As part of an ongoing campaign for the safer transportation of horses, NFU Mutual has launched Horsebox Safety Week (4th-10th April) - to raise the awareness of the risks associated with the loading and transporting horses.
• NFU Mutual launches horsebox safety week to encourage owners to put safety first
• Insurer sees horse’s legs through rotten floors and tyre blow outs causing overturned boxes
• 19% of injuries sustained by horses in horseboxes or trailers are fatal
The insurer is calling for equestrian communities across the country to pay as much care and attention to the safety and maintenance of their horseboxes and trailers as they do towards the health and wellbeing of their animals.
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) through short video guides over seven days.
Victoria Walton, Equine Specialist at NFU Mutual: “Worryingly we often see situations where horse owners have invested huge amounts of time, money and effort into their horses’ health, training and wardrobes, but fail to pay the same amount of attention to the condition or suitability of the vehicles in which they transport their animals.
“Such oversights are often a result of horse owners not having sufficient knowledge about what they need to check or access to the right information. There is a also a widely held belief that accidents and breakdowns happen to other people, however, as an insurer we know that accidents and fatalities involving horses during transportation do happen, but many are entirely preventable.”
By creating a national awareness week NFU Mutual hopes to instil the importance of regular checks and by providing easy to follow guides, to reduce the number of horsebox and trailer accidents and breakdowns seen each year.
“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 checking for things like worn tyres, rotting floors or ramps and if your horsebox or trailer is overloaded could prevent a disaster waiting to happen” added Victoria.
NFU Mutual receives a large number of claims each year for horses injured, or worse, put to sleep , as a result of legs falling through rotten floors or becoming tramped in overturned trailers following a tyre blow-out or other component failure.
Over the last three years, almost one in five horses injured in a horsebox or trailer had to be put to sleep as a result.
It is important to point out that although horseboxes are required to pass an annual MOT or ministry plating, this does not check the vehicle for its suitability or safety for carrying horses. For example, they will not check floors or ramps for signs of rot. More worryingly, in the UK, trailers are not required to pass any form of annual safety check meaning problems can go undetected until an accident or breakdown occurs.
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.
Each day will highlight one of seven individual safety topics through a short video 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
You can also follow the campaign and take the pledge to keep your horse safe on Facebook and Twitter using #HBSW.