Guest Post by Tom Hebert
In 2002, I designed and built this as a combination horse trailer and live-in camper. Come the Millennium and I could live in it. It is the only trailer designed and built in America to be pulled by a four-cylinder vehicle. I get up to 19 MPG on the road and it will go and has gone, just about everywhere a trailer can go. The design key to the design, is that it is a single-axle, which is actually safer than a four-wheel horse trailer because one takes care of the tires carefully. Most flats on horse trailers occur because folks don’t take care of the tires. And this rig is built stronger than other horse trailers. Plus after many thousands of miles over 13 years, my horse still loves to travel in it. Note the large window he can see out of while I can watch him to see that everything is okay back there.
As I said in my first email, the professional trailer design I contracted for. However, I was prime contractor working with many experts. After months of sketching and research and conversations with horse trailer designers (who liked the single axle), I gave the designer a rough drawing of what I wanted, single axle, pasture fenders I could also stand on, a V front end for efficient air flow. Lots of ventilation because most trailers are very hard on horses, a big window up front (no trailer anywhere has one that I know of), and light enough that I could pull it with four cylinders. The dolly wheel up front I found at Walmart! The design is so stout that the manager of the Lippert travel trailer frame company here in Pendleton, studied the detailed construction plans that I got from Eldon Goates, of Synthesis Engineering Services, Inc. Colorado Springs. He then grabbed a pencil and cut out about 200 pounds of steel. But it is still more strongly built than most horse trailers. We travel down the road often at 65 mph. With only 80 pounds of tongue weight when empty, I can pick up the tongue to put it on the hitch and on a hard surface I can push the trailer around by hand. With only 200 pounds when loaded it is a dream to load up and drive. Plus I get great gas mileage with it. State Farm insurance costs about $40 a year. Of course, it is fully licensed and was built to state of Oregon trailer standards.
The hitch load is so light, the trailer was so balanced, I was able to use the bumper hitch the truck came with. The white top is made from the same fabric used in open semi-truck trailer tops. Astro turf is better than heavy rubber mats and much easier to live in. Plus it is easier to keep clean. While my horse craps in the rig, horses will rarely piss in a trailer. They hate the splashing on their legs. We have traveled thousands of miles and I’ve slept in this rig probably fifty to a hundred nights since 2002.