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A new business venture hopes to help lorry owners make money out of their horsebox — if enough of them buy into the concept.

Katherine Lawson of North Berwick and Sonia Cunningham of East Lothian, who both event, have set up www.myrentalhorsebox.com, a website through which people can rent their horsebox out for a daily fee.

“Lorries cost a lot of money to buy and run, but most of the time they just sit there. This is an opportunity for owners to make back some of the costs,” said Katherine.

Owners register their box on the site for £150 — £130 for a limited period — and can specify when the box is available for hire.

Potential renters go on to the site and search for lorries available in their area.

The daily tariff differs, but current deals include a 7.5tonne, three-horse Iveco Cargo for £85, a 3.5tonne Equi-Trek Sonic for £125 and another 3.5tonne lorry for £100.

The insurance cover for the box while it is rented out, and self-drive hire insurance for those who rent it, is dealt with by the company.

“You insure your box for personal use in the usual way and we will cover it for all rentals done through our site,” said Katherine.

So far six box-owners, including Sonia, have registered their vehicle on the website.

But as the service is dependent on people finding boxes available in their area, Katherine and Sonia are hoping many more will come forward.

Although H&H knows of no other venture quite like this, a number of other horsebox hire schemes exist.

Last summer, Mike Crawley of Northern Horseboxes in Darlington launched a package offering advice in setting up a hire business for anyone buying one of his company’s 3.5tonne RunStar horse shuttles.

Only four people have bought this package to date.

And there are also a number of commercial companies who rent out horseboxes.

Jon Phillips of the Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners said: “The myrentalhorsebox.com idea seems a good one in theory, but they will have to get a good number of boxes on their website to make it work.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (13 January, 2011)