The Price We Pay

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There is always a price to pay to do the things we really love. That price is not always money. It may be time spent away from family. It may be physical pain. It may be facing fears. Everyone has to decide on his or her own if the prize is worth the price.

I love to compete in dressage shows. The price I have to pay is driving the horse trailer to get there. For me, entering the ring is a relaxing stroll in the park compared to entering the freeway with a trailer attached to my truck. I’m not much happier when someone else is doing the driving.

Part of my consternation comes from the occasion when my trailer (thankfully, unloaded) went down one side of an interstate highway while my truck went down the other side. That’s the short version of the story. You don’t want to hear the long one. In fact, you may have your own trailering horror story. Many of us do.

In addition to the white-knuckle factor of towing, I’m not fond of all the maintenance issues in taking proper care of a trailer, towing vehicle and hitch. Then there’s the monetary price in which the cost of your equine can be multiplied many times over if you wish to leave your stable with your horse rolling along behind. The price of the trailer is just the start, because the towing vehicle usually costs much more just in purchase price, not to even mention gasoline and upkeep.

I’ve heard a guesstimate that you need to take your rig out every couple of weeks in order to justify its cost. If you take your horse on the road less frequently, it may be more cost efficient to hire someone to haul you. Of course, cost is not the only issue in owning a trailer, since flexibility in going where you want to go, when you want to go, is a major consideration — not to mention the reassurance of having the trailer right there in case of an emergency.

If you want to trailer your own horse, you may have to do some real soul-searching to justify the cost. A used truck and trailer is the answer for many of us, especially those for whom the truck may be used only for hauling horses.

However, economy must be secondary to safety. It is desperately important to buy a big-enough truck to do the job properly and a sound-enough truck and trailer so you don’t chance a breakdown. If you buy a used truck, get it evaluated by a truck specialist that you trust, just as you would vet a horse.

Actually driving a trailer rig is a separate set of demons from buying and maintaining it. But buying the right rig for the job will help keep those demons at bay. Your safety, your horse’s safety and therefore your peace of mind will all be worth the price.

’Til next month,

-Margaret Freeman