Tips on trailer living on the horse show road.
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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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.
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.
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.