Despite the cold winter, snow and rain, the show season is once upon us. Many of us will be transporting our horses and ponies for all different reasons, but make sure you are “fit to transport” being “safe and legal”
As many people I talk to are discovering, it’s becoming more and more difficult for horse owners to justify running their own horsebox let alone finding somewhere to park it! With diesel prices on the rise again, annual service and MOT costs to consider and road tax for a vehicle that may only be used sparingly, more people are looking to trailers to move their horses. Although the thought of towing a horse trailer may appear daunting, it can be a lot easier than you think.
The first thing to consider is the weight of the trailer and the horses you’ll be transporting. Firstly, you need to be sure that your own vehicle can tow that weight and secondly, you need to ensure you’ve got the right driving licence for towing that weight. To give you an idea of weight, our fleet of trailers at LOC Trailer Hire are all Ifor Williams 510 and 511 models, weighing around 1,000kgs.
Most vehicle handbooks will have towing details in the specifications section and this will tell you whether your vehicle’s suitable or not. If in any doubt, always refer to a dealer or the manufacturer, as it is vital that you don’t exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity. As a general rule of thumb, when people hire trailers from us we recommend towing them with a large engined car or 4X4, especially if the trailer is going to be towed off-road!
Next to think about is your driving licence. If you passed your test before January 1st 1997 you should have entitlement that allows you to tow the weights involved with a horse trailer. Otherwise, you may need to gain this entitlement through a trailer test. Check the categories on the back of your driving licence and refer to the DVLA website to be certain.
If you passed your driving test after 1997 you will now have to take you B + E driving test to tow your horse in a horse trailer.
In order to gain category B + E towing entitlement on your driving licence, you’ll need to pass a practical trailer towing test in addition to your normal driving test. You are eligible to take the towing (category E) test at the age of 17 and you must first hold your car (category B) driving licence.
The towing test, based on the HGV driving test, will take around an hour and includes an off-road section where you’ll be required to demonstrate your reversing skills and a controlled stop and the examiner will also ask you to hitch and unhitch the trailer for assessment.
So, to buy or to hire? Opinion is often divided as there are pros and cons to both options and if you do decide to buy will it be new or used? New trailers can cost well over £4,000 plus VAT and plus the extras that you decide to have fitted and a used trailer in good condition anything over £1,500 so the initial outlay can be substantial. However, just like buying a used car it is a case of you get what you pay for so it’s worth setting aside as much as you can. You should be aware also that it is important to keep your trailer well maintained and serviced regularly so please bear those costs in mind when setting your budget and most importantly – check the flooring on second hand trailers along with its serial number and identity checks – Be very aware that horse trailers are often stolen and sold on again.
Many people choose to hire trailers as they prefer the flexibility of hiring over the initial outlay and ongoing maintenance costs entailed in buying one. We find that a lot of our customers simply don’t have the space to park a trailer all year round and so hiring one as and when they need to travel their horses is ideal. Whether you’re an occasional visitor to Pony Club events or jumping at shows every weekend, you should be able to find a trailer to hire that fits the bill. At LOC Trailer Hire we offer flexible hire periods, from just one day to six months and longer and all our trailers are the latest Ifor Williams models 510 & 511. If you have any questions about trailer hire or would like more information about our services, please feel free to contact LOC Trailer Hire on 01306 710100 or visitwww.locltd.com
We will be only too happy to help with any of your horse trailer queries and concerns.
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LOC Limited National and International Horse and Camelid Transport, Ministry Approved and Regulated
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5 Kettles Cottages | Trig Street | Beare Green | Surrey | RH5 4QF | UK
Choose LOC LTD for all of your horse transport services, trailer hire, passport applications, freight booking, import/export documentation, driver hire, nervous/naughty horse loading livery, flights and much much more.e trailers and the B+E driving Test