Des Payne, Safety Team Leader
It’s great seeing everyone involved in the equine industry to be able to move around with a bit more freedom. Whether it’s BHS Ride Out UK event to local or National qualifiers it is as important as ever to check your own form of equine transportation well in advanced of travelling your horse or pony.
Many of you do this without a second thought and make it part of your preparations weeks before to allow time for any professional work to be carried out. Unfortunately, some are unsure what to look for leading to many avoidable breakdowns or, even worse, injuries to their horse, themselves or other road users. Check what to look for.
Although I know what to look out for, I don’t have the technical ability to carry out a service on the working parts and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
What to do if you tow?
The National Towing Trailer Association (NTTA) offer free checks if you have a qualified engineer in your area. Research and word of mouth is a great way of finding local mechanics in your area. Ask them to check the floor, ramp, walls and partitions as these are not checked as part of your normal service. With horseboxes, no matter how large or small, ask them to check the horse compartment on your annual service.
What else can you do?
No matter what type of transportation you use, you would have been preparing your horse for that special day, so prepare yourself and check all your documents; driving licence, insurance and equine specific breakdown policies are all essential to have before your big trip.
Practise going out in your horse box or pulling your trailer to familiarise yourself again, even if it’s to judge width, pulling away, breaking. Of course, this will be different when adding weight so practise this without the horse first. Oh, and don’t forget the worst thing to practise, reversing that trailer. You can also do this from the comfort of your armchair with an online tool ‘reverse my trailer’.
We have many hints and tips on our website and if you would like one of our glovebox guides ‘Are you sure it’s safe for me to travel?’, please complete the online form.
Come and talk to us at the British Riding Clubs NAF Five Star Horse Trials Championships on Saturday 7 Aug 2021. The horsebox handyman, Barrington, will be present to share his experience and what to look out for. The BHS South West Wales team will also be at Carew Airfield Business Park in Pembrokeshire for a BHS Trailer Safety & Training Day on 14 August. Keep an eye out for more details.
Good luck with your event, show or fun ride, knowing you have allowed this extra time and preparation for your transportation means you can enjoy your day even more.