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The annual Horsebox Safety Week sponsored by NFU Mutual took place in early April (2016), focusing primarily on transport vehicles and proper maintenance. Every year, the focus of the safety week is different, but things took a more serious tone this year in light of a number of accidents directly related to HGV horseboxes and trailers in need of repair.

The event organisers addressed a number of related topics, including:

One of the themes heard continually throughout the week is the fact that many horse owners invest a lot of money and effort in their animals and competition wardrobes but completely ignore their equipment. Some of this could be due to simple ignorance; some of it could be due to the misplaced belief that transport vehicles do not break down that often because they don’t get as much use as regular cars. At any rate, horse owners should be diligent about maintaining their equipment.

According to event organisers, tyres and floorboards are the biggest issues for both trailers and HGV horseboxes. Improperly inflated tyres waste fuel at the very least, yet they can also result in blowouts that further lead to dangerous accidents. As for floorboards, any dry rot or weakening of any kind can be hazardous to horses, even if it is not visible to the naked eye.

We reported on a story not too long ago involving a horse whose leg broke through the floor of the horsebox trailer despite the fact that the trailer had recently passed a routine inspection. Thankfully, the animal was not seriously injured in the accident. Still, the incident illustrated how easily things can happen when floorboards are not maintained.

Don’t Forget Licencing Issues

We hope all of the horse owners who read our blog take the steps necessary to make sure their equipment is safe at all times. Our priority as a training company is on something different: licencing issues. Horse owners need to pay attention to regulations in order to make sure they are properly licenced to tow.

Licencing requirements in the UK are determined by the size and weight of the vehicles being used. Unfortunately, many trailer owners do not realise they need a special entitlement until after they are pulled over by police. Please take the time to check with the DVLA to find out if an entitlement is necessary in your case. As an alternative, you can also call and speak to one of our training specialists.

If you do need an entitlement, we offer comprehensive training for both horsebox trailers and HGV horseboxes. Our training is convenient, affordable and ongoing, so we can get you trained in time for the upcoming season. Even if you don’t need a special entitlement, we would still recommend training regardless. It never hurts to learn all you can about the safe transport of horses – both for yourself and your animals.

Sources:

Horse & Hound – http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/focus-rotten-floors-ramps-horsebox-safety-week-531440

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