Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Beth's Trailer Experience!
Here's our story, thank goodness it's not injury-related! Prior to moving to Washington from Illinois in 2006, we purchased a new (off the lot) 2004 Sundowner 727 2 Horse slantload, gooseneck. Originally I was hunting for a Brenderup, but couldn't find a nearby dealer and would have had to travel two states away with a check in-hand. No thanks. I am not fond of separating the horses, so we pulled out the divider to allow the horses to move into a comfortable position. I also don't tie them when they are loose. Some people will gripe about that, but honestly, there is no SAFE way to truly haul livestock.
The only trailer issue we had was due to not having bars on the drop down windows. We had screens with sliding door windows (very small, who designed this?). I bought a screen from Professional's Choice and using zip ties, was able to make it work. It was much too small though. So, we drove with one window down. Even though we traveled the higher (cooler) roads, it was still too hot in the trailer. One of my horses (the Arabian, of course) refused to drink while on the road and only took water when we stopped at ranches for the night. We walked the horses into the trailer each day and they would get into position while on the road. The Paint stood facing forward, the Arabian faced backward. Each time. The only scare we had was when we stopped to eat one afternoon and the Paint laid down. He was fine, just decided to lay down, regardless if the Arabian was in the way.
In 2008, we had to move overseas, so the horses went to live at the ranch they had come from. This time, I ordered custom-made screens to fit into the drop down windows allowing me to drive with the windows down. However, I didn't need to do this until we got to Kansas since we had snow storms following us most of the way and it was quite cool. This time we drove with the divider up, horses tied. Both horses were fine, the Arabian drank more, but he was also 2 years older (5) and had more trailer travel experience. If I can figure how to include it, I'll attach or email a photo of the Paint drinking (water) from a Taco Bell cup.
I was convinced by the owner of the ranch (where I worked and bought both horses) to convert my F150 to haul a gooseneck. He has been training and hauling horses his whole life and was worried about me hauling a regular trailer cross country. My dad agreed, as he's had jack-knifed trailers happen. It was a great decision and we had absolutely no swaying or problems (like we had with our camper trailer). The Sundowner worked very well. It has pads on the divider and walls, as well as rubber up the half the walls. I wish it had a ramp and barred windows. Oh, my trailer also has the emergency & dressing room doors open on the traffic side. I think most have changed to the other now. Lessons learned.