Eamonn Turley

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Tips on buying a used horsebox

Tips on buying a used horsebox

These tips on buying a used horsebox can help you get the most of your investment. This includes going with your instincts when you are inspecting the used horsebox. In general look for things that are out of place like touch up paint or areas that looks like a recent repair.

How do I make sure the horsebox is not stolen?

Unlike horse trailers that are not registered with the department of transportation, a horsebox has to be since it is a self propelled vehicle like other trucks. It should also have a V5C log book that contains the registration plate number, vehicle type, chassis number, colour and engine size. You should also check the vehicle’s ID numbers with a service like HPI which will provide you with the history of the vehicle and its value. If all the paperwork is not in order, be skeptical.

Can I legally operate the horsebox?

For the most part anyone who has a driver's license can operate a horsebox that has a maximum gross weight of 3.5 tonnes when fully loaded. If the gross weight is higher than that then a special drivers license might be required.

Be careful when it comes to the weight. Gross weight of a horsebox includes the weight of the vehicle, the horses along with the fuel, supplies and passengers. If the seller is not sure of the unladen weight then during your test drive stop by weighbridge where it can be weighed. You will also receive a ticket of its weight in writing.

The weight of a horse lorry advertised as a 3.5 tonne vehicle should be close to 1200 to 1500 kgs. This makes it possible to load several horses and the supplies. If the unladen weight is close to 3.5 tonnes, then it is in reality a 5.5 tonne horsebox.

What to look for when inspecting the horsebox

When buying a Horsebox there are two distinct areas an inspection should be conducted. One is the drivability of the horsebox with the second the area the horses will be located while being transported.

Unless you are mechanically inclined a mechanic should inspect the horsebox’s engine, drive train, frame, suspension and brakes to make sure they are in proper working order. There should also be a maintenance record that contains the information when the oil was changed and a list of repairs. The amount of rust on the body and frame should be noted along with any fluids that are leaking.

The area where the horses will be located is easier to inspect. The flooring under the mates has to be looked at. Look for rust if it is metal or rotten boards if it is wood. Also look for moisture from the roof downwards including around the windows. Moisture will rot wood and rust most metals. All these will give you an indication how owner maintained the horsebox.

The ramps used to load the horses should also be looked at to make sure they are sound and can handle the weight of a horse.

Make sure all the lights work and the wires are not exposes which could hurt the horses.

In conclusion

Your instincts are your best guide when using tips on buying a used horsebox. The impression when you first see it should be kept in mind when making your decision. The way it drove during the test drive is another area that should weigh heaving on whether you will make the purchase or not. Most important, take your time and do not make a hurried decision.  Check that the horsebox has insurance before taking it for a test drive.

How to Maintain your Horsebox

How to Maintain your Horsebox

The Horsebox upkeep and maintenance is necessary to prevent a breakdown on the road with your horse in tow. Taking proper care of your horsebox will also help to protect your horse from accidentally being injured because of a poor maintenance schedule of your horsebox. In addition to maintenaence take out a good level of horsebox insurance to protect aginst loss or damage.

horse

What should be checked before loading your horse into the box?

A pre-trip inspection of your horsebox will help to ensure you and your horse will make it to the destination without a problem occurring. Things to look at include;

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  • Check the tires for proper inflation and there is enough tread on them so a blowout does not occur. This has to include the spare tire.
  • The condition of the floor boards should be noted. Cracked and broken boards should be replaced before they become so weak the horse would fall through it. If mats are on the floor in the horsebox they should be removed so the floorboards can be properly inspected.
  • Look for any nails or screws in the sides, ceiling and floor that are exposed or not completely in. This could injure the horse and also cause the area to become insecure because it is no longer properly anchored. 
  • Check the lights in and on the horsebox to make sure they are properly functioning.
  • Make sure the chocks are in proper condition so they will not allow the trailer to move when it is unhitched from the tow vehicle.
  • Inspect the hitch for any weakness or cracks in the welds and any unsafe condition that might be apparent.
  • Check the chains for structural integrity so they will preformed properly just in case the hitch fails.
  • On the tow vehicle make sure the tow ball is properly greased so the hitch will not bind while under pressure.

Bi-annual inspection

There are items that do not need to be checked before each time you use the horsebox, but should be added to the list of inspection on a bi-annual basis to make sure of the structural integrity of the box.

  • The frame on which the horsebox is set upon should be checked for structural integrity. This has to include cracks in the welds, cross members that might be bent and that hold-down bolts are secure.
  • Look for rusted or damaged sheet metal and replace it.
  • Check for any loose and frayed wires and damage to the conduits. Repair or replace any that are damaged.
  • Lubricate all hinges, slinging panels, sliding windows, springs and make sure they are in proper working order.
  • Inspect the brakes and all cables associated with the system. During the brake inspection repack the wheel bearings.

What to do after each use of the horsebox

After you return home from a show and unload the horse, the horsebox has to be cleaned. This includes removing all the mats if present from the interior and power washing both the interior and exterior of the trailer along with any mats used on the interior.

After the horsebox has been cleaned, it has to be dried. Wood will rot if left wet and metal will rust. The metal parts can be wiped down with a shammy while the wood can be dried by placing a fan on it.

By performing the proper Horsebox upkeep and maintenance on a regular basis you will always know the condition of it. This makes it more likely you will get to where you are going and back again successfully unless you have an unforeseen blowout. 

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Best Car for Towing a Horsebox

The best car  or pickup for towing a Horsebox

The best car for towing a Horsebox is a two wheel drive so the weight of the vehicle can be kept down which increases its towing capacity in most instances. What should be known is that with a regular driver’s license the maximum amount the vehicle and trailer can be is 3500 kg each to be legal on the road while towing a horsebox. For more information please click here for more answers to towing a trailer. We can also provide you with competitive quotes for horse trailer insurance and horsebox insuance

Why use a Car and not a Truck for Hauling a Horsebox?

Many farmers use their lorry for hauling the horsebox to and from events. The use of a car was not considered in the past, but that has changed with the new breed of crossover vehicles. Many vehicles like the Mercedes GLS and G-Class vehicles that can handle a 3500 kg towing load and have additional equipment that makes hauling a horsebox easier. This includes locking differentials and a trailer stability system that detects any instability of the trailer like fishtailing and can make corrective adjustments to bring the horsebox back into control with the tow vehicle.

For many the crossover vehicles are also more luxurious and comfortable to ride in. For that reason many like to use an Audi Q7 for towing their horsebox. Not only does it have a towing capacity of 3500 kg, but comes equipped with trailer assist system. This systems monitors the angle of the trailer to the vehicle so the driver can back up the horsebox and let the system handle the steering so a successful position is accomplished every time.

The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series has a towing capacity of 3500 kg along with many safety features including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert system along with a rear camera to assist in reversing the trailer into a stall. A tow bar and trailer braking system has to be added after it is purchased if the vehicle is new so hooking up the horsebox is possible.

The Nissan Patrol is another vehicle that has a towing capacity of 3500 kg. The Y61 model line is the preferred choice by many countries for military use. There is computer assisted braking along with stability control system to help the driver tin maintain control of the vehicle at all times. There is also an Intelligent rear view mirror to assist in reversing the trailer along with tire pressure monitoring to help alert the driver of an unsafe condition if one is present.

Why use a Car and not a Truck for Hauling a Horsebox?

Picking the right car for towing your horsebox is generally dependent in the size of your horsebox. To help keep you safe, the vehicle used for towing should be the same size or larger than your horsebox in terms of length, width and weight. This will help the driver in maintaining control of not only the tow vehicle, but the horsebox. This will help keep the passengers safe and help in reducing the cost of the insurance to cover both the horsebox and the tow vehicle.

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What Insurance is Needed for Towing

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? Select the start quote option and complete a simple online form. Within minutes you will receive multiple insurance quotes for horse trailer or horsebox insurance. 

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Safety Check List for Trailers

Safety Check List for Trailers

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.

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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. 

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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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Taking Care of a Horse with Arthritis

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.

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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. Whichever you decide make sure to take out horsebox insurance. We can help you by comparing the cost against multiple brokers. Get started by selecting the Get Quotes button below.

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  • 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.

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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 keep your horse healthy. 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.

Trailer Driving Tips

Trailer Driving Advice

Trailer Driving Advice

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. If you decide a horsebox is a better option we can also provide you with comparartive quotes for horsebox insurance uk.

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

Before Hitching

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.

Rear View Mirror

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.

Gears

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.

Snaking

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.

Warning Triangles

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

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.

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