Equine recreation vehicles: Quarters for horses and RVers

Staff reports
Farm Forum

Equine Recreation Vehicles offer contemporary cowpokes all that is required for roughing it smoothly: a home on the trail as well as a safe horse transport.

Whether motorized or towable, these RVs “make traveling to equestrian events convenient, comforting and economical,” according to Go RVing (gorving.com) a recreation vehicle industry marketing association. Outfitted with kitchens, bathrooms and sleeping areas, they can be used for a family riding weekend or for hauling several horses to professional competitions.

While there are many unpretentious rigs with modest accommodations starting around $20,000, a growing segment of the equine RV market is swinging upscale with luxurious living quarters complete with custom designer interiors.

Towable living quarters

A longtime manufacturer of living quarters horse trailers is Featherlite Trailers (fthr.com) of Cresco, Iowa. The company built its first trailer in 1973 and today specializes in all-aluminum trailers for horse owners of all disciplines, livestock owners, farmers, recreational enthusiasts, car owners and racers.

Horse owners “include those who trail ride, show horses and compete at events,” says Nicole Ausdemore-Watts, marketing specialist with Featherlite Trailers.

“You can have just about any amenity you want in a living quarters,” says Ausdemore-Watts. “Many of our customers are traveling with their families to horse shows or events, so they pay extra attention to floorplans that maximize the sleeping area and storage.”

The fully equipped kitchen is a major convenience, allowing for homemade healthy meals instead of a steady diet of fast foods. Extras — including TVs, awnings and slideouts — are important for many families.

“In addition to the living quarters part of their trailer,” adds Ausdemore-Watts, “safety of their horses is the most important consideration for horse owners.”

One popular Featherlite living quarters model is the Liberty 9821 trailer, available in three and four-horse, slant-load designs. An interior height of 7 feet 6 inches allows enough head space for western hats, and the width of 8 feet gives room to maneuver horses.

“White lining in the horse area or optional LED strip lighting creates a brighter interior which makes entering the trailer more welcoming to the horses,” says Ausdemore-Watts.

The Featherlite Liberty Model 9821, with lengths of 11 to 17 feet living quarter floorplans, range in price from approximately $68,000 to $94,300.

For a little more luxury and comfort, especially for those who spend long stretches at horse events, Featherlite offers a custom Legend Edition 8582 living quarters trailer.

World championship halter trainer Ted Turner, Jr., uses his Legend Edition for person comfort and to safely transport his horses to equine trainings and competitions around the country.

“It has a lot of room,” says Turner on a Featherlite video. “We live in our trailer on the road. We stay near our horses. If you ever had to use a motel all the time, it gets to be a real pain.”

The 8-foot wide Model 8582 floorplans range from 4 to 25 feet length interiors. The 12-feet-and-longer models offer optional slideouts that expand the living space.

“As for the horse trailer part,” says Turner, who has been training horses for more than 40 years, “I like a ramp in the back so when horses come out of the trailer they don’t have to make a big step down. It makes it easier to get in and out of the trailer.”

Some of the horse-end options include a rooftop hay pod, s-drop closure, manger package, heavy-duty square cornered, street-side drop down feed doors, and a side unload door. Also available are pop-up roof vents for each horse, 2-inch thick stall pads, and LED dome light in horse and tack areas.

Equine motor homes

For horse owners who prefer to travel in an all-in-one RV and horse transport, there is the Equine Motorcoach (equinemotorcoach.com) out of Louisville, Ky.

“Some of our customers are the top equestrian athletes” says Tom Stinnett, Equine Motorcoach’s managing partner, “but most are families who show horses and enjoy their horses with their families and friends on the road.”

These combined Class A motorhome horse transports come in two-, three-, four-, five- and six-horse configurations with fully loaded amenities on the interior and exterior. Horse owners “can also tow a car, truck or another trailer if they want to do so,” adds Stinnett. These rigs are capable of easily towing a 20-foot horse trailer.

The designer interior has a spacious full bath, complete kitchen with full size residential refrigerator, and can sleep up to seven people. “It is spacious,” says Stinnett. “Most people who see it for the first time say it looks like a house.”

However, one cannot lose sight of the primary reason to buy an equine RV — the safe transport of horses. Important features for the comfort and safety of the four-legged passengers include air ride suspension and a slant load configuration to provide horses with the best possible ride.

Other options include: Reversing, side and horse view cameras; electric driven self-storing hay pod; hydraulic ramps; and air conditioned lounge and horse sections.

“I have been driving them to equestrian events for nine years,” says Sinnet. “I have helped several people load their horses into the transport. I have yet to see a horse have a problem loading for the first time. They seem to love it. It is amazing how easy this transport is to maneuver and drive.”

The Equine Motorcoach price runs between $359,000 and $560,000 depending on size, number of horses it hauls and options.