If squeezed finances have forced you to sell your lorry and you are looking for horsebox hire instead, find out what facts you should be checking and what questions you should be asking.

What to look for in a horsebox hire firm?

“Check that it is an actual business and not someone renting out their lorry to make a quick buck — they probably won’t have adequate insurance,” says Davina Kerr Muir of Millennium Horsebox Hire. “You can usually tell if they only take cash. Most credible companies will take credit cards.”

Before you make a commitment, calculate how much weight you believe you will be carrying. This is your payload and it is your responsibility to ensure you are not over the legal limit. You will then need to confirm what payload the vehicle you are interested in can take.

Most driving licence holders can drive a 3.5tonne lorry on a standard licence, but only drivers who passed their test before 1997 are legally automatically allowed to drive anything bigger, so ensure that you can drive the size of horsebox you need. And, while it may sound obvious, double check what type of vehicle you are getting.

“Check that it is big enough for your horse,” says Emma Overton of NAGS on the Move Horsebox Hire and Transport. “If it is a conversion, it should have had the bulk head and the floor strengthened.”

Put a list of questions together and phone around for the best deal. Remember that you may need to put down a hefty deposit.

“Get recommendations from friends and ask to see customer feedback,” advises Claire Dolby of Atacanter Horsebox Hire.

Forums are another good source of opinion.

You’ve chosen your horsebox hire firm, so what now?

“Check the condition of the lorry when you collect it. You don’t want to be held responsible for a scratch or dent that wasn’t made by you,” says Davina. “Take photos if you are unsure, so that you have evidence.”

Most companies will have any scratches and dents noted, will point them out to you and ask you to sign a disclaimer. It’s best to ask about any marks or damage before taking the lorry away.

“A good tip is to tell the company what extras you need when booking,” explains Davina. “Some people expect a tack locker or toilet, and when there isn’t one, they get upset. If you need a forward facing lorry because your horse travels better that way, then ask. We aren’t psychic!”

Before collecting your vehicle, find out whether there is parking for your car, or whether you need to take someone with you to drive it back. Also, check what paperwork is required, such as driving licence, horse passport or utility bills.

5 questions you should ask
1. What is the payload for the vehicle?
2. What type of driving licence do I need to drive the vehicle?
3. Who is the box insured with and what is their emergency number in case I have an accident and need assistance?
4. Who should I call if the box breaks down?
5. What assistance is the vehicle covered for in the event of breakdown? What will happen to my horses if it can’t be repaired?