Some of you may remember my trailer, Black Betty turned Betty White, that I bought a few years ago for $500 and subsequently fixed up to make road-worthy. The $900 horse in the $500 trailer… it was quite apropos. Betty is the first trailer I’ve had in a very long time, and though she is far from fancy, she granted me the priceless qualities of freedom and independence. I’ve spent the last 2.5 years driving that old 1980’s model trailer all over the state of Texas. She’s logged many many miles and been nothing but a faithful servant throughout.
However, even with all the remodeling I did a couple years ago, she really shouldn’t be anything other than a “runaround town” type of trailer. She’s sound and solid, but she’s really old, and she’s not had the easiest life. Now that I have two horses to haul around, am traveling a lot, and logging more miles, it was well past time to upgrade to something newer and more suitable.
I made this decision only a few weeks ago. I was cleaning Betty out, checking her over, and thinking that I was probably pushing my luck by asking as much of her as I did. Hauling long distances with both horses in it was likely toeing the line of trouble. So I did some online research, figured out what kind of budget I was looking at, and started very casually window shopping. I knew that I wanted pretty much the same configuration – a 2 horse bumper pull straight load, no mangers, with a ramp. I really wanted a dressing room this time (I have a lot of crap, y’all) and it definitely had to have the capability to take the divider and centerpost completely out to convert to one big box stall for long hauls. I also wanted at least 7’6″ interior height since it appears that Presto is going to be… large.
On the east coast, that would be a dime-a-dozen type of trailer, popular and easy to find. Down here in Texas, not so much. This is the land of the western QH… most people either have little tiny 2 horse coffin trailers with mangers, or they have big slants with living quarters. They definitely DON’T have them in extra tall height, either. Plus the budget that I was comfortable with meant that I would definitely be shopping for a used trailer of a good brand, because my only new options would be pretty low-end. I hunkered down and prepared to wait until the right trailer came along, even if it meant I had to wait 6 months or even drive out of state to get it.
And then, as if the horse trailer gods heard my silent wishes, she appeared. I was browsing fairly mindlessly through the trailer ads when I stumbled across a 2 horse Sundowner that was located just a couple hours away at a dealership. I closely examined all the photos, called and talked to their sales manager, and made an appointment to go see it a couple days later. The price was excellent, below market value (like I said, these kinds of trailers aren’t exactly high demand here), and I had their sales people draw up the financial paperwork so I could get an idea of the exact numbers I’d be looking at. From there I decided how much of my savings that I wanted to plunk down for a down payment (bye money!) and was surprised at how relatively quick and painless the payments would be. Hmm… interest piqued.
I went ahead and got all of my own paperwork in order, money moved around, insurance plan in place, etc, and then drove up bright and early Saturday to look at it in person. I mean, why not, right? They’d actually done some work on it since the online photos had been taken, replacing some lights, light covers, wheel caps, given it an acid wash and full service, etc. It looked good. Really good. I was the only one at the dealership that early, so the mechanic who had done all the work on it went around and told me/showed me everything he’d done, while I thoroughly checked out the trailer. If I was being super picky I wish the head windows were dropdowns instead of sliders, and the tack room actually does not have any saddle racks in it. Those are quite minor though… I can live with the windows and I can put saddle racks in easily. The floor, roof, and all the major components are in excellent condition. Clearly the previous owner really cared for this trailer well. Aside from a few minor dings in the horse area from some naughty hooves, it’s pretty darn spotless.
It also had all the main qualities I was after, including a generous dressing room and a 7’6″ interior height. The horse compartment is huge. Plenty of room for Presto’s donkey ears in this thing!
So even though I hadn’t really been planning on buying a new trailer yet, I couldn’t think of any good reason not to buy this one. It seemed almost serendipitous. Since the paperwork had already been done, it was just a matter of signing things and writing checks.
One of the buttbars had been set exceptionally high (I’m assuming a draft horse occupied that spot?) so I did ask them to lower that down to a normal height, in line with the other one. That took all of 5 minutes. As did changing out the ball on my current hitch, which of course was a different size. Within 40 minutes of my arrival at the dealership I was back on the road home, this time with a very shiny, very fancy, VERY upgraded Betty White 2.0. She hauled easily (although wow she is definitely bigger than OG Betty) and Henry seemed very interested in checking her out once I got home.
Aside from saddle racks I’m also going to add a fan on each side and a wireless camera system so I can see the boys inside the trailer. All of those things are already here, ready for installation. Along with a lot of other really random stuff from Amazon that I wanted for the tack room. I’m still deciding exactly how I want to set up that space, but that’s a post for another day.
Otherwise there’s not much to do. She’s road-ready! Granted, we’re on a mid-summer pause in activities, so she might just end up sitting for a little while. I won’t get tired of looking at her any time soon though. Hope you like your new chariot, boys!
These horses, they are really rotten.
As for OG Betty, don’t worry, she’s going to a great home. I’m passing her on to a friend of mine who bought her own farm a while back and doesn’t have a trailer yet. She has two teeny kids at home so she doesn’t really haul anywhere, but now she’ll at least be able to if she needs to, or when the kiddos get a little older and her schedule frees up a bit. It’ll be the perfect semi-retirement home for OG Betty, and she’ll get to bring someone else all the freedom and happiness that she’s brought to me. Happy Trails, OG Betty, and welcome home Betty 2.0!