Sunday, March 21, 2010

In which we pack up and make our GREEN trailer into a CLEAN trailer

The big countdown to the Home On the Range endurance ride has begun: we will leave on Thursday to help ride management get set up before most of the riders arrive on Friday. The ride itself is Saturday--less than 6 days away!!!

Fiddle and I are signed up for the Limited Distance event--just 25 miles. It's really hard for me to wrap my brain around the shorter distance.

When I stopped competing 2 years ago to take time to work with Fiddle, I was routinely finishing 50s, and didn't think twice about signing up for 75-milers. Jim keeps reminding me that Fiddle and I will probably only be out on the trail for about 5 hours, which she will think is a long time. My mental clock is set for a longer duration. I wonder if I'll learn to prefer short rides? Unlikely!

Today I packed up the horse trailer. The dogs helped, as usual.

I emptied out all the extra stuff that accumulated in the trailer over the winter: stuff like six wool toques, and at least 10 pairs of polarfleece gloves. I left a hat and two pairs of gloves.
When I first started doing long distance rides, I had almost nothing in the way of gear: a horse, a saddle, and a bridle. A fanny pack, a helmet, and a good waterproof/breathable jacket with lots of pockets.


I spent the next few years shopping, and accumulated a whole bunch of stuff. Several styles of saddle bags. Biothane bridle, breastcollar, and crupper. Heart-rate monitor. GPS. An (old-style) easyboot. Iceboots. A couple hundred buckets, and about a million sets of gloves (I hate having cold fingers!). I travelled with a friend who believed in having an extra (or two) of everything. Packing her trailer with all that stuff pretty much required a degree in engineering.
After a while, I started rebelling against having a second set of freakin' everything cluttering up the trailer, and became a minimalist again: a horse, a saddle, a bridle, a fanny pack, helmet, and jacket.


These days I recognize the usefulness of saddlepacks, but I don't stuff them full of food and gear the way I used to. I mostly carry waterbottles (3 bottles for an LD in early spring, 4 or 5 bottles in summer--my horse is BIG and DARK, and two of the hot-weather bottles are dedicated horse-squirting bottles to keep her cool), an easyboot, and a rainjacket in my packs. On my body (pockets and fanny pack) I carry some string cheese, my phone and my camera.

When I load the trailer for a trip nowadays, it's mostly full of horse food! I also take 3 large buckets--two water buckets and a manure bucket--plus a feed pan and smaller bucket for each horse. Crammed into the corner is a bucket of dry beetpulp, the manure fork, and a box of dry feed and some electrolyte powder. I also pack LOTS of hay--Hana has a dainty appetite, but Fiddle has a big engine to maintain, and it requires plenty of fuel!


It all fits in the trailer with plenty of room to spare.

Once the inside is ready to go, it's time to tackle the outside:

Those dark patches on the roof (and elsewhere) are a green mossy substance that covers every inanimate object in the Swamplands. Our houses get it too. I know lytha will laugh because she polishes her truck and trailer every week (at least), but we haul to so many (ahem) dirty places that it scarcely seems worthwhile to wash the rig. For me, washing the exterior once or twice a year is sufficient, as long as the parts that the horses are in is kept clean.

Today was the day for washing off the green! Willy helped me--he's very useful for scrubbing the taller bits!


Okay, the rig is clean and packed. The truck will go in on Tuesday for new tire$ and brake$. I'm going grocery shopping this afternoon to provision the camper....We're almost ready! Wahoooooooooooooooo!

9 comments:

  1. Boy, that's a nice trailer. I suppose we're a lot like oscars (the fish, that is). Give them a bigger bowl and they'll grow to fit.

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  2. This is totally infuriating, do you realize? You ARE me, just slightly older and much wiser. I have spent YEARS telling my husband that when I get a trailer I am going to have flames, preferably purple flames, painted on it so everyone will know it's me. And here you are with purple flames.

    Anyway. I think horse squirting water bottles are a good idea. I have 2 liters of people water in a Camelbak (and I forgot to refill it at lunch and almost ran out!), but horse water would be very kind.

    I realized I have no shame at all left when I left camp wearing jogging pants, half-chaps, a tank top, a linen shirt, and a fanny pack. I looked like a demented tourist, but I was pretty comfortable.

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  3. I admit that I looooooove this horse trailer. It is actually the first NEW "vehicle" I've ever owned, so I was actually able to buy exactly the rig I wanted: a two-horse slant, with a good-sized tackroom containing a water tank and TONS of extra hooks. It's 5 years old now, and I still love it. I didn't want anything bigger--too hard to park, and too tempting to fill it up with heavy stuff that would stress the truck hauling it over mountain passes.

    The purple flames are stickers--the girls got them for me as a gift. I love them.

    Also, Jim mounted flag-holder hardware on the nose of the trailer, and in camp we fly the Jolly Roger proudly.

    People can find our rig in camp, that's for sure!

    Funder: a peculiar sense of fashion is a distinguishing hallmark of distance riders. Welcome to the club!

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  4. I dream of doing distance rides, but for now it's just a dream. So if you don't mind, I'll be riding in one of your saddle bags. :)

    Very nice trailer! I'm leaning toward getting that saddle water tank, although the budget has taken another set back. Hopefully by the summer...

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  5. Aarenex, I too, like to travel compactly, but splurged last year on a 3-horse. I doubt I take of endurance, but hope to do some trail "challenges" with obstacles and such. Where did you get the rig on the side that I assume is for carrying panels? Do you use it, and if so hwat do you use for light weight panels?

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  6. btw, Breathe, I have a corner tank in my new trailer, but for years had the "bench" version, with storage and cup holders on top. Loved it! Still use it around the place for hauling water to baby trees and such.

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  7. corral panels: I'll try to post a photo of the panels when they're racked on the trailer. There are a few photos of them "in action" last summer: http://haikufarm.blogspot.com/2009/07/in-which-we-head-to-mountains-and-dont.html Alas, the guy who built them has pretty much stopped building them.

    water tank: we have one of those bench water-tanks and we use it to feed baby trees too!

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  8. I have to come visit your rig at HOTR! I mean, I have to come visit you and Fiddle! It's time for a Standardbred to be featured in Horsebytes.



    Monica

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  9. C'mon over, Monica! With any luck, Penny T will bring Fiddle's brother Hector to HOTR and we'll see some great standie-action on the trails! (Look for big brown horses with freezemark brands on the neck)

    I'm always happy to get more attention on my favorite breed.

    We pirates will probably also be very visible at the Tumbleweeds' annual Martini & Jazz party on Saturday night. We'll be drinking rum, of course. And probably singing. Yo ho, yo ho....

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