But first, we should catch up on the acquisition of the LQ trailer. You may recall that it was ordered in July of 2020. Right smack in the middle of coronapocalypse. There were many stops and starts in the building of my new trailer. Parts could be difficult to acquire. Employees became sick with COVID. And 4Star trailer orders were, and remain, through the roof! We had one false alarm when my salesperson contacted me that my trailer was nearly done weeks early at the living quarters conversion company, but they didn’t have the correct size awning. It turned out to be a false alarm and wasn’t actually my trailer. The scheduled finish date for my trailer was December 25. I joked with my salesperson that I expected it to be delivered to my house on Christmas morning. LOL.
Alas, my trailer arrived at the dealership in late December. I was finally able to bring it home in early January. Its maiden voyage was to bring Jaguar home from a 3 day stint at the vet clinic due to a pretty bad impaction colic. The day I picked it up my salesperson went through everything with me. How to run all of the appliances. Turn things off and on. Necessary maintenance. I’m more of a tactile learner, so I’d be lying if I said I remember all that much from the run through, but she was very thorough! Boot City and I did a practice run staying in it at a friend’s house in late January so I could figure out how to run all the things before I was out in the wild on my own.
All hooked up and ready to go at the dealership!
My first big trip far away from home with horses and dogs was to go fox hunting in Georgia in early March. I’m happy to report that everything worked perfectly and I LOVE my new trailer! I had one minor panic attack shortly before I left because I could NOT get any of the propane appliances to work. Mind you, this was just a few days before we were set to leave. Turns out you need to turn on the valve to allow the propane to actually flow to the appliances. Who knew?!
Our setup in Georgia, before I remembered to put out my rug.
This is my first time owning or using any type of recreational vehicle, so the learning curve was quite steep. I’m very glad we did a practice run before going on the big trip and that I made sure I knew how to use everything before I left. I was travelling with other seasoned living quarters campers, but I wanted to be as self sufficient as possible.
My tiny yet adorable living area.
The things I love about my new trailer are:
- It’s the perfect size. I was a bit worried it would feel tiny (because it IS pretty small), but the mid tack area really helps keep clutter out of the living space
- Everything is really well done and solidly made. Nothing feels cheap or flimsy. Both the actual trailer construction (4Star) and the LQ Conversion (Outlaw Conversions)
- I’m glad I did the 3 horse instead of the 4 horse. I don’t need all that space and the mid tack more than makes up for the storage I had with a 4 horse
- WERM flooring in the horse and tack area is the best thing ever. It’s a pour in flooring that is permanent so I never have to remove mats to clean the floor.
- My storage worked out better than I thought it would. I still need to figure out a few things (I have one weirdly deep cabinet that is difficult to utilise the space) but I had plenty of space for food, clothes, towels, etc.
- The length is perfect. I knew I didn’t want a super long trailer and this one really is the Goldilocks size for me. Sure, we could all use a bit more space, but I’d rather have less space and a more manoeuvrable trailer.
- I LOVE having my rear tack door open on the same hinge side as the horse compartment. This way if a horse is tied on the back tie ring, the door will never swing out and hit it.
- When I initially ordered the trailer I didn’t have a door from the living quarters into the mid tack. All my LQ friends told me I was crazy, so I added it before it was too late and boy am I glad I did. It can serve as a mud room. I can keep garbage in there AWAY from the dogs. And it makes it easy to get to things I want to store there and not use up space in the actual living quarters.
- The mid tack is awesome. It’s a hybrid storage area in that I can keep horse feed and supplements and some tack things as well as extra towels, garbage, hoses, chairs and other things that make living out of an LQ easier.
The barn kitty hanging out in the LQ
The things that I would/will change:
- Having dogs sleep in the trailer while the trailer is parked in/near dirt makes for a VERY dirty floor and bed. I’m going to buy a small rechargeable vacuum to keep in the trailer AND I was introduced to some bedding called Beddy’s by Hilary (www.equesterianathart.com). I’m pretty sure I need that bedding, I just can’t choose which one!
- On this trip I put my extra hay in the horse area. I think for future long trips I’ll just do the extra work and put it on the hay rack on top of the trailer.
- I talked to the contractor who renovated our house about building cabinets in the mid tack before I got the trailer, and now that I’ve used it I definitely think I want to go that route. It’s hard to use the vertical storage without shelves or something to contain things. I also may just put some of those wire grids that affix to the wall and hang baskets on it.
- I’ve always been 100% team step-up and hated ramps. My 2 horse that I sold last year had a ramp and all my horses disliked it. However, this trailer has 3″ blocks on the axles to raise it up a bit (I like the blocking because it gives me more ground clearance, which can be beneficial when you are turning a long trailer around on uneven ground like we tend to do frequently) and the horses don’t love the big step into the trailer. I know I can add one later, but I’m going to haul it for a while before I invest in something that expensive and permanent.
- I wish I had added a stud door to the first divider. That way if I wanted to use that stall for hay I wouldn’t have to worry about the bales moving around. Again, I can add this pretty much anytime, but it’s more expensive to add later.
I’m so glad I invested in this trailer. I really hope I keep it for a long time and that everything keeps working perfectly. I’ve read lots of posts on living quarters trailer forums and heard nothing but glowing feedback for 4Star LQs as well as the Outlaw Conversion. It is also nice that both companies are nearby so if the trailer ever does need maintenance the furthest it would have to go is Oklahoma City. 10 out of 10 recommend this setup!
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.