What is a horsebox?
In its simplest term, a horsebox is a vehicle used to transport horses.
This could take the form of a trailer style box or a motorhome with the capacity to accommodate people and horses. Lord George Betinck invented the horse trailer in 1836, as he wanted a way to get his horses to the track without having to walk or ride them.
There are two types of horsebox build;
A Coach built Horsebox consists of a body built on the frame of the vehicle chassis. It is important to know this as the brand of chassis will indicate how reliable and will sell for a higher price than conversions.
A conversion is an existing vehicle that has been converted into a horsebox, these are usually cheaper than the coach built ones.
One huge benefit to buying a used box is the price will be dramatically lower than a new model and will be determined by the age of the vehicle and the mileage/specification. Mileage is important as it will indicate the wear and tear the vehicle has received to parts that are not continually replaced such as the tyres. It is quite common for horseboxes to have much higher mileage than vehicles for personal use so do not let this put you off.
Another important factor that will determine the price of a horse box is the quality of fittings and living accommodation. The more luxurious finish can see prices as high as £200,000 whilst cheaper and older vehicles without accommodation can be picked up for just a few thousand. It can be more affordable to spread the cost of the box using Horse box finance or Trailer Finance.
If you and your horses want to travel in luxury there are certainly some horseboxes that will provide 5 star treatment.
Used horseboxes will hold their value better than new ones especially if you buy one that is 18 months or older. This is due to the fact a lot of the depreciation happens in the first 18 months to 2 years. It is worth noting that they do hold value a lot better than other types of vehicles which is good news if you choose to sell on or upgrade at a later date.
If you are buying from a dealer you should get a warranty to cover the first year or two but it is worth noting that you can buy a warranty from a third party warranty provider which is useful for private sale vehicles.
Second-hand horseboxes for sale are available from a variety of sources such as dealers, popular buy and sell websites and Facebook sale pages.
What sort of Horsebox do I need?
How many horses do you want to transport?
The payload of the vehicle will determine the weight of the horses you can transport a 3.5t will transport a maximum of 1200kgs in total that includes passengers, food and everything within the vehicle.
You can take the horsebox to a weighbridge, they will tell you the unladen weight of the horsebox.
So for 3.5t deduct the unladen weight and this will give you the payload. That will tell you the weight capacity the horsebox can transport.
Do you need accommodation?
If you do not plan on staying overnight it will save considerable money to buy one without accommodation.
As soon as you require personal accommodation the price dramatically increases you could just make do with a cheaper trailer.
Can I drive any horsebox?
If you passed your test before 1 Jan 1997 you can drive a box up to 3.5t on public roads.
To drive a 3.5t horsebox on public roads you need a C1 category licence. This enables you to drive boxes between 3.5 and 7.5t without a trailer. A C1 + E allows you to drive a box with a trailer in tow between 3.5t and 7.5t.
Anything larger than 7.5t requires a category C licence.
If you are planning on transporting 3 horses and having overnight accommodation with all of the extra weight of fridge freezers, food and other extras its likely you will need a 7.5t horsebox.
If you are stopped by the Vehicle Operator Service Agency with the wrong payload you could face a ban or points on your license and a fine.
What to look for in a used horsebox?
Before you make the journey to look at one make sure you do all of you research online first, ask for pictures or even a video and a copy of the service history before you set off, it will save a lot of wasted time.
You should also do a lot of research on the online forums, read reviews talk to friends and family to ask for recommendations.
There are excellent review websites available now such as Trustpilot and google reviews.
Some horseboxes for sale are made from plywood whilst the more expensive ones will contain aluminium. It is worth inspecting plywood to check for signs of rot or damage and price in having them replaced. Talk to a local dealer or workshop if you are buying a private sale as they will be able to quote for any remedial work needed.
Just like other vehicles, it is worth checking the chassis for signs of rust and rot if there is any inside the vehicle it could indicate signs of a leak which should be investigated further. Small amounts of surface rust are typical in older vehicles and should not cause too much concern.
Check all of the tyres for wear, the cost of replacing tyres should be explored if there are signs of significant wear.
Are there any signs of oil underneath the vehicle or around the exhaust outlet?
Do all of the hinges and springs operate correctly do the doors open and close ok?
If you are buying a more luxurious box, one with accommodation there will be more to check over such as the gas supply, microwave, fridge freezer and even TV. It is worth investing in a monoxide alarm if you have gas and also a heater if you plan to travel during the colder months, it can get very cold inside a motor home or horsebox!
It is also worth checking that there is a separate battery or if you can operate the fridge freezer and cooker from the gas bottle rather than the battery.
A HPI check should be carried out to make sure the vehicle doesn’t have any finance outstanding on it once you purchase it. This is important as the horsebox legally belongs to the finance company named on the HPI and cannot be yours until ownership has been transferred.
You should check the details of the vehicle correspond with the logbook, check the chassis number, registration mark, weight and colour.
To summarise documents to be checked;
- V5 logbook
- Service history
- HPI Check
If you aren’t sure what to look for or feel you would benefit from professional advice then some specialists will come out for a fee and carry out a thorough investigation of the vehicle.
We will cover this in greater detail in another article. Typically Horsebox finance companies offer 1 to 10 year terms or shorter terms with balloon payments.
Rates are very competitive.
It is worth thinking about how long you will be keeping the horsebox and also what monthly budget you need to stick to.
We strongly recommend talking to your finance provider first so that you know which box will fit into your monthly budget.
The finance company will be able to advise you if you want the lowest monthly payment or want to pay back the lowest amount in finance charges.
You could spend over £70,000 and still have the monthly payments under £1,000 per month, something worth thinking about!
Horsebox Finance example;
Cost: £50,000 + vat
Deposit 10% + vat
Term 48 months
Monthly Payments £723
Final Payment £30,000
Figures for illustration purposes only and subject to credit status
We hope you have found the information in this article useful and are more confident to go shopping for a used for Horsebox for sale.