While car breakdown services offer assistance to the degree of fixing your vehicle at the roadside, they WILL NOT recover a vehicle with a horse on board. Here you’ll find some advice on what to do in the event of an emergency:
1. Prevention is better than cure – make sure you keep your vehicle well maintained – it is your responsibility to keep your horsebox road-worthy.
2. Keep supplies of food and water on board for both of you – it could be a long wait. It is also a good idea to keep a warm coat if it’s cold weather and a sponge/bucket in case the horse gets hot in warm weather. A bridle and extra lunge lines are also useful items to keep on board, as well as equine and human first aid kits.
3. Always travel with a fully-charged mobile phone with your breakdown service, insurance company and vets telephone numbers stored in the contacts. A hands-free kit is essential so that you can use the phone on the move, if necessary. It is also an idea to keep a back-up hard copy of these phone numbers, somewhere safe in the vehicle.
4. Make sure someone knows where you’re going and what time you are due to arrive at your destination, especially if you’re travelling alone.
5. If you do break down, try to get your vehicle to a safe place to stop – on the hard shoulder or as far left as possible.
6. Don’t panic and don’t try and take your horse out of the horsebox. Check they are comfortable and calm and have access to food and water. Make sure that the vehicle is well ventilated.
7. Keep yourself safe – do not stay in the vehicle. Keep your hazards on and switch off the ignition. Where possible, the police suggest drivers should stay outside the car on the nearest verge. On no account should doors on the same side as the traffic be used. Be aware of your own safety and wear bright or reflective clothing if you have any.
8. If you are on the motorway, you should call the highways agency/police via 999/112 as they may need to close a lane so that the breakdown service can safely recover your horse
9. According to the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order, 2006 “breakdown vehicle operators attending vehicles carrying animals that have broken down or been involved in a road traffic accident should not attempt to move the vehicle with animals on board if it cannot be repaired at roadside unless directed to do so by the police or other competent authority for reasons of public safety”. And “In the unlikely event that a vehicle has to be moved by a recovery operator to the nearest suitable place of destination, it is suggested that the recovery vehicle operator is accompanied (where possible) by the transporter and that the vehicle is not moved by means of a suspended tow.” Be aware of this legislation when choosing a breakdown operator.
10. Make sure you have the right breakdown cover in place. A-Plan offers this with our specialist horsebox insurance.
If you are unlucky enough to breakdown, you can either call our dedicated horsebox team for assistance on 01296 398 398 or, if out of hours, call the following horsebox breakdown numbers:
0800 055 6370 / 01277 235954