Many of us have borrowed a friend’s lorry or trailer. But are we unwittingly breaking the law in doing so?
At Equifest (13 August), H&H was surprised by the responses from several competitors when asked if they knew how much their horseboxes weighed.
“I have no idea, I’m just borrowing it for the day,” said one driver.
Another added: “I know how much my box weighs — but this is my friend’s. I just shoved everything on and hoped it would fit.”
PRP Rescue Services stressed that all responsibility lies with the driver — not the owner.
“If they are stopped — or worse, are involved in an accident — and it is found that the vehicle is overloaded or that they don’t have the correct licence or insurance, or the vehicle is not roadworthy, the driver is at fault,” said PRP’s Claire Barker. “Any fines/points or prosecution will be theirs, not the owner’s.”
Ignorance of the law is not something VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) or the police will accept if you are pulled over.
Claire also advised taking borrowed boxes to a weighbridge.
“Do not take someone else’s word for it — just because the owner puts their three 17.2hh horses, four children, hay, feed and tack in the 7.5tonne lorry and says you will be fine to carry similar, you shouldn’t assume it’s OK,” she added.
The British Horse Society (BHS) warns it’s not just the weight that can catch you out.
“There have been many reports of horses being dreadfully injured when rotten floors have given way,” said Sheila Hardy of the BHS.
“Look under rubber matting and if you find any cause for concern, such as soft, rotting wood or corroded aluminium, do not use the vehicle”
She added that is vital to check the soundness of the ramp.
“One owner was horrified recently when her pony jumped with his usual enthusiasm on to a borrowed ramp and his foot went through it,” she said.
Finally, if borrowing a horsebox, make sure you know what type of fuel the vehicle runs on.
“In a panic situation, you often forget this important information,” added Sheila. “One member recently put diesel in the water tank — an expensive mistake and meant a major detour to find more fuel.”