Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mobility III

Welcome to the next part in my mobility series!  Last time we looked at trucks, we'll look at trailers here.  To simplify things a bit we'll be looking at bumper pulls since that's what I've been shopping for.


First, you need to decide what kind of work you're willing to put into the trailer.   Do you have someone who is handy with metal working and repairs?  A steel trailer that needs work on the floor, roof, frame, and rust might be a bargain for you.  Steel trailers are always going to come with rust and continue to rust unless you take steps to care for them.  Aluminum trailers have a rust proof body but can be more expensive, also don't forget that the frame and axles are still steel so you will need to look at the undercarriage of even aluminum trailers for wear.




What about buying new?  The big bonus is having a trailer that is 100% road ready and has zero wear and tear.  The downside is the hefty price tag.



When buying used you need to find out when was the last time the trailer was moved.  This gooseneck might be a fantastic deal, but when was the last time those tires saw road?  Do you need to change all four tires before you even hitch it up?  Has the wiring been eaten by mice?


To help save weight and length you can chose a trailer without a dressing room.  These two trailers are walk throughs with no dressing room.  If there's enough room in the nose you can add storage such as a tack trunk or a saddle rack (that would be open to the horses depending on how big the front is and throw everything else in your truck bed.  




Of course, having a dressing room is always a huge bonus.  It does add weight and length to the trailer which is something to consider for first time haulers or people with smaller trucks.







Here's another option for storage without the added length of a dressing room.  This Merhow doesn't have a dressing room but it does have under manger storage.  A nice option for storage but can making loading more difficult since you have to either duck out the small escape door, self load, or load your horse while standing in the other stall.  



Here's a VERY nicely redone one horse trailer.  If your horse will load into the narrow space it would be a great option for someone who doesn't need storage and has a small vehicle.





Here's another rather creative one horse trailer.


Two more options to consider are height and ventilation.  An open trailer with lots of ventilation can be more comfortable for your horse in hot weather and provide light which can make loading easier.  Height is also an important factor.  If you have a 17 hand warmblood you'll need to spring for that extra tall trailer but a shorter horse can save you bucks on shorter trailers.



For someone with a smaller tow vehicle European trailers may be the way to go with their materials, aerodynamic design, and low tongue weight.  This Rice brand trailer has a rear and side ramp and is made out of Aluminum so it's both inviting and easy to pull.  European trailers have a different design mentality as they are often towed with smaller vehicles yet they feature lots of great safety add ons.  This Rice is an antique and is quite difficult to find in the US.  




So when it's all said and done you have about a million different trailer options and just as many people with their own opinions about what YOU need.  Time to make some decisions!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mobility part II

Welcome to part two in my Mobility series! 

I'm going to discuss trucks here.  I don't think that you need to buy the truck first and the trailer second, or the trailer first and the truck second.  I think it's a personal preference as long as you aware that whatever you buy first will dictate in some ways what you buy second.

There are plenty of truck options out there.




You can get something that will match every single hauling need you'll ever have in the future.  If it's in your budget.  Keep in mind that bigger trucks mean bigger repairs, bigger gas bills, bigger parking spaces. Or you purchase a truck to meet your immediate needs with good resale value and plan on upgrading in the future.


If you're on a budget older is fine but you need to have a qualified mechanic helping you make the decision.  you might find yourself getting a bigger older truck because today's technology advancements mean smaller trucks are capable of towing more.  Older vehicles all come with a certain amount of wear, tear, rust, and repairs but an older well maintained truck can be a great deal for someone, especially if you think you might upgrade in a few years.  What does the inside and outside look like?  An older truck with minimum rust means someone cared about it enough to give it a bath and if they gave it a bath they probably took care of the engine and didn't ruin the suspension by off roading.  Maybe.



One problem I ran across is boy toys.  Trucks modified for "looking cool" and not doing things that trucks should do (in my opinion).  Those tires are really expensive to replace and you're going to need a drop hitch to accommodate that lift kit.  Does this beast have mufflers or can you hear it coming 4 miles away?  Has someone taken it off roading?


When buying on a budget you might have to make sacrifices.  Crew cabs and 4 wheel drive trucks are very desirable and thus having both is a hefty price tag increase.   Do you want the storage and extra passenger space or do you want 4 wheel drive for mud and snow?  A little bit of rust for both 4 wheel and crew cab?  Or lower mileage for standard cab?



Rust is another consideration when buying used.  Rust on rocker panels is pretty much a given and rest left unchecked can eat into the door and frame of the truck causing costly repairs or it to be unsafe while towing.  Are you willing to accept some rust to get other things like low mileage?


In the end when shopping it all comes down to must haves, compromises, and most important budget.  I think that budget shoppers MUST have someone qualified looking at the truck beforehand.  Issues you might even notice can be thousands of dollars in repairs before it's safe to tow with.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mobility

Having the ability to take your horse places is an important thing, if you want to show, take lessons, trail ride, or pretty much do anything except stay at home you need access to an appropriate vehicle and horse trailer.
I've relied on the kindness of strangers (and really good friends!) to get me and my horse to all sorts of places.  Horse people are in general quite kind and willing to help a poor trailerless person such as myself out.  It's something I have an endless amount of appreciation for otherwise I'd be stuck at home and would have missed out on so many wonderful opportunities.  However, it has been a big life goal of mine to purchase my own truck and trailer.  Thus, I started the long and bumpy road to self sufficiency.


It's quite an expensive endeavour.   New or used there are so many choices in all sorts of price ranges with all sorts of options.


From Big

To Small

From "Needs Work"

To "Fully Loaded"



How do you go about deciding between all the options in your budget?  Matching the set so they are a capable pair?  Meeting your needs?

I plan on making a series of blog posts highlighting my eventual decision (and total panic that I had made the wrong decision).

You are welcome along for the journey!

October HT wrap up

My BIG MOVE UP at the October show was a big fat fail.  This is me, dismounting off of Stella in the middle of a massive XC melt down...