Our story begins, more or less, in May of 2019. A year prior I had seen a photo taken by Gretchen Pelham on the cover of The Chronicle of the Horse during the MFHA Hark Forward tour when they foxhunted in my hometown (Miles City, Montana) and I nearly lost my mind to learn that it happened AND I WASN’T THERE! I immediately found Gretchen on Facebook and contacted her to find out how/if/when they would hunt in MCMT again and how I might go about obtaining an invitation to join the fun. Fast forward back to May 2019 and I find myself headed from Fort Worth to Miles City for a week of fox hunting!
When driving to MCMT from FW with a horse I prefer to layover at The Greenhorn Horse Hotel in Pueblo, Colorado. It is nearly exactly half way and is right off the highway so easy to find. Since I was traveling alone with just Simon and 2 of my dogs, I didn’t want to stay at a hotel and had planned to just sleep in the nose of the gooseneck of my trailer. I had brought along pillows and some blankets and thought nothing of it, Until it was about 11p and I was FREEZING cold! In my ingenious planning I forgot how cold it gets at night in May in the Rocky Mountains. Added to that I hadn’t brought anything to provide actual cushion for sleeping. Needless to say we hit the road again at about 5a the next morning mostly just so I could thaw out my extremities.
Chivas in our not very cozy, rather uncomfortable and decidedly not warm enough sleeping quarters.
The trip back to Texas was even worse. It started blizzarding in southern Wyoming, I barely made it to the horse hotel (I found out later the roads were literally closing behind me because of the snow) and REALLY froze that night. I’d like to point out that this was in late May, 4 days before Memorial Day weekend. I went on at least two additional fox hunting trips that would have been easier to have my own accommodations. I was starting to make new friends who fox hunted and traveled to hunts all through the season and would stay at some locations for a week or more.
I don’t know what flipped the switch, but I got to talking to Boot City about it more and more this summer and basically woke up one day and decided I NEED A LIVING QUARTERS TRAILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m guessing the coronapocolypse was a contributing factor, but it was not the deciding factor.
I ordered my current 4 Star trailer in 2013 from Wayne Hodges Trailers and have loved it from day 1. 4 Star trailers are the best made trailers I’ve ever owned (Featherlite, Sooner, and Lakota) so I knew I wanted to get another 4 Star. I had never previously seriously entertained the idea of an LQ trailer because I assumed they were all at least $100,000 and I don’t want to pull some monstrosity of a trailer around. With my newfound interest in the LQ’s I started by looking at the inventory of the dealership where I got my current trailer and lo and behold they had a lovely (brand new) 3-horse LQ trailer that was around $50,000! I know, it’s not cheap, but it’s also not $100k! I reached out to the salesperson from whom I got my first 4 Star and so the journey to get an LQ began.
Karen is a delightful salesperson and she knows 4 Star REALLY well! She asked me all kinds of questions and we talked about what I liked and didn’t like about the trailer they had on the lot. By the end of our first conversation I had a pretty good idea what was on my must have list and my really want list, as well as my don’t want list:
- Permanent rear tack
- WERM flooring in the horse compartment
- Horse stalls long enough for my not-small horses
- Full shower and toilet
- An awning
- Three horses
- Mid tack room
- Hydraulic jack
- Hay and feed storage for long trips
Really Want to Haves
- As custom LQ as possible (not western in style!)
- Hay storage
- Plenty of storage in the LQ
Do NOT Want
- Doors from the LQ to the mid tack to the horse compartment
- Rubber mats in the horse area
- A ramp
- Anything longer than about 26′
- Screen door
- Stove top
I decided to get a 3 horse with a mid tack instead of a 4 horse like I have now. I don’t think I’ve ever hauled 4 horses and after having my current trailer for nearly 7 years I think the mid tack would provide better space to use the way I want to use it; for feed storage and keeping things like buckets and muck tubs. Plus the mid tack allows me to haul 3 horses if I want to and I can still fill the mid tack room with hay if I’m going on a long hunting trip or something. Right now I can only stack hay in the 4th stall as high as the divider or it’ll fall onto the horse hauling next to it.
This is the drawing of the trailer after about three rounds of edits. It isn’t to scale as the mid tack is wider than any of the stalls!
Another thing I’m trying with this new trailer is 60/40 doors on the back. Boot City suggested this as it might make the trailer more inviting for loading if the horse opening is bigger. To get more LQ space AND to make the horse stalls longer this trailer will be 8′ wide and the one I have now is 7’6″, so that gave me 6 more inches to have and therefore I’m not losing the full 10% of the space on the rear tack area.
The mid tack will have 2 wide bars to hang blankets on as well as a bunch of hooks. I don’t think a horse trailer can ever have too many hooks! The floor in the mid tack will be rubber mats and the walls just aluminium so it’ll be easy to clean after hauling hay and other messy things. It’s big enough to store my tack trunk, buckets, muck tub and all that stuff. When looking through my trailer this past weekend I had a minor panic attack when I realised how much stuff I currently have in the dressing room of my trailer that will need to find a home in the mid tack or rear tack of the new trailer.
We went back and forth on a few more things and this is the final drawing of the trailer as 4 Star will build it:
This one is more to scale. Isn’t it so pretty?!
One thing you can see on the final drawing that we changed was the door to the rear tack will hinge on same side as the horse door. I’m silly excited about this because I’ve always hated how that door opens towards the road. And, if you have a horse tied on that side of the trailer the door can swing out and hit it.
The horse head side of the trailer will have drop windows with bars over the opening, which I also love. It allows me to drop the windows for air flow when it’s hot, but not have to worry about the horses sticking their heads out. The butt side will just have slats that will come with plexiglass in them. I’ll probably take out the plexiglass for most of the year because it’s hot in Texas, but we’ll see.
We also made the gooseneck drop a teeny bit shorter. I had to measure how high is the bed of our pickup to be sure we had enough clearance, but this will give us about 2″ more headroom in the gooseneck where the bed is located. Which brings me to the LQ part of the trailer.
It isn’t ginormous, but it has everything I think I will need! This is just a stock picture of the ProLine for the size trailer I’m ordering.
The LQ has what they call a 6’8″ short wall, which is the wall on the driver side of the trailer. On that side is the 64″ sofa and the wall has a small window with cabinets above the sofa. On that wall in the bathroom is a small closet to hang clothes. The curbside wall has the sink with the counter and a fridge under the counter. I could have had a stove top, but that seemed like wasted counter space. There is a microwave and a small cabinet for storage above the sink and counter. The bathroom has a pocket door and the shower is on the curbside wall. I find it quite amazing how much they can fit into a small space!
The last two things that I changed just before placing the order are Boot City’s influence. The first is to insulate the roof in the horse and mid tack areas. I’ve said it 100 times, it gets really hot in Texas and the insulation should keep it about 10 degrees cooler inside. The other thing I added was a hay rack on top. I REALLY didn’t want to have a hay rack on the top because I often find myself driving through low and narrow trees, but when I last went to the trailer dealership to look at some units they had on the lot we had a long discussion about where the generator could live. The old school option is in the rear tack, but evidently that is less than desirable because it takes up so much space. The second option was to have it in the mid tack room. I’d have to add a door on the driver side wall and Boot City would later have to build a box to cover it and all that would add about $1,500-2,000 to the cost of the trailer. The final option, and the one most LQ trailers these days have, is a hay rack on the top where the generator also lives. I’m opting to buy my own generator and Boot City will install it because getting added to the build was nearly $7,000 and I KNOW we can save money on that. The LQ company (Outlaw Conversions) will wire to the hay rack and then Boot City can hook it all up when we get the trailer.
The new trailer is 24′ long, so not even 2′ longer than the trailer I have now. I’m VERY excited about that. I’ve thought about added a foot or two to the LQ, but I think I’d rather have the shorter trailer and just make the outside area more lovely for living wherever I go. This is how I found the Airstream Supply Company where you can find the CUTEST RV things! Most are Made in the USA, too.
The trailer is estimated to be completed in mid December. Coronapocolypse has slowed down production for 4 Star AND they have more orders than usual, hence the long wait time. I’m SO excited and already have at least 2 long trips planned with the new trailer next winter and spring, barring any unforeseen events to prevent them (I’m looking at you COVID-19 and horse soundness).
My current trailer the day I brought it home. I LOVE this trailer and if it made sense I’d just retro-fit it with living quarters.
I’ll either sell the current trailer or trade it towards the new one when I get closer to the new trailer’s arrival. It looks like my 2 horse Lakota should be sold this week, so I’ll need to hang on to this one until the new one gets here. I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!
I’d love to hear stories from readers about having an LQ trailer. Do you love it? Hate it? What would you do differently? I know there will be things I wish I did different, but I went with my gut on most everything and feel good about my choices.
We are OFFICIALLY more than half way done with 2020! Has there EVER been a year that more people have been excited to see come to an end?! Coronapocolypse hasn’t been awful to my close knit family and friends, at least not yet, but I’m excited for the year to be over because of the elections.
Things on the farm are at the very least a lot more REAL than the crap going on in the news and on social media, so enjoy some silly shenanigans and updates.
Ousier is a repo kitty and she LOVES her house life. She’s the easiest and sweetest kitty ever. We love her. We also really love our induction cooktop. If you are choosing a cooktop, I think induction is the best. Gas is complicated, albeit fancy, and electric is just awful. Do yourself a favour and get induction; it’s easy to clean and your water boils nearly instantly.
Ouiser can find herself the softest and weirdest spots possible to sleep. In this case, barn towels.
I worked from home one day this week. It was fabulous. Until I went to the barn to check on the horses:
Pablo peering out of COCO’S stall. Notice the feed bags and hay all over the floor.
This one is my personal favourite:
Yes, he has an ENTIRE BALE OF HAY in his stall. He can barely chew, so it’s not like he’s really enjoying this. #itsgoodtobe27
Then later in the week our lovely neighbour (one is lovely and one is AWFUL) invited the horses to come eat the grass. It was so lovely and idyllic for like 79 minutes.
Mostly they ran around a lot and eventually started grazing.
However, about an hour into their rendezvous next door, they discovered the deer feeder (Jaguar) and had to come back to their regular pasture to hopefully avoid colicking. BAD HORSES!
I hope your dependents behave better than mine and that it isn’t a bajillion degrees hot where you live so you can actually enjoy the weekend outside!
A few years ago I got a wild hair and decided that I needed a smaller trailer for short trips close to home and purchased this delightful 2-horse Lakota Charger trailer from a friend of mine. She had decided that horsing was no longer in the cards for her and gave me the opportunity to buy a lovely little trailer that had hardly been used.
My sweet little 2 horse Lakota trailer!
About 2 years later this little trailer saved my hunt season AND allowed me to take Coco to some A shows. You see, White Lightning, our ’02 F350 truck needed QUITE the update. Boot City is a mechanic, which is awesome because he can fix literally anything with a motor, but our stuff often falls to the bottom of the list while other people’s vehicles get fixed. So White Lightning was out of commission from about September to May. This is where the little 2-horse trailer saves the day. I have an SUV that is big enough to pull a horse trailer so I was able to attend the full fox hunting season using my SUV to tow the Lakota AND I used it to take Coco to my BFF’s house so we could ride with her to a couple USEF A shows in Katy.
Passenger side. Note the newly repainted wheels.
Fast forward to now and White Lightning has been back in action for over a year and I find myself preferring to use it to haul my big 4-horse trailer SO the little Lakota is FOR SALE! Boot City has gone over it with a fine toothed comb and packed the bearings, fixed the brakes, painted the wheels, updated some wiring, beefed up the tie hooks, replaced the door latches on the ramp and checked and double checked the floor.
The inside of the trailer. The middle divider moves for easy loading. You can kind of see the saddle rack in the nose and the bridle hooks. The kitty does NOT come with the trailer (can you even see her?!).
This little guy doesn’t have a separate tack room, but I never had an issue with that feature. I bought a tiny tack trunk to store stuff in and the saddle racks are remarkably secure and my saddles NEVER came off of them during hauling.
Driver side. The back windows latch open so when it’s hot your horses can get extra breeze.
The trailer is rated for a total weight of 7525lb, so a load of about 4200lb. Pretty beefy for a nice sized trailer. We also replaced the jack since that is a normal wear item. Find me on Facebook (Tara Tibbetts) if you’re interested in this lovely little trailer. I’m excited for it to have it’s next happy owner.
The weeks seem to go by a bit slower during Coronapocolypse. Mostly because there isn’t a whole lot going on during the weekends like there might be when we aren’t social distancing and most social activities aren’t canceled. Plus, it’s hot in Texas right now. It’s (thankfully) cooled off a bit the latter part of this week, but temps are still in the high 90’s, which inherently makes one want to take things more slowly. I have some fun horsey things this weekend, so I’m looking forward to horsing around with friends a bit.
Despite the heat, I’ve been getting some rides in after work. I got a super fantastic new bareback pad recently. I’ll blog about it soon, but for some reason summertime seems like a great time to ride bareback. Possibly because I can do it without wearing pants.
It appears that Simon and Samson have a bit of a bromance going on. It’s extra cute because Simon is the biggest horse we have and Samson is the smallest. Please ignore Simon’s lack of mane grooming. I promise I’ve been trimming it
What is it about cats in boxes that is SO entertaining?! I got a kick out of this one because the box is so very big and the cat can’t really get in it, but that did not stop her from trying.
Winx in a box.
I rode Coco for the first time in about 18 days after her vet visit cleared the weird welt as superficial. She was a very good girl and even walked and trotted through the sprinkler like a super star (she hates water and is usually pretty spooky). After our ride I groomed her and put some conditioner on her hooves since the ground is so dry in Texas. Who knew that one’s own shiny hooves could be so terrifying! She stood stock still until I undid the cross ties and then nearly jumped out of her feet, well, she would have jumped out of her feet if it were actually possible.
What, aren’t all horses afraid of their own feet when shiny from hoof conditioner?!
We have two neurotic and geriatric tiny dogs who both love a super fluffy blanket. One (the Italian Greyhound) is EXCEPTIONALLY neurotic and will scream at the top of her lungs if you pick her up wrong, not because it is painful but just because she’s crazy. Well, I succumbed to Facebook’s advertising algorithm and ordered two Soothing Beds that the internet told me would change my dogs’ lives. After watching the shipping status FROM CHINA for about 12 days the new beds arrived and let me tell you, those little dogs are OBSESSED with their Soothing Beds! Facebook Advertising Algorithm for the win!
Bunny LOVES her Soothing Bed! LOVES. IT.
And last, but certainly not least, the world always needs a Pablo update. This isn’t a particularly remarkable photo of Pablo, but he’s always cute and funny. He’s finally settling down and getting sweeter in his older age. We don’t really know how old he is, but we have had him for about 14 years.
Everyone loves the hairy ass. And the hairy ass jokes.
Y’all have a GREAT weekend! Wear your masks. Maintain social distance. Be kind to one another.
Last week Coco came in from turnout with this GIANT welt on her side.
Giant welt Day 1
There was a bit of a bald spot on the right tip of it and it was squishy. She was covered in hives just a few weeks ago, so I initially attributed this to a sting or something similar. I didn’t really do anything about it on Day 1.
Then, Day 2.
The welt has gotten longer and the swelling has spread down.
Day 2. It is still squishy, but you can definitely see the bald spot. I gave her Banamine on Day 2 just to give her some relief in case it was a kick injury and it hurt. She wasn’t sensitive to having it rubbed and messed with, which in and of itself is unusual because when I groom her barrel she usually tries to kick me.
Welt Day 3. So. Weird.
Day 3. By Day 3 it has gone from a squishy long swelling to a long and hard welt. She still doesn’t care if it gets touched and pushed on. The Banamine has done nothing to change it, or at least nothing to make it go away. There is still significant swelling below the weird welt. What on earth did she do to herself?!
By Day 6 most of the swelling is gone and the long hard line and bald spot remain.
Day 6. The swelling has moved down more, but the long hard welt remains. I’ve never seen anything like it. I talked to the vet and sent photos and they suspect a foreign body. I haven’t ridden her in over 2 weeks. I’m beginning to suspect she has ulterior motives to get out of work (she also hurt her right hock over the weekend, but icing has made that injury look OK). She goes to the vet today to get an ultrasound to figure this out. Any guesses?
In late June I went to North Dakota to visit family. Ordinarily a trip like this would be just another plane ride, a few meals out, some social functions, some events, then a plane ride back home. However, this trip was during a pandemic, so things were a bit different. I am originally from Eastern Montana and have quite a lot of family in Western North Dakota as well as in Montana, but I live in Texas. At the beginning of 2020 the plan was to take Simon to Montana for a fun week of fox hunting culminating in attending the World Famous Bucking Horse Sale. Coronapocolypse changed those plans (as well as myriad others) causing the fox hunting and the BHS to be canceled. I still wanted to see family this year and it’s a milestone birthday year for me and my Mom, so we settled on 4th of July weekend when more of my family would be in town. To prepare for my trip I only went to work, the feed store and did curbside pickup for groceries for two weeks leading up to the trip. Since I was coming from a known hotspot of cases I absolutely did not want to risk exposure.
It seemed weird to take pictures in airports and on airplanes, so you’ll have to just take my word for the experience and enjoy some lovely photos of North Dakota. Texas has been experiencing a significant spike in COVID-19 cases, but when I left there still were not masks required except in certain cities or counties. Nearly everyone I saw at DFW airport was wearing a mask and wearing their masks correctly. I saw a couple people doing that weird thing where they have their mask over their mouth, but not their nose. I avoided those people. The airline required all passengers to wear masks and from what I could see all passengers abided by the rules. People always say the air on airplanes is bad, but with the HEPA filters and rotating air out and into the plane I’ve always believed them to actually be safer than say a classroom or small nail salon. At least the air moves and is filtered!
The airport in North Dakota was a very different story. Only a few people wore masks outside of the secure area for boarding. North Dakota was not seeing anywhere near the spike in cases that other states were seeing. The area to where I traveled has had very few cases, so the locals were noticeably lax about masks and social distance. It felt very odd to me.
I don’t recall seeing these before, but we drove by lots of fields of canola. They were SO pretty!
I spent most of my time in small rural areas with my family and the only place I regularly saw people wearing masks was at the grocery stores. Some retail stores had signs and were limiting the number of shoppers, but things really looked like business as usual. I did notice that most store employees were wearing masks, especially at stores that were large, national chains.
We hiked up to this pond on a lovely North Dakota summer day. I’d go back there in a heartbeat to get away from these triple digit temps in Texas!
One very interesting horsey tidbit was a rodeo we attended. It was a PRCA rodeo and it was during the 4th of July weekend, which is referred to as Cowboy Christmas. The weekend is called Cowboy Christmas, not the actual rodeo. In a normal year cowboys and cowgirls will travel all over the United States going to 4th of July rodeos on the weekend of the 4th in hopes of winning money towards their qualification for the National Finals Rodeo in December. This year was a VERY odd year for 4th of July rodeos and there were only 6 or 7 rodeos to attend in the entire United States when there are usually dozens to pick from. That meant that the rodeo we attended in a generally sleepy rural town was the biggest rodeo of its 97 year history! It ran almost non-stop for 3 days so that everyone who entered could compete. I grew up going to 4th of July rodeos, so it was pretty fun to attend one with all the current rodeo greats in attendance from all over the U.S. As for corona prevention, it was a pretty safe venue in that there were not many spectators and it was outdoors. Attendees brought their own picnic blankets or chairs to watch the action.
This picture is in one of the grocery stores we visited. Ray Schnell was my great grandfather!
By the time I headed back to Texas the Governor had issued a requirement for people in counties with more than 20 cases to wear masks. My flight back to Texas was very full, I don’t think any seats were empty. Everyone was wearing a mask on the flight and when I got to DFW hardly anyone was there (thankfully) and everyone was wearing a mask. The lack of people made it easy to keep social distance, which I was grateful for because I checked a bag and had to wait a bit for it to get to baggage claim. I also parked my car at the gate rather than in the Express or Remote parking areas to limit the amount of time I had to be in close quarters with other people. The parking garage was more full than I thought it would be, so perhaps travel has picked up a bit.
Another pond where we went hiking. No one thinks of this when they think of North Dakota, but it really is a beautiful state with very diverse terrain.
All in all I’m glad I went, it was really lovely to see so many of my family members. If my travel plans had been later in the summer I might have changed them due to the continuing spike in cases in Texas. Many of the family members I was visiting are over 60 and while they are generally a very healthy bunch, I’d feel awful if I was an asymptomatic carrier and got them sick. I felt like the airlines and airport did a good job of upholding CDC and state/local guidelines. I’m sticking to my pre-travel self-quarantine for a bit and only going to work, the feed store and doing curbside groceries. Just to be safe. And I’m really glad I went to a place that is MUCH cooler than Texas in the summer and had a very local COVID diagnosis rate.
No trip to North Dakota in the summertime is complete without a trip to the Medora Musical. They were selling seats with built in social distance and running two shows each evening to allow more people to attend with the limited number of seats. And those are real horses and riders on that hill!!!