Liz was ready for her “splurge” trailer. She had owned several others before, but frequent long trips to dressage shows and her beautiful Warmblood mare finally called for the trailer of her dreams.
In this article, we are going to share Liz’s story from first click to finished product, so you can see how building a custom designed horse trailer with Double D Trailers can help you create something truly special. Enjoy!
When Liz, who lives in Kansas, set out to buy her new living quarters horse trailer, she was sure of a few things. First of all, she definitely wanted a reverse load trailer. “I know for long hauls and for competitions, my trainers and other trainers, I know they just swear by the reverse ride -- that the horses come off feeling great,” she explained. “They're not sore or stiff and that's what I experienced. My mare came off great!”
Next, she was ready to ditch the leaky roof on her old trailer for the leak-proof SafeBump roof construction on a Double D Trailer. She also wanted more room in general in the form of a slide out in the living quarters.
For the horse area, Liz was interested in Rumber flooring so she wouldn’t need to hassle with the cleaning of heavy rubber mats. She wanted fans in the horse area to promote good air flow and an on-board camera system so she could keep an eye on the horses during transport.
With all of these items on her wish list, Liz started searching through the Double D Trailers website to learn about her options. “I felt comfortable with Brad [Heath, owner of Double D Trailers]. He had a lot of good information on the website. I knew he wasn't a fly-by-night outfit. There was a lot of information on all kinds of things related to horse trailers that are very helpful.”
This SafeTack reverse load trailer has a fully enclosed tack storage compartment that swings out like a second door. On this trailer, it leaves a wide open doorway for the horses to walk through when they are off-loading.
The interior of Liz's trailer includes a slide-out dinette, custom wooden cabinets, a 6 cubic foot refrigerator, sleeping area and a 13-foot short wall.
Once Liz had settled on her desired trailer, a 2-horse SafeTack Reverse Living Quarters trailer, she used the “Customize my Trailer” option to begin clicking all of the features she wanted. After her initial quote request, Brad contacted her directly and they began the back and forth discussion to iron out all the details on the blueprint.
In these exterior photos, you can see the roll out patio awning, living quarters entry, side escape door (top) and the slide out living quarters, side loading door and ramp, and ladder to the rooftop hayrack and propane generator (bottom).
“If you're a person who wants to design your own trailer and you know what you want … you just don't want a cookie cutter because you have certain features that you want in a trailer,” Liz explained. You can get on that website and pick and choose. Put things together and then price it out.”
“It was a lot of fun to see all the options and to see the photo galleries. Some people can’t make all those choices, but I love doing that stuff. So it was fun and it didn’t take me long to figure out what would look good for my taste.”
This side loading ramp allows horses to walk onto the trailer and back into their rear-facing stalls. They offload by then walking off the rear ramp of the trailer. There is never a need to back up your horse with this design. Notice also the interior doorway that leads from the horse area directly into the living quarters.
With Brad’s help, Liz selected a reverse-load-only trailer where the horses could load from a side ramp and walk back into rear-facing stalls. Studies show that this orientation for travel is easier on the horses causing them less stress and fatigue. Since she mostly transports large 17h or 18h Warmbloods, she decided to increase the standard size on her trailer to the 96-inch width and 7-foot 8-inch height.
There were a few other unique design challenges on Liz’s trailer. For instance, she opted not to get a mid-tack storage room to keep the length of her trailer to a minimum. Instead, she requested a feed manger, which doubled as a tack storage compartment accessible from the exterior. This was to be installed at the head of the rearmost horse.
It’s an unusual ask from a client, but Brad worked with Liz to get it right. “You need to have a manger for storage, so Brad designed that. He worked hard on getting it right, so the horses would be comfortable riding in there. I love it. It was very much a custom design trailer.”
These images show the custom manger and storage area that Liz requested for her rearmost stall.
The interior of this 2 horse living quarters trailer includes individual fans for better airflow, an on-board camera system, synthetic Rumber flooring, large drop-down windows, leak-proof SafeBump roof, and an insulated horse area to maintain a safe temperature year round.
Once the blueprint was finalized, it was time for Brad’s team to get to work. The initial stages of construction involved building the actual structure of the trailer including the chassis, walls, roof, and outfitting the horse area. At this point, the trailer would be fit to haul horses safely, but the living quarters area was just an empty shell of space without any furniture or appliances.
Every trailer that we design starts with a detailed blueprint of the floorplan. In this drawing, you can see a horse loading from the side ramp into a rear-facing stall. Also notice the bathroom with its corner shower stall, kitchen area, and slide out dinette on the right side of the image.
Before the living quarters are installed, we send a round of photos to the client for them to approve of the basic shell design and finished horse area.
Brad explained, “Recently, we’ve been able to streamline the building process and do the shell construction in one shop and the living quarters installation in a completely different building. Working with metal (for the structure) and wood (for the handmade cabinets) in the same building wasn’t ideal.”
“Once the shell was complete, we did a photo round for Liz to inspect. After she approved the photos, we sent the trailer to our living quarters shop to focus on things like interior colors and décor.”
Liz was pleased with the custom hardwood cabinets in her new living quarters trailer. Here, you can see cabinets that hang over the dinette area (top), in the sleeping area (bottom left) and outside the bathroom pocket door (bottom right).
From Liz’s point of view, the design of the living quarters was one of the most enjoyable parts of the project. She wanted a trailer with really nice wood, brass tacks, high quality leather furniture, and an overall feeling of comfort.
She shared, “Every inch was designed and their attention to detail was spectacular because it's a house on wheels. I'll stay there for days at a time. You could stay there longer. It's very comfortable.”
Liz requested to have the propane generator on top of the trailer so that fumes wouldn’t bother her or the horses.
For the slide out feature, you can choose from a sofa or a dinette feature. Liz chose the dinette option. Both layouts can be used as additional sleeping areas.
“The service after you spend all that money, the service is excellent. You’ve got to have good service. These things are not cheap!”
When asked about the quality of the living quarters, Liz replied, “It's beautiful!” She especially loves the flip up countertops because they give her extra room for cooking.
The kitchen of this living quarters includes a flip up countertop (left front corner), a double sink, and a microwave. Liz requested to have the stove removed but the vent left in place because she prefers to cook with her portable skillet.
Check out the refrigerator, extra seat, and doorway leading to her covered patio awning outdoor space.
This bathroom features a black porcelain toilet, sink with vanity, a corner shower stall and a sliding pocket door.
“You know that people just love coming to my trailer. We have cocktails for all the shows.”
It’s only been a few months since Liz received her new trailer, but she has already put it to good use traveling 2-hours to compete. “I used it for a couple shows and just loved it. Now, it's safely in the building and we'll pull it out for next spring when I start showing again.”
Liz is semi-retired and enjoys competing in dressage with her Warmblood mare. “This is a new discipline for me. I was a gaited horse person. So, we've gotten our first, second-level score. We'd gotten our first-level scores and we took championship at the last show in high point! It's a fun journey to learn with your horse.”
After reading through this story, we hope that you’ll contact us with any questions you might have about buying a custom trailer from Double D Trailers.
“It’s such a large investment and most folks keep their trailer for many years,” Brad explained. “It makes financial sense to invest in getting everything you really ‘want,’ rather than settling for something sitting on a sales lot that won’t meet 100% of your criteria.”
Remember that with a custom trailer from Double D Trailers, you can customize the trailer to your heart’s content. Things like the number of coat hangers, storage locations, key ring holders, towel hooks, horse stall sizes, number of drawers, layout, loading ramp location, color of dressing room door…they’re ALL customizable.
It’s a long list and a lot of things to consider, but we’re ready to help you figure it out so you can have your perfect trailer.
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