|A very little Hola meeting a very large TB gelding, Dave.|
What I also quickly discovered in the shopping process was that the value of a horse trailer is subjective and can drive an obsessively practical and tight fisted Scott crazy. For example. I could buy a brand spanking new two-horse-angle haul for $4650. But I would have to go through that import process and when everything was said and done I would be close to $6000. However, almost all angle haul trailers in decent condition, regardless of age were priced at $3500 and up. So I could buy a new trailer for $4700 or a 12-year-old trailer for $3500. This just didn't make sense to me. The angle haul trailers over 15 years old (and therefor exempt from the import process) were also priced at about $3500. On the other hand, two horse straight haul trailers gave me considerably more bang for my buck. I could get something newer and in much better condition for $3500 than their angle haul counterparts. While I prefer angle hauls I knew that a straight haul was actually more practical as they weigh less and are therefor cheaper to haul, I have no need or desire for a big tack room, I only have smaller horses who are great to load and I only plan on hauling shorter distances. I also am likely to be hauling only one horse at a time and so I focused in on a straight haul with a swinging center divider that would allow me to haul one horse on an angle.
Now began my search for the ideal straight haul. After looking at dozens of straight hauls I found there were certain features that I really wanted, such as:
-a fully enclosed unit (because it rains here a lot and I want to keep the interior dry and in the winter it helps avoid freezing drafts on wet horses (whether wet from rain or sweat))
-removable and swinging center divider (so it can be converted to a 1 horse angle or small open stock)
- a solid divider between the hay mangers (as I don't want do deal with bitchy horses fighting over hay or unfamiliar horses snarking at each other...and yes, snarking is a word!)
-a larger/longer window at the front of the unit (to allow for more light)
-a window on the side of the hay manger (to allow horses to see out and provide more ventilation)
-no ramp or only a small ramp
-full padding on side, front and divider
-bulldog style coupler
I had other wish list items like a to-the-floor center divider, under-the-manger saddle racks and interior lights but only the above were requirements.
Narrowing my search down made it harder to find available trailers but allowed me to spend more time researching those trailers that did make the cut. Therein I found my second problem. Because I was looking at 1997 and older trailers it was likely that considerable refurbishing had taken place over the years. This meant that someone, however qualified or not, had redone the floor, the wiring, the brakes and heaven knows what else. I would have liked to have had the trailer inspected before purchasing but the schematics of actually arranging that is more problematic than one would think, such as, being 2-6 hours away and in a different country, the who, when, where, insurance, multiple trips to see the trailer, and making sure that the "good deal" trailer doesn't sell before you can arrange all of the above. This is where my horse trailer search was turned on its ear... so to speak. I called a few local trailer servicing outfits and figured out what it would cost to replace the floor, brakes and wiring on a trailer. I also added the cost of new tires and other small repairs. Ultimately, I found it far less stressful to buy a trailer with the intent to replace everything then to try to find one that I could count on being "perfect". A luck would have it a trailer came on the market on Wednesday morning that fit the bill perfectly. It was a silver 1987 Circle J two horse straight haul. The ad said it was in excellent condition and it was just two hours from home in WA state. I made an offer around noon and had a deal subject to inspection by three. That evening we left home a little later then planned and headed South... to buy my very first horse trailer.