From Endurance to Dressage
Lights, Camera, Action!
This is the third post in a series where I am detailing the process of getting my Class A Commercial Driver's License. You can read the other posts at the links below.
As I've already written, there are a lot of steps involved in order to get a Class A driver's license. While I wait for the DMV to start accepting appointments, I've been hard at work getting my truck and trailer ready for the Vehicle Inspection Test (Section 11 of the California Commercial Driver Handbook). I've heard from several people that this is the hardest portion of the series of tests to pass.
For the most part, my horse trailer is in excellent working order. My tires are relatively new with good tread remaining, my brakes work, and there are no cracks or rot in the floor's frame. My tail lights, brake lights, and blinkers all work fine, but I did notice a few clearance lights were missing covers or not working at all.
Even though most of my trailer's clearance lights, also referred to as "running lights", worked, there were a few that either lit only intermittently or not at all. Two of them were in really bad shape but that is because Speedy has chewed on them. Jerk.
As I was listening to Kevin Reinig on a recent Facebook live post - by the way, Kevin is our current USDF Vice-President and a previous CDS President, he mentioned that it is an automatic fail if any light on the truck or trailer doesn't work. I gave an exasperated sigh and commented that I might just rip them all off and replace them with reflectors. While Kevin laughed, I could tell he didn't think that was a very good solution.
I didn't think it was a good idea either, so I did some research to find out exactly how many of the boogers I needed, and how many of them needed to be operational. According to the Electronic Code of Regulations, "All lamps required by this subpart shall be capable of being operated at all times." Well crap. All of them? That meant my five broken ones weren't going to fly.
There are also regulations as to the number and type of all lights, clearance and otherwise, that are needed as well as requirements for where they need to be mounted. I'll let you look at those yourself. Fortunately, the manufacturer of my trailer knew the DOT's rules because I have everything in the right place.
The first thing I did was check for any blown fuses in my trailer. It would be pretty stupid to go in for a repair only to hear that a $0.10 fuse was blown. I pulled all of the fuses out and discovered that they were all good. I was actually disappointed because replacing a fuse is super easy and cheap. When I realized that wasn't the problem, I gave Pensingers a call.
Pensingers is my go-to trailer repair shop. They've fixed a few things for me over the years. A year and a half ago they fixed the trailer plug receptacle in Blue Truck's bed, and since I was going to be there for that job, I had them install two 12-volt fans in the horse compartment of the trailer. I love those fans by the way; that was the best idea ever.
The guys at Pensingers do a really good job, and they don't mind answering questions. I now know why some of the lights are amber and some are red. Everything that you see as you approach the rear of the trailer is red ...
... But as you approach from the front, those lights should be amber. This helps you know which direction a large rig is traveling which is particularly helpful in the dark.
While most of my nineteen clearance lights were working, I did not want to mess with this situation every time a bulb quit coming on. I asked that everything, even the working ones, be replaced with LED lights which are much more expensive, but they last forever. I am so glad I did as they are now much brighter and definitely safer.
When I called Pensingers yesterday to see how much it was going to cost and when the trailer would be ready, I was a bit panicked to hear that it would be done in the next few minutes, "But you never called to confirm the price!" I squeaked out to the tech. We had agreed that they'd call me if the job was going to be north of $800 which I was fully expecting. Turns out, they found the LED lights much cheaper than expected, so they didn't bother to call and confirm the price.
Replacing nineteen clearance lights and the license plate light came in at $503.22 out the door. I have never been so thrilled to drop half a grand on light bulbs.
I am one step closer to my Class A license. Stay tuned for more.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: