Written by: theworkingparent
Transport your horse more safely
A research study for horse transport safety has been carried out by National Farmers Union Mutual (NFUM) and their findings are worrying. The research was conducted at horse shows throughout the UK and it seems that 64% of people loading and unloading horses are not taking it seriously enough.
There are a number of reasons that you, a friend or a horse transport company would need to transport your horse safely. It may be a short journey to a local show, you horse could be moving yards, travelling to lessons or going to the vets. Every single journey requires some thought and preparation to ensure your vehicle or trailer is roadworthy.
Did you know that on average 12 horses are put to sleep per year after falling through the floor of trailers?
As you may be aware it is not a requirement currently for your trailer to have an annual MOT, but if you are pulled over by the police and they find any safety issues relating to your trailer you could receive a ¬£2,500 fine plus 3 points on your driving licence. You can in fact receive 3 points per tyre that is unsafe.
The most common safety issues with trailers are rotten ramps and floors, overloading, worn or damaged tyres, incorrect tyres for the trailer or the breakaway cables being fitted incorrectly.
Aside from the trailer being roadworthy there are other considerations to take into account. Make sure that the trailer or lorry that you are using is big enough for the horse that is travelling with ample headroom. The trailer should have a non-slip floor and padded partitions.
Ensure the horse is wearing protective clothing including a well-fitted head collar; this should preferably be good quality leather. The horse should also wear a tail guard for protection against rubbing and tail damage, a poll guard to protect the top of the head and leg protectors.
If you are new to towing a trailer then it would be good practice to get used to towing while the trailer is empty. You will need to adapt your driving style and be cautious while cornering and breaking. It is a good idea to plan ahead with your journey and allow extra time to get to your destination.
Bad experiences with loading and travelling can leave a lasting impression on a horse so it is important to keep calm throughout. It is a common complaint that horses can be difficult to load but if you do your groundwork before hand it will make the experience much easier.
It is worth noting that if you receive any payment for transporting horses then you must have an operators licence. Drivers that passed their driving test after the 1st January 2007 need to take an additional test to tow a trailer over 750 kg, more information can be found from the DVLA. Even if you passed your test prior to this date it may be a good idea to have some professional training.
The Blue Cross offers further information on travelling safely with horses https://www.bluecross.org.uk/