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Horsebox Buyers Beware

Aeos 4.5 Weekender - June 2022

Horsebox buying tips

It seems almost every horsebox customer I speak to has a horror story ranging from customer care issues to outright dangerous manufacturing. As a conscientious manufacturer with decades of inside knowledge and experience of this industry, I have tried to place myself in the position of a new customer who has little manufacturing knowledge and has decided to buy a horsebox. Having looked, it seems much of the available information is either contradictory or simply sales driven and plays on customers’ fears because they want to buy the safest possible transport for their precious cargo. To help customers make a more informed choice, I have made a short list of questions to address and stated a few of the many pitfalls.

1. Who actually builds the horsebox?

It is a sad fact that many of the horseboxes you will see for sale are not even made by the company selling them. The reality is they have them built for a price elsewhere and simply add a logo and some profit! Once armed with this knowledge you have to ask yourself what is the seller actually adding to the deal, where is the research and development, where is their commitment to product quality? There is no legal requirement to tell you this, so to be sure, it is always worth asking to see their horseboxes in build …and if they won’t show you the factory floor and make some excuses, walk away!

2. Horsebox websites

There is little to no actual policing of websites, so you cannot take statements at face value. Bear in mind it is actually possible to build a professional looking website in a day, and with clever wording it can look like it has been running for many decades. In this age of digital media it is so easy to copy and paste website content including lists and images. On one occasion our old website was copied in its entirety and only our manufacturer’s name had been changed. They had even kept the image of our staff. For a customer this would be very hard to spot, so my best advice here is ask questions on the forums and do plenty of in depth research.
I would add, it is not uncommon to see websites play on customers genuine fears for their horse safety. The website will state a fact and provide no corroborating evidence. A good way to check websites and horsebox companies for factual references is to ask on the horse forums. There are almost always other people who have some in depth knowledge of the facts.

3. Weight certificates

Without doubt payload is the single biggest issue with horseboxes today. It is a sad fact that it is far easier to cut corners for maximum payload and profit, than it is to manufacture a safer, stronger horsebox that may ultimately weigh slightly more. If it is cheap and light with a big payload you must question how is this possible?
Another slightly misleading statement to be aware of is ‘weight certificate provided’ and in truth this statement is uterly meaningless unless they are willing to post the actual payload!

4. Payloads

Even when payloads are posted, customers need to be aware of the tricks that are used to weigh horseboxes. At our local weighbridge I have witnessed horseboxes weighed with the horse partitions and horse doors removed. If you have any reason to doubt the payload, take it to a public weighbridge. To be totally transparent a good manufacturer will have invested in weighing equipment and will be able to back up any payload claims whilst you are on their premises.

 For full details on Horsebox Payloads please check out my full article HERE

5. Images of the manufacturing process

It would be hard to guess how many customers over the years have said “we asked a previous builder for our money back because they never actually started building the horsebox”.
Looking back over the past three decades, the move towards digital media has changed the marketplace considerably. The advent of digital cameras allowed manufacturers to send images to customers easily. Asking for photos a few times throughout the build lets you see how your horsebox is progressing and how they are treating your goods in trust.

6. Visit the manufacturer and ask for a tour

A visit and chat with the Company will identify whether or not they meet with your criteria. A walk around the factory will confirm whether or not the company builds on site and to a standard they are happy to show you. I firmly believe the cleanliness of a workshop tells customers a great deal about the manufacturer.

7. Look underneath

It is very easy to see shiny paintwork and almost make an instant decision. Really it is almost the last thing to consider. I would advise a close inspection underneath the horsebox for sealing, paint and build quality as this will determine the longevity of the horsebox and ultimately its resale value.

8. Don’t buy something if you are making compromises

Rushing into a purchase because you need something now almost never works. Living with any compromise can be a nightmare. From the wrong colour to a tack locker in the wrong place, it almost guarantees you will swap it sooner rather than later. A horsebox must fit the customer exactly and if it doesn’t you will never be happy owning it.

9. Horsebox spraying

You should ask is it painted onsite by the manufacturer …or was it fully finished then taken off site and sprayed for a price? This is a pertinent question, especially if you intend to keep the horsebox more than the initial warranty period. No one in their right mind would buy a car fully built up and then send it away in bare metal for painting. Unfortunately this happened daily!

Conclusion

If there is any conclusion to this article, it would have to be that horsebox buyers cannot be too careful.

They should be very cautious and challenge every single aspect, research carefully and ask for proof of statements.

Even ask questions on the forums and read the Google reviews. After wading through websites, advertising literature, Google reviews and pictures of shiny new horseboxes, you will have almost become an expert.

But, ultimately you will have to put your total faith and hard earned money in the hands of someone, so be very thorough.

Thank you for reading.

Please check out the other topics I have covered in the Horsebox Advice section.

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