What should be considered when buying a horse transporter? (2023)

There are a few things to consider when investing in a horsebox. Whether you have owned or groomed horses for years or are new to the game, there is a lot of information to consider before investing. The world of horse stalls can be a bit confusing even for the experienced rider or horse owner.

Your horse's health and safety should come first, not only in the stable and with veterinary care, but also during travel. To ensure your equine friend is properly cared for, we've put together a guide covering all the key considerations when buying a horsebox, from pricing, servicing and maintenance to licensing requirements and insurance. Hopefully it will demystify some of the questions you have about all things horse boxing.

There are two types of horsebox bodies - alcoves and conversions. In the case of alcove horse transporters, the body was specially built onto the vehicle chassis. They often use stronger, better materials, are relatively light, and tend to be the more expensive of the two types.

What should be considered when buying a horse transporter? (1)

Conversions include the equipping and conversion of a utility truck for use as a horse transporter. Included are windows, partitions, a partition, cooking facilities, and sometimes accommodation spaces and showers. This is the cheaper option and if done right, it does the job. How luxurious the accommodation is affects the price.

Brand new horseboxes are a big investment and the prices can seem quite daunting at first. It pays to think about how much benefit you'll get from your purchase, how many horses you'll need to transport, and what amenities you want included.

Horse transport in its simplest form is available as a horse trailer for towing, primarily using a 4WD vehicle, and is the cheapest option. Brand new models start at around £5,5000 excluding VAT for basic setups and range up to the £15,000 mark for a larger top of the range model. The advantage of a horse trailer is that it offers the flexibility of not needing an entire vehicle to transport your horse. These are great solutions for people who only occasionally transport their horse for leisure purposes.

Small and large vehicles are available in the horse transport category, ranging from basic to luxury vehicles with living quarters and space to transport your horse. Smaller models are often available as compact, easy to drive vehicles weighing around 3.5 - 5 tons. Brand new, you'll expect starting prices from around £27,000 excluding VAT up to £42,000 based mainly on whether accommodation is included.

The largest horseboxes look more like big lorries and cost from £65,000+VAT to over £750,000. These models are generally used by professional riders who regularly take their horses to competitions and by some non-professional horse owners, but they take their horses away for weekends at the beach or camping. They are often 7.5 tons and up and include a variety of luxury amenities such as double beds, tables, wardrobes and built-in closets, shower rooms/bathrooms and kitchen facilities. These are the top-of-the-line vehicles designed for longer periods of absence.

For those who do not need a horse box or horse trailer on a regular basis, buying second hand can be a more suitable and cost-effective option. Small horseboxes can be picked up from as little as £2,000 or from £5,000 for larger vehicles.

Horseboxes are similar to other vehicles and their value will decrease over time based on the vehicle's age and mileage as well as the condition in which they are found. Making sure you keep up the maintenance on your horsebox will go as far as resale value as possible. A few things to keep in mind to maximize your earnings when reselling your horse truck are:

  • Avoid rust, moisture stains or signs of rot
  • Check the tires for damage - it is advisable to replace them if they are not of high quality
  • Make sure there is no oil leakage and the check engine light does not come on when you start the ignition
  • Make sure the lighting for the horse and living areas is powered by a separate battery from the vehicle
  • Check all exterior lights, including the brake light, tail light, headlight, and turn signals
  • Make sure all hinges and springs on the ramp are in good condition and that it can be opened by one person

Because the cost of a horse truck is a large investment, especially for ones that don't need to be used regularly, finding creative ways to use your horse truck can help your investment go much further.

What should be considered when buying a horse transporter? (2)

Maintaining your horse truck is key to maintaining the safety of your vehicle.YOURis the government agency responsible for vehicle safety and environmental standards and conducts annual inspections to ensure that horseboxes meet minimum requirements for safety and environmental testing. In addition to annual testing, VOSA also conducts regular roadside inspections across the UK.

Should VOSA identify problems or hazards that may affect the environment, you must complete repairs before your vehicle can be MOT issued. In the case of serious defects, you must collect your vehicle from the inspection station. Regular checks of the wear-prone components should keep your vehicle in good shape, even during routine checks.

It is extremely important to know the payload capacity of your horsebox before you put it on the road. Payload is the weight of your horse or horses, people, fuel, water and tack that your vehicle can legally carry. You can find your vehicle's payload by taking it to a weighbridge and measuring to make sure it's empty to get an accurate reading. Alternatively, the manufacturer of your vehicle should be able to advise you of the payload capacity of your horse trailer, provided no changes have been made since purchase. The easiest way to think of payload is the maximum weight of the cargo you can carry minus the weight of the vehicle.

The average payload of a 3.5 ton horsebox is approximately 1,000 kg. However, it is always advisable to confirm the payload of each vehicle to avoid overloading your horsebox.

The weight of an average horse is around 600kg, which means if you have a 3.5 ton horsebox you can only transport one horse in addition to bridle, fuel, water and fellow passengers. If you want to transport more than one horse, you will most likely need to use a larger vehicle.

To maximize your payload, consider whether you need built-ins such as sinks, beds, kitchen facilities, or large storage areas. These items can greatly reduce the weight you can use for essential items and may not be necessary if you travel short distances or don't need overnight stays away from home.

It is important to always be aware and not to exceed the payload capacity of your horsebox to ensure the safety of your horse.

If you use your horse box for commercial purposes, it counts as a commercial vehicle. So if you're using it to transport for significant sources of income, it's commercial. You are obliged to complyEU driving time regulationif you use your vehicle for commercial purposes and it weighs more than 3.5 tons. These regulations provide that:

  • You are not allowed to drive more than 56 hours per week
  • Don't drive more than 9 hours a day, although this can be stretched to 10 hours two days a week
  • Do not drive more than 90 hours in two consecutive weeks

If you use your horse transporter commercially, there are also different approval requirements than if you use it purely for leisure or hobbies.

What should be considered when buying a horse transporter? (3)

When it comes to permit requirements for horse owners, it can seem a little more complicated than it needs to be. There are two license categories for horse transport, the driver's license and the driver's license.

A driver's license is for those who need to transport horses for commercial purposes. If you qualify as a commercial business, you will need both an operator license and relevant CPC certification. However, a driver's license is required if you move horses for hobby or recreational purposes. To qualify for the driver's license, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Moving horses for hobby or leisure purposes only
  • A significant portion of your income is not generated from transportation
  • The horse transport is not part of the business
  • You do not rent your services to other hobbyists who need horse transportation

If you are eligible for a driving licence, you are then subject to normal vehicle registration requirements based on class and weight. To tow a trailer with a standard passenger car or 4WD you need a category B and E driving license that entitles you to tow a trailer with a mass of more than 750 kg and a combined vehicle and trailer weight of more than 3.5 tonnes to pull. In this driver's license category, you may not exceed a total weight of 7.5 tons.

A C1 driving license is required for vehicles over 3.5 to 7.5 tons. Drivers who passed their test after 1997 must pass a test before being allowed in this category. You can take a full category C exam, which automatically gives you a C1 license.

If you want to drive large horse transporters, you need a category C driver's license, which is mandatory for trucks. There are 4 different category C driving licenses and these depend on the weight and category of the vehicle you will be driving.

There are training courses for truck drivers, including those who drive horseboxes, but also those who choose to tow a horse trailer, may find the training beneficial as towing a trailer can be more difficult, especially if you have never done it before. The training helps ensure that your horse, pony, gelding/stallion or mare is safe and healthy on the way from A to B.

Special horse truck insurance is essential before you hit the road with your horse truck. You are transporting valuable cargo when using your horse truck, so it is important to create a safe environment for your driver, passengers and horse.

There are several options for your choice of horse truck insurance coverage, with most insurers/brokers offering roadside assistance and/or nationwide recovery of your horse(s) and horse truck, which can save you long delays on potentially dangerous stretches of road.

Equesure Roadside Assistance offers DEFRA registered horses recovery at a destination of your choice and your horse truck can be taken to another location of your choice (garage for repair or home/courtyard). You can also choose policies that cover people over the age of 25, which means someone else can drive your vehicle if you're unable.

Comprehensive coverage is the highest level of protection for your horsebox, giving you the most comprehensive coverage. It not only covers third-party payments in the event of legitimate claims, but also covers your vehicle in the event of damage. In addition, you are usually insured for accidents caused by your horse, e.g. B. kicks, as well as vandalism and repairs of windshields.

Third party, fire and theft policies cover you for any damage caused by your vehicle. You are also covered if your horsebox is stolen or in cases of arson or accidental fire, but you are not covered for damage caused to your own vehicle, either by yourself or an uninsured third party.

The simplest insurance on the market is third party only policies, but most insurers now refuse to offer this coverage as it is not in the customer's best interest not to have personal coverage. They only pay for damage to other vehicles if you are at fault. Your own vehicle is not insured in the event of a self-inflicted accident, theft or fire damage.

It is important to note that your horse transport insurance does not cover your horse and that an additional, specialized policy is required.

To ensure your equine friend is protected, request a quoteHorse truck insurancefrom Equesure today.

Related article:How to drive a horse truck safely

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