Even if you only use your lorry occasionally, it still needs checking regularly according to industry experts. All sorts of issues can arise from faulty brake pipes to rotten floors.

“People think that because their lorry isn’t used very often it doesn’t need checking regularly. They don’t realise that a million things can go wrong. The annual MOT isn’t a safety check,” says Jon Philips, managing director of the Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners (OHTO).

A mechanic who often has to fix lorries with dangerous faults agrees.
“Around 75% of boxes are faulty when they enter my yard to be prepared for plating. Many are death traps,” says Cheshire-based mechanic Phil Moston.

So keep yourself and your horses safe by following the tips below.

Top tips for horsebox safety

  • The plate is not a safety guarantee
  • Book regular safety checks a minimum of every six months
  • Check the brakes, pipes, pads and drums
  • Search for rot and damp patches on the floor of the vehicle
  • Check the steering: feel if there’s too much play
  • Axles, joints and anti-roll bars should be included in safety checks
  • Check the ramp, including the hinges, springs, boards. Is it manageable by a person alone?
  • Look for faulty fuel pipes and oil leaks
  • Don’t ignore the living. Check wiring, connections and batteries
  • Power for the living area should not run off the engine battery
  • Check tyre pressure and wear
  • Unless you have an HGV, check that the weight will not be over 7.5 tonnes, when fully laden with your horses, tack, feed, passengers and all provisions

To read Shirley Lewis’s full feature on death trap horseboxes, don’t miss tomorrow’s Horse & Hound (on sale Thursday 1 November)
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