Used or Second Hand Horsebox Buyers Guide

When buying a used horsebox, there are some careful considerations that needs to be made.

What size or weight of horsebox do you need?

One of the main points to consider is the maximum and minimum amount of horses/ponies you will be looking to travel. For 2 horses or more you will generally need a 7.5t horsebox which usually come with 3 stalls and a living area of varying size and spec. A very important factor when choosing which horsebox to buy will be the PAYLOAD that the horsebox has. Payload basically is the amount of weight you can legally put into the horsebox. The only way to work out your payload is to take the empty horsebox to a weighbridge. (these can be found in most towns and on many industrial estates) At the weighbridge, they will give you a print-out of what the horsebox actually weighs (It’s unladen weight). To work out the horseboxes payload you need to take its unladen weight away from the horseboxes gross weight (ie 7.5t or 3.5t etc) This will then tell you the horseboxes payload so you know how many horses/ponies you can legally travel. We will supply you with a weight ticket on all of our horseboxes so you know exactly what you can carry.

A useful tip when looking at horseboxes to buy and consider payload is that the more luxurious and the more extras on a horsebox, the heavier it will tend to be. IE; if a horsebox has air conditioning, fridge, TV, microwave, power ramp, generator etc etc, then that is all extra weight and as a bit of a rule of thumb, a 7.5t horsebox with all of those lovely but heavy extras isn’t going to be able to take the weight of 3 horses. If you need all of those luxuries because you are staying away for periods of time in your horsebox and you need to travel 3 horses then the only way to do it is to go to a HGV horsebox (anything over 7.5t) this will require you to take an HGV test.

Can you drive this horsebox?

Something else to consider is what you as a driver are legally entitled to drive. The simple way to look at this is that if you passed your driving test prior to January 1997 then you can jump straight into anything up to 7.5t. If you passed your driving test after January 1997 the a 3.5t horsebox is the biggest you can legally drive. 3.5t horseboxes are usually stalled for two horses and tend to be mainly rear facing with a side ramp. The most payload you tend to get from a 3.5t horsebox is around 1200kg’s an average horse weighs between 400 and 700 kg’s and you also need to allow for the weight of passengers, tack, water, feed etc etc so doing a bit of maths to work out if that is enough can be a good idea.

Horsebox prices?

Prices of horseboxes for sale can be a bit of a tough one to get your head around. Most people tend to look at the age/reg number of the chassis (chassis is the cab and drive system) and value it that way. This isn’t really right as the vast majority of a horseboxes value is found in the body.  There are 2 different main types of horsebox body, They are conversions and coach-builds. A conversion is when a commercial lorry has the body stripped out from the inside and then refitted with partitions, windows, dividing wall and sometimes some living accommodation to turn it into a horsebox. This is the cheaper way of making a horsebox although if done properly there is nothing wrong with a conversion at all. The second type of body is a coach built body. This is when the body is purpose built onto the chassis of the horsebox. These are better for a number of reasons including that they can be stronger, lighter and generally built using more suitable materials with horse transport in mind. Coach built horseboxes tend to sell for slightly higher prices. Another factor which dramatically affects horsebox value is the specification of the living area. If the living area has high spec, ie; Shower, toilet, central heating, fridges, leather upholstery, generator etc, then the horsebox will cost more money.

Checking over a horsebox for sale

When physically looking over a horsebox with a view to purchase, there are a few easy and important things to look for. The floor in the horse area is a good place to start. Most horseboxes have a floor made out of exterior/marine plywood with rubber matting over the top. The more expensive horseboxes have floors made from aluminium planking, this is better as it is generally stronger and lighter although a plywood floor in good condition is more than adequate to take the weight of several horses/ponies. When inspecting a wooden/ply floor it is best to lift up the matting and inspect underneath for signs of rot/weakness. It is also good to get on your back and slide yourself underneath the horsebox to look at the floor from the ground up. Wood floors can normally be relatively easily replaced for a cost of usually between £600-£1000. This procedure should be repeated when looking at the wood on the ramp also as the safety of this is equally as important.  Another place to look is up above on the ceiling for any signs of leaks. These are not usually anything to panic about as they can usually be sealed quite easily by getting up on the roof and replacing the sealant that has been previously used. However, if a leek has been occurring for a length of time it can result in further damage so have a good look for any signs of rotting caused by the moisture. A look underneath the cab can be important also for signs of any excessive rust which can cause structural weakness. Most cabs (especially the older ones) will have rust of some description in some places when looking underneath which is perfectly ok as long as it isn’t deep penetrative rust that is going to cause problems. Theses are just a few main points when looking at horseboxes for sale, there are many more areas to inspect but each horsebox is different so they need taking individually. All of the horseboxes we sell go through a rigorous inspection at our professional workshop so everything is checked for you if you choose to buy from Central England Horseboxes Ltd.

Horsebox mileage

Mileage is another difficult point to get your head around when looking to buy a horsebox as many horseboxes have done hundreds of thousands of kilometers (the mileage is usually shown in kilometers on any horseboxes over 3.5t) Don’t let this scare you, this is due to the fact that most used horseboxes for sale have previously been used as a commercial vehicle where they might have been delivery vehicles doing lots of miles up and down the motorways every single day. A high mileage is quite normal on horseboxes and even when looking at 3-400,000 kilometers, this is acceptable as long as the vehicle has been looked after. Some of the more expensive horseboxes for sale are built onto a brand-new chassis, this costs a lot more money but means that when the horseboxes get older they are still very low on mileage as an average horsebox only tends to do around 4,000 miles per year.

The horsebox ramp

Lifting the ramp is another point to look at, the last thing you want after a hard days riding is to return back to your horsebox, load your horses or ponies and have to struggle with a heavy ramp. Ramps are nearly always assisted by springs, these springs can almost always be adjusted so that you can lift the ramp relatively easily on your own. We will happily adjust the ramp for you on any of our horseboxes.

Horseboxes checking the details

If its a higher spec, more luxurious horsebox you are looking to buy, then it’s also important to make sure that all of the lights and appliances are working correctly and where gas and electricity are involved, that they are safe. Items such as fridges, heating systems, hot water systems, toilets and showers can be very expensive to put right if they are not working properly. Ask to see the appliances working if it’s possible, as you don’t want to wait until you have paid for the horsebox and got it home to find out the appliances are not working properly and it’s going to be costly to repair them. We test all of the lights and appliances on every horsebox sold, they also come Corgi gas safety tested.

Buying a horsebox – finance and paperwork

When you have chosen the right horsebox for you paying for your horsebox is one to get right also. It is important to get a HPI certificate to show that the vehicle has never been in an accident, stolen and recovered or whether there is any finance outstanding on it. We provide one of these certificates with every horsebox sold. In terms of funding your horsebox there are some finance companies that specialise in horseboxes and can help with this, we are always happy to recommend some of the current market leaders for your finance.

These are just a few points that need to be consider when buying a horsebox, feel free to give us a call if you have any further questions regarding a potential purchase you’d like to run past us.