Why your trailer could prove lethal

  • New statistics show that most British trailer owners are unaware of vital safety issues

    More than half of all horse owners are unaware of basic trailer maintenance say the Blue Cross, who launched its Safe Trailer campaign at Blenheim Horse Trials earlier this month.

    The survey, conducted at Blenheim, invited owners to answer six simple questions on routine trailer maintenance. A staggering 56% of respondents failed to answer all the questions correctly.

    “Some of the answers given suggested a potentially dangerous lack of knowledge, with people unaware of vital maintenance which would ensure the trailer’s braking system worked properly,”says towing expert John Henderson, who devised the survey.

    Horrific results

    • Up to three horses every day are treated by vets for transport-related injuries
    • The failure of the trailer’s floor, which can result in potentially fatal injuries, is surprisingly common
    • Most owners mistakenly believe “it won’t happen to me”, but the victims of poor maintenance include riders competing at every level

    British event rider Mary King recognises the importance of the Blue Cross’s campaign following an incident with her own lorry’s floor.

    “Many years ago King Boris put his foot through the floor of a horsebox, which I had just bought from a reputable company,” explains Mary. “Luckily, he was not injured, but it was a very frightening experience for us all.

    “The Blue Cross’s statistics are really scary. As a nation of horselovers, we should do all we canto keep them safe.”

    Improving safety

    Throughout Europe all trailers are registered and have to pass an MOT-style test each year to ensure they are safe and roadworthy. No such regulationsexist in the UK, which means owners carry the sole responsibility for their trailers.

    Leading French event rider Franck Bourny believes the lack of legislation in Britain is reflected in the condition of trailers seen at most events.

    “If you go to a show in France you might see two trailers in poor condition, but in Britain you’ll see 50,” he says.

    The Blue Cross campaign hopes to encourage owners to perform regular simple checks before using their trailer to travel horses. The charity has published a leaflet, in conjunction with John Henderson, packed with free practical advice and guidance on trailer safety and maintenance.

    To find out more, and to download the leaflet, visit www.bluecross.org.uk

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