Home Is Where You Plug In

Tips on trailer living on the horse show road.

Tips on trailer living on the horse show road.

Home Is Where You Plug In
Make traveling with your horse easier. Journal photo.

By Jennifer Horton for The American Quarter Horse Journal

Ah, the glamorous life on the road. Eating drive-through fast food, cramming clothes into a suitcase and trying to find space for everything you need. For those who travel frequently to horse shows, rodeos or trail rides, living-quarters trailers have certainly made traveling with your horses easier.

Recreational riders, because there are so many people enjoying their horses on the weekends, whether going to small shows or trail rides, are the majority of the living-quarters trailer market these days.

In addition to the different living-quarters trailers on the market, there are also many little tips and bits of information that can make your life on the road easier. I have found it’s much easier to stock the trailer as a second home, keeping linens, towels, toiletries, supplies and clothes in it year-round instead of loading it each week.

I also advise that you get a living quarters with a full bathroom – you will not be sorry. It’s worth spending more on the purchase for the comfort and convenience. Check with your tax accountant on claiming the unit as a second home.

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Storage

You can never have too much storage space. If your trailer has mangers, the storage area underneath provides room for necessities. A plastic garden hose holder can be mounted in this area to give your electrical cord a home, keeping it accessible and tidy. A five-gallon bucket is a great place to store your sewer hose or can be another place to keep your electrical cords tangle-free.

Keep a toolbox in your trailer with assorted wrenches, screwdrivers and a hammer. Toss in a few spare electrical adapters (you’ll always meet someone in the RV park who needs an adapter to plug in) and a two- or three-way hose splitter, because you might need to share the water supply with your neighbor. It’s also a good idea to purchase a heavy-duty electrical cord, for times you are parked away from the electrical box in the RV park. You should also have the little tire ramps that can be used to chock your tires or help in fixing a flat, and don’t forget your emergency triangles.

Whether you have a midtack or use the first horse stall as a storage area, plastic storage shelves and totes can help you keep organized. Many travelers use their midtack as a “mudroom” entrance to their living quarters if it’s outfitted with a camper door, helping to keep their living area clean.

Kitchen

Two words: paper plates. This was advice given to me when we purchased our first living-quarters trailer. I had purchased cute little cowboy dishes just for the trailer. But, as was pointed out to me, I do not want to stand and do dishes while I am at a horse show. So, the paper plates moved in and the cute cowboy plates went to the house.

A crock pot makes cooking easy, especially with those meals-in-a-bag you can get at the grocery store. Don’t forget the crock pot liner bags to make cleanup a breeze. Microwaveable meals are plentiful at your grocery store, as well.

If your trailer is outfitted with a couch, you probably have the large table that can sometimes be in the way. Wooden TV trays can be stored in a closet and brought out to use at meal times, giving you more floor space.

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You can get little plastic refrigerator gates to help keep your food in place while traveling. A little collapsible stepstool makes it easy to reach upper cupboards, and it can be folded away in a cupboard when it’s not needed. An empty tissue box is a good container for grocery bags to reuse as garbage bags. You’ll need a can opener, bottle opener and a corkscrew.

Bathroom

Keep a set of bath towels just for your trailer so you always have them. A couple of plastic over-the-door hooks can be hung on your shower glass partition to give you a place to hang towels to dry. Small plastic baskets keep your toiletries in order in the cupboard and keep items off your limited counter space. A small plastic drawer unit works well as a dresser for your small clothing items. Keeping your toiletries stocked in your bathroom will be easier than packing for every trip (remember to remove everything freezable when you winterize).

Booth vs. Couch

Our first living-quarters trailer included a booth, where it was nice to be able to sit and work on my laptop. The living-quarters we have now has a couch, and I miss the booth. A benefit of the booth, in addition to the workspace it provided me, was that it gave a place under the table for our Australian Shepherd to be comfortable and out of the way. My next LQ will have to have the booth and a couch.

8 thoughts on “Home Is Where You Plug In”

  1. I often wonder how I survived without my LQ trailer. Once you have one, you are “ruined” forever! I would have written this article almost word for word, but I would add: under the mangers, a row or rack of large storage hooks is also helpful for cords and milk crates fit into the mangers quite nicely to hold various items in place. I too miss the booth and some day hope to have both in the “next” trailer!

  2. We couldn’t afford the ‘living quarters’ but we found a very nice 4′ shortwall that had been insulated, paneled and outfitted with a bench, closet & cabinets. And believe me – this was a step up from what we had. We have a port-a-potty, microwave and dorm size fridge that we plug in the night before – its insulation keeps everything cold until we get to the arena and can plug in.

    Counting the days (years) until we can get something like you described and YES, I too could have written the article about what I want to do.

    The crockpot idea is EXCELLENT! I could get it ready before we leave and plug in as soon as we get there and we would have a good hot meal that night with little cleanup.

  3. I started w/a 2h bp trailer & sleeping in the back seat of my ext cab truck in a sleeping bag & a sun screen in the front window; then graduated to a steel gooseneck w/a sleeping bag & decent dressing room. I learned you don’t touch the icicles in the nose or they start dripping, to dress fast in freezing temps & using a battery camp light, to potty in a bucket with multiple grocery bag liners, to use the tail gate & an ice cream bucket for a sink & the one I won’t give up even now that I have an LQ trailer is a 35 gal water tank in the back of my truck that holds water from home the horse is used to. It comes in handy for so many things.

  4. Just picked up our first 4H full 12′ LQ trailer. We purchased a nice 2H with a professionally installed weekender package last year and fell in love with being able to stay on the grounds at a show. So much more convenient! We traded in our 4H without LQ and brought this one home. Can’t wait for an opportunity to use it. My 2H has a sofa, the 4H has the dinetter. I wasn’t sure if I would like the dinette or not. I guess we will see once we spend a couple of nights in it. Any other tips for a newbie?

  5. I pull a 3 horse with a motor home. I love the covenience, and how much more rest I get at the show, by not driving back and forth to a motel. Also can relax during the day and have a place for the dog. I would add, if you can, get a generator. That way it’s fully self contained. I never have to hook up to electricity or water, very convenient.

  6. I have a 3h with a 17′ LQ. It has both the booth and a couch. This trailer also has a mudroom which is great. It has it’s own door so it is a big help with a place to come in and leave the boots. We also will wear those tall rubber boots in the mornings when the grass is wet and we are going in and out while getting ready. The rubber boots are easier to slip on/off.

    The generator has been a life saver more than once. We can always use our microwave for quick lunches. I have even taken leftovers from the house! For longer stays, I will fix things I can put in the freezer like marzetti or sloppy joes and thaw something different each day.
    Use paper plates and red solo cups (very fashionable) and don’t try to do dishes in the tiny sink. Try to find a trailer with 2 sinks. You will have a few things to wash and it is much easier with a double sink. Stock your trailer just like your house. You never know what you will need.

  7. Great article Jennifer. Here’s a couple more suggestions that were made to me by someone who goes camping very regularly.

    Make a list of all the items that you purchase to stock your trailer. (ie: paper plates, napkins, paper towels, shower soap, shampoo, crock pot liners etc.) Make several copies of the list and put them on a clip inside one of your cupboard doors. When you see that you are running low on something put a check mark by the item on your list. The next time you go to the grocery store you just grab the list along with your regular grocery list. Saves a lot of time. You won’t have to spend time going through the cupboards looking to see what supplies you need to purchase so that you are ready for your next weekend in your trailer. Also helpful for those of us with “select” minds.

    Also purchase a plastic container or basket that will fit inside your microwave. This a a great place to store a loaf of bread or smaller items that may fall off the counter while the trailer is towed down the road. I put prescription medicine in the basket too. Then when we arrive at home we only need to grab the basket out of the microwave and take it in the house. We then have what is left of a loaf of bread in the house instead of finding you forgot it in the trailer a week later.

  8. My husband and I purchased our living quarters 3H trailer 5 years ago now. We have a 10ft living quarter with the dinette in the slide out area of the LQ. This provides alot more floor space in the living quarters for which our german shepard sleeps on his blanket underneath the dinette and our border collie sleeps on the floor in the front of the slide out. We knew to buy the dinette because some friends of ours researched LQ horse trailers for years before their purchase and I liked the dinette better than having the couch in the slide out. It would be really really nice though to have both:) We use our third horse stall for storage and we also ave a portable light weight hamper which we place in this area and this works well with the door that is there to the horse area. I agree about red solo cups and paper plates! I to have horse plastic plates that our cute but seldom use. Bring a vinyl tablecloth for a picnic table along with the clips so that the wind does not blow it away. I love our outdoor carpet also that folds up smaller for storage that we purchased at Camping World and that keeps the trailer cleaner. Living Quarter horse trailers are awesome and I love looking in on everyones trailer:) We love our small one because we are able to pull it with our 3/4 ton short bed truck very easily. The microwave for storage on the move is a clever idea.

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