Let’s face it, no one wants to break down and certainly nobody plans to, especially not with horses on board. There are a few things you can do before you head out in your lorry or with your trailer to make the process a whole lot smoother if you’re unlucky enough to find yourself and your four-legged friends at the roadside…
- Have an equine specific breakdown policy. Why? Because it will recover you, your vehicle and your horses. Standard breakdown policies will not recover your horses, what a horrible thought…
- You will most certainly need your breakdown cover if you suffer from a puncture or blow out on a journey as changing a wheel on a horsebox at the side of a road is not an easy task without the right equipment. To help yourself and enable the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible, we would recommend carrying a spare wheel and tyre when you travel. Make sure that you regularly check its condition as there can be nothing worse than a spare wheel with a flat tyre when you need it in an emergency as well as ensuring you know where your locking wheel nut is (if your horsebox is fitted with them).
- Download the what3words app. This can really help the breakdown company locate you as quickly as possible. We are all too familiar with the narrow, winding lanes we must use to reach our favourite equestrian centres, but this app can help to pinpoint your exact location for someone less familiar to find you and your vehicle.
- Always keep a fully charged power bank in the lorry or your car for your phone – you never know when you might need it. Regardless of the chances of breaking down whilst travelling to or from, you want to be able to take those all-important photos and video of your horse whilst you’re out and about.
- Store a hi-vis tabard under the driver’s seat, you’ll be grateful if you have to get out in the dark or leave your vehicle for a safe place. On this, keep some extra layers somewhere dry. You might not feel the cold leaving the yard having run around to get everything ready in time, but it might catch up with you if you’re forced to stop still.
- Top up your food and drink supply in your lorry (those with a long shelf life are a good idea so you don’t have to stock up as often). Make sure to add supplies into the car too if you’re taking a trailer out. On a similar note, always leave the yard with plenty of extra hay and water for the horses you have on board. We never like to imagine the idea of us waiting at the roadside for a rescue, but it may happen and your horses will be hungry.
- Either keep a printed copy of the breakdown policy booklet in your lorry permanently or write the breakdown phone number somewhere easily accessible in your vehicle. It’s all well and good having it saved in your phone, but if your phone runs out of battery (in absence of point 4) you can then borrow someone else’s phone to call your rescue party.