What do you love (or hate) about your living quarters horse trailer?
Mr. MO and I are considering trading in our 5th wheel camper and our bumper pull horse trailer and getting a LQ horse trailer. I love, love, love my 2 horse Adam Julite with rear and side ramp. It's small and easily maneuverable. There have been a couple of times that I wanted to haul 3 horses though. Also, as my daughter gets older, breed shows are in the future and being able to camp at showgrounds would be perfect. My reservations were size...I was nervous about driving a bigger rig, but honestly I was initially nervous about the BP and I'll be able to adapt with practice. I also didn't want to be stuck pulling a big trailer all the time, especially if I'm just hauling one horse for a lesson. Fortunately I have a relative who has a BP I can use any time. So we're getting closer to placing an order.
Initially I wanted the smallest footprint possible, but honestly the basic LQ with a couch or dinette isn't but a few feet longer than the weekend package, and will be much more comfortable. I already know I definitely want a power jack, and I'm getting side and rear ramps with a swing-out tack room. Also getting drop down windows on both sides because I hate those sliding ones that get stuck. I know I want wheel wells on the outside. Also know I don't want a stud wall...want to be able to take everything out and haul open, etc. No mangers, I have big horses and I tried them out on a friend's slant and mangers won't work, although I'd love to have the extra storage.
But, what about other stuff? Living quarters arrangement? Nifty features I might not even know about? Any tips are greatly appreciated. For once I'd like to do something right the first time!
Disclaimer: I don't have a LQ trailer as I prefer my fifth wheel camper and I don't like slant loads. But I have lots of friends with them and the thing they all want is a mid tack area that doubles as a mudroom. The small rear tack rarely holds all you need. And lots of folks are opting out of an oven and getting more storage instead. A cooktop and microwave seem to be all they need for meals.
I'm not sure you'd be happy with a 6' wide trailer which is what you'll get with no wheel Wells on the outside.
The trailer is 7' or 7'6" with the wheels on the outside, 8' with them on the inside.
A mud room/mid tack would be a great idea, but gosh that would add to the length. Hmm... I wonder if I could scale the bathroom back to a wet bath instead of a seperate shower/toilet and use the extra space for storage/mudroom? I don't mind a wet bath setup, and honestly I use the showground potties for most business That might be something to look into!
I figure the swing out rear tack will be small, but I was also counting on hauling some stuff in the bed of the truck. I also figured I could use the front stall for storage if I'm only taking 2.
Your choices, here, run from a "weekender" LQ to the wheeled equivalent of the Taj Mahal. The only question is "how much money do you have?"
Consider, too, that as trailer size increases so does truck size to pull it. As a practical matter you're probably looking at loaded weight for a modest 3 horse LQ in the 14,000 pound range. Will your truck do this? Don't look at the "towing capacity" for the answer. Find the GCVWR (on the driver's door post or in the Owners Manual). Weigh the truck. Subtract that weight from the GCVWR. Now you have the amount YOU can legally tow.
We have a modest "weekender" LQ in our 4H Featherlight (I posted some pictures in an earlier thread). I can legally tow 15,200 lb. (based upon the weight of my Duramax Crew Cab 4wd dually). On our recent trip to Ft. Riley, KS and back I averaged 10.5 mpg. (that was high end cruise at 68 mph going out and low end cruise at 64 mph coming home). We were at about 12,000 lb. with two horses, gear, forage, fodder, etc.
Like the old song says, "ya gotta shop around." It's a pretty good "buyer's market" right now. Negotiate with a "sharp pencil." But do the "towing math" first so you get some idea of what you can and can't haul. Make your "test pull" of the trailer to a local truck stop and spend $25 for a weight from the CAT Scale. You will save yourself some grief.
Hit the 'Net sites but look around at local trailer vendors.
Good luck in your search.
P.S. You might want to hold on to that two horse. They are nice for quick trips to the vet., a local show venue, etc. A downside of the LQ is sheer size. If you can hold onto the small bumper pull then do so; you, again, will be glad you did.
Good point G. I leave the calculations to my hubby, but we've got a 2500 hd diesel GMC that should do us fine. He's also got a scale at the feed mill we can weigh things on...found the "dry weight" listed on our camper's sticker and the actual dry weight on our scale were 2 entirely different numbers!
I think we're going to leave the 5th wheel hitch in and install the adapter on the horse trailer...hubby and I both hated the hide-a-ball hitch we had with the old gooseneck trailer and find this setup much easier for hooking up, even though it does take up a lot of space in the bed.
And that was my initial holdup of going to a bigger trailer...didn't want to lose the convenience of my bumper pull. But, I have both a family member and several friends with 2h bumper pulls that I can borrow, and my family member is actually considering buying my 2h from me if/when I trade. Then I can still have the best of all worlds!
My trailer is 8' wide and 8' tall. My needs in the horse area are a little different since I'm a carriage driver so I won't talk about what I like in that department.
A generator is a must have as far as I'm concerned. I would like to have solar to power things that don't take the batteries. Or an inverter... I just don't know anything about that stuff. But it would be nice to be able to watch TV or have the plugs "hot" without running the generator.
There is a door from the horse part in to the bathroom. I use that as a mudroom if need be.
Awnings! Lots of awnings!
More lights than you think you need, inside the horse part and outside.
I have a microwave and a cook top but I use the BBQ to cook most meals at shows. I use the cook top for breakfast mainly.
A really upgraded mattress! The ones they come with are best donated to the dogs!
I find I am using the hay rack on the top of the trailer more now that I am hauling three horses to events (my pair and a spare ). It is a little difficult to get hay/shavings up there but it frees up room and we just toss it down as needed.
I sort of wish I had a water tank in the back, like one of those stand up corner ones. But I make due with three five gallon water jugs.
I did a quick glance through. Our trailer, a Logan Coach, has a rear tack but it's on the side, not the rear-rear, so it's actually VERY roomy. Large swing open door, and the saddle rack swings out (and locks open).
The trailer is a 3h, and so far we use the first one as a hay area, dog bed/water/dog area, storage area. We do have three horses but haven't had to haul everyone yet. But it's nice to have the option. Like others, it opens into the bathroom.
On the inside, it's nice that we can take the table down and put it away, otherwise it's cramped and nearly impossible to get to the bed without walking on the couch. But it's nice; DH lived in it for three months while in Cali for training.
I agree with getting an upgraded mattress!! The one it came with was complete and utter crap. We got a thick foam one from Walmart on the advice of our farrier, and I like it better than the one in our house.
I also agree without whoever said to hold onto your little trailer. I have my little 2h bp and it is wonderful to run around in or loan out (yeah I'm one of those people). I wouldn't want to take the beast trailer everywhere I had to go with just one horse...
ETA I see you only have a 2500. This will limit you to something smaller. In the picture of the outside of our trailer, that is DH's custom-built 350 with a bigger rear-end (essentially a 450, I don't know the lingo). This was the day we brought it home (trailer) and before DH installed airbags on the truck. Empty weight, it squatted the truck down a bit. My Chevy 2500 would be completely squashed by this thing.
That's a really nice rig Jenners. I like all your counter space but didn't look like you had a cooktop. The mid tack would add about 4 feet to your floor length - pretty substantial. We have a rear tack; what we can't fit in there, we put in the truck bed. Ours is narrow, it used to be a 4 horse side by side that DH turned into an LQ. The one amenity that we love I think is the awning. We spend 90% of our time outside when we're camping so we have the awning, the ground mat, chairs, a folding table and we're set.
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There is a cook top, it's under the counter (there are little handles you see to lift it up). The trailer's awning is nice, and we have chairs in the side storage, plus the extension cords, sewer pipe, etc.
My SO and I camp in his Hart two-horse with "weekender" LQ. Nothing fancy, no built-in stereo systems or slide-outs. It has a shower, it has a toilet, and (thanks to removing the cabinets in the front of the gooseneck) we were able to replace the flat little queen mattress (the kind that comes with most trailers) with a pillow-top king. Highly recommend upgrading to a comfortable mattress.
Though it's just a weekender, we go on weeklong camping trips and manage to do so quite comfortably. As long as you keep it organized and don't clutter it up with "stuff" it stays very live-able.
The LQ is really just for sleeping, changing clothes, or toilet/shower. Most of our "living space" is outside under the awning. It's where we cook, eat, sit and relax while we're not out riding.
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I have a Hart Weekender as well with a 6 foot shortwall. I would put in a stud divider and use the first slant stall as a mudroom. The stud divider can be totally removed just like a regular slant divider but it is nice to have to haul hay, chairs, tables, extra stuff that does not fit in the LQ. I like to have an extra slant in the trailer anyway- we have 3 horses but a 4 horse trailer, so I always have room to haul hay or supplies in my extra slant. Both my husband and I are scared of heights so a hay rack on the roof is not something I can see us using!
My current trailer is 6'8" wide, and while it tows beautifully, I would go 8' wide in a heartbeat. It allows for so much extra space on the LQ- you would be shocked how much difference that extra 16" makes!
I used to think I could do without an awning but have changed my mind recently. It makes for a nice outdoor room. We do have a cd player/ stereo with indoor/ outdoor speakers and we enjoy sitting outside and socializing in the evenings.
I do have tons of cabinet space, which I appreciate. I have a Honda EU 3000i Handi generator that I would not want to do without. It is on wheels and only weighs about 70-75 lbs. so I can handle it all by myself.
I do not use my shower a lot, but I love having my "own" toilet! We tend to camp at places that have bath houses so we use the shower there and avoid filling up our grey tank but I have recurring nightmares about dirty public bathrooms!
I just have a little weekender, but I love my awning (had no idea how much I wanted one until I went camping with friends), love having a decent sized water tank, and like having a cook top. I have a cowboy shower, so that's only for camping in the "wild", and just a portapotty that I haven't used, but I'm glad to have it just in case. Lots and lots of lights are good, add more plugs than you can imagine using.
Thanks for all the great tips. I've been trying to do a lot of research so I can get as close to my dream trailer as my budget will allow. Having camping experience, I know a little about what I want/need as far as the living space. I agree, we use the awning and hang outside unless the weather just won't allow it. The price quote I got included a power awning that is basically the entire length of the trailer except the nose.
I want to keep the trailer as short as possible, and though I'd really love to have a mid-tack, I don't want to add the extra length. I think I can make it work with the rear swing-out, and by putting stuff in the truck and trailer. I won't always be hauling 3, so the front stall can also do storage duty.
I really want a full-sized fridge, but most 8' short walls don't allow for that. I think I can make it work though if I switch to a wet bath (shower/toilet combo) instead of the full bathroom. The full bathroom does give a sort of "mud room" which is nice, but honestly I'd do just fine with a wet bath. I prefer to use the bathrooms on the showgrounds whenever possible, so the bathroom would be used for showers and overnight potty breaks.
As much as I'd like my hubby to come along, it would only be me and my daughter, and even though it's nice to have a pull-out couch or a dinette that makes into a bed, she's only 7 so she'll be crawling in to bed with me.
It will be nice to have A/C and a place to sit/cook/eat when we go to day shows. Unfortunately the shows always seem to have my division at the end of the day, and leadline in the beginning, so we are there for the whole day. So even when we aren't actually staying overnight it will still be handy. We will definitely be getting a generator but it will be aftermarket. The one offered by the conversion company is too expensive and not as quiet as one we already have. I'd like to get the generator pod and have it permanently installed on top, but my hubby does use the small generator for other things so I think I will have to settle for carrying it along in the tack room and then just hooking it up when we get there.
I do want the couch or dinette though because I'd like to be able to take a freind and go on an overnight trail ride or cross country schooling, so having extra sleeping space will be nice.
I never cook inside the camper. I'm too messy and there's never enough space. Whenever we go camping I always have something already made up at home that can go in the crockpot and just get plugged in (like chili or meatballs or stew) and then we always plan on hot dogs and burgers on the grill at least one night. I'd never be staying more than 2-3 nights max at a show. I really could do away with the burners because everything I make is in the crockpot, microwave or on the grill. I know that might decrease the resale value but honestly I'm not planning on getting rid of it anytime soon. Maybe I'll look at getting rid of the stove top so I can have a bigger sink and/or more counter space.
We swapped our 4 horse head to head (20 feet floor length plus goosneck) for a 3 horse slant load with an 8 foot living quarters in the front. Exactly the same length both trailers. Ours is made by Sooner. BEST thing we ever did!
Best things about the LQ is the hot water full shower....followed by our own private toilet of course
Seriously......the 8 foot length is more then adequate for a few nights stay over. Nice roomy bed area with drop down flat screen TV, air conditioned, heated and lots of comforts of home. The refridgerator is only a small one but we keep all our cold refreshments in a seperate cooler anyway so plenty of room in there to store cold food.
Microwave, comfy sofa that turns into a really nice 2 person bed makes this trailer capable of sleeping 4 adults if necessary as well. BIG awning with outside speakers and a full bug screen gives us an additional 12 feet of living space outside. We even have a little propane fireplace we put outside on the cooler evenings. And yes a generator is important especially when an electrical connection is not available at the show venues.
Oh and a hose for cooling off your horse right outside your trailer or cleaning your tack. No need to find a wash stall.
Really I cannot imagine showing without this trailer now. It is certainly a luxury but so nice to have after a long day of showing.
The level of amenities in any LQ is driven by two things:
We've gone as long as 14 days in our little "weekender." It got a bit "close" at times but no violence ensued.
Some observations based upon our experience:
Get the biggest refrigerator you can fit in. We went small and it was a mistake. We have to use an ice chest to carry what won't fit in the 'fridge. That's a pain in the butt.
Awnings are great, but the bigger they are the more difficult they are. We had a 20' plus and it took at least two, and better three, people to extend and retract it. That also assumed nothing more than a gentle zephyr for winds. If a breeze came up it could take six or so to control it (usually retract it) due to its very large "sail" area. You also have to "stake" it out once you extend it so that it's stable when winds come up. We learned this the "hard way."
A good generator system is a must for anything more than an overnight in cool weather or any time at all in the summer. We found that the Honda EU2000 gensets, in series (giving 4000 watts of capacity), are ideal. They weigh in about about 75 lbs. fully fueled; this means that one person can usually handle them. We have an "extended run fuel tank" that is good for about 12-18 hours of normal use. If I can afford it I'm thinking of putting a small, diesel genset in the trailer. But first I've got to figure out how to squeeze about $5000 out of the budget.
We have an Incinolet (Incinerating Electric Toilet). It means no "black water" tank. It also means 110v electricity. It's a wonderful device and I highly recommend it. Can't use a "wet bath" with it, however.
Get a good mattress. We had one custom made for a very modest price and it was one of our best decisions. Don't repeat a mistake we made. We should have left a couple of inches around the margin for easier "making the bed" evolutions.
You can never have enough cabinet space.
We ended up with a "secure area" as a result of a construction decision. This is very nice because we can put high value items (purse, wallet, keys, firearms, etc.) into this area. Carefully examine your LQ; many have similar "niches" can be used successful to "secure" high value items.*
A stud panel in the first stall, making it a "utility" stall is an excellent idea. Ours is done this way and the "cowboy shower" is in this stall. In long transits, since this stall also holds a lot of other stuff, we don't have a shower available. When we look for overnight accommodations we take this into account. For short trips we just put stuff into the bed of the truck and we can use the shower.
A "roof rack" on the trailer is useful. For a long trips we can put square bales into contractor bags (we get them at Home Depot) and strap them down. We get them up there with a front end loader. For short trips with four horses we also use it for hay. We have also carried t-posts, a driver, and a puller on the roof rack along with a plastic, storage box with tape, charger, insulators, etc. Some portable fence sections would be nice, but beyond the budget right now.
We have a 50 gal. water tank mounted under the nose of the gooseneck. It is enough for about 4 days of routine use.
We have small, hot water tank. It's enough for the cowboy shower, washing dishes, etc.
We use a lot of disposable plates, cups, utensils, etc.
We like what we have. It would be lovely to have a 14' short wall with mid-tack and four horse capacity, but I'm not willing to put that much capital into a trailer (and the $75,000 truck to pull it ). We live with what we have. It does for us.
*I'm not going to discuss mine in any detail as then it would no longer be "secure"!!!
G., our first motorhome had a manual awning and boy that thing was a total pain in the a$$! Our new camper has the power awning and I am definitely going with the power one on this too! I like the idea of the add-a-room awning attachments (http://www.rvwholesalers.com/catalog...Fcqj4AodkXQAaw) but they are pricey. Maybe down the road...
In the motorhome we had a locking storage compartment in the step which was nice for valuables. I'm sure I can find a secure place, after reading the thread where horse trailers were broken into in PA, that is important. Also need to lock up the tack stall these days too!
In addition to desire and money, I'm limited by my "driving comfort zone!" As the sole driver, I don't want to get something that is too long since I'll be the one rolling down the highway and parking it! Fortunately I think my needs are going to be easily met in a standard 3H with an 8' short wall, just gotta configure the inside. I really do want that bigger fridge and I think I can get it because I'm willing to either give up the stovetop or go with a wet bath in order to make room. I will still probably bring a cooler for drinks, but I like having my lunch meat and cheese in the fridge instead of tupperware and then wrapped in plastic in the cooler to keep it from getting wet! I prefer to keep drinks in a cooler and everything else in the fridge. Just my experience so far from camping.
We upgraded the mattress in the 5th wheel and the motorhome, and will probably just take the one out of the 5th wheel and put in the horse trailer. The dealer told us a lot of people have been getting a king size memory foam type of mattresses and having them cut to fit so they fill the entire nose portion. I thought it was an interesting idea. My daughter is a wild sleeper and the more space I have, the less I'll have to endure her ninja-attacks through the night!
One drawback of the wet bath is that I wouldn't be able to use it as a closet, like we do in our 5th wheel. I have a bar that goes across the top which is good for hanging up clothes or towels. When we use it for showers, we would just put those items on the bed, then squeegee the shower and hang everything back up when done. I'm thinking the wet bath would stay "wet" longer and that might not be an option. Plus it would get in the way if you just wanted to use the toilet.
Still, when at away shows I think it's better to be on the showgrounds, close to the horses. Even though a hotel has its own plumbing and room service, I prefer my own bedbug-free mattress and bedding, and not having to drive back and forth. The $35 camper fee is also a lot easier to swallow than the hotel bill too! I'll just have to remind myself that when I'm griping about any shortcomings of my trailer!