From Endurance to Dressage
Trailer Maintenance ... What a Pain!
The problem with having a horse trailer is ... having a horse trailer that requires maintenance.
I bought my first trailer in my very early 30s. After hitching rides with friends for many years and borrowing, hubby agreed we should get what I really wanted rather than just the most basic model. With that, we bought a two-horse living quarters trailer with a rear tack room. It served my endurance needs more than adequately and I would still have it today had it not been stolen a few years ago. We replaced trailer number one with a much nicer three-horse living quarters trailer that worked even better for endurance rides.
Horse trailer ownership has become a real point of interest to me.
Now that I no longer participate in endurance rides, I've been feeling a bit guilty about owning such comfy digs for lessons, vet visits, and one-day shows. I felt even more spoiled after a horsey trip to San Juan Capistrano this past fall with Cha Ching's mom and Coach. Cha Ching was in training at a pretty oo-la-la facility. It was quite fancy: covered arenas (yes, plural), barns for dressage, barns for hunters, barns for jumpers, jumping arenas, turn out arenas, and on and on. With all this fanciness happening, I was curious to see what kind of rigs these people pulled. They had to be F A N C Y! I asked Cha Ching's mom about the lack of visible trailers. She looked at me in surprise and said that most riders don't own their own trailers.
Hmm ... Yep, apparently trainers often make the arrangements for all of the horses to be transported to the shows, and vets make barn visits. Wow. That just took me by surprise. The trailer ride is a very important aspect of endurance riding. When going to an endurance ride, every possible effort is made to ensure that the horses travel comfortably and are well-hydrated. When vetting in, the vet might even ask questions about how long the ride was, did he drink in the trailer, did we unload for a break, etc. So the idea of arriving at a show with no first hand knowledge of how my horse traveled seemed ... shocking!
I am sure that around the country, there are all types of riders: those who rely on the trainer's expertise and experience, those who "carpool," and even those who do have their own trailers. For those that do, you'll understand my title. I have a lot of hauling experience, I have a freakishly good talent for backing my trailer, I can get just about any horse to load, and I am fearless in traffic. The part of owning a trailer that I am not good at is the maintenance.
After a recent lesson where I hauled out and returned home, I climbed out of the truck to a loud hissssssssssss. Rats! I actually looked around for a rattle snake in hopes that one was underfoot. Nope. I walked to the rear of the trailer and saw a pretty big hunk of metal poking out of the back tire. There was no way I was even going to try and "fix" it. A phone call to hubby, two trips to the tire store, and several hours later, all four truck tires were properly inflated (let's just say they weren't before hubby checked them out). Four of the trailer tires appear to be aired up (again, hubby had to do some evening out). The spare on the trailer is still a question mark. Had it lost pressure to time, or does it have a leak?
Having the freedom to go where I want whenever I want is luxurious. Being responsible for maintaining a tow vehicle and a horse trailer is a bit of a pain. Here's to hoping that back tire is truly fixed!
7/22/2011 12:04:04 am
I would like to see a post about how you teach loading. There are many different styles so I always find this interesting. There is a lot of pressure at my barn to teach the horses to "self-load". Harley does this, but I am still interested in other ways.
7/22/2011 06:19:35 am
10/2/2017 03:22:14 pm
There is a considerable amount of horse trailer maintenance that my brother needs to look into. He would really like to not have these problems and simply doesn't have time to do the repair himself. I like that you mention the freedom that comes from having a well-maintained trailer and he should look for a service to get him back on track.
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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.
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