Builds

A Horse Trailer Renovation | The Hearty Hopper Reveal

Remodeling this little 1976 Two-Stall Horse Trailer has been a dream of mine for quite some time! I so excited to share it's renovation reveal with you!

In early May this year, we found this little rusty two-stall horse trailer in a craigslist listing during one of those, 'just for fun' online searches. The price was okay-ish and I knew I had some decent negotiating skills.

So we packed everyone up in the pickup, made sure we had a 2" ball and headed to meet our new project. My husband, sternly said- "We'll just go look." Twenty minutes of looking over this little horse trailer and Carey said, "Happy Mother's Day" as we pulled the little trailer away from their farm.

1976 red and white horse trailer original shape and color

The Inspiration

I knew I wanted to make this little 4 wheeled cart over and make it a mini Hearty Sol pop-up stand. My thoughts led me to, if I am going to invest my time and money into this little hopper, it had be able to be used for multiple purposes.

We could haul our South Down Sheep, we could take it to little fairs, the farmers market, holiday station, road side flower stand, heck, we could even rent it out on the weekends for events to use as a mini bar, popcorn stand or photo booth! There were so many things we could use this for. I was so inspired, but I knew that I couldn't tackle this major project on my own.

Flowers in galvanized buckets on the hearty hopper trailer

The Expertise

Although my husband has a welding degree, we were about to head into the busiest Spring Planting season on our farm and I knew that if I asked him to help me, this would take years to finish.

On a whim, I asked one of the best welding guys we knew and was it was by pure luck, that he agreed to follow me into this crazy adventure we were about to embark on. Little did we know that when we began planning the design for this horse trailer that we would be spending many, many late nights together for the next five months!

We both spent our days working our other crazy-paced jobs, would eat dinner in the shop and get to work around 7pm.

Most evenings as I was yawning away, Mitch would say, "Sheesh, it's ONLY 12:30!" That's in the AM, by the way! His young energy was what this project needed! But night after night, after really-late nights started to catch up to us.

My working partner Mitch and I standing near the trailer

With Mitch's ability to creatively problem solve, weld ANYthing and my vision and love for texture, we were off!

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Watch the Hearty Hopper Transform!

From the Rust

The trailer had some really great attributes. The hitch and under carriage were in great shape and the tires and the frame were pretty good too! We ended up replacing all of the steel, but the roof and fenders.

Piece by piece, night after night we slowly unassembled, remove rust, drill out rivets, built steel replacement pieces and welded them into place. This once, weekend project, turned into a major overhaul had both Mitch and I digging deep, trying to tap into every single skill we've ever learned. We used every. single. one, too!

Much of our time was spend circling the trailer and pacing, trying to figure out a way that this piece or that piece could either be removed or attached.

the hearty hopper dressed up for fall

"Do one thing every day that scares you." Eleanor Roosevelt

There were so many days that it would have been easier to contact a professional and have them tile, epoxy, grind or bend metal, but I knew that if there was a will, there was a way and darn-it that's one thing I don't lack! Did I make mistakes, you bet!

I find making mistakes is the fastest way to learn forward! Fail fast forward is something that rolls through my head constantly. The faster I can make a mistake, the faster I can learn how to be better and do it right the next time.

setting white subway tile in the trailer

New Skills

Many first times were had during this project. I taught myself how to tile, how to epoxy, how to remove rust from things and how rivets work- they are a bugger, by the way! (The final count at how many rivets I drilled out of this horse trailer added up to be about 250-I knew you were going to ask) 😉

I tried to make myself useful when I came to welding. Although I have tried it before, I knew it was best to stay out of Mitch's way. By doing some of the prep- grinding work, I could save time on his end and stay busy (so I wouldn't doze off to the subtle light of the arch weld). So I would grind and yawn and he would weld.

holding the grinder, changing the grinding wheel

Lessons I Learn from Doing Hard Things

  1. Safety gear is a must! It may not always seem convenient but it's important. Grinder wheels get really loud after the sixth hour. Wear the ear protection, decent foot wear, the gloves and the protective eye wear! A lovely follower of mine, thought I needed better eye protection and sent me these! I love them and they make working in tough situations, also cute!
  2. Ask questions, do your research, get help if you are unsure. Asking for help is not only ok, but it humbles you. I am as stubborn as it gets and I have taught myself a lot of things in my life, but even I have my limits. I do not have a welding degree and I was not willing to obtain one in order to complete this project. Get advise from someone who has done it before. It's likely that they are happy to help you through a tough spot.
  3. Completing a hard task- like a really, long, dusty, hard, grueling, dirty, sleepless task, feels SO DANG GOOD! Even if it's not perfect. So try it! Get in to it, get stuck, ask for help, keep trying, get a different tool, use a different adhesive- but what ever you do, don't give up on yourself and your dreams! Most things worth doing are hard- and 80% of the population will find a way around the hard stuff.

What will we use this renovated Horse Trailer for?

We will be using this little hopper for a rolling Hearty Sol Shop. From Farmers Markets, to road side pop-up shops. This will be the perfect little rolling flower shop! I also told the kids that they could use it as their sandwich stand! We even build them a counter top their hight!

Several years ago they started a small sandwich shop here on our farm. It wasn't fancy, but I had built them a stand out of an old wheelchair for them. They love rolling it out on Wednesdays and having our employees and local farm service folks come up to the yard to join them for Sandwiches. Now they make the sandwiches in the house and they carry them and a jug of lemonade into the stand.

little boy standing in the hearty hopper trailer window

The Inside of the Horse Trailer

I picked up a few fun things to add to the inside, from our local Habitat Restore Store-including a little sink. But for now, I just want to get a good feel for the space before I build out. We need to know where we will need things before jumping to adding tables, sinks etc. Eventually we will add a back counter when we know how wide we can afford that to be.

A few 1x6 planks that we had leftover make up a nice working space toward the front of the trailer for now.

It will be fun to still have something to work on through the winter months. We are also hoping to find/ build a two-keg kegerator to use for events. (If you know of anyone getting rid of a good one, holler!)

Milwaukee Metal Saw with sparks

Shop our Favorites from this Build!

Grinding metal with a Milwaukee grinder

Questions People are Asking about This

Will You Be Renting this Horse Trailer out for Events?

Yes! We are now accepting rental inquiries! More details to come!

How Long did this Entire Project Take?

5 Months!

Did you Have to Learn How to Back a Trailer up?

Yes! I mean, I have backed a trailer up before, but my precious Hopper is different. I am still practicing, but getting better at it everyday!

Inquire about Renting the Hearty Hopper Horse Trailer HERE.

Uses:

Add some majestic fun to Weddings, Birthday Parties, and Special Events!

  • Popcorn Stand
  • Mini Mobile Bar
  • Ice Cream/ Sundae Station
  • Photo Booth
  • Treat Bar

The sky is the limit!

This added such a special touch to our wedding rehearsal! We used it to serve our bar items and lemonade!

-Hearty Hopper Wedding Rental
hearty hopper photo mix

Pin This for Later

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Affiliate Disclosure & Content Disclaimer

This post may contain affiliate links from a paid sponsor, Amazon or other program. When you use these links to make a purchase I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to continue creating the content that you love. The content in this article is created for information only and based on my research and/or opinion. 

Emily T.

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