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We Are Flying Solo

Showing posts with label trailers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trailers. Show all posts

March 14, 2014

How To Make Your Own "Soft Ride" Boots

Remember when I posted useful articles on this blog?  Me neither.  However, today, I actually do have something useful to offer you!  Do try & hide your shock.

soft ride boots
Soft Ride Boots:  the hottest trend in trailering when they hit the market two or three years ago (or less.  or more.  I lose track of time generally.).  "Reducing fatigue, enhancing performance, & helping treat & prevent injuries," these boots promise to pretty much eliminate the need for a vet, trainer, & sleep all at once!

Ok, perhaps I exaggerate a bit for effect, but while the concept of absorbing concussive shock traveling through the trailer frame to the floor & your horse's feet is a good one, marketing, as often occurs, goes a wee smidge over the top.

Note:  This post does not apply to use of any kind of boot for veterinary or therapeutic hoof issues which require daily wear.  I speak only in the context of booting a trailered horse for comfort.  Hopefully, those are obviously different scenarios to be addressed on a case by case basis.  

Not to mention, as with all normal things (human shoe inserts or foam cut-outs, anyone), give it a special horsey name & hint that it might knock a few points off your dressage score all while keeping Dobbin sounder, & you can mark up the price by approximately 4000%.  So, a gel pad that you stick on your horse's hoof which he will promptly stomp in his own poop can be yours, in a pair even, for around $200.

*pause for personal need to repeat hysterical choking sounds*

The Epics: great for non-forgers
Now, Soft Ride folks, my apologies if you are miffed at my badgering, but it does not carry any ill will nor even am I suggesting you have an unhelpful product.  I own a pair of both EasyBoot Epics (they did work when they stayed on...) & Cavallo Sport Boots, the latter of which I adore & are worn by Solo every time he is ridden off grass.

Both have had foam inserts for cushioning while riding as well.  Although both paid for themselves by replacing horseshoes.  And EasyCare has done the same thing as Soft Ride with the EasyBoot Rx hitting you up around $150 a pair, though they avoided some of the grandiose verbage.

I am simply offering an alternative solution for those of us who live down here in the real world (or even worse, my poverty world) where we have to actually CHOOSE which things we spend money on instead of just buy them all.  There certainly is value in convenience sometimes, but it doesn't have to be unreachable. 

If you are anything like me, every time you feel & hear that 'clunk' of your trailer coming down after a lump or hole, you murmur an apology to your horse that he is never going to get Air-Ride (unless HE comes up with $6,500).  But given what I ask my horses to do, I do want to lessen that series of a gazillion impact waves (particularly on VA cheese-grater roads) traveling up through the joints of his fetlocks, hocks, stifles, & back.  I just did not have & was not going to throw $200 at it.

Straight out of the bag
Enter the Hoof Wrap:  a step above buying a foam pad alone or cutting one out of insulation board & duct taping it on (duct tape tends to be single use only).  These are basically reusable (& extremely durable, it turns out) ballistic nylon foot napkins with a lot of velcro.

They also come with their own 1.5" thick EVA foam pad (replaceable for only $7 or you can double up) for cushion & if you want more (I do in VA!), you can add a gel pad (which even smells like odd incense thanks to an infusion of tea tree oil).

All components are reusable; I don't use the gel every time I use the wrap, but it's been on at least four long trips.  Want to go hog wild?  Mix & match all kinds of thickness & density pads for $14 & just cut to a fit you like.

And at $20 per foot for wrap & foam pad, you can instead spend $80 & come out with TWO pairs (I only outfitted his hind feet for a mere $40).  Like any type of hoof boot or wrap, they take a few applications to get used to.  But the straps are numbered in the order in which you should attach them (THANK YOU!).

If you make sure the foot is centered & you pull the velcro tight, they even stay put in the trailer.  If you like, add a strip of tape (hello, colour coordination!) around the foot for backup.
With gel pad added.  It had an odd aromatherapy...

Encore models
I would say it takes me a total of about four minutes to apply both hind wraps & I only use them for trips of two hours or more (or if I'm entering VA, period).  But effectively, it creates the same device at 1/4 of the price (1/2 if you add gel pads, but still...and hey, that rhymed).

And yes, I did observe a marked reduction of stiffness & let-down time coming off the trailer when I use them vs. prior long trips in just horseshoes.

You're welcome.

August 23, 2011

Little Red Rearing Hood, Pt II

Disclaimer Again: I am not, nor have I ever claimed to a professional anything (except maybe Professional Dispenser Of Sarcasm). Horse training is not for the inexperienced, faint of heart, quick of temper, or slow of reflex. Be safe, ask for help, and BE SAFE!

He leapt and spun and dug in to a scrambling gallop. I called him a not very nice name that started with a b-a-s and ended with a t-a-r-d, but otherwise, remained impassive, holding the end of the lead and letting him tear around his melodramatic circle. When he began to slow, I lifted the end of the whip slightly and asked him to continue, which propelled him into a new frenzy of drama.

When I was ready, I asked him to stop, an opportunity, he gladly seized, licking his lips and begging forgiveness. I patted his head and we turned to the trailer again. He assumed his position on the ramp again. I prepared to ask him for another step again. I was presented with a view of his front ankles again.

So he found himself on the circle after he was done twisting and bucking away.

"You're doing this to yourself, you know," I informed him as he scrambled madly around me. I was not chasing him with whip or rope. I kept my body quiet and still, simply following his circle. He knew what I wanted. He simply didn't want to do it and was using all the tricks he knew to end the dance.

We repeated this a few times. It was hot and he quickly worked up a heavy sweat. I stayed quiet and kept the directions clear: you can walk nicely into the trailer and hang out in the shade or you can stay out here and work in circles and be hot and unhappy.

I'm not usually a proponent of the circling thing. I'd rather use a tap as a forward cue and a simple pressure and release approach. But to tap, you must be able to touch the horse with the whip. Which you cannot do if he is standing all hi-ho-Silver at skull level. You could touch him, tap him, with the whip all day long anywhere else, but on the trailer ramp, abandon hope all ye who enter.

So we circled. And we approached the trailer again. And he stood up again. As I looked up at him, I saw pinned ears, flat against his head, and I saw his anger as he turned his head and glared down at me. I had called his bluff and he was pissed.

We circled some more and stopped again. He was hot. I was hot. A fit young TB, he could probably keep it up all day, but I did not want to push him into a black rage OR heat stress.  I never hit him, I never hurt him, I never chased him, but his penchant for drama might write checks that neither of our bodies could cash.

"Take him for a walk for a few minutes, let him have a mental break." I handed his lead to his owner and sat down to nurse a drink and ponder.

I knew he knew what I wanted. And I knew he knew I knew he knew. I also knew he had not yet conceded that apes should get full respect; that was a much longer, deeper project. He was an intriguing mental puzzle, one I longed to unravel. He was not dangerous in that he would intentionally hurt you -- had he wanted that, I would have been finished 30 minutes ago. He would just rather not toe the line unless you made him. But it was not a physical battle (we'll always lose those in the end), it was a mental one, which is what made it so interesting.

He and his owner came wandering back. "Ok," I said, "put him on the trailer."

She walked him to the ramp. He stepped on, hesitated for about five seconds, then sighed and walked in. In the shade, they stopped and he licked his lips and lowered his head. Lots of pats and finally, a rest. After that, he proceeded to unload and load a few times, then we were done.

Over the past week, he has continued to march on readily. When the rope halter goes on, his body language changes and he becomes alert and obedient. I would love to keep working with him, but he is not my horse, so I must respect those boundaries. But I think he got the message, at least for the time being. Will it stick? I hope so, but I feel certain he will need reminders, although they will undoubtedly be far easier than the first drawing-of-lines-in-the-sand.

Sweet though he is, he is smart, fit, energetic, young, red, and easily distracted. A challenge for anyone. His owner is an excellent rider and an experienced horse owner, strong and intelligent, just a little out of practice on the groundwork. Her horse, as all of ours attempt to do (and often succeed!) has found a few small openings in her armour and made the most of them. Fortunately, he will soon be hopefully back on course and continue on his way to becoming a well-trained, mannerly eventer.

He is lucky enough to have an owner who understands the bad manners lead to other problems, that eventual caving in to bribery does not equal trained horse, that you must have the body AND the mind to succeed.  Because of this, he will get to lead the happy, well-adjusted life of a horse who is obedient and safe.  And his owner will get to enjoy her horse with a little less frustration every day.

August 21, 2011

Little Red Rearing Hood, Pt. I

Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever claimed to a professional anything (except maybe Professional Dispenser Of Sarcasm). Horse training is not for the inexperienced, faint of heart, quick of temper, or slow of reflex. Be safe, ask for help, and BE SAFE!

I watched as she tried to load her horse on the trailer.  He stepped willingly enough onto the ramp until his back toes met the edge.  There he stopped, craning his neck inside, but refusing to move his hind feet to any point of committment.  She coaxed and tugged and bribed and begged, he looked around, pointedly ignoring her requests in a show of subtle defiance.

After 45 minutes of this, he gave in and wandered into the rig with a sigh. His handler fumed with the frustrated fury any of us have felt when thwarted at that critical loading moment.

"I need help," she told me.

"I hope I have some to give," I answered.

And so it began.

"You don't have a trailer problem," I said. "You have a leading problem and you have a respect problem. He is not afraid, he just doesn't feel like cooperating on any terms other than his own, if he can help it. He IS a redhead."

We talked about leading, about controlling the horse's feet, about never letting those feet stop. The key to trailer loading is a reliable forward cue and a commitment to seeing it through, as well as NEVER EVER EVER losing your temper.

"Ok," I started, "Give it a go and make sure, whatever happens, he is not allowed to stand still. If he backs up, let him go back without pressure, but as soon as he stops, move him forward again."

I was interested to see how he would respond -- not only was he a bit cocky, he was also on the sensitive and dramatic side. Much like Solo, he could NOT be forced into things unless you fancied yourself trampled into a human pulp.

He wore a rope halter and a head bumper, just in case. They practiced some leading away from the trailer -- she was confident and strong as always, he was obedient, but distracted.

Approaching the trailer, he quickly got wind of the plan and in an effortless shift, pushed her in a veering line off the left side of the ramp with his chest and shoulder. She turned him and came again and the second time, he was even faster in his re-direction.

After watching four or five times, it was clear he had little regard for the pink apes at the other end of his lead rope. He has never been a mean thing, in fact, he is very sweet-natured and gregarious. But like any kid whose boundaries have not always been clear, he knew how to take an opening when he saw one.

"Do you mind if I take him for a second?" I wondered how he would respond to a different-smelling ape.

"Oh dear god, please do!" She practically threw the lead rope at me.

Here we go, I thought.

I began by asking him to yield his hindquarters to my touch in both directions. Ok, good. Now lower your poll. Ok, not great, but passable. Ok, now move in a circle around me. Oh dear.

"Kindly move in a circle, please" was apparently translated by this equine brain as "race around at a speed trot bouncing off the end of the line." His head was cocked pointedly to the outside of the circle, most certainly not giving me the time of day.

We continued to circle until he began watching me and flicking an ear in my direction. My heart wept for our property's lack of a round pen. But you make do. We stopped and started and reversed and repeated until he was willing to walk the circle with considerably less frenetic energy.

Ok, let's walk to trailer. We get to the ramp and he assumes the position -- front feet firmly at threshold of door, back stretched out and hind toes against the base of the ramp. I have his lead softly in my left hand and dressage whip in my right. I begin to lift my right wrist to gently touch his haunch with my whip.

Did I blink? Because suddenly, he is standing on his hind legs, his front hooves dangling at my eye level. For the first time in my life, I find myself wishing I had put on a helmet. For groundwork. 

To be continued...

July 18, 2011

The Nail In The Coffin

At least, in the tire.  Or I guess I could title this post "Why You Should Always Check The Air In Your Trailer Tires Before You Haul."

Why does my trailer look like this right now?  Well, the good part is that it's at home, parked in front of the barn.  I had been wondering why I had one tire that would drop from a healthy 60 psi to a downright anemic 40 psi and hover there.  I could fill it back up and it'd be good for a trip but by the next haul, it'd be back down to 40 again.  Since I am taking My Precious (ok, I admit it, I have a thing for my truck) in to have the rotors turned tomorrow, I figured, why not throw the tire in the back and have my guy check it out.

Well.  He won't have to investigate very hard.

You can't tell from photos, but this thing has a good 1/4" or more diameter to the spiky bit.  Wherever I picked it up, they were obviously nailing together....sequoias?  I just bought the tires like a year ago -- of course.   

Apparently, it's not just horses that are suicide machines, it is anything that has the word "horse" in its name.  It's a good thing we don't fly in horseplanes or get operations from horse surgeons.

March 28, 2011

Why I Keep Forking Out $130 Every Year

I ditched AAA the first time my old rig got stranded roadside.

How To Lose Business 101

I had a blown radiator & AAA was quite happy to tow away the truck...leaving the trailer & Solo behind in the dark on a bitter November night in Greensboro.  Obviously, they had no concept of what was important to me.  They could have set that POS truck on fire for all I cared, as what mattered to me was standing in the trailer behind it.  I hung up the phone in fury & tore up my membership card.

We Have A Winner!

Then I found US Rider, a roadside assistance plan designed for traveling horse owners.  This morning is a clear demonstration of why I love them.

Call #1 (8:20 am): They answer the phone:  "US Rider, are you and your horses safe?"

"Yes, ma'am." I love that these are the first words every time I call.  I then explain that I need a wrecker for my truck, which was sitting at the end of my driveway in the pellets.   Yeah.

The rep took my member number, pulled up my address & asked where I wanted it towed.   I didn't even have to give her the business address, as soon as I said the name of the shop, she had it at her fingertips.   She promised to call me back in five minutes with wrecker information.

Call #2 (8:30 am): Rep informs me that tow truck should be there in 30-45 minutes.  No worries by me, I am at home.  She will call back later to check on progress.

Call #3 (9:40 am): An hour has passed.  Rep:  "Has the wrecker has arrived?"  Me:  "Nope."  Rep:  "Oh no!  I'll go check on it."

Call #4 (9:50 am):  Rep:  "The wrecker will arrive in ten minutes," and she will check on me then.

Call #5 (10:10 am):  Me:  "It's here!!" and we loaded up my truck & headed to the shop.

Boiling It Down

That's FIVE PHONE CALLS, making sure I was safe & informed over the course of two hours.   Eat that, AAA.  The wreckers are contractors, so timing is beyond US Rider's control, but they made sure I was taken care of as soon as possible.  Had I needed a vet or a spot for a horse to sleep or an alternate truck/trailer, they would have provided it.  That is why I don't mind writing the check, because when I need it, that kind of service is priceless.


March 27, 2011

Momma Ain't Happy

Why? Oh, because the universe is unkind! Like I don't already have enough to juggle. 

This is why -->

What the hell is that?  That, my dear friends, in the right forelimb of my beloved pony hauler.  And it has suffered a fracture.

On the way home from work on Friday, it all of a sudden had an epileptic seizure and tried to buck me off.  Long story short, I was down the street about 0.2 miles from the house so I just limped it home slowly and friend and I had a look at it this afternoon.  After cranking the steering wheel around and hearing a loud POP, this is what we found.

In case you are still staring at the picture in puzzlement, trying to figure out what is so wrong -- see the bit on the left side that looks like a black toilet plunger?  That bit is supposed to be attached to the end of the horizontal rod across the middle of the picture.  Not be separated from said rod by a two inch gap.

This is a rather consequential bit as this rod is what connects your steering wheel to your front tire.  Yeah, so you can turn and stuff.  When it's not connected, you get the sorry sight I was faced with this afternoon, which is your truck sitting there with its front tires pointed in opposite directions, like some poor crosseyed kid.   And you definitely do not want to drive it in this condition -- at best, you end up with a bent axle, at worst, your wheel gets ripped off your vehicle.

What most likely happened is that as I turned onto my street, the connector on the tie rod cracked, resulting in the violent "death wobble" (oh yes, that's a real term, google it) I felt.  As we cranked the steering to its maximum extent this afternoon, it snapped completely off.

On the plus side, it's a pretty easy fix and it's under warranty. The truck is ten years old, so it's a normal wear and tear type of thing. This, of course, does not stop me from staring at it mournfully where it sits in front of my house, waiting for Monday morning and a wrecker to arrive.

Moral of the story: if you are driving along and all of a sudden it feels like a wheel fell off, don't keep driving. Even if the wheels are still attached for the moment, A WHEEL MAY BE ABOUT TO BE TORN OFF, so don't push it.

January 7, 2011

Down Time

I hate winter. I may have mentioned that a time or two before.

It makes me feel like a prisoner: footing sucks, it's dark every day after work, and it's so damn cold I spend half my time putting on or taking off layers of strategically arranged clothing. I long for the day when I can walk outside with one shirt on. Just one. Sheer bliss, that is.

Solo seems to be taking it lying down.  With his eyes closed.  On a bed of sun-warmed hay. At least one of us is comfortable.

It is then left to us sun-starved and shivering riders to come up with tasks to fill our barn time when the ground is slop. Or frozen. Or covered in a lethal mix of ice and snowpack. Because I am freaking tired of riding around in circles in the stupid arena. And so is my horse.

As a result, my trailer dressing room is organized with new and OCD-appropriate containers. Including a, get this....wait for it....magnetic paper towel holder. I consider it my crowning achievement in trailer pimped-out-ness.

I have also mended Solo's blanket linings with my dazzling seamstress skills.

Do try to restrain your awe and envy. I am sure Hollywood costume designers are already googling my number.

I have also reorganized my tack room corner, devised a way to store my extra baling twine, invented a saddle pad hanging system, cleaned the feed room, and cleaned all my buckets.

Now what?

March 24, 2010

In Which Panties May Need To Be Changed

The last post was titled "Ups and Downs," not just because of the mountains because the day had a lot of ups...and a big down!

As we got back to camp, horses and riders both tired and hungry, I tied Solo to the back of lifeshighway's trailer after I untacked him for a few minutes so I could use the bathroom and change.  I returned a few minutes later to untie him.

And as I walked around the back of the trailer I heard a loud noise and saw my horse at the end of his rope, rearing and plunging as the entire 7' rear trailer door flipped end over end through the air.

This horse is going to kill me just by taking decades off my life at a time.

Yes, the metal door was detached from the trailer and flipped in the air to land phwaat on the ground.  What does one do when you see a situation like this?  Which, as we know with horses, may appear to occur in slow motion but actually occurs wham! in the course of about ten seconds.  Pretty much you stare for about a second with eyes like saucers and heart motionless as a cinder in your chest thinking Oh my mother-f@cking-god-of-all-things-unholy and then you go to your horse.

I approached Solo slowly as his adrenaline gradually diminished and I unclipped him, as he trembled with every muscle popped out at once. At which point he stopped shaking, sighed, and dropped his head to graze. Completely (thank you all powers that be) unhurt and holding no grudge against trailers for the unwarranted attack.

All I can figure out is that he somehow managed to pull his rope out and get it hooked under the edge of the door that I mistakenly thought was latched. He then threw up his head, freaked himself out, and lifted the entire door off the hinges with his short, muscly neck in about one second.

I have now aged roughly 7.62 years. The thought of what COULD have happened makes me throw up in my mouth a little. My horse appears to suffer no ill effects whatsoever. I think I even heard him giggle softly as he continued grazing.

December 4, 2009

Bits And Rigs

My expectations seemed completely realistic...
Turns out the KK Ultra is not the uber-magical-fairy-miracle bit the dressage queens of the world would have you believe.

 It apparently does NOT impart instant dressage prowess upon your horsie.  In fact, it is quite possible your horsie may distinctly dislike it, lock his jaw, & pointedly refuse to acknowledge your half halts.

I'll just let you guess which one was us.

Happily, it's a borrowed bit.  So I removed it from bridle & returned to our Happy Mouth boucher last night & now, both of us are happy once more.   But I had to at least try the KK, given its legend, you know, curiosity & all that.

I also wanted to share our "new to us" rig that I realized I skipped over the story, given that it is a relatively recent acquisition.  Rig saga here.  Well, I still have the same trailer, obviously & I LOVE THAT TRAILER.

My Precious with...Other Precious?  Of course I have a blue trailer!
I loved the Tahoe too, but it soon made apparent to me that for regular hauling, a 1/2 ton just can't cut the mustard.   It could pull, & did it well.  Those old Chevy 5.7L engines were definitely made for power.  The problem is the smaller 1/2 ton transmissions are just not really up to the task & between that & the suspension & the brakes on the windy sides of mountains, it growlingly informed me that if I kept it up, I would be purchasing replacement trannies.  And radiators.  And liability policies.  0.0

Why didn't I think of that???!!
So, I decided that it was no longer worth putting $$$ on a vehicle that was only worth about $2000 on a good day, as I'd run it up to 170,000 miles, the A/C was out of freon, & you couldn't move the driver's seat (luckily my freaky long legs paid of for once).  I put on my savviest face & after much research & consulting & then more research (which I won't go into here for the sake of concise-ness, but I am happy to explain if you so desire), I sauntered into my local Ford dealer.

As luck would have it, they happened to have a trade-in that was EXACTLY what I wanted, in beautiful condition.  So I gave the faithful Tahoe a goodbye pat & rumbled home in my new love, a 2001 7.3L Super Duty turbo diesel F250.  And you will have to pry my cold, dead hands off to take it away from me.  It's good to be back in diesel-land (my first car was a 1985 3/4-ton 6.0L diesel GMC Suburban)!

November 15, 2009

Collecting Thoughts...And Strides

In celebration of the end of the Nor'Easter From Hell, I decided to strip down the horse bay of the trailer and clean it. Which always includes the fun task of dragging out 300-lb trailer mats. Hullo, where are those "space-age" materials??? In the process, I discovered my trailer tires have given up the ghost. One, in a fit of sheer irony, has a horseshoe nail jammed into it and was completely flat. The two on the opposite side had ominous looking cracks through the sidewalls that I could all too easily envision blowing out under my horse at sixty miles an hour. No worries, I'll just gather up the spare sacks of money I have sitting around and buy a new set of tires. *sigh*

In happier news, the sun came out for our afternoon lesson (during which I was mentally worshipping our BO for having perfect all-weather footing so the ring was just dandy despite aforementioned Nor'Easter). The first part of the lesson, I mostly spent in extreme annoyance as Solo was fixated on keeping the Insolent Hussy (aka Pony Lover) in sight. But we stepped up the workload and he came back to focus. We started introducing very deliberate half halts, much more exaggerated than you would normally do, but as P explained, you can't really expect your horse to obey a half halt if you don't first teach him what one is! Then--and this was really exciting--we practiced getting a few steps of collection at the sitting trot using seat! It was cool!

I had expressed to P my dissatisfaction over our canter departs and that I wasn't sure of the best way to approach them in training. She said, as I should have expected, "Don't work on them. The canter depart comes from being able to control the stride within the trot. Learn changes within the gait at the trot and from this will spring a lovely canter depart." And we did a couple canter departures using the collected trot stride. And it was an improvement!

Oh.  So, it looks like schooling will consist of lots more work on the sitting trot, so you will see us shifting back and forth...collected-working-collected-working...and then, hopefully, someday a beautiful canter depart will magically appear!

And as promised, a picture of the Insolent Hussy (who is soon to leave the farm, hurrah!) looking oh-so-innocent at moonrise:

September 12, 2009

I Found It!

That pic I was looking for of our first rig! Oh my, how tiny does that trailer look?!

August 31, 2009

A Tale Of Two Trailers

As I intimated in my clinic post, trailering had suddenly become an issue in the winter of 2006. At the time, I had my cherry red 1987 WW which stood at a whopping interior height of 6'6". As I mentioned, Solo technically fit in it. As long as he did not raise his head or want to move. At all. It had mangers and a solid divider too, so his feet had to STAY PUT. But he'd ridden in it quietly the three hours up when we moved and we had gone on a trail trip or two.

When I went to load him up for our PNH clinic, his reaction went something like this:

Walk walk walk walk, oh, the trailer, hmmmmmm, I don't really want to OHMYGODHELLNO I AM NOT GETTING IN THAT THING SCREWYOUI'MOUTTAHERE!!!!!!!

Yes, he stood up on his hind legs (I had put a butt rope on him for gentle encouragement), hopped over the rope and galloped off down a fenceline.

Leaving me standing with a longeline and ropeburn in one hand (note to self: gloves are a good invention) and a dumbfounded look on my face. Well, crap, now what?

I went and got my horse again and recruited two helpers from the barn and with a little coercion (which included me smacking my head on the escape door, gah!) we got him in and slammed the door. It would get us there.

At the end of the clinic, dear, wonderful Carol spent two hours with me and Solo showing how to properly load a horse onto a trailer. I use that method to this day: keep their feet moving forward. Life outside the trailer SUCKS REALLY BAD and life inside the trailer is awesome and full of pets and treats.

My conclusion: 6'6" trailers are for cows and small ponies. Not for 16 h beefcake horses. It had to go. AND since my Expedition had broken down on the way home from the clinic and was quickly revealing itself to be a problem ridden BEAST, it HAD to go, I was tired of fixing it.

New rig requirements:

-7' tall!!!!!!!!!!
-stock sides (Horses need ventilation! If they are sweaty when you pull them off the trailer, "ur doin' it rong!"
-straight load (My horse just didn't fit in any slants I tried, he was too long)
-bumper pull (I still wanted an SUV)
-steel steel steel (I like my horse haulers heavy and strong)
-dressing room (I am a charter member of the club I Have Too Much Crap Even Though I Only Have One Horse )

It had 150,000 miles but it purred like a kitten and had a brand new transmission. I <3'ed the Tahoe!

2007 Adam Special 15' -- brand new on the lot!

Open, airy, inviting, just the way I wanted it!

August 24, 2009

Moving On

I LOVED our farm.  We were the only boarders there aside from one retirement boardee.  N, the owner, took impeccable & customized care of Solo for me, adjusting his food as needed, giving him daily showers in hot weather, picking inappropriate weeds out of his paddock, & scratching his itchy spots.   It was a very satisfied horse who would canter up to the gate to meet me every day.

And I was in heaven. I couldn't brush/clean up/polish tack/comb mane/buy accessories fast enough to work out 25 years of pent-up horse possession.

I had new goals: (1) Teach Solo to longe without near-death experiences. I'm not addicted to longeing but I find a very useful tool both for strength & balance building & exercise on days that I am too tired or too hot to ride. (2) Rehab his feet. They were a flakey, cracky, nasty mess. We were loading him up on Super Bio-Zin & leaving him barefoot & N's farrier was a gifted worker of magic. (3) Create muscle tone. See previous description of hill work.

The two great loves of my life.

But nothing lasts forever. My job changed & I had to move three hours away. Much as it broke my heart to leave N's place behind, I was working for an agency I had spent years trying to get into & the new job was exactly what I wanted to do.

And it was the perfect opportunity to buy a truck & trailer! My current vehicle (2-door Explorer) was obviously not suitable for pulling a horse, so the search began.

Things I know now that I wish I had known then:
  • You can get a clean title for ANYTHING in Georgia, no matter what has happened to it.
  • When a truck is lifted, the wiring often gets majorly screwed up.
  • People often lift trucks to hide front-end problems.
  • You should always check to make sure the cloth pattern on all the seats matches, indicating original seats.
  • Always check trailer hitch wiring BEFORE purchase.
  • The overflow container for coolant should ALWAYS have some coolant in it.
  • CARFAX is a joke. There's a LOT that doesn't show up on there.

Oh well.  It pulled great!  And I found an '88 WW 2-horse trailer that had just been reconditioned for a steal.  It had a full dressing room & was just what I needed.  It also happened to be 6'6" tall, but technically, Solo fit.  As long as he didn't want to raise his head very high.  I added some mats, did some patching on the inside lining with some plywood, fixed the window leaks with duct tape for that final redneck flourish...

And we were mobile!

And here is where I was going to post a picture of our first rig -- 98 Expedition in shockingly boring white with bright red little trailer behind.  But dammit if I can't find the picture, I swore I kept one. *sigh*  Well, if I can't find that, then you get the next best thing: Solo in his cute little outfit for riding IN said trailer: