Horse Transportation Vehicles: A History

It’s easy to think that overland horse transportation vehicles have been around forever, but prior to the advent of the motor vehicle, there was little reason for them due to the fact that, as horses were the main form of transport, it would make no difference to journey times!

There were, however circumstances where equine transport was necessary and this was how horse transportation vehicles were born.   

Injured Horse Transportation

The first reason was for the transportation of injured horses. These ‘horse ambulances’ were used by city fire departments and are thought to be the first ever use of horse transportation vehicles.

Horses were extremely important assets to the fire department and were worth looking after. As horse injuries were very common in city accidents, they needed a way to quickly transport these injured beasts back to the station vet for treatment. The horse-drawn horse trailers were open-topped and made of wooden slats – a far cry from the state-of-the-art equipment that we enjoy today!

First Ever Horse Shipment

In a similar vein, it is thought that the first ever horse to be shipped by a horse transportation vehicle was the legendary Eclipse. This thoroughbred racehorse had such a successful racing career and subsequent career at stud that it is thought that over 95% of today’s thoroughbred racehorses share his genes.

Back in 1771, Eclipse’s age was beginning to catch up with him, therefore, when his owner Dennis O’Kelly moved his stud to Edgeware, a ‘purpose-built’ horse-drawn carriage was constructed to transport him to his new home. In doing so, he set yet another precedent in his illustrious life.

Racehorse Transportation

Word spreads fast in the horseracing industry and before long, the use of horse transportation vehicles to bring racehorses to meetings was a common occurrence in order to ensure they begin the race in the best possible condition. The first known case was the transportation of a thoroughbred named Sovereign to none other than Newmarket Racecourse – our hometown.

We are proud to be leading the way into the future of horse transportation in the same place that it all began!

Horse Transportation Vehicles today

Over the years, horse transportation vehicles have developed to no end and nowadays the horseboxes available are nothing short of amazing.

The NRT International fleet consists of state-of-the-art vehicles that feature the very latest in design and technology.  Apart from the fact that they are now driven by top-class Mercedes motors, rather than pulled by horses, there is a whole host of vital finishing touches included.

Rubber ramp and floor coverings ensure steady footing, strengthened panels and floors provide the best protection, and thoughtfully positioned storage racks and ventilation takes into account a groom’s convenience and a horse’s safety.

If you would like to find out more about modern equine transport and our fleet of horse transportation vehicles, click here or give us a call on give us a call on 01638 663155.

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