Trailers Built with Style and Horse-sense
EquiSpirit Horse Trailers pull out from their home base in Southern Pines
By Crissy Neville » Photos by Chelsey Carico
Merriam Webster defines spirit as a disposition or state of mind. It speaks of one’s attitude or nature, as influenced by an essential principle or driving force. For Tom and Neva Scheve, husband and wife co-owners of a Moore County custom horse trailer company of international acclaim, quality, service and safety-mindedness form the essence of the ethos that has guided their life’s work, and EquiSpirit is the business that embodies said spirit.
The Scheves entered the horse trailer business in 1984 when the couple, particularly horsewoman Neva, saw a need for safer trailer designs and stronger construction. Neva Scheve competed and participated in multiple horse disciplines from western riding to hunter jumpers and dressage and needed the perfect trailer for her horses. As horse trailer dreams drifted from what amenities she wanted to what safety features she required, curiosity took hold as she recognized a budding business. Owners of an advertising firm at the time, the pair entertained the idea of buying and selling horse trailers to other horse owners as a way to support Neva’s growing horse hobby. A move down south cemented the plan.
Starting with three trailers, the Scheves sold those within the first week. Still struggling to find a trailer for their warmbloods, the very first in the county in Ohio where they lived at the time, the energized entrepreneurs decided to alter their orders to fit their own warmbloods’ needs for more height and width. Next, when adding safety features to the spec-sheets to satisfy trailer safety concerns, the Scheves were doing more than selling trailers; they were designing them, too. After working with manufacturers such as Merhow, Trail-et and McQueery for a year, they graduated to their own line and name in 1988. EquiSport was born, followed by ThoroSport, EquiBreeze and EquiSpirit. A company redesign resulted in EquiSpirit, the culmination of their past brands, research and experience and is the company headquartered in Southern Pines today.
The Scheves background in and knowledge of horses resonates with their customers. Now in their 70s with 37 years of horse trailer business know-how, the husband and wife still spend most of their time and energy in the ongoing running of EquiSpirit, writing horse trailer safety books and articles, and in Neva’s case, a nationally recognized textbook, The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining and Servicing a Horse Trailer. Neva also conducts horse trailer clinics across the country and is a member and co-developer of the Moore County Equine Emergency Response Unit. In the company, Tom serves as CEO, developer and designer, and also works in marketing, sales and research. Neva’s roles are as co-designer and consultant. They do not actively ride or own horses of their own any longer but feel, once a horse person, always a horse person; their love, respect and concern for equine welfare goes into every trailer and transaction made.
“We understand other horse people,” said Neva. “We are kindred spirits. When customers call us, they immediately get or understand that we are horse people first.”
And call they do. Having branched out from its beginning with warmblood breeds, EquiSpirit attracts horse owners of all breeds that seek trailers to safely and comfortably transport any horse anywhere.
“We sell trailers throughout the U.S., in Canada and overseas. Our corporate office is here, but manufacturing happens in Wisconsin and does not begin until the custom order is placed. We have transported trailers to as far away as Africa to as close as practically next door,” said Tom.
Custom specifications and standard safety features that are far from the standard is what sets EquiSpirit apart in the relatively small horse trailer industry.
“We have a reputation for being the best,” shared Neva. “Our trailers are something people aspire to have.” Such people, quipped Tom, are usually “more of the wine and cheese variety than the beer and pretzel crowd,” but that goes hand in hand with a taste for the highest quality or the perceived better.
But in this case, perception is a reality. Case in point: the popular EquiSpirit Two Horse Bumper Pull with Dressing Room Brio model has 30-inch wide doors with windows at each horse head level, functioning as an emergency escape for the horses in the event of a rear-end collision. The Brio also has exterior safety latches on the horse doors to ensure that doors won’t be jarred or kicked open while out on the road. Addition features include 10-foot stalls with a raised carpeted floor in the 5-foot dressing area and nine standard windows in the horse area with two roof vents for ventilation and airflow.
Other EquiSpirit Horse Trailer models have at least five other variations with similar designs available in a second model, the EquiBreeze “Open Air” trailer. Additionally, the SoulMate design is EquiSpirit's exclusive copyrighted “2 Minus 1” horse trailer series that suits one-horse owners the best.
Consider some of EquiSpirit’s standard safety features: composite-built trailer bodies, heavier duty radial tires, “easy to lift” safety ramp, quick-hitch butt bar safety latches, quick-release breast bars, exterior safety latches, interior door latch guards, self-adjusting brakes and eight turn signals with 14 running lights, exceeding DOT requirements two times over.
International experience, small-town Southern Pines roots and a commitment to quality and customer care make excellence and EquiSpirit one and the same. Find out more at equispirit.com.