Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wheels! We Got 'Em

The "no trailer, no trails" situation was a persistent problem from Day 1 of my distance riding journey. After I made up my mind to pursue endurance with Quest, I knew early on it would only be a matter of time before we had to haul out to trails to properly condition and compete at rides. However two-ish years ago and being still very new to horses, ownership, and distance riding I was not keen on getting a trailer so soon and tried to solve the problem every which way.

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.

Formal introductions done, S showed me the trailer while we chatted and I did my inspection. I pulled up mats, crawled under the trailer, pulled tie rings, opened gates, jumped, yanked, tugged, shoved everything possible- checking things that should move moved and things that shouldn't didn't. I also asked S to take it for a quick drive to see how it handled and that the lights all worked. The trailer was solid, decently maintained, and it wasn't big, fancy, or complicated- exactly what I wanted for a starter. When I mentioned using the trailer for conditioning and endurance rides, S looked curiously at me and asked "Do you happen to know someone named J?" "Yes! I rode and boarded with her for about a year."

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!


  1. Very exciting. Congrats! Enjoy your freedom. :-)

  2. Congrats on your new found freedom!

    1. Thanks! I have a lot to do before the freedom part happens but little steps haha

  3. Yay congrats!! It looks so much like my first trailer - is it a calico? Anyway so exciting! Also I would recommend plexi to cover the air vents. You'll probably pay almost as much for plywood but the plexi is much nicer and still allows light in and for the horse to see out. I cut plexi panels to size at the local lowes and drilled holes in it to zip tie on. Then each fall I could put them up, and take them down each spring. Definitely worth it, and cost maybe around $130 total.

    1. Here's the post I wrote about it, with pictures: https://fraidycateventing.blogspot.com/2014/11/enclosing-stock-trailer-diy.html

    2. It's a Duraline but I did look at Calico during my search. Thank you for the link to the plexiglass post! I was actually going to pick your brain about it sometime haha If you have any other tips for a newbie trailer owner I'm all ears (:

    3. i doubt i have any tips or ideas that you haven't thought of or read about or whatever - but feel free to reach out should you have any questions anyway - fraidycat.eventing at gmail