Buying a second hand horsebox?
The buying of a horsebox is a major investment and one that should be protected with a good level horsebox insurance. Its only purpose is to transport horses in a safe many from one location to another. The vehicle should be large enough to transport not only the horses, but the tack and in many cases the feed the horses will need at their destination. Going too large or small can lead to problems in the future that might be costly.
What size or weight of horsebox is needed?
The size of the horsebox you need is dependent on the maximum number of horses you will be transporting at one time. For three or more horses a 7.5 tonne horsebox is required which most often comes with three stalls and room for the tack and supplies such as feed. A smaller 3.5 tonne would be sufficient for a smaller operation that can carry one to two horses.
The cost of a horse is dependent on a variety of factors including its age, condition and mileage on it. The drive train is the most important part. The maintenance log will indicate if the vehicle was taken care of properly.
There are also two types of horseboxes, which include purpose built and conversions. The conversions are lower in price, but its quality is dependent on the person or group that did the conversion. The purpose built horsebox is specifically made to transport horses and generally better at the task, but will cost more.
The condition of the body is important. Rust and age will weaken the structural integrity of the walls and most importantly the floor. Not only can an old, worn body be unsightly, but it can also spook the horses when they feel the floor give under the pressure of their weight.
Can you drive the horsebox?
For operators that passed their driving test before January 1997 can operate a vehicle that weighs up to 7.5 tonne. If the driving test was taken after January 1997, a 3.5 tonne horsebox is the biggest that can legally be allowed to drive with a standard B category driving licence. A 3.5 tonne 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 it, there are a few important and easy things to look for. The flooring in the horse area must be solid and free of defects, Many horseboxes have a floor that is made out of plywood or wooden planks with rubber matting on top. The condition of the wood is critical, so pull back the rubber mate and make sure it is still solid.
Some of the more expensive horseboxes will have floors that are made from aluminium with rubber matting on top. This is generally lighter in weight, but over time can crack at the welds as the body flexes. Carry out a good investigation should reveal if the horsebox has been well maintained and a sound investment.
Once the vehicle is purchased, the owner must also take out insurance. This can be categorized as social and domestic if you are only transporting your horses. If you plan to transport horses for a fee, then a commercial hire for reward insurance policy will be required. This is further explained on the UK government website guidance for horsebox and trailer owners.