Competitive horse riding means long hours on the road, staying in muddy fields with limited facilities, and hours of waiting around. Is it worth it? As a rider, you already know the answer to that question – absolutely! But there are ways that you can make the experience much more bearable for both you and your horse. If you’re prepared to invest some capital, a luxury horsebox can make life much more comfortable, reduce stress, and make competition day a success.
Here’s a quick guide to what to look for when you’re buying a luxury horsebox.
Home comforts for humans
The key to relaxation is to have some home comforts around you that take you away from the worry and stress during the build-up to a competition. Top of the list has to be a good night’s sleep for the rider, so make sure your luxury horsebox comes with a comfortable sleeping area, preferably with a memory-foam mattress to give you a good night’s rest before the big day.
Other must-haves include a proper wet-room/shower combination, which will be far more luxurious than the facilities you’ll probably encounter at the event! A chance to wash the mud off and soak away those aches and pains will mean you’ll be at the top of your game the next day.
Other home comforts for humans include hardwood furnishings, which not only look great but last longer, too. Set up some mood lighting so you can destress in front of a flat-screen TV in the evening. Make sure you’ve got a good kitchen area too, complete with everything you’ll need for making a hot meal or a drink.
Home comforts for horses
Competitive eventing is a team effort, and you won’t do well if your horse is stressed or uncomfortable. In the same way that you need to relax and unwind, so does your horse. If your horse doesn’t like travelling, then a partition between the horse area and the groom area makes it safer for both of you, especially if you’re travelling alone with your animal.
Some top-of-the-range luxury horseboxes include some pretty special equipment for your horse. Features to look out for include:
- Hot water horse showers, which are particularly useful in colder weather as they don’t lower the body temperature of the horse too dramatically. This can avoid muscle spasms and potential cramping.
- Drainage systems remove horse urine away from the animal. Not only is this more sanitary, but it can also improve the lung function of the horse, and making it more competition-ready. It also ensures that your horsebox stays cleaner and more hygienic.
- Whisper-quiet extractor fans circulate the air around the box, filtering out stale air and stopping the horse from overheating in hot weather.
- An awning provides greater shade in summer, and acts as a wind-break and weather shield in the winter. It’s another way of keeping your animal comfortable, calm, and settled before the big event.
These days, we’re all used to having cameras to protect our homes. A luxury horsebox is a big investment, but so too is the animal itself. Internal cameras will not only allow you to see how the animal is coping while you’re driving, but also acts as a deterrent against thieves, too. In the passenger area, you can keep up to date with wireless Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, and other tech touches to make your horsebox a real home-from-home.
Horseboxes are large vehicles, so you’ll need all the help you can get to be able to manoeuvre it safely. The biggest luxury horseboxes require a special HGV licence to drive, so make sure you’ve got the right licence and experience in driving HGVs before you buy.
Look out for rigs that include power-assisted steering and rear-wheel drive to make them easier to park and move around on wet ground. To help keep your horse calm while travelling, sound-proofing around the stable area will prevent your animal becoming stressed out by unusual noises.
One of the worst situations you can find yourself in is a tyre blow-out. In-cab tyre warning systems will alert you to under-inflated or damaged tyres using both audio and visual alerts, so that you can stop before the situation escalates.
Your eventing kit is worth thousands of pounds. Look for horseboxes that have adequate and specially-designed storage space that keeps your living space clutter-free and tidy, while protecting delicate tack and expensive saddles. Some top-of-the-range lorries have ‘side out’ functions, where the sides expand outwards with the flick of a switch to give you even more internal space. Roof racks can take kit that is more weather-resistant, while specially-designed lockers and cupboards keep all your grooming equipment, tack, and even your clothes in pristine condition.
Security for your luxury horsebox
A top-of-the-range luxury horsebox can be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Security is a must, so don’t even look at a box that doesn’t have an installed tracker system, as well as anti-theft devices and immobilisers.
Insurance is also absolutely essential. While you’ll need a minimum of third party insurance to drive on the road, such a substantial investment needs additional protection.
Our Top tip: look for brokers who specialise in niche or specialist insurance who can put together a package that includes everything from overnight accommodation and breakdown recovery, to transportation for your horse. Other useful additions are:
- Tack insurance. Competition tack is incredibly expensive, and insurance covers it from damage and theft.
- Rider insurance. This form of public liability insurance covers you if you cause an injury or damage property when you’re riding.
- Equine insurance. Covers vet bills and animal theft.
- European cover. If you travel to compete abroad, make sure your insurance covers you.
Where to buy a horsebox?
The top manufacturers of luxury horseboxes include:
- Sovereign Horseboxes
- Ketterer Trucks
- Oakley Horseboxes
- Stephex Horsetrucks
- Alexanders Horseboxes
If you’re buying second-hand, make sure there’s no outstanding finance (which on luxury boxes can be considerable!). Go to www.hpicheck.com and run an HPI check, which will also give you a background history on the vehicle. This is especially important if you’re investing £thousands into a luxury horsebox.
This article was originally published in November 2015. It has since been completely updated to provide you with the best and most accurate information.
Next: find out what Horsebox Insurance you need