Tips on buying a used horsebox

These tips on buying a used horsebox can help you get the most of your investment

Last updated: March 2024  | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Tips on buying a used horsebox

These tips on buying a used horsebox can help you get the most of your investment. This includes going with your instincts when you are inspecting the used horsebox. In general, look for things that are out of place like touch up paint or areas that looks like a recent repair. The market for second hand horseboxes is competitive as horseboxes are in general high quality trailers, and they make a perfect conversion project into a catering trailer, camper trailer or even a mobile wine bar. If you are working to a tight budget, take into account the cost of horsebox insurance will increase the larger the horsebox.

How do I make sure the horsebox is not stolen?

Unlike horse trailers that are not registered with the department of transportation, a horsebox has to be since it is a self propelled vehicle like other trucks. It should also have a V5C log book that contains the registration plate number, vehicle type, chassis number, colour and engine size. You should also check the vehicle’s ID numbers with a service like HPI which will provide you with the history of the vehicle and its value. If all the paperwork is not in order, be sceptical.

Can I legally operate the horsebox?

For the most part, anyone who has a driving licence can operate a horsebox that has a maximum gross weight of 3.5 tonnes when fully loaded. If the gross weight is higher than that, then a special driving licence might be required.

Be careful when it comes to the weight. Gross weight of a horsebox includes the weight of the vehicle, the horses along with the fuel, supplies and passengers. If the seller is not sure of the unladen weight then during your test drive stop by weighbridge where it can be weighed. You will also receive a ticket of its weight in writing.

The weight of a horse lorry advertised as a 3.5 tonne vehicle should be close to 1200 to 1500 kg. This makes it possible to load several horses and the supplies. If the unladen weight is close to 3.5 tonnes, then it is in reality a 5.5 tonne horsebox.

What to look for when inspecting the horsebox

When buying a Horsebox, there are two distinct areas an inspection should be conducted. One is the drivability of the horsebox, with the second the area the horses will be located while being transported. 

Unless you are mechanically inclined, a mechanic should inspect the horsebox’s engine, drive train, frame, suspension and brakes to make sure they are in proper working order. There should also be a horsebox maintenance record that contains the information when the oil was changed and a list of repairs. The amount of rust on the body and frame should be noted, along with any fluids that are leaking.

The area where the horses will be located is easier to inspect. The flooring under the mates has to be looked at. Look for rust if it is metal or rotten boards if it is wood. Also look for moisture from the roof downwards, including around the windows. Moisture will rot wood and rust most metals. All these will give you an indication how owner maintained the horsebox.

Make sure all the lights work and the wires are not exposed which could hurt the horses.


The ramps used to load the horses should also be looked at to make sure they are sound and can handle the weight of a horse.

Your instincts are your best guide when using tips on buying a used horsebox. The impression when you first see it should be kept in mind when making your decision. The way it drove during the test drive is another area that should weigh heaving on whether you will make the purchase or not. Most important, take your time and do not make a hurried decision.  Make sure your car is capable of towing the horsebox if buying a trailer.

Get insured

Before leaving home, make sure that you have the correct Horsebox Insurance or Trailer Insurance. Make sure you’re covered this summer by getting multiple quotes from a panel of insurance specialists. Simply click the quote button below.

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  • Discounts for limited mileage
  • Horsebox Insurance for vans or lorries from one to six + stalls
  • Discounts for security / immobilisers
  • Private Car NCB acceptable
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