real advantage in an emergency situation.

I went to Equine Affaire and spent a while window-shopping the horse trailers. There are some that have this special flooring which is not wood. It can be hosed out easily, and it won’t rot. Others have windows in the back doors with sliders and screens to give the horses better ventilation. There could be a safety issue if you were rear-ended, but it is good for air-flow especially on hot summer roadtrips.

The bottom line is that we can’t afford anything right now. We were looking at used stock trailers last Fall. If I’m lucky, I might be able to find one pretty cheap. We’d also like to have a beefy pick-up truck to go along with the trailer. I buy lottery tickets occasionally because I know that if you don’t buy them, you can’t win. At least, I have two great horses, whose nicknames are “Money” and “Pit”, living in my backyard. Honey, that’s a good enough Valentine’s Day present for me.


Farm Girl said...

You read my mind! I dream of horse trailers too. The biggest reason is because there isn't any place to ride here where we live. A reasonable nice horse trailer is a must. So I'm dreaming with you!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Having a horse trailer is nice because it gives you the freedom to take the gang along with you anywhere you need to be. We have an Arndt two-horse pull along. The main reason we got it (and this was maybe 10 yrs. ago) was it was cheaper to own a trailer than to pay shipping every time we went to a show which was often, sometimes 2 a week,and I also knew who was driving(me) and that they had enough hay and water and they were safe, clean, etc. I used to have a pick-up to haul it, but believe it or not the SUV's are just as good,as long as the engine is powerful enough, that's what we use now. I'm sure you will get your dream trailer, good things happen to good people and your good people!

XmaryX said...

Hi- I came across your blog a couple of weeks ago when Blogger made it a "blog of note". I'm really enjoying your writing, and your horses are beautiful! My daughter got her horse 7 years ago when she worked all summer long at a local barn shoveling stalls & riding frisky OTTBs for their timid owner/boarders. The owners of the barn are extended family, even though they sold the place, and we're still boarding (reluctantly on my part) at the same facility.
When my daughter was showing 2 or 3 times a month (she's college-age now) we managed to find a used Richardson-Rice trailer. It's made in the UK, its shell is fiberglass, although it has wood floor boards, but the best part- it has a drop down FRONT door! I can load my horse in the back, and then walk out the front. It's perfect, because Ms.Axeu is nervous about walking down a ramp backwards- don't even ask about our one step-up trailer ride! It's a two horse bumper hitch trailer; however, the front door is to allow for a third smaller (much smaller!) pony to load in the large area at the front of the stalls. Those crazy Brits! But it's been great to have, even though I rarely use it now. Keep looking- something may come up used for you! MM

detroit dog said...

When the wildfires hit California recently, I remember reading that some people couldn't get their horses and cattle out for lack of trailers. Scary - and sad.

Perhaps a combined Valentine's/Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas gift?


Trée said...

Gorgeous atmospheric photo. Loved the blue cast.

Strawberry Lane said...

Beautiful photo.

About the diamond necklace ... you're right, a horse trailer is far more glamorous.

We spent a long time hunting for the perfect trailer, only to realize we would want the perfect truck to match. So we didn't buy either one.

We now have friends haul us around, and that works out just great...even have crackers and brie during our drives.

Heidi the Hick said...

hahaha! I've been telling my husband for years that he doesn't need to ever buy me another present again- I want a horse trailer!

Last fall we found a used stock trailer for a ridiculously low amount of money. This made me nervous but it's actually a good trailer. For us, that is- there's a garage in the back yard with welding equipment and guys who know how to use it. My husband is replacing the floor and my dad is replacing some sheet metal. I'm in charge of sanding and inspecting. The wiring is good, but it will need new tires.

We've priced out the materials and estimated our labour and we will still come out less than buying a good used one. Of course not everybody can or should go this way.

Stock trailers are hard to find used around here because folks don't want to part with them. Some show people don't like the horses to be able to move so much, but mine generally get along and I always put shipping boots on them. I like that they can balance themselves and have open space.

Do a lot of research first. Really look into your tow vehicle too. There's a lot of Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio stuff to know. Engine size, Wheelbase, all of that. We have a full size GMC which pulls any trailer with ease but sucks up a lot of juice to do it!

And if you have a bad feeling about a trailer, don't buy it. I know this from experience. Everything turned out okay, but I felt wrong about that trailer my horse did too. Never take a chance with safety...but I have a feeling I don't have to tell you that.

In the meantime all the looking and dreaming is fun!

billie said...

LOL about Money and Pit...!

We have a small 2-horse bumper pull that works really well for the pony. I'd use it in an emergency for any of the bigger horses, but for Keil Bay to travel truly comfortably, we need a taller trailer.

My dream is a 5-horse slant load goose neck (we wouldn't need this size all the time, but I'd like to be able to load our entire herd up if necessary) with living quarters and a Ford F-350 diesel.

In the meantime I'd be thrilled with an extra wide, extra tall 2-horse gooseneck and an older Ford diesel truck.

I'd take a truck and trailer anytime over a diamond!

M. C. Valada said...

I used to go to flea markets like the Rose Bowl almost every weekend. Then I bought a horse. Empty Pockets is his nickname.

As for trailers, I figure I can pay for a whole lot of hauling before a trailer comes close to being cost-effective. Besides, I don't really like to drive big trucks or haul trailers. I got some experience with driving both a stock trailer and a modified horse trailer (it had been refitted to haul an elephant and then donated to Pierce) when I took the horse management class at Pierce. Thanks, no thanks. And I wouldn't trust my husband to drive my horse anywhere.

BTW, to the person with concerns about the fires out here in L.A., there's an extremely active volunteer organization which pulls together to move horses out of danger areas to evacuation points and others who gather to take care of the animals in evacuation. Until last year this wasn't an issue for me, since my horse lived at one of the evacuation centers (Pierce College.) The first thing I did when I moved was find out what the evacuation plan for my new place was, so I could have peace of mind. Should there be a fire requiring evacuation, my trainer has made arrangements for all of her clients horses and she's not someone who will wait 'til the last minute.

While most people will evacuate animals in an emergency for free, it is generally expected that owners will pay for the return trip.

Also, if the horse does not easily load, the owner will be SOOL. The evacuators are working quickly, for their own safety and that of the horses, and cannot teach a horse to load under those conditions. People need to make sure their horses have that bit of training down cold. Lots don't. I've seen some near wrecks at both horse shows and horse clinics which have been held at Pierce over the years.

I contrast that experience with watching Harry Whitney point to his trailer and both of his horses would climb into their places with no other help. When I commented on it, he promised me my horse could do the same if Ace logged the same number of miles a year. Good point.