Owners concerned about the weight of their horsebox or trailer will be able to check it free at a show next month.

A voluntary weighbridge will be set up on the first day of Equifest (18 August, East of England Showground) as part of the British Horse Society’s (BHS) new horsebox safety and awareness campaign, which is being run in conjunction with the NFU.

BHS director of safety Mark Weston told H&H: “We’re most concerned about loading issues and people not understanding how much weight they can carry.”

The campaign will also focus on safety, especially the need to check flooring on a regular basis.

The NFU’s Nicki Whittaker said: “People invest a lot of time and effort into training their horses, but not everyone invests the same amount of time checking their horsebox. A mare was put down recently after the floor gave way while in transit.”

Mrs Whittaker admits that such incidents are rare but the NFU receives “a handful” of claims every year, as well as around 500 claims for vets’ fees relating to loading injuries.

H&H reader Laura Lambert’s box floor collapsed on the way to Weston Lawns last month.

“Luckily, our horses were ok, but people need to be reminded of the dangers,” she said.
“We assumed that a service and MOT test would mean the horsebox was safe, but we now realise the floor is not checked in these types of services.”

The campaign gets under way this month with an online survey.

Visit: www.bhs.org.uk

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (7 July, 2011)