The Elephant in the Room

Forever ago, when I worked at a barn, I had my own truck and trailer. Then I joined the world of normal 9-5’ers, sold the trailer, and moved to h/j barns where you pretty much went wherever the trainer went and you didn’t really need your own rig.

It wasn’t my favorite design, but I still really miss the Titan

Now that I’m at a small barn with no resident trainer and back into the eventing world, not having a truck and trailer is a big hindrance. I’m lucky enough to have barnmates and friends that either drag me along with them or let me borrow their rigs if the logistics happen to work out. But a lot of times things don’t work out, or I don’t want to be THAT GUY abusing someone’s kindness by borrowing their nice things all the time. Being dependent on other people sucks.

In case anyone hasn’t read this blog basically EVER, I like to set goals. I want to qualify for things (like Championships) and participate in hard stuff (like 3DE’s in Arizona) and within the next couple years I’d like to move up to Training. I want to do everything I possibly can while I have the opportunity… we all know how fleeting that can be in the world of horses.

But to make those dreams happen and be successful, we need to do more. Ideally I’d like to haul out to some trainers a couple hours away that I really like for jumping lessons, and to the dressage trainer down the road as often as possible. Not to mention XC schooling (we need to do that as much as possible), jumper shows, and dressage shows. We need to be able to do all the things that will help make us better, without depending on someone else. The elephant in the room can no longer be ignored – a truck and trailer have become a necessity if I want to make any of these things happen. A rig represents freedom. A rig represents progess. Everyone needs freedom and progress.

That said, I am not of the financial situation to just go out and buy a truck and/or trailer. In fact, I’m in the really tricky position where if I were to go buy a rig, I really wouldn’t have the money left over to do all the things I’d be buying the rig FOR. Kind of a catch 22. So I really have no idea HOW I’m going to make this happen, but it’s got to. And I want it to happen within the next year, without sacrificing the events that my horse and I need to keep doing to make us better. Where there’s a will there’s a way… right? Step 1 is make a goal, Step 2 is a make a plan. I’m always a lot better at Step 1 than Step 2. Let’s not even talk about Step 3.

I always keep my eye out for trailers (there was THE PERFECT one for sale on a fb group for a couple months for only $4500, it’s like it existed there only to taunt me) and trucks that could work. I don’t need fancy, I just need safe. Eventually something will work out in the right place at the right time if I keep my eyes and ears open and keep working my butt off to make it happen. I have hope, even if that’s ALL I have. Maybe I’ve seen one too many Disney movies.

And so there it is, a want that has become a need that has become a goal, with no actual plan for how to make it come to fruition. Typical. How much is a kidney worth on the black market these days?

33 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Room

  1. Having a trailer is like having freedom! I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it is true. It was super helpful when I was a teenager, and now I can’t imagine not having one now. The one I have it getting rusty and needs repairs though, and I’m annoyed that new ones cost so much. sigh… it’s a hard decision, but I really feel like I can’t go without one.

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  2. I don’t mention my trailer really ever because I don’t love it. It’s very old, but it’s safe, works for what I need it for and my horse fits comfortably in it. It’s not very pretty though. I’m also lucky that my husband’s every day vehicle is a truck. I miss my first trailer like crazy. The one we bought on an impulse that we only had for 3 months because we couldn’t really afford it. I hope that someday I Jane a nicer trailer again. A tack room or even a track compartment would be amazing. That’s my main complaint about my trailer now. I have no doubt you’ll figure out how to get a trailer and I know it’ll make things a lot easier for you.

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        1. My trailer is a 1964. It’s not pretty. But the wood floors are solid and it hauls pretty well. We did repaint it, but during our torrential rains, some of the paint bled. Let me see if I can find a picture of it in all its glory.

          This was the only picture I can find. A Snapchat of all things. It does have a ramp and is a hair over 7 foot tall which is pretty much unheard of for most trailers that old. And no mangers, which I was really happy about.

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  3. yesss you need this! buying my rig was easily the best thing that’s ever happened to my riding career, since i’m in a similar position as you: barn has no trainer and i want to do alllll the thingssssss. that said, it was also made possible by an unexpected windfall, and still created many headaches. but nothing is insurmountable with enough determination (and financing haha – the dealer i bought from offers great financing plans and delivers nationally :).

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  4. Sometimes I miss having my own trailer, but like your time in HJ I haven’t needed one for years and the numbers don’t work out to purchase one now instead of paying for hauling.

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  5. Yeah this. I’m lucky right now that I have a great dressage trainer on site, but getting to jump lessons is complicated, even with super fab people who are fine loaning me trailers. I am definitely not in a trailer buying position this year, but I’d like to find a way to make it happen next year.

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  6. I’ve been dealing with this exact problem for the last year and a half.
    Finally, we determined that if I had the truck, I could borrow the trailer(s). Fast forward to feeling **VERY** poor and trying to finalize my ride to Sport horse Nationals…..
    Well, my original plan to borrow my dad’s rig fell through because his truck became unreliable… If I could get my pony from Kansas City to St Louis, I could bum a ride, but I couldn’t even get her to St Louis…
    In my call to the universe, nothing came up… Then, a random comment on a friend’s FB post resulted in her reply, “You should buy me truck!”
    Well, 1 week later, I bought her truck!! I’ve been borrowing my dad’s trailer since February (read: it’s been sitting in our yard because we can’t move it), so it is readily available for use.
    Since I bought the truck, I’ve trailered to a XC schooling, a schooling horse trial, 4 foxhunting lessons, and a day to practice being away from home all in the last month! That’s 7 trips!
    Oh, sweet freedom!!
    We leave Sunday morning for nationals, and we COULD NOT have done it if I hadn’t bought this truck. And I wasn’t ready to commit to a car payment… But, it has worked out!! YAY!!

    Just saying: You never know when the universe will drop a unicorn in your lap, so just be ready to jump on it when it happens!! 😉

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  7. Well, I am “one of those people”. I don’t own a trailer yet, and have just bought a truck last September. I borrow from my old 4-h coach and she doesn’t seem to mind. Yes, it’s probably annoying to her but I’m sure she would say something if it truly bothered her. I don’t haul out much, though, less than 10x in the whole year. I also send her a basket of flowers/cookies at the end of every year as a thank you too.

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  8. But Princess loves it when you borrow her!

    I was terrified when I bought my trailer, but then again I was also college student who bought it on eBay and put it on a credit card (I knew a traditional loan was probably out of the question). I just kept telling myself I was buying FREEDOM. And at the time I kept my horses at home in rural Oklahoma, so it WAS necessary.

    Now I’ve had the rig long enough its all paid for, and the car I drive everyday partially pays for its self in what I save in gas by NOT driving Princess on the daily. It sure does suck when all three need maintaince or tires though.

    PS – I like Christmas cookies 😜

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    1. HA! Christmas cookies… duly noted. It’s possible I’ll start with the trailer and figure out the truck afterward, so there’s a good chance Princess will still be much needed for quite a while. Also, I want to clone her so I can have her for my very own.

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  9. You know I totally agree with this need. The fact that I was able to convince Kyle we needed to trade his car in to get a truck has made my dream a reality though. Still working on the trailer…
    If you can find someone that has a hauling vehicle you can borrow from time to time that would be sweet! The truck is a gas guzzler and I don’t love that… But since we commute into work together it’s solely a drive to the barn vehicle for the most part now.

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  10. I got the trailer this year, but ha, no truck. So all I can do is look at the window at my trailer and huff and puff and whine because I still can’t go anywhere. I’ve missed at least five different opportunities that I would have loved to go an do this year because I ain’t got no freedom. So I hope you can get your truck and trailer my friend, because damnit, one of us needs to be free and do all the things.

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  11. Best decision i have ever made buying my trailer. I did have the truck already (after shopping for a year i decided on a Ridgeline to replace my Titan) and i was determined to find a trailer that worked for Edward (sparkles in sunshine the pretty blue color) my truck. I kept finding used trailers for 7-10k here and just couldnt see having a loan etc (I already have a loan for said truck)! BUT then i found the perfect dealer who was helpful beyond imagination. That poor guy earned every bit of his commission. He researched my truck and tongue weights etc. and I ended up with a 2015 Kingston Elite. The payment is less than 160 bucks a month and it is MINE. Lightweight (2300 lbs empty, tongue weight less than 400 lbs) so perfect for my truck. It is warmblood size so i have to use a step stool to hang hay (darn short legs of mine) but my 15 hand QH pudgy walks right in it every time and i load on my own all the time. It was the same price for the bigger size so i went for it. I LOVE IT.

    It does not have a tack room/dressing room which was a big CON for me but I wanted the lighter weight and i took the middle head divider out and now Remus can snooze in his trailer with the cross breeze blowing while we wait for stadium and cross country 🙂 He loves his trailer and so do I. You won’t look back i promise.

    GO FOR IT 🙂

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  12. It took me a year to find a good truck that I could afford and then 18 months more to find a trailer that I actually liked. But now that I have them, I love it. I would not want to go back to the trailer-less life. Good luck.

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  13. Don’t forget, Amanda, if you are training you can write off some expenses (mileage, meals, rooms, etc.) and depreciation (vehicle, trailer, saddles, etc.). Be sure to get professional advice first, though, from an accountant – or maybe someone you trust about such things. Taxes can be tricky. Good luck with those goals and necessities, Dream Girl!

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  14. We bought the truck thinking it would be a year or more before we got the trailer to go with it but knew that we had to get the ball rolling… but then a trailer fell into our lap from a friend who wanted to sell hers. So I’m so glad I just bit the bullet and got the truck!

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  15. Long time reader here, I loved my trailer! I took my horses all over So Cal for shows, fun and evacuations (running from wild fires sucks). Unfortunately it costs more to ship it to where I live now then it is worth. I really miss it as it is very sentimental, thankfully I don’t own a horse now, but still miss the trailer as they are so useful. For now it sits in my parents front pasture…

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  16. We have an older GMC and it hauls great… I’m like you, just wanted something safe and that I didn’t have to pay a car payment.

    Freedom is so nice!!

    One day I’ll have living quarters 😜

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  17. The struggle is real with this one. I had the foresight at least when I bought my first vehicle (when I was in college) to get a truck instead of a regular care because I knew a trailer was next on my list and I wanted to haul places. I bought my trailer maybe about a year after I finished college and when I had finished paying off the truck. At that time I had moved back in with my parents to save money while I started working in Boston and taking the commuter rail in (having to abide but the train schedule sucks, but it does save on gas!) and I figured that then would be as good a time as ever to buy a trailer since I had no car payment and no rent to pay. I had some money saved so I put some down and took out a load for the rest which I paid off in ~1.5-2 years. Technically I put the cart before the horse so to speak, because I didn’t actually own a horse at this point, I was fostering for a local SPCA.

    Just a few months ago though my old faithful truck kicked the bucket and now a have a new (used) truck and car payments again. It’s totally a catch-22 because I still have the freedom to trailer, but now I have way less money to put into lessons/ entry fees. So I definitely feel ya, but it’s a tough thing to get around! I’ve been picking up a little bit of freelance work on the side lately which I’m hoping will pay for lessons.

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