By: Tom Whittman
Horseboxes – what are they and how do I get a good one?
The joys of owning a horse are unparalleled. Whether you’re a trainer, rider, show jumper or simply a budding amateur with a love of caring for horses, the experience of owning a horse or pony is one unlike any other. But although the day-to-day process of going down to the stables and looking after our horses is a staple part of our weekly routines, keeping the foals or mares on location simply isn’t enough for some. From show-events to training excursions, taking our horses away from their daily habitat is often necessary to help get the most out of them. For those who face regular journeys away from the stables, paying for transport each time can be a costly experience. Investing in a horsebox or trailer of your own is a fantastic way of ensuring you and your horse travel in optimum safety and comfort without having to pay for the privilege of doing so each time. With the range of options available to horse owners vast however, understanding what choice to make can be a daunting experience. But with the right knowledge, horseboxes and trailers are a great way of taking transportation into your own hands.
So what are they?
The first hurdle many horse owners fall at is understanding exactly which option is right for them. The term horsebox is used very generally in some regions to describe commercial vehicles with built in storage for horses, as well as external trailers used for horse transportation. While the two both serve the same purpose, there are a number of distinct differences. For example, within an all-in-one horsebox, owners often have the ability to combine both horse transport and small living quarters without the need to worry about towing. With trailers, owners are offered versatility in the form of not having to drive around in an expensive commercial vehicle that is often very pricy to run.
What is right for me?
Horsebox- Depending on what side of the Atlantic Ocean you reside, an all-in-one horsebox might sometimes be referred to as a trailer. But for however you wish to describe it, the main benefit of all-in-one horseboxes is the lack of need to worry about towing anything. These huge vehicles will offer ample space to you and your horse and offer a hassle-free of getting them from point A to point B.
Advantages of a Horsebox
– Easier to drive and negotiate than towing a trailer
– Most of these horseboxes usually allow for a built in living compartment
– More space for you and your horse
Disadvantages of a Horsebox
– Cost of purchasing and maintenance is a lot more expensive than tow-trailers
– If you break down, both you and your horse are stranded
– Extremely cumbersome – where as a 4×4/SUV can be detached from a trailer and used for other purposes, you’re not going to be able to pop into town with your horsebox.
Horse trailer- Generally more popular in Europe than North America and Canada, horse trailers offer a great low-cost and versatile alternative to all-in-one horseboxes. Although you must be mindful of not exceeding your vehicle’s MAM (maximum authorised mass), trailers allow you to transport your horse around the country without having to invest in another vehicle you might not be able to afford/upkeep.
Advantages of a Trailer
– Trailers require a fraction of the maintenance costs that come with an all-in-one horsebox
– Easily towed by most 4x4s/SUVs you can travel in the comfort of your everyday vehicle to your destination
– Easy to clean and maintain
Disadvantages of a Trailer
– Towing a trailer isn’t for everyone and if you’re not confident doing so, it can be dangerous
– They usually offer your horse less space than horseboxes
– If your vehicle isn’t powerful enough to tow one, you’ll have to invest in another which might reduce the cost-efficiency considerably
Should I purchase new or second hand?
Given the financial outlay of owning a horse, many will baulk at the prospect of buying a horsebox or trailer brand new. Yet with such precious cargo, the prospect of sourcing one second hand can leave some owners spooked. But with the right knowledge and a common sense approach, buying a second hand horse box doesn’t have to be an unnecessary chore. Whether you’re looking for a horse box or trailer, always be sure to acquire an engineer’s report before you buy. While you might possess a base knowledge of mechanics, the size of the investment you’re about to make requires a far deeper understanding. Also, be vigilant when doing your own checks. Given the force that your horse will put the partitions of the horsebox under, don’t be afraid to give them a real shake when looking inside.
What’s the verdict?
Both horseboxes and trailers offer fantastic solutions to horse owners of all requirements. If you spend a lot of time on the road with your horse and you have the resources to do so, investing in an all-in-one horsebox could be the right solution for you. Alternatively, if you possess a slightly more modest budget and are looking for versatility from your vehicle, a trailer could prove the better option. Whatever your choice, be cautious during the buying process, cut your cloth accordingly and make sure you have fun on the road with your horse!
This article was written by Adrian Flux, one of the UK’s leading specialist insurance firms. With over 35 years of experience, Adrian Flux offers a comprehensive range of insurance policies of all varieties, including expert horsebox insurance cover.