LIVING IN A HORSEBOX You’ve finally qualified for the Summer Championships. You’ve done your best to work out how to fit in all the classes from the timetable, you know the stable manager and the guys who park the horseboxes - with any luck this is going to be your year. BEFORE YOU SET OFF The trip to the Championships at the end of each season is very often the longest journey of the year, that coupled with the prospect of a long hot summer could well also make it the most traumatic. The big shows are always the most important. So make sure you get there with plenty of time to spare. Whilst we all hope it will never happen, our records show that every horsebox on the road is likely to experience some form of difficulty at least once each season. Summer is our busiest period. It is vital that horseboxes and trailers are looked after correctly during the summer months; more breakdowns occur in the June to September period at any other time of the year. The temperature in a horsebox or trailer can get to unbearable levels and horses can get very distressed while waiting at the roadside. Just a couple of hours spent checking your vehicle can help you avoid breakdowns and accidents. Check all mirrors are intact and adjust them to suit your seating position and height Check your tyre pressure and tread before leaving Check all lights are working correctly Check you have enough fuel to get to the destination Check oil, water brake and clutch fluid Carry a fully charged mobile phone with phone charger and extra battery. Make sure you have the number for your breakdown organisation in the vehicle Make sure you have the contact number of either a family member or a friend so you can let someone know what has happened. Always plan your route to the destination before you leave and let your family or contact know the route you will be taking Carry extra water for both the vehicle and for your horses It is a good idea to carry spare hoses especially for the heater Make sure that you have a spare fan belt Make sure that you always check your tyre pressure and tread. When the weather is very warm, tyres can become excessively hot and more prone to blow outs - so remember to keep your speed down to a minimum Check the distilled water level in batteries get them fully charged and make sure the will hold the charge. On a showground, constant use of the electrics in the living area with just one battery would almost guarantee your lorry not starting at the end of the show. Make sure that you have a separate living accommodation battery to the battery on your lorry. Get someone who knows about auto and caravan electrics to check that the living battery is charged whilst the horsebox engine is running. It must be fitted with a relay similar to a caravan to avoid draining the vehicle battery. If you have a generator that is even better and do remember that many showgrounds now allow you to hook-up to the mains. Check all bedding (human) is clean and dry Renew any gas bottles on the lorry. Make sure you carry a gas spanner and always remember that the thread works the wrong way - clockwise to undo, anti-clockwise to tighten! Check that gas hoses are not leaking or perished Check the cooker works Check the water heater and pilot light Check any heating system is in order Fill the water tanks check the pump and taps. A couple of Milton tablets in the tanks will help keep them sterile. Check the fridge is working. Store all your food in your fridge at home, turn the lorry fridge on the day before you leave and fill it already chilled. and remember to remove all unnecessary packaging so that it takes up less room. TRAVELING Some general tips for any-one traveling with children and horses to keep them safe while mobile. For all people driving a horsebox you should make sure that all doors in the living area are locked and secure so not to open while traveling. It is a good idea to fit an extra bolt high up on external doors - out of the way of little fingers! If you are traveling with children you should also make sure that they are wearing seat belts and are seated at all times also keep windows closed to ensure safety for children and pets. Make sure all gas and water supplies are turned off. This particularly applies to the pilot light on the fridge if you go into a garage. Ensure that horses are safely and securely tethered when traveling and have ample space between partitions that are secured correctly. Always ensure you have sufficient food and water for your horses in case of delays caused by heavy traffic or breakdown Always carry a spare head collar and rope and make sure that the ramp is secured properly before leaving base. THE SHOW If you can follow most of these suggestions, you stand a good chance that the only surprise will be a championship or an evening class, but even then don’t get caught out. Check the dress code for the rider and make sure you’ve either got it or can borrow it. Good Luck!
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