The truck, or horse box, is the favored method of those who travel a lot and cover long distances carrying five or six horses. It is easier driving than towing a trailer, makes a less tiring journey for the horses, can provide accommodation for grooms and riders, and storage space for tack and feed.
The ownership of a horse box involves tying up a good deal of capital in the vehicle and the necessity of finding somewhere to park it. Running costs are high, but may of course be offset where the vehicle can also be used as a farm vehicle or for other commercial transport tasks.
A wide range of horse boxes is manufactured to provide for those who require to move one or two horses in comfort regularly, right up to those who are continually on the move, over long periods, with eight or nine horses.
At the top end of the range are vehicles over 7.5 tons laden weight. The drivers of these vehicles must hold Heavy Goods Vehicles driver’s license and the vehicles must be fitted with actinography. Obtaining an HGV license is a demanding and expensive task. To stand a reasonable chance of passing the test it is necessary to attend a professionally run course, the fees for which are currently some hundreds of pounds. The fee for taking the test is also high, and should a candidate fail he or she is required to pay the full fee again at any subsequent sitting iii the test.
The vehicles are very expensive but they do provide eve!),modern convenience for both the horses and their attendants. They can be fitted with sleeping accommodations for up to six people, a kitchen, all toilet facilities, running hot water, a refrigerator, television, etc.
Maintenance costs are also high, including fuel, insurance, repairs, and servicing. This must however be put against the cost of hotel hills and the other inconveniences of staff being accommodated away from their horses.
It is not, however, necessary to go to these lengths with a horsebox. A two-horse box of fewer than 3.5 tons laden weight can be driven by a person over seventeen years of age who holds a license to drive a car. This vehicle requires no tachograph. Horseboxes that have an unladen weight of 1,525kg (30cwt) or more must be inspected annually at a Department of Transport vehicle testing station.
This inspection includes a test of the brakes, chassis, steering, and other vital areas of the vehicle. It is known as ‘plating’ because a plate is issued showing the weight of the car together with individual permitted axle weights. This plate must be fitted to the car, usually to the inside of the passenger door.
Horseboxes are usually built on a standard vehicle chassis with the coachwork designed by a specialist horsebox builder. The yare is usually constructed of wood or aluminum alloy, or a combination of the two. Petrol or diesel models are available. The cabs are often very comfortable and, apart from the overall size of the vehicle, driving them usually presents no difficulties to the average, competent motor car driver.
See more: Horse Reins