A few years ago, Robbie Shuler was perfectly happy with his shoeing trailer. But beginning in 2013, the farrier from Wellington, Fla., did a complete remodeling of what originally was an Adam horse trailer.
“When I bought the trailer, I wanted to keep most of my stuff inside, out of the elements,” he recalls. “I also prefer a trailer because if you have vehicle issues, you can use a different one to pull the trailer.”
After buying the trailer, he became friends with Loxahatchee, Fla., farrier T.J. Jones, and the two began shoeing sport horses together in Wellington, Fla. In 2010, as he spent more time working out of Jones’ trailer, Shuler discovered some ideas he never considered for improving his own trailer’s layout.
“When I began riding with T.J., I liked the way he had his trailer set up,” he says. “Sometimes there were three of us working in it, but the way T.J. had the workstations laid out allowed the work to flow together well.
Shuler’s practice also covers a wide range of horses in North Carolina. He worked with a welding shop in North Carolina to convert the trailer to a gooseneck because he wanted to have the advantage of tighter turns. He does find one disadvantage with using the trailer in Wellington: tight space. Space can sometimes be a premium on the show grounds. “You’ve got to be good at putting a trailer anywhere,” he says.
“I had an advantage by working out of T.J.’s trailer for 2 years. I could pick up ideas I liked and tweak other ideas to fit my trailer.”
Shuler, who has a fabrication background, has done most of the improvements himself. He finds time here and there to make changes while keeping the trailer fully functional for his shoeing practice.
Looking around the trailer, Shuler says there are ideas he has pulled from many farriers. If you are looking to improve the efficiency of how you work around your rig or trailer, follow Shuler’s example and spend time examining what other shoeing rigs and trailers offer. Talk to other farriers about their setups and what they like and dislike about the layouts.
“Get out there and ride with different farriers, ask to work with them,” he says. “Have them open the trailers up, and check out what they have. Watch how they work. Ask them what they wish they would have done differently.”
Shuler gives the impression that he’s never going to be “done” updating the trailer. It is in constant evolution, and he is quick to adopt any idea that can improve his work.
“It is an endless project,” he says. “It is little things here and there to make the trailer more efficient.
“To me, it is all about time. If it takes you 15 minutes to set your rig up at every stop, you may be looking at an hour and half of time you lose in a day. With my current rig layout, I can be under a horse working right away.”
Because of the variety of horses and needs Shuler encounters, storage is crucial to carry his inventory and tools.
One of the original features of the trailer that attracted Shuler was the drop-down rear door.