Transporting horses is a very delicate procedure that we would always recommend is left to the professionals, however, we appreciate that this is not always possible. For this reason, we’ve put together a few horsebox towing tips to ensure that your journey goes as smoothly as possible.
There is a lot of room for error when transporting horses and, without solid preparation, what might initially seem like a straightforward job can very quickly turn into a catastrophe. Read the below list of horsebox towing tips that everyone should know before setting off.
1. Check your Licence – are you legal?
New laws came into place on 1st January 1997 which restrict what you can tow under a normal driving licence. These new rules mean that you may need to take an additional test to tow a horsebox otherwise you will be driving illegally.
Make sure you check the rules before even thinking about transporting horses! You can read the Government guidelines here.
2. Check your Vehicle
Transporting horses in a horsebox can put a huge amount of extra strain on your vehicle so make sure you check that it is up to the task.
Extra weight can make stopping more of a challenge – are your brakes in good order?
Getting up even the smallest hill can be a huge amount of work and engines can easily overheat – how is your radiator?
What goes up must come down and gears play an extremely important part in ensuring you come down gently by assisting with braking – how is your transmission?
One of the biggest causes of trailer sway is incorrect tyre pressure – is there the right amount of air in your tyres?
3. Check your Connections
Make sure the electrics are properly connected and that the cables have enough slack to corner, but not so much that they scrape on the ground. Always ask someone to check that your lights are operating correctly before setting off.
4. Is your Horse Happy?
Number four in our list of horsebox towing tips is to remember that a happy horse is a comfortable horse! It is important to ensure that your horse is used to the horsebox and feels comfortable in and around it.
Spend some time in the lead up to your journey introducing your horse to the trailer so that it becomes familiar. Try some practice runs loading and unloading and don’t rush the horse, the last thing you need is for the animal to associate the horsebox with any kind of stress.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
Towing a horsebox is by no means an easy task! Jumping straight in without any practice is sure to end badly. Dimensions are wider, turning circles are bigger and visibility is restricted so it is a good idea to go for a few practice runs until you feel confident.
Ideally find a large car park or field where you can practice reversing and manoeuvring. Also, it is a good idea to go out on a few short journeys with an empty trailer to get used to driving on the road.
6. Positive Preparation…
You should always expect the unexpected and make sure you are fully prepared so that a minor hiccup does not become a nightmare.
Do you have the necessary breakdown cover? Do you have all the important contact numbers that you might need in the case of an emergency? Do you have high-vis clothing and a warning triangle?
7. Leave in Plenty of Time
It is extremely important to perform checks before you leave and at regular intervals throughout your journey. With this in mind, make sure you leave in plenty of time to ensure that these checks can be performed safely and adequately.
Take plenty of feed, bring tools for dealing with manure and urine, make sure windows are open and that you have rugs for warmth, if required.
8. Safety, Safety, Safety!
The next in our list of horsebox towing tips is quite simply: BE SAFE! By far the most important aspect of any horse transportation is acting safely, considerately and responsibly while on the road.
When setting off don’t roll back, move away slowly and smoothly, checking and double-checking for hazards. Make full use of your mirrors, fitting mirror extensions to maximise visibility.
The horsebox will add significant width to your vehicle – are you positioned a safe distance from the curb, but safely within the white line?
The horsebox will also add significant length to your vehicle – are you allowing a wide enough turning circle when negotiating sharp corners and junctions?
The horsebox will add significant weight to your vehicle – are you allowing sufficient stopping distances? (These will be at least double the normal distance).
The horsebox will restrict your rear view making reversing a challenge – have you left enough room to pull out when giving way behind a parked car or other obstruction?
Towing speed limits are 10mph slower than usual – have you left enough space in front of you for overtaking vehicles to tuck in safely?
9. If in Doubt – Leave it to the Professionals
As mentioned above, horse transportation is a very delicate procedure, so after reading our horsebox towing tips, if there is still any doubt at all in your mind, we would strongly recommend calling the professionals. Is it worth risking your safety, your horse’s safety and the safety of other road users?
NRT has been in the business for over 30 years and in that time our team has amassed a wealth of experience in all aspects of transporting horses. Whether it’s a few miles down the road, or to the other side of the world, we can help by providing a safe, comfortable and hassle-free solution.
Why not give us a call on 01638 663155 to find out how we can help? Alternatively, click here to find out more about us.