Type to search

Animal Welfare Horses

Horseboxes & Trailers Could Be “Riskier Than Racing At Grand National”


NFU Mutual launches ‘Horsebox Safety Week’ to encourage horse owners to put safety first

• Almost one in five (19%) of injuries sustained by horses in horseboxes or trailers are fatal

• One in twenty (5%) fallen or collapsed horses in The Grand National will be put to sleep

As the country prepares for the Grand National, arguably the most iconic horse race in the world, many are raising concerns about the safety of horseboxes and trailers.

Over the last ten years, one out of forty horses to enter The Grand National will lose its life and five percent of those that fall or collapse will need to be put to sleep as a result.

However, NFU Mutual advises that there is potentially a bigger risk to the horse’s safety before they even arrive at the track – the unidentified dangers that some horseboxes and trailers pose.

The insurer’s claims data reveals that almost one in five (19%) injuries sustained by horses in horseboxes and trailers result in the horse being put to sleep. This can be from legs falling through rotten floors or becoming tramped in overturned trailers following a tyre blow-out or other component failure.

As part of an ongoing campaign for the safer transportation of horses, NFU Mutual has launched Horsebox Safety Week – to raise the awareness of the risks associated with the loading and transporting horses and improve education.

Victoria Walton, Equine Specialist at NFU Mutual: “We are calling for the equestrian community to pay as much care and attention to the safety and maintenance of their horseboxes and trailers as we know they do towards the health and wellbeing of their animals.

“Although horseboxes must pass an annual MOT or Ministry Plating, this does not check vehicles for their safety and suitability for carrying horses and trailers are not required to pass any form of safety test at all. This can lead to floors going unchecked for signs of rot, tyres becoming perished and worn through age and vehicles carrying much more weight than they are designed to.”

Victoria added: “Getting into a horsebox or trailer is not a natural behaviour for a horse, they do it because they have trust in their owner: our message to horse owners is clear don’t betray that trust. It’s our responsibility to keep them safe and the onerous is on owners to prevent a disaster waiting to happen.”

Working with partners across the equine industry NFU Mutual has created a library of useful videos to highlight the issues and educate horse owners how to avoid them, promoted via the Social Media campaign ‘I pledge to keep my horse safe’ #HBSW.

The week will highlight seven of the key issues (pre-journey safety checks, old and worn tyres, rotten floors and ramps, overweight vehicles, accidents, breakdowns and safe loading) and the insurer is calling for the equine community to watch, share and put into practice the safety checks provided. You can find the videos at Youtube.com/NFUMutualVideo.

Anyone can also follow the campaign and take the pledge to keep horses safe on Facebook and Twitter using #HBSW.