Written by Rachael Kraft (Updated 4/3/2023)
Every once in a while, a Custom Horse Trailer with Living Quarters rolls out of the Double D Trailers factory that is just a little extra special. It’s got those personal design touches and luxury elements that make our readers’ hearts glow with joy… and maybe a touch of envy.
In this article, we’re sharing the story of a unique living quarters horse trailer we built for Robin from Nevada. She took full advantage of our custom trailer design services to create a beautiful light-colored interior, unlike any horse trailer we’ve ever produced. She also hopes to make the most of our SafeTack Reverse Living Quarters Horse Trailer design with some interesting plans for her front horse stall (just wait until you see the photos on this one - it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen!).
Robin, thanks so much for talking with us today! Can you share a little about your horses and riding background?
Yes, I have four horses. My young one is actually a little sport pony. He’s a Welsh Westphalian Cross who is four and just under 14.3 hands. Then, I have two older horses who are Oldenburg Mares. One of them is just under 16 hands, long, and big bodied.
My background is mostly in eventing. Now I’m older and I’m to the point in my life where I just do whatever seems to feel good. I’ll probably do some eventing with my youngest horse. I don’t have a big agenda. I like to go out and have fun. So, right now, we’re looking at doing some competitive trail riding.
Oh, that does sound like fun!
I went and volunteered at one, but I haven't actually competed in any yet. They are one or two day rides and range from 12 miles up to 60 miles in a weekend… so 30-40 miles a day for the more advanced stuff. But, it’s not a race.
The lower levels are mostly walking with maybe just a little bit of trotting in there. And then they have obstacles along the way that are judged. You might have to do some backing, mount and dismount in weird locations, or do off-side mounts. You might have to put something in a tree or take something out.
There's a judge that judges the horse and a big part of your score is on their fitness. They do pulse and respiration checks and look at their fitness and how fast they come back to a resting pulse. It's a combination of your riding, your human horsemanship score, and the horse's fitness score.
And then everybody camps out!
That's really interesting.
My husband just retired recently from his job as a firefighter. We’re like, "Well what do we want to do now? This would be great. Let's go camp!”
He also runs cross country just on foot. We tend to run and ride together some… I'll trot, he'll run. So, we go off and explore. Just to go camping and check out the trails. We also have motorcycles and so we like to do little road trips on our motorcycles with the trailer.
We take a horse. We take a couple bikes, we take a bike and a horse -- and we just go have adventures!
That sounds lovely. What were your past horse trailer experiences like? Have you always had larger living quarter trailers?
I have never had a living quarters trailer. So, this is a brand new aspect.
A million years ago, when I was doing a lot of competing and before I was married, I just had a camper in the back of my truck and a little two horse trailer and off I would go.
Once I was married, I had a three horse bumper pull with just a dressing room type compartment in it. But whenever we'd go someplace, we’d have to stay in the hotel and then I’d have to leave the husband and daughter in bed, get up and go do my horse things and get the horse ready. Then come back and pick them back up and go back to the horses.
Were there any specific things about your last trailer that you were hoping to improve upon when you started shopping for a new one?
Yeah. It was just a weird trailer. The windows weren't very big. It didn't have any other escape doors other than through the back. There was no other way out. But the dividers — my mare could sit on it and pop open a divider. It didn't have the best safety features.
While working with my young horse in my old trailer, I have gone on short trailer rides in the horse area with him (around our property and the dirt roads near us). I quickly learned how LOUD it is in there.
I did not specifically shop for a quieter trailer, but I had no interest in an aluminum trailer. Not only have I experienced how loud they can be (friends have them), but we live in the low desert and I really did not want a trailer that would transfer that much road heat. I have read reports and informal studies (in addition to personal experience) about how hot it gets in a trailer just due to the horses' body heat.
In my old trailer, I generally used shavings not just for absorption, but also for additional insulation. I can't wait to go for a short ride in my new trailer and compare the noise level. It sure seems like it will be quieter. Also, fans in the horse compartment push quite a bit of air even though they are small.
I did extensive research about horse trailer makes when we started thinking about getting a new trailer. I compared materials, longevity, horse safety, horse comfort, and features. I did not pay much attention to the living quarters part.
I was intrigued by Double D Trailers because of the SafeTack system and the reverse slant. The SafeTack Reverse with the double wide side ramp looked so open and inviting, and I loved the idea of the contained tack room that swung wide to keep the trailer open and inviting. The SafeTack was the deciding option.
We did look at one Double D Trailers model, and were able to get the feel of how solidly built they are, the Rumber floor, and saw inside an LQ portion. The owner was thrilled with her trailer and said she loved Brad. I heard a typical report about Double D Trailers: The process is NOT fast, and they are expensive, but they are wonderful trailers.
I see. You recently received your new SafeTack Reverse Living Quarters Horse Trailer. What do you think of the reverse load horse trailer option so far?
I've loaded my youngest horse into it a lot. I haven't put the other ones into it yet. The young one has been in and out every single door. With him, I’ve loaded him through the side ramp reverse. That was great. But I can actually load him through the back and then turn him to face reverse also. He swings right around.
He's like, "Yes, I love this trailer. It's great," I just put him in and then taught him to just move his butt around. I just point where I want his butt and he moves it, then I close the divider. With the bigger horses I'd probably load in from the side ramp to go reverse.
Here's a video showing how the SafeTack Reverse Load trailer design makes loading and unloading a horse so smooth.
I'm probably going to be hauling one horse most of the time. Even though we have a three horse slant. Very rarely will I be hauling three…
Ah yes! Can you tell me about the unique way you’re planning to use your front stall?
We got the full divider on that first divider with an extra wide stall. Plus we angled the bathroom. There’s a ton of room in that front stall. So, that's my storage area!
Whether it's a motorcycle or it's tools and stuff… that's the mud room for the horse trailer. It was one of my things that I really wanted, was to use that as the mud room area when we’re camping. To get rid of muddy boots and have a place to hang jackets and whatever else.
That makes so much sense.
Yeah. Having that full divider on that first stall means we can do so much in that area. We can put an ATV in there or whatever we want to throw in there. And with that side ramp it makes it really easy to load things in that area as well as horses.
We were going to put a cowboy shower in there too, but it wouldn't fit in the wall. So our cowboy shower ended up outside, so that way we had a place to wash off or make mashes for the horses outside.
That's why I probably wouldn't load through the ramp, if I don't have to. But if I had another horse, it's nice to have the option. The whole trailer is so open that it makes it very, very, very inviting.
Wonderful. So can you tell me a bit about what it was like to design a Custom Horse Trailer with Living Quarters with our owner and designer, Brad Heath?
Yeah, I think for the most part everything was enjoyable and easy. There were a lot of getting the schematics back and forth. So it was helpful when you have the plans and you have something to visualize and look at.
There were a couple things that we would ask about and he would say, "Well, no." And then he said, "Okay, maybe we can do that."
It took him a little bit of figuring that we mirror imaged the living quarters part, but not the bathroom, because it wasn't going to work. So we kept part of it and mirror imaged the rest so that I could get the living quarters, entrance and that side ramp, both on the passenger side. That was the biggest structural change probably.
And then it was nice because my back stall is the normal width on the three horse slant. And then my middle stall we added six inches for my bigger warmbloods. And then the front stall, we added a foot plus it's got the angle. We cut the bathroom a little bit so it's got a huge ton of room.
That part was all really easy to do. We could upsize our windows and put the bigger windows on where he normally has smaller ones. So all of that stuff was super easy.
The other thing we did with Brad, that was different, that I know a couple of other people did too, is we did put the high tie system on for the horses — which is so that you can camp with your horses attached to the trailer. You just pop out the high ties and attach your horses and it's an overhead tie out system. So they install those for us too, which was not always normal.
Great. And what about the living quarters? Your living quarters is a unique design from a lot of the trailers we've built.
I'm not really a cowboy type person. I like the light and bright trailer instead.
We also met one of Brad’s other customers at a ride and she had theater seating in her slide out. My husband said, "Oh, that. We need that. We don't want a little couch and we don't want a dinette. If I'm going to be hanging out in the horse trailer while you're riding, I need to be able to recline and be comfy.”
So we found some super comfy reclining theater seats. And then the rest of it was at the Outback Customs. We flew out to work with Lisa there because it was easier than doing it over the phone. So we sat down with her and spent a couple hours and just picked colors and materials and the tile and all of the stuff to make it.
I figured, we're going to have this thing until we die so I might as well make it the way we want it.
Yes, makes sense!
I work very hard to make sure that my horses' stress level is low and their minds and bodies are ready to do what I ask. I think the open and solid nature of this trailer will help make sure that the stress of travelling is minimized for my horses.
I'm still figuring out how to organize everything and what not. Right now, our first overnight trip might be in mid February. But yeah, so far we're happy with it sitting in our driveway!
Great. Thanks so much for sharing your story with Double D Trailers. We hope you enjoy going on trips with your new horse trailer. It was a pleasure talking to you!
If you have any questions about this trailer or designing your own custom horse trailer with living quarters, contact Brad.
There are several manufacturers in the U.S. who could build a Custom Horse Trailer with Living Quarters, and Double D Trailers is one of the renowned choices you could make.
The exact cost can vary a lot, depending on its dimensions, weight, materials, features, accessories, and plenty of other aspects.
You can start your own project or assemble a pre-fabricated kit, but such a job requires knowledge, skills, experience, a lot of time, and tools, among other factors. It’s doable, but it’s rarely worth the effort.
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