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October 11, 2018

What Insurance is Needed for Towing

Towing is a Skill Learned with Plenty of Practice ( Off Road )

If you have lived on a farm towing trailers is probably second nature to you. However, for those urban dwellers that have never hitched up a trailer it will take some training and practice.  

The most difficult part is reversing a trailer. To master this skill you need to get used to the fact that when reversing you must steer in the opposite direction that you wish the trailer to go in. In addition slight movements to the steering wheel are magnified in the change of direction of the trailer.

After plenty of off road practice it will become natural just like riding a bike. This new skill brings with it new opportunities, for example  towing a caravan or if you are a horse owner you can transport your own horse or horses to equestrian events.

Take note that when you fit a tow bar to your car or pickup it is classed as a modification and you must inform your insurance broker. 

On the question of what you can legally tow it will depend on a few factors including the vehicle weight, your age and how many years that you have been driving. Start by checking with the manufacturer as they usually indicate in the owner's manual the maximum towing weight and any other impacting factors.

Insurance Requirements for Towing a Horse Trailer

Do not make the often false assumption that your car insurance will also provide you with sufficient cover whilst towing a trailer. Some policies will offer some cover, but it will normally be limited and not comprehensive enough to cover all your expenses in the event of an accident. A if yosk yourself if your trailer was stolen would your car insurance payout?

Trailers of any description can be expensive and horsebox trailers are often built bespoke and fitted out with expensive gear. As such it is best to get a separate insurance policy specfice to your prized trailer and your towing purpose, business or pleasure.  

To find a range of quotes and cover options why not start by comparing horse trailer insurance with HorseinBoxInsurance. How? Click here and complete a simple online form and within minutes you will receive multiple insurance quotes for your horse trailer. 

June 2, 2018

Safety Check List for Trailers

Trailer safety check

Keeping your horse trailer road worthy 

Horse trailers need regular checks and preventative maintenance to keep them in the best road safety condition. Below we have complied a list of the key checks that you as the driver should carry out on a regular basis, we would even recommend every time you hook up take 10 minutes or less to perform a trailer safety check.  Following these guidelines will help ensure you and your livestock are safe and also pose no danger to other road users. 

Some horse trailer insurance  policies have a clause that invalidates the insurance if the trailer comes unhitched from the towing vehicle in transit. Please do check with your broker have the clause retracted.

Reflectors

Keep these clean at all times, secure, correct color and positioned correctly. Reflectors should be mounted between 15" and 60" from ground level. It is standard that all trailers should display 2 red reflectors mounted at the rear of the trailer, keep these as far part as possible.

Front and rear lights

Check all lights are working,  clean and securely mounted to the trailer frame. Minimum requirements are 2 rear stop lights and indicators. Additional lights can be mounted to side of the trailer to indicate lane changing or your intention to turn right or left. If possible use hand signals in addition.

Exterior spare Wheel

Often overlooked, make sure it is inflated  to the correct pressure and thread is at least 1.6 mm. All tire weight ratings must be adequate for the axle and load weight.

Vehicle to trailer coupling

Check breakaway cable is correctly and securely fixed and will not snag if called into action. 

Bodywork

Check all doors and windows for any signs of wear and tear, take note that the state of these can  act as a deterrent to any would be thief. All mud guards and fenders should be checked for any sharp edges as this is both dangerous and prohibited by UK law

Towing Mirrors

Check all towing mirrors are clean and mounted safely to the towing vehicle. They should not vibrate when in transit

VIN and Paerwork

All trailers must have Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which must be physically verified against supporting paperwork.

March 12, 2018

Buying a secondhand trailer

Secondhand Horse Trailer

Reducing the cost of buying a Trailer or Horsebox

Are you in the market for a horse trailer or a horsebox. Has looking at some of the asking prices for a new trailer depressed you?  Horseboxes in particular can be very expensive largely  because most have been made bespoke to an individual customer requirements. Horse trailers can also be pretty expensive, especially if the previous owner had splashed out and given it a star makeover. 

On that note after you have made the big purchase do insure your take out a separate horse trailer insurance policy, as relying just on your car insurance will most likely not provide adequate cover. Most auto polices will at best only provide third party cover so go the extra step and take out cover specific to your trailer.

Secondhand might be the solution, but be careful

Have you considered second hand, like any commodity that is not built to last trailers will lose value over time. However, this is to your advantage as you can purchase a second hand trailer or fully equipped horsebox much cheaper than buying new.  

First Impression are important

Some of this advise can also be applied to horseboxes. First impressions are important and fall back on these if the owner is trying to persuade you that it will be a great investment with a little work here and there. Try to buy a transporter that is not only in good condition, but made of quality materials, aluminium over wood for example.

If time is on your side wait for until you find a good buy  

You may come across a model that you are after, but it is in need of a lot of attention. Unless you fully understand  and are willing to undertake this extra work it may be wiser to wait. If you have time this approach will most likely enable you to find that treasure, a near perfect trailer that has been lovingly cared for plus the current owner has a genuine reason for sale. 

Has it been stolen?

Another often overlooked piece of advise is to check if it has been stolen, all trailers like cars are securely marked by the manufacturer so check that the plate has an unique serial number and has not been reported stolen. For Ifor Williams trailers you can contact them direct to perform this check.

Is the suspension dodgy?

One simple check to help evaluate any underlying problems is to check the tires for uneven wear as this is a sure sign that the suspension needs fixing.

Recent spray job?

Has the trailer been resprayed recently?  This often is a measure taken to cover some bodywork problems so you need to treat with extra caution and dig deeper as to why.

Meeting in a car park should set alarm bells ringing

Do not agree to meet in some car park insist on going to the owners house, this should lessen chances of being conned out of your money.

Call in the experts for the final check

Before making the final decision complete a full mechanical check or have a mechanic complete this for you, the added expense may save you lots of money and heartache later.

Experience how it drives

If it passes the above to your satisfaction the final stage is a test drive, during this stage you can inquire further on the history of the vehicles past. For example when was it last serviced, does the owner have documentation to prove this.

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September 11, 2017

Taking Care of a Horse with Arthritis

Veteran Horse

Taking care of a horse with arthritis

Arthritis is considered a rather big nuisance for horses. These majestic animals whether old or young can have a difficult time if some assistance is not timely given. It is crucial to understand how important joints are and the early symptoms that can be used to indicate that a horse may indeed have arthritis. This type of aliment is ongoing and it is wide to take precaution by buying veteran horse insurance as your horse matures. Significant to note, horse owners ought to assess the requirements for a healthy animal, this is in keeping with at best mitigating arthritis altogether or being able to follow best practices in taking care of an arthritic horse. Some guidelines and important notations when taking care of such horses will be briefly mentioned.

Exercise will serve a horse exceptionally well, regardless of the nature of the ownership being occupational or recreational. In order to maintain what is left of the animal’s joints exercise must be one of the major priorities. With joint movement, a horse will be able to maintain and see to building those muscles and ligaments surrounding areas with missing cartilage. The aim is to give as much support as possible to the already weakened areas. Depending on the state of the joints, routines must be tailored as such, as extreme exercise can cause further damage.  

Weight plays an important role in how joints respond on a daily basis. Excess weight means excess work and pressure on already pressured joints. Imagine being overweight and attempting to exercise, this is by no means a pain-free endeavor for any horse. If the animal is no longer as active, then the likelihood of weight gain will be higher, therefore as a part of the regiment ensure the diet is adequately assessed for the horse in question.

Paying particular attention to the horse’s feet is another point of support. In order to have the animal as comfortable as possible on their feet for as long as possible, trimming and shoeing are of tantamount importance; after all the animal carries its weight on those powerful legs. With proper grooming in this regard, the veteran horse will be fully balanced with trimmed feet and consistent inspection if any issues arise for those that may wear shoes.

The living environment for the animal must be assessed in terms of surfaces they have to stand on. In aiding in less pain and general excess pressure, the horse must be provided with the right footing. The area must not be too soft nor entirely too hard, avoid uneven areas such as rocky or shifting surfaces as well as flooring with deep spots. The horse should be able to walk without having falls or twists of the legs.

Last to note but definitely not the least, is the use of medication. A veterinarian will be able to tell what will be the best choice for treating varying situations. It can range from including daily supplements to doses of injections when deemed necessary. Ensure to seek such advice as early as is possible to give the animal the best chance at a comfortable life. 

July 29, 2017

Buying a Horsebox

Horses Towing Trailer

So, which type of  horsebox is best? This will depend on your priorities. A fully-equipped living area including a bunk above the driver’s cab is one possibility however, if you only travel to local events and you just need somewhere to change and store your tack, then possibly a “day living” cab, that does not have a “crawl-through” opening at the back may suit you.

  • What size or weight of horsebox will you be needing?

One of the key points to consider is the minimum and maximum amount of ponies/horses you will be looking to transport. For two or more horses you will typically need a 7.5t horsebox which most often comes with three stalls and living area of varying specs and size. A very critical factor when it comes to choosing which horsebox to buy is the payload the horsebox has. This is basically is the amount of weight that you are legally allowed to put into the horsebox.

  • Horsebox prices

Quite often, people tend to look at the age of the chassis (chassis is both the cab and drive train) and place value that way. This is not really correct, as the biggest majority of the value of a horsebox is found in the body.

There are two different types of horsebox body, They are coach-builds and conversions. A conversion is when a lorry has its body stripped out from the inside and then it’s refitted with windows, partitions, dividing walls, and sometimes even some living accommodations, thus turning it into a horsebox. This is no-doubt the cheaper way of creating a horsebox and if done properly there is not a thing at all wrong with a conversion. The other type of body is coach built. This is of course when the body is purpose-built onto the chassis. These can be better for a few reasons. Among these are that they can be lighter, stronger, and most often are built using more ideally suited materials, keeping horse transport in mind.

  • Can you yourself drive this horsebox?

Another thing to consider is what you are legally entitled to drive a horsebox or tow a horse trailer. The best way to look at this is if you passed your driving test before January 1997 then you can jump right into anything that weighs up to 7.5t. If on the other hand passed your driving test after January 1997, a 3.5t horsebox is the biggest you will legally be allowed drive. A 3.5t horsebox is usually stalled for two horses and it tends to be mainly rear facing and has a side ramp.

  • Checking over a horsebox for sale

When you are physically looking over a horsebox with the intention to purchase, there are a few important and easy things to look for. The flooring in the horse area is definitely a good place to start. Almost without exception, most horseboxes have a floor that is made out of exterior/marine plywood and has rubber matting on top of that. Some of the more expensive horseboxes will have floors that are made from aluminium planking. This is generally stronger and lighter. However, a plywood floor that is in good condition is more than adequate to take the weight of several ponies/horses. When you stop transporting horses you can modify your horsebox to serve gin and tonic.

April 15, 2017

5 Feeding Tips for Veteran Horse

Veteran Horse Feeding Tips

5 Tips for Feeding An Older Horse With Dental Problems

As horses get older, age-related senile changes start to show in many parts of their body. An optimal diet plan for horses is necessary to ensure that those areas of the body are supported and maintained as long as possible. One of the most important elements of the ageing process in veteran horses is the loss of teeth or a decrease in the ability to use teeth efficiently. It may be sad to see your beloved horse or pony fighting age-related decline and many horse owners are faced with the disheartening decision of enforcing their horses to sleep because they are no longer able to eat properly. This ripping decision can be delayed or sidelined altogether with some simple adjustments in the diet and how to feed your horse. Read on to find top 5 tips for managing an older, dentally ill horse's nutrition and diet: 

1. Feed beet - beet is an excellent choice for older horses. It has a high fiber content and provides a good source of cooling energy. It is suitable for ponies and horses that are prone to laminitis. Again, make sure that it is well dipped and expanded before feeding and to allow for ease of consumption.

2. Soaking Hay - It is important that your horse still consumes a diet rich in fiber and as much food as possible. His teeth can be too far gone to eat the wet hay, but hay soaking will soften the diet considerably and make it easier to chew.

3. Cubes of hay - hay cubes can be a good way to get food into the horses without much chewing and grinding. Make sure the cubes are soaked thoroughly and have fully expanded before feeding them to your horse.

4. Feed chaff as an important part of the feed - The same principle applies here too, as mentioned above in the case of hay cubes. Chaff requires less chewing and is thinner, easier to swallow. If you put the contents of the straw to replace what has been previously fed as hay, it can be an excellent way to get plenty of food for the horse. If your horse is still in trouble - try to soak chaff.

5. Add the oil to the diet - the addition of oil to the horse's food is an easy way to enhance its caloric intake. If you are not already adding oil to your horse's diet, begin with a small amount (1/4 cup) and gradually increase the ratio over a period of 3 weeks to about 1 cup. Make sure you are using the nutritionally rich oil as well - preferably flaxseed oil/ linseed, chia seed or olive oil. Do not feed corn oil!

Bottom line - It is important that your elderly horse is consuming enough vitamins and minerals. It is advisable to offer your horse a piece of salt stone to lick and, if possible, an easy to consume balance. Chia seeds are a natural choice to provide an extra amount of vitamins and minerals and a good balance of omega fatty acids. For a more details please click here

February 26, 2017

Top Horse Grooming Tips in Winter

As nature clothed our surroundings with his cold weather, identifying wounds, infections (bacterial & fungal) on the horse’s skin becomes increasingly difficult. The horse's coat increases in length over the winter. This, in turn, makes the horse sweat more under the coat, though it doesn't show. More so, it also becomes harder to notice sores, moisture, dirt trapped under the coat and certain other factors like weight loss. Read on to find some handy tips that will help you properly groom your horse this winter and remember to take out a horse insurance policy.

    A regular bath is necessary not just to keep the horse clean but also to check for scratches, sores, and wounds. Use warm water with either the hot towelling or spot cleaning techniques. You can use a mild body wash for a better clean. Work gradually in sections, cleaning each section thoroughly before moving to the next. After the bath, you should dry the horse to avoid a cold and this can be easily done using your hair dryer.

    Spot cleaning works in much the same way except it is not as thorough as hot toweling. You can use a sponge or towel and hot water for spot cleaning. Wipe against the grain and work on small areas progressively.

    Regular skin inspection and checks should help you observe the horse's skin health. Currying the horse and using your fingertips is an excellent way of checking for infections, sores, scratches and other blemishes. It is also effective in monitoring the weight loss of your horse by feeling around his/her body. Indicators you should look out for include bumps, hair loss, swelling, and clumpy hair. Use a curry comb to brush out the clumpy hair and discern whether it is just the hair or something else

    Mud, manure, and dirt provide the perfect breeding ground for infection such as thrush. Make sure to clean your horse's hooves on a daily basis. Take out the mud and dirt and check them for abnormalities, such as sores and inflammation.

    Exercise is also an important part of winter grooming to keep the horse both active and healthy. Make sure that you groom your horse first before starting an exercise. An indoor exercise ground would be ideal but if it is unavailable, just ride the horse on the non-frozen ground. If neither of that is available, you could try lunging.

    You will need to use longer and harder brushes since the coat grows considerably over the winter. To ease the work, you could consider giving your horse a trim. However, this is a matter of preference and convenience. Trimming the coat will increase the necessity of blanketing. To avoid that, you could trim only the parts that have increased sweating and tendencies to get dirty. Also, make sure that you groom the tail using conditioner and a tail bag.

Bottom Line

Winter grooming can be tedious but it should be regular to maintain a healthy horse. Use the right tools and equipment while grooming for effectiveness. If you are unfamiliar with a grooming technique, stick with what you know to avoid inflicting harm to the horse. Grooming should be done before and after exercise. Some people reduce the horse's coat for easier grooming but that is all a matter of personal preference. Over reducing the coat is, however, not advised as it leaves the horse more vulnerable to the harsh cold temperatures.

January 14, 2017

Trailer Driving Tips

Horse Trailer Driving Tips

Driving with a trailer attached requires practice, the best advice is never forget that you have  trailer on tow and that requires you to adjust your driving to take into account factors such as needed a much longer braking distance at least twice the normal  amount.  Never forget that you have a trailer in tow just keep you safe and alert. Horse trailer insurance is currently not mandatory, but it will ensure that should you slip up you will be compensated. For further reading we do a google search for a guide to towing a horse trailer from Nissan.

Here are some of the basic tips to help you properly handle horses in your care:

  • Before hitching up ensure that the tow ball height matches the height specifies by the trailer manufacturer. This will ensure that weight is correctly balanced between the the trailer's axles the towing gear and the towing vehicle.
  • Hitching up requires practice and more practice, but after time it will become easy and even second nature. However if can not wait you could invest in a rear view camera to aid you in lining up your tow bar to the hitching gear. 
  • Braking. As mentioned in the introduction when you first depress the brake paddle you will be in for a few nervous moments as you realise it is not slowing down at the same rate when your driving without a trailer attached.  The reason is the extra weight and the best advice is to drive slowly and also allow at least twice the normal braking distance when towing a horse trailer.
  • Snaking, this is scary especially the first time that it happens, some people accelerate to take the slack and thus regain control. However the correct way is to hold tight and do not try and steer out of it but apply gradual barking whilst holding steering wheel  steady and steering only when necessary approaching bend etc.
  • Gears have an important role to play when towing, use them to help you slow down gradually and also when faced with steep climbs.  With practice you will know which gear to automatically select to slow down or climb a steep hill.   
  • Be prepared should you breakdown or get a flat tire you most likely be stranded on a busy or quiet country road both presenting their own hazards.  Investing in emergency warning triangles will enable you to warn well in advance oncoming drivers that they need to slow down. Make sure that you place the triangle or warning apparatus a distance that will enable them to brake comfortably to avoid collision. 
  • Reversing is difficult as it is counter intuitive as such like hitching up practice and more practice is the only solution. In addition try to park in places that reduce the need to reverse. Add a warning bleeper device to warn to anyone in the vicinity.  
November 26, 2016

Why you Need Horse Cover

Horse Insurance

Are you the proud owner of a horse? Have you bonded so closely with your pet that he/she becomes a part of your life? While you would undoubtedly enjoy every minute that you spend with your horse, you would also agree that it costs you a lot to maintain it, wouldn’t you? So how would you feel when your horse gets injured, stolen or just passes away (due to age factor) one sudden day? You would feel depressed to the core, isn’t it?

Apart from the mental dilemma caused due to missing your horse, you would also face a huge financial dilemma as you would have invested quite heavily on your horse. So how do you cover these financial losses? This is a where a horse insurance policy comes as a huge blessing for you.Here are the top reasons as to why you need a horse insurance policy.

1. Medical and surgical reasons

When your horse has to be taken to the vet for a general check-up, common problems or serious surgeries, it costs you a lot. Therefore, you need to take a medical and surgical insurance to get coverage for these costs. Equine insurance costs and terms differ based on the age of your horse and the hospitalisation terms and offers of each service provider. Do a thorough analysis and opt for a policy which gives you good value for your money.

2. Mortality Insurance

When your horse dies in an accident or gets stolen, your mortality insurance policy stands in good stead for you. In these cases, the insurance company pays you the full value of your horse (terms & conditions apply) so that you don’t face any major financial losses. There are two types of mortality insurance policy –full mortality and limited mortality. You can check with your service provider and choose the plan that suits you the best.

3. Loss of Use

If the horse was your major source of income and if it has become old and unusable now, you lose a considerable part of your income. This is where a loss of use policy will be very helpful for you. This policy will cover you against the loss of income that you would suffer because of your horse becoming useless. You need to have a medical insurance policy for your horse when you want to claim benefits under this policy.

July 17, 2016

How to Properly Handle Horses

Horse Handling Tips

Horse owners should know how to handle their horses properly. There's nothing like a group of horses that is easy to handle especially when it is time to go out to the pastures and during feeding.

Many horse owners will tell you that the consolation of owning one is that these animals are herbivores and will not be interested in biting you. However, they are heavy and huge animals that can kick and show stubbornness when not properly handled. Special care should be taken when loading and offloading from your horsebox or horse trailer. For a more in depth guide check out this article in Horse and Hound.

Here are some of the basic tips to help you properly handle horses in your care:

(1) When you're surrounded by horses, just ignore them. Walk past the group if you only need to get one of them to take outside. Don't show any treat or bring a bucket of food since this will attract them even more. Just shove them away if they're persistent and show no interest.

(2) When you have separated one of the horses and have brought it outside in the pasture, that's the only time to give it some treats. Make sure the gates are locked before you head out with the lone horse as the others may follow suit if they sense there's food in your pocket.

(3) Horses are clever, so it's better to teach them using treats as reward for good behaviour. These animals are able to understand this especially when you want to take each one of them outside without resistance.

(4) Kicking and biting horses should be removed from the group or away from people if they are too threatening. Aggressive horses can be liabilities to owners, causing legal problems if they hurt other people or cause damage to other people's property.

(5) Having horses in the pasture can be enjoyable for you and the animals. So it's best to handle the situation using rewards and not riding them hard when they're outside. Create a routine that's rewarding for your horses so that it is easier and more enjoyable for everyone. Apply this routine whenever you need to take them out, when going back in the stables/barn, and every grooming day.

(6) Calmly release the horse in the pasture and shut the gate close after walking the animal in. Give it a light pat after taking off the halter slowly. If there's no halter on, make the horse stand next to you until you walk away from it. Never chase a horse when taking it out in the pasture as it will want to run away once you loosen its halter.

(7) If you have a horse with behavioural problems especially when taken out, this needs to be corrected before you let it join a group. If you need help, call a vet or an expert handler to train you and your horse properly.

(8) Pastures should always have enough room especially when there's a pecking order. If you have ten horses, put out eleven piles of hay to make sure everyone gets to eat. If there are aggressive horses in the bunch, there's a need to oversee the feeding to ensure no animal gets hurt during feeding time.

(9) Sexually aggressive geldings sometimes require separation from the mares if it is too active and showing bad behaviour. This can be corrected with proper medications if you have no other solution. Ask your vet for recommendations.

(10) When introducing a new horse in the pasture, it is sometimes done over the fence. This is called 'hand introducing' the animal especially when you have the facilities and proper fencing to do so. You can introduce the horse first to a possible pasture mate - meaning, having only one of your gentler horses outside when you introduce the newly arrived. You can gradually take out each horse at a time to ensure they are all safe and getting along.

(11) Safe and secure fences are essential for handling horses at any given situation. This ensures that everyone is safe in the premises and that the animals can run away within the pastures if needed. That's also one reason to have a big enough outdoor space that's surrounded by secured fences.

Sometimes, handling horses can truly be a handful. But if owning and caring for them is your passion, be sure to have the know-how when handling them especially on certain situations.