Add Some Sparkle With Natural Benefits

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Semi precious crystals have been selected for the natural energies they can bring to enhance horsemanship. For your horse headcollar / bridle decorations and for you jewellery. Click here for more information.

Inspirational Horsemanship

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Vicki Jayne Maris BA Hons set up and is the managing director of the National Horse and Pony Network. She is a nationally recognised specialist in horsemanship, confidence building, bitless bridles, equine behaviour and performance coaching. To find out more about her horsemanship tutoring services please click here.  

Confidence Building

Don't let a lack of confidence hold you back from achieving your equine dreams. Click here to go to the shop to purchase the on-line Confidence Building for Horse and Rider e-book. ONLY £1.99. You can use this to compliment lessons with your instructor.  

Transporting Your Horse or Pony

The Law and Driving a Horse Box and Towing a Horse Trailer

If you passed your driving test for category B vehicles (basically family cars) on or after 1st January 1997, your driving licence will only allow you to drive a car with a trailer of a maximum authorised mass (MAM) not exceeding 750kg. You will only be allowed to tow a combination of up to 3,500kg MAM (this is the maximum laden weights as stated on the plates of the car and trailer, irrespective of whether they are empty or loaded). The majority of horse trailers and tow vehicle combinations exceed 3,500kg (most 4wd tow vehicles exceed 3,500kg). Since 1 January 1997 licence holders must pass the Towing Ability test to gain entitlement to tow heavier combinations. Without it they are committing an offence and will find their insurance is invalid.

In addition, you will not be able to drive a horsebox on a public road without passing the required tests for category C1 vehicles (basically, vehicles between 3500kg and 7500kg). 


To find out if you need to take the Towing Ability test you can Click Here to visit Trailer Training UKís website for more detailed information and to complete an on-line questionnaire.

Coming soon to the website will be links to more training providers. 


Do I Really Need to Purchase a Trailer / Horse Box?

The average horse owner may own a trailer / horse box that may stand unused for months on end. Before deciding on purchasing a horse box / trailer you may want to consider the following:-

  • How often will I use the horse box / trailer?
  • Do I need a trailer or a horse box? List why.
  • What car is best for my towing needs?
  • How much will it cost to purchase?
  • What will my budget buy?
  • How much will it cost to maintain?
  • How much will it cost to insure / tax / run?
  • Is storage of my trailer / horse box available and how much will it cost to store / park?
  • Is it cheaper to hire a trailer / horse box?
  • Is it cheaper to use a professional horse transporter?
  • Am I confident enough and have the ability to drive a lorry or tow a horse trailer?
  • Do I need to take an additional test to drive a lorry or tow a horse trailer? (see above)
  • Can I share with a friend?

Donít rush into purchasing a horse box / trailer. Take your time, research, compare prices and look and ask around.


Coming soon will be links to Horse Box Hire and Professional Horse Transporters


Purchasing a Horse Trailer / Horse Box

You maybe lucky enough to be able to afford to purchase a new trailer / horse box and coming soon to this site will be links to different manufacturers for you to check out the latest innovations. However many riders are on a budget and look to purchase a used / second hand horse trailer / horse box. This can be a tricky business and if you are unlucky you could end up with a dangerous trailer / horse box. Listed below are a few tips that you should find helpful if you are looking to purchase a used / second hand trailer / horse box. 

  • Check out local recognised reputable trailer / horse box dealers and see if they have any trade in trailers / horse boxes for sale. Only purchase from them if they have serviced the trailer / horse box and are prepared to offer a guarantee / warrantee.   
  • Check the trailers / horse box maintenance / service history. It is good practice to have a trailer / horse box serviced annually.
  • Get an engineers report before the purchase of a horse box.  From personal experience this has proved to be very informative and a will save you from very costly mistakes. Unless you are very experienced with the mechanics and maintenance of horse boxes this tip is one that will save you money and heart ache in the long run. 
  • Check the trailer / horse box meets legal requirements.
  • Check the horse box documents e.g. MOT (Plate) Ownership document 
  • Mudguards must be fitted to all road wheels and be in good condition and secure. 
  • Check the brakes thoroughly and carefully. This can be done for trailers by jacking up each wheel and then apply the handbrake. If the brake works the wheel will not turn and when the handbrake is released the wheel will freely rotate. While you are looking at the wheels also check the tyres for wear and the wheel bearings for corrosion.
  • For trailers the height of the hitching gear should be compatible with your towing vehicle. The trailer should be parallel to the road. The tow height may need adjustment.  Check the hitching system is compatible to your vehicle and in good condition. Pay attention to the locking device this should be in good order. The fail safe device should also be checked. 
  • For trailers check the jockey wheel is in good order and is fully functional and remains locked in the up position for towing.
  • The flooring should be very carefully checked inside and out and be prepared to get under the trailer / horse box. If the floor inside is covered with rubber matting / bedding remove to inspect. On the underside clear away built up mud etc. All these can hide serious problems. Check for damage, faults, spongy or soft areas, rot, woodworm and damp. Pay careful attention to the steel lipping / members that support the floor are these in good condition?
  • The partitions need careful inspection, are they strong and able to withstand force? Give them a good hard push from each side as your horse will certainly test this out while in transit. Are the partitions in good condition? Do the partition locking mechanisms work correctly?
  • The ramp(s) need to be inspected. Are they in good order, strong and well maintained? Check the securing devices and hinges. Again matting can hide problems so check carefully.
  • Check the main body of the trailer / horsebox it should be sturdy, strong and in good condition and free from rust. 
  • Never use a single axle trailer to tow a horse
  • Give the trailer / horse box a good test drive.

How Can I Find Out My Carís Towing Capacity?

Every vehicle manufacturer has to give a maximum towing limit. This can be found in the vehicle handbook and also on the chassis plate, usually found under the bonnet. The rule of thumb to work by is that if you want to tow with a car, the gross weight of the trailer should not exceed 80% of the gross weight of the car. If possible buy a four-wheel drive vehicle because even a car that can legally tow generally is not designed to tow and as such the brakes, suspension etc are not going to be able to cope. It is an offence to exceed the carís towing limit.


Horse Trailer and Horse Box Maintenance

Unfortunately breaking down while transporting horses can and does happen and you can take steps to help avoid some breakdowns. Below are a few more tips in addition the check list above to help you keep your horse box / trailer in good condition.

  • Have your lorry / trailer serviced annually.
  • Check the brakes are working correctly before each journey. Before loading horses with a horse box drive a short distance and apply the brakes intermittently, as when the brakes are cold they can often bite. Check brake fluid levels, brake lines for corrosion and drain condensation water from air tanks. 
  • On horse boxes check all oils. Change oil and fuel filters regularly.
  • On horse boxes check power steering level.
  • On horse boxes check the battery and connections.
  • On horse boxes check all water levels and that you have the correct concentration of coolant in your radiator for the weather conditions.
  • For horse boxes regularly start up and leave the engine running for at least 5 minutes.
  • Keep your lorry / trailer clean inside and out.
  • Lift rubber matting and remove bedding on a regular basis, clean thoroughly and check the floor for damage / rot etcÖallow damp floors to dry before replacing mats or bedding.
  • Check all lights and indicators
  • Check tyres for wear and tyre pressures are correct including your spare. Tyres remaining on damp ground for long periods can perish and the bearings can seize up.
  • Check the ramp(s) and doors
  • Make sure that the combined weight of your horse(s) and trailer / lorry does not exceed the safe towing / vehicle carrying limit.
  • Make sure the registration number on the back of the trailer is the same as the vehicle towing it.
  • Grease or spray with WD40 Hinges and wiring. 
  • Carry a fully charged mobile phone with you on each journey along with emergency contact numbers
  • Check your trailer / lorry over each month
  • Donít put off repairs or regular maintenance
  • Have insurance that includes roadside breakdown cover

Please note: Police can stop and inspect your horse box / trailer and vehicle, if you are stopped and there is a problem with your trailer / horse box you can end up with a prohibition notice being issued.  It is in your interests to maintain a safe vehicle for transporting your horse(s) as it is you, your horse(s) and other road users health and safety at risk.  A well maintained trailer / horse box will be a much safter trailer / horse box.  


Consider Your Horse While Driving

Remember that traveling in a trailer or horse box for your horse can be a stressful experience. Your horse has to remain balanced and standing on his feet during the journey. Here are some tips to help make the journey a more pleasant experience for your horse.

  • Allow plenty of time for your journey
  • Move off slowly and smoothly
  • Drive smoothly and avoid sudden braking
  • Watch your speed
  • Read the cambers on the road and road conditions
  • Take corners carefully allow for the length of your vehicle
  • Be road aware know what is happening around you
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Horsemanship Magazine

eye close upHorsemanship Magazine is committed to bringing together information which encourages independent thinking. Linking training and handling with health, hoof, heart, spirit and soul.  The magazine showcases good practice and cutting edge thinking. The collective voice and knowledge provides users with a continually growing, abundant and trusted resource bank for good, safe and effective equine practice that considers the whole horse. The magazine's passion is for true partnership with the horse and stress free horsemanship so horses and people experience harmony and more enjoyable lives together. Click here to visit Horsemanship Magazine's website.

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Vicki Jayne Maris BA Hons
National Horse & Pony Network Managing Director & Inspirational Horsemanship Tutor
Tel 07930605544
VJMaris & Merlot

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