There is nothing quite like that feeling of getting out and about with your horse. It is a great way to add more variety to your routine and try some fun things you may not be able to do at home. But, to keep your horse happy travelling about for these adventures it is important to ensure your trailer or horsebox is safe and road worthy. Here are our top horsebox and trailer tips to keep you on the road.
Safety checks before you set off
There are several things you should check before your horse even steps onto your trailer or horsebox. Here are some things you should consider:
When was your trailer or horsebox last serviced? Just like your car, your trailer or box should be serviced at least once a year to make sure it is road worthy and repair any issues as soon as they arise. In the case of a horsebox, also ensure that it’s MOT or plating is in date.
Before any journey, always make sure you check your tyres. The tread should be at least 1.6mm and there should be no cracks in the sidewall, holes, or punctures. These checks are even more important to do if your trailer or horsebox has been standing for a period of time. If you are towing, also check the tyres on your vehicle too making sure you double check the pressure as improper or uneven tyre pressure can cause issues.
Make sure all lights and indicators are working before setting off. Ask someone to help you to check the brake lights too.
Check that you have the proper insurance in place before you set off. If you are towing, some car-specific policies may provide third-party cover, but likely won’t include theft or damage to your trailer. At KBIS we have a number of comprehensive Horsebox and Trailer insurance policies available that cover accidental damage, fire and theft. Additionally, we also offer Breakdown cover for Horseboxes and Trailers at competitive prices. Before you head out with your horse, be sure to check that your Breakdown policy includes recovery of your horse(s) if you are unlucky enough to breakdown with them on board.
Some standard policies will include the recovery of the vehicle but not the horse(s) so it’s vital that you clarify this beforehand to avoid any nasty surprises when it comes to needing to use the cover. KBIS Breakdown cover, which starts from £156.53 for Horseboxes, gives you complete piece of mind that wherever and whenever you breakdown, your horses, your vehicle and you will be recovered to a safe destination of your choice as quickly as possible. Trailer Breakdown costs just £132.08 and includes cover for the towing vehicle, even when you are not towing, so this means you only need one policy for all of your Breakdown needs.
5. Check your levels
Towing or travelling horses puts extra stress on your vehicle so it is very important to check your levels before setting off. Check engine oil, brake fluid and wiper fluid before each journey with your trailer or horsebox.
Travelling your horse safely
Once you have carried out all your safety checks and deemed your horsebox or trailer good to go, it is time to consider the safety measures for your equine friend.
1. Travel on the right
If you are travelling your horse alone, put them on the right if you have a forward or rear facing horsebox or trailer, as this allows for the camber of the road. When you travel with two horses at once, always put the heaviest one on the right.
2. Boot up
It is a good idea to keep your horse’s legs protected from knocks and bangs when travelling. You can use travel boots, which provide the maximum amount of protection as they contain padding and cover around three quarters of their legs, or bandages, which are much more flexible but only protect the lower part of the leg. If you choose to bandage, make sure you don’t wrap too tightly, they should be snug and not slip, but not so tight that they cut off the circulation.
3. Use a leather headcollar
Always travel your horse in a leather headcollar. Leather will break under pressure and can be easily cut if needed. You can also get options with padding to alleviate points on your horse’s head and offer extra protection from injuries.
4. Keep an emergency contact kit
Create an emergency contact kit for your towing vehicle or horsebox in case of an incident. Put your identification inside, your breakdown information, emergency contact details for you and your horse, vet’s details and the information of any friends or family members that can help.
5. Pack plenty of water
Pack plenty of water for your travels and bear in mind that the water will likely be used for more than just drinking. There may be times where you need to cool off a hot horse and not all locations will have access to running water. Pack extra buckets, sponges, and scrapers for washing too.
If you are travelling for a long period, either offer horses water every four hours or every stop, whichever comes first. Ideally, the water should be from home as not all horses will drink unfamiliar water.
6. Provide forage
Ensure your horse has access to forage when they travel as not only does it keep them busy whilst on the road, but it also keeps their digestive system functioning properly. If your horse has respiratory issues, soak the hay first as this will mean there’s less dust to blow around and will help to keep them hydrated.
Where hay is great for travelling, avoid grain both before a trip or during one. Travelling can be quite stressful and when combined with grain it can put them at an increased risk of gastric ulcers.
Emergency items for your trailer or horsebox
Whenever you head out with your horse, it is a good idea to have the following items on board just in case:
- Spare tyre
- Tyre iron (don’t rely on the one you have for your car; they may not be the same)
- Emergency triangles
- Reflective tabard
- Duct tape
- Equine and human first aid kits
- Buckets and sponges
- Spare headcollar and lead rope
- Extra hay
Those are our top Horsebox and Trailer safety tips to keep you safe and happy on your travels. Looking for more advice on travelling with your horse? Learn how to load a horse in our dedicated guide.