Category Archives for "Horse Trailers"

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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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.

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.