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Which horse box?

15 replies

LadyAshley · 10/05/2016 20:43

We want to upgrade from a trailer to lorry. I am rubbish at hitching, unhitching and reversing the trailer and our vehicle won't pull the weight.

Any recommendations, please, for small(ish) horses boxes? Needs payload for two 16hh horses, three adults, and stuff!

Just for days out locally. Most of the time it would be one horse, but need capacity for friends/yardmates.

Also where to buy? Am stressing.

OP posts:
britnay · 11/05/2016 08:27

Honestly, you'll find it very difficult to find a 3.5t box that will legally (and therefore safely) take two 16hh horses, three adults and associated stuff. You'd be better off having two adults and stuff in a separate car to make sure that the weights are ok.
How much do your horses weigh? You may need to take them to an equine weighbridge to get them accurately weighed. How much does the person who will be driving weigh? You'll then need to think about any extra things that will add to the vehicle weight, such as having enough diesel in the tank to get to your event and back. Add these together and these should be your absolute minimum when looking at potential vehicle payload.
I would also be sure to get the vehicle weighed at a weighbridge when it is unladen, just so that you can confirm how much weigh you will have left before you get to the 3.5t

Another thing, I would never get a side unloading lorry. Too dangerous in the event of an accident involving lorry tipping over. Worst case, it land on the ramp side and you can't get horse out. Best case it lands away from horse side and horse can be got to (but won't be getting out that way).

frostyfingers · 11/05/2016 09:41

Britnay is absolutely right - do not believe any of the ads which say a 3.5 ton can take 2 horses. They often advertise as being stalled for 2 which is fine but does not mean you can actually carry 2 full size horses legally. You might get away with a 4.5 ton but it depends on what you're plans are. If you're only doing day trips then you won't need much in the way of living and the associated "stuff" and may find what is often called a hunting lorry, ie one with no living but you'd be surprised once you start actually listing what you take how much it all adds up. Water, tack, hay, your kit etc etc.

We looked at smaller lorries, just for carrying one horse and occasionally 2 and decided that a 7.5 was the way to go. No weight worries at all. The smaller lorries can also work out more expensive as you can drive them on an ordinary licence, if your test was before 2007 (I think) then you can drive up to 7.5t without an extra test, but after that you need to take a lorry test.

Go to a local event, poke around the lorry park - just let people know what you're doing first - and have a look at sizes and styles, then find a dealer who has lots in stock where you can do the same in more detail and possibly drive a couple and then start looking for one to buy.

LadyAshley · 11/05/2016 13:05

Thanks. I had discounted the 3.5 tonne ones for all the reasons you've both given.

I live miles from any dealers , so can't really browse in the flesh. Will need to try yo identify possibility and travel to view/check.

A lot of them have big mileages, I see, how much is too much?!

OP posts:
LadyAshley · 11/05/2016 14:22

Looked at a 7.5 tonne one now.

Could anyone give a rough idea of insurance and other costs??

I am old, so passed my test well before 1997 Grin

OP posts:
Booboostwo · 11/05/2016 14:44

I have a 5.2 tonne which is brilliant for the occasional second horse and drives easily. They do come up for sale, it's a matter of keeping an eye on adverts and there are some dealers like Central England Horseboxes that might have something suitable.

Booboostwo · 11/05/2016 14:46

Another thing to keep in mind is that 7.5t are usually stalled 2-3 herringbone with a generous living, anything around 5-6t is stalled 2 usually forward facing with an adequate living, so it also depends how big a living area you need and if you'll want to take up your payload with fridge/hob/sink, etc.

LadyAshley · 11/05/2016 15:28

Don't need any living, will just be days out. Place for tack and place for changing. Everything completely basic as will soon be muddy anyway!

I like the look of a 5.2, but they are quite rare, it seems. And I am a bit scared about spending so much money, so need to be sure the seller is reputable.

7.5 seems so big! And I will need to drive a lot on small country roads.

OP posts:
frostyfingers · 11/05/2016 19:08

Ours (V reg) was about 240,000ks, costs around £300 to insure through SEIB (includes breakdown retrieval for horses, not just towing) and around £300 annually so far to get through MOT. These are rough guesses off the top of my head.

It costs more than a trailer obviously but our reason for changing was a) horse happier b) driver happier c)our tow car was getting worn out and it was cheaper to buy a lorry than replace the tow car......

Size wise it feels enormous when you start but actually it's a huge amount easier to drive than a trailer once you get the hang of it - we do narrow lanes and actually it's not too bad as oncoming traffic can generally see you coming and reverses and to reverse it's fine, the back end goes where you point it, unlike a trailer.

We went to Central England for our tyre kicking outing (although if there had been something we may have bought from them) but they were quite pricey. Ours eventually came through Dragon Driving website, mostly because it was quite local and we could get it checked out easily.

Tilt cab is a must, cut through not necessarily (ours doesn't, could instal camera), make sure it's light and well ventilated and the partitions are easy to operate - ideally with a full grille so horses can't snipe at each other. Check the ramp is well sprung, we had to get ours loosened a bit so that I could put it up on my own. Make sure the matting or whatever on the ramp is grippy, ours looked lovely but was lethal when wet so we have put some wooden battens across it which has worked a treat even if it looks a bit crappy!

It is fun, but scary too so don't be rushed.

Booboostwo · 11/05/2016 19:45

Sorry but tilt cab is no way necessary for a 5-6t and you'd struggle to find one. Cut through is essential for getting to the horses in an emergency, otherwise you need to step out of the vehicle and into the road.

LadyAshley · 11/05/2016 21:30

Thanks, all, that's really helpful.

I am not going to rush into it, it's a big decision and big money, so need to be sure it's right.

OP posts:
BaldricksWife · 12/05/2016 10:54

Always had older lorries for budgeting reasons but to be honest they have always been IMO much better built than the trendier new ones. Get underneath and check the floor thoroughly, you are going to probably find a bit of rust around the cab, I wouldn't worry about high mileage too much- all of mine have driven to the moon and back but keep going.
I currently have a 7.5t (they are soooo easy to drive), fabulous 'H' partitions for the horses, cracking living and we drive all over the country. Price? Less than 5k.
We found ours on Ebay and drove to check it out.
Whether you are a serious competitor or just want to tootle to some local events it is great to have somewhere to brew a cup of tea and store your clutter- you will wonder how you ever coped without- good luck!

britnay · 12/05/2016 11:50

Even 7.5t ones can be easily overweight, especially if they are older and have a kitted out living area. Whatever you buy, please make sure that you know its unladen weight (from a weight ticket, I wouldn't trust what someone says).

Booboostwo · 12/05/2016 13:30

What britnay said. Older conversions using heavier materials and adding a lot of living can bring a 7.5t to a lower payload than a 3.5t. Always check a weight bridge certificate or better still weigh the lorry yourself.

BaldricksWife · 12/05/2016 13:37

Deffo weigh it with you present! Heard of a few people who sell lorries with weight certificate that have been basically stripped out before they go- no partitions in, no water in tanks- even living units removed!

Sychnant · 17/05/2016 10:58

I have a 5 ton VW LT50. It's fab to drive, has 2 ton payload, (with half a tank of fuel and partition still in) takes 2 horses and has a tiny living area and large luton for all your stuff.

It's the same size as my new 3.5 ton (I only ever travel one horse!) so manouverable ad easy to park.

It's at the garage having a couple of small bits done and then it will be plated and up for sale. Although I'm seriously considering keeping it and selling the 3.5 ton because it's just such a nice lorry!

Might be worth looking out for one?

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