Jessica - Rock on! Your 'horse sense' and knowledge are good, but your diplomacy, kindness, values and priorities are outstanding. This is the consistent impression I get from your 'responses'.
By the way, any suggestions on how/where to get the best deal on a used trailer? I'm extending myself financially, but feel I must be able to get the babies to the doctor when/if needed. I share responsibility for 16 Arabian horses, and we have no trailer. We've done well so far at avoiding medical emergencies, but with this many potential patients, it's just a matter of time... I'm in Austin, Tx, and the horses are about 30 minutes away, in Elgin.
I agree with you, you DO need a trailer of some kind. You're lucky to be dealing with Arabians, because it's going to be much easier for you to find an affordable used trailer that will accomodate smaller horses.
The very first thing you should do is to buy a copy of a book by Neva and Tom Scheve:
The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer
The information it contains will save you the price of the book many times over.
Then, once you've bought and read that book, you should visit every boarding stable, training stable, tack shop, and feed store in the area, and check their bulletin boards. If you don't find what you're looking for, put together a flyer of your own describing what you want - something along the lines of "used trailer in sound shape, 2- or 3-horse, straight or slant, pull-behind" (or "gooseneck" if that's what you're looking for).
Even if you're convinced that you can't afford a new trailer, you should also visit places that sell trailers, because even if their real business is selling NEW trailers, most dealerships take trade-ins, so they often have used trailers on their lots. Some of them also have consignment trailers. You can also leave flyers with them, and ask them to get in touch with you the next time they get a suitable trade-in. If you're not sure where to find trailers for sale, check the advertisements in Southwest Horse Trader and in Texas Horse Talk.
A good stock trailer can be useful and versatile and allow you to haul horses, horses and more horses, horses and carts, or horses and camping equipment, but whatever else you plan to do with your trailer, just be sure to find something safe and solid that will allow you to get a horse or two to the vet clinic in a hurry.
Keep that - the idea of getting a horse to the vet - your main priority. I know that right now a good many people in several states are trying to figure out just how they could move ALL their horses at once, but for most people who have more than one or two horses, that's just not a practical consideration. This year's hurricanes have shown us just how dreadful emergencies can be when there is no way to take your horses out of harm's way. Unfortunately, I don't know of any trailer that would accomodate 16 horses under any circumstances. I don't know the conditions under which you have responsibility for the 16 horses in your charge, but don't try to buy enough trailers to take all of them somewhere, unless you have access to the same number of appropriate towing vehicles. It's not much fun to be faced with an emergency and realize that yes, you have three trailers, but... the only vehicles on the place are one Suburban, one Mitsubishi Eclipse, and one Honda Civic - in other words, you have ONE towing vehicle, and you're going to be limited to hauling ONE trailer.
Best of luck when you go trailer-shopping! An excellent source of information and advice about trailers and hauling, as well as a source of arguably the best trailers on the market today, is www.equispirit.com, where you can also buy the book I mentioned earlier.
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