ROTTING floors and worn-out tyres are among the issues to be highlighted by NFU Mutual in its Horsebox Safety Week.
The insurer has launched its campaign, which runs from 4-10 April, to encourage owners to put their horses’ safety first while travelling and loading, and raise awareness of the risks involved.
NFU Mutual equine specialist Victoria Walton said the week would focus on seven key issues, also including overweight vehicles and breakdowns, with short video guides available.
She added: “Worryingly, we often see situations where horse owners have invested huge amounts of time, money and effort into their horses’ health, training and wardrobes, but fail to pay the same amount of attention to the condition or suitability of the vehicles in which they transport their animals.
“Such oversights are often a result of horse owners not having sufficient knowledge about what they need to check or access to the right information. There is a also a widely held belief that accidents and breakdowns happen to other people, however, as an insurer we know that accidents and fatalities involving horses during transportation do happen, but many are entirely preventable.”
The insurer says it receives claims related to injuries to horses’ legs caused by rotten floors, and blown tyres causing boxes to overturn. It adds that 19 per cent of injuries sustained by horses in trailers or horseboxes are fatal.
NFU wants owners to check horseboxes and trailers regularly.
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Ms Walton added: “Getting into a horsebox or trailer is not a natural behaviour for a horse, they do it because they have trust in their owner: our message to horse owners is clear don’t betray that trust. It’s our responsibility to keep them safe and checking for things like worn tyres, rotting floors or ramps and if your horsebox or trailer is overloaded could prevent a disaster waiting to happen.”
A different issue will be highlighted every day, with videos on the campaign’s YouTube channel.