Unfortunately when Plan #1 (reaching out to local endurance riders in hopes of trailer sharing for conditioning and events) and Plan #2 (moving to WSS/boarding by the trails) both did not work out, I began to seriously consider Plan #3: Procuring a solution. So I did my research, decided what I needed, and started searching high and low.
While scouring my usual FB trailer groups and online sale ads a couple weeks ago, I saw a nice little stock trailer on Craigslist that immediately caught my eye. It was a 2005 TB-height, 2 horse bumper pull- very simple, no frills, and just what I wanted for a starter. The listing was located 30 minutes away so seeing the trailer in-person was totally doable. I reached out to the seller for additional pictures, title and maintenance records. A lady named S replied within a couple hours with the information I requested and we started talking.
I was candid and honest about being a prospective first time trailer owner- I did not want a project and needed something safe and ready to go. S understood my concerns; she works as an animal cruelty investigator for the state and stated it'd make no sense for her to sell something that would be dangerous for an animal. For my peace of mind, she offered to have her trailer service guys check the brakes, electric, and bearings. I had made no commitment to even see the trailer yet but I really appreciated how willing she was to make things work out. Throughout this initial period, I continued to still have a good feeling about the trailer and felt like S was someone I could trust. After some more thinking, I decided to take the plunge and we set up a time and place to meet.
Being a first time shopper, I asked T (the girl who helped haul Quest to OF) to come and check out the trailer with me. Unfortunately she couldn't make it so I had to do the visit alone. S took the trailer to work after it got serviced so we agreed to meet at her office at the township parks and recreation center parking lot.
S laughed and told me that she ran a boarding barn years ago and J kept her horses there before she got WSS. They were good friends and she watched J's daughter B grow up. I couldn't believe it...What were the chances of finding a random Craigslist trailer listing owned by someone who shares mutual riding friends?!
After my inspection, I asked a bunch of questions and we talked price. I managed to negotiate down to something well within my budget and got some new tires with a decent spare as part of the deal in the end. Also included were a quick release trailer tie and a new hay bag. S was more than happy to deliver the trailer to the barn for free, which was a huge plus since I don't have a proper tow vehicle just yet.
S dropped off the trailer this past weekend. After helping me park it in the back field, she went over a few things with me and I got a list of trailer equipment stores and service shops that she frequented. Then we signed paperwork and made the trailer officially mine! The winters in NJ can be pretty hard and long so I took some basic steps to winterize it and got the tires off the ground. Next will be putting some temporary plywood over the windows to try and keep some of the elements out.
Speaking of which, how about my temporary hitch cover made with an empty grain bag and baling twine? lol
It’ll probably be awhile before I hit the road plus I need practice hauling, backing up, parking it empty first...So much to do! Everything is honestly a little nerve-wracking right now because I've never done any of the aforementioned before but I'm SO very excited for what this means for Quest and me in the future. We can now take our time exploring endurance at our own leisure. No more compromising my horse's well-being/conditioning schedule in order to fit someone else's ride plans. We can do this our way, at our own pace.
A whole world of trails has opened up for us!