3.5t van conversion or Ifor trailer

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Sunshine

New Member
May 25, 2020
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Chesterfiled
Need some advise on whether to go for a 3.5t van conversion by equisport - thinking of self drive hire or to do trailer test get a tow bar and buy a trailer.

Which would you advise and why.. pros and cons.
 

diplomaticandtactful

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
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Buying a trailer and towing, you have the hassle of driving a trailer and having to have a vehicle capable of towing it but at least you are paying only one set of insurance, tax, vehicle recovery. But you need to have the right vehicle to tow as some are not up to towing a horse so you might need a new car to tow a trailer. We used a Kia Sorento when we had a trailer and it was very good.

If you buy a 3.5 tonner then you have the extra insurance and road tax and recovery for a second vehicle and if you don't use it much you need to keep it charged as you can guarantee when you want it the battery will be flat. I use a solar trickle charger on mine.

The horse box is a more expensive option but easier to drive and you would probably use it more as it is a pain in the butt constantly having to hitch up. However I am not sure i like the transit van fit outs like this in terms of safety. I know someone who had one similar to it the travelled a 15hh horse in it, and it hardly fitted in and it was very tight and low. They just fitted out a transit and called it a horse box but it was really flimsy and i wouldn't have travelled at horse in it, only a little donkey or very small pony.

When i looked at horse boxes there were a lot of really bad death trap conversions out there. The low cost van conversions often have a step up from the ramp into the box, which isn't very safe, going in or out, and are the fit outs heavy duty enough if a horse goes bananas? I have a 3.5 tonne lorry and i looked at a lot till i found one where the fit out was really really strong and robust. A lot of the ones i saw at shows a horse could kick through them. The lorry i have is based on a Peugeot but they took the entire van apart from the drivers compartment off and rebuilt it from scratch, reinforcing everywhere. The ones based on transits they are using the original vehicle possibly unmodified other than putting in horse partitions but the sides and roof are not originally built for this purpose and they can be very low inside with little headroom.

In general terms, a 3.5 tonne done to a high safety spec is going to be around £30K plus.
 

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
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Depends on how many horses you are taking and what size. 3.5 tonnes doesnt give you much if you have a big horse you certainly couldnt carry two or youd be over the weight limit. Unless they were ponies.
Youve got the added cost of insuring another vehicle and taxing it and servicing. You need to service a trailer regularly and insure it so i guess you need to find out what those costs would be.

Yes it would cost to do a trailer test but once its done its done for life. Also means that you can tow a caravan as well i think although im not fully sure on that. So if you wanted to go away theres tht bonus maybe.

Obviously you need a suitable towing vehicle, although it sounds like you might have one but just need to get a tow bar fitted. I think when i had mine fitted it was £200 or £300. But they can be done at your home by a suitable garage mechanic.

My original trailer was given to me and did a good few years but was a bit knackered because of who had it prior to me. We brought a new one a few years ago but it is a combined horse and livestock one. So i can have horse partitions in or i can take out easily and put a cattle partition in to transport cows or sheep.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Double check your car before having a tow bar fitted, not all 4x4s are big enough to tow horses. Check the braked tow capacity, you’ll need 2t minimum and really that only lets you tow 1 horse because you have to take in the weight of the trailer too, even if it’s a 2 horse trailer it doesn’t mean your car is up to towing 2, it’s generally not if your car can pull it, it’s if your car has enough weight to stop it in an emergency without the trailer coming sailing past you because it’s heavier than the car.

Similarly with 3.5t check the weights, if the van itself is 2.8t that only leaves 0.7t available for horse, tack, driver, fuel, hay etc. as if you go over 3.5t total you are illegal. There are many out there stalled for 2x 15.2 horses which in no way have the weight capacity to carry 2!

As for preference, I’d love to have a 3.5t just to be able to Have stuff already packed and jump in and go but I’ve not been that lucky and have always had trailers and it’s not that much extra bother, I used to regularly go out schooling a couple of times a week and hack or show most weekends, you just get better at packing and hitching up 🙂
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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As for preference, I’d love to have a 3.5t just to be able to Have stuff already packed and jump in and go but I’ve not been that lucky and have always had trailers and it’s not that much extra bother, I used to regularly go out schooling a couple of times a week and hack or show most weekends, you just get better at packing and hitching up 🙂
You definitely get use to packing. For ease I tend to pack the car first as i can get near the tack room and dont have to carry stuff and then hitch the trailer on.
 

diplomaticandtactful

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
11,561
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Double check your car before having a tow bar fitted, not all 4x4s are big enough to tow horses. Check the braked tow capacity, you’ll need 2t minimum and really that only lets you tow 1 horse because you have to take in the weight of the trailer too, even if it’s a 2 horse trailer it doesn’t mean your car is up to towing 2, it’s generally not if your car can pull it, it’s if your car has enough weight to stop it in an emergency without the trailer coming sailing past you because it’s heavier than the car.

Similarly with 3.5t check the weights, if the van itself is 2.8t that only leaves 0.7t available for horse, tack, driver, fuel, hay etc. as if you go over 3.5t total you are illegal. There are many out there stalled for 2x 15.2 horses which in no way have the weight capacity to carry 2!

As for preference, I’d love to have a 3.5t just to be able to Have stuff already packed and jump in and go but I’ve not been that lucky and have always had trailers and it’s not that much extra bother, I used to regularly go out schooling a couple of times a week and hack or show most weekends, you just get better at packing and hitching up 🙂
Lots of cars aren't up to towing, our first towing vehicle was a ford scorpio with cosworth engine....completely wrong....the sorento did it so easily, we had a trailer for x 2 16hh but only ever transported one cob or Buddy. Even with a car designed for towing, you have to be careful with snaking. Our 3.5 tonne carries Buddy at 550kg and me, OH, 2 poodles and all our bits and pieces. It would take 2-3 donkeys but certainly not Suze and Buddy even though it is partitioned to do so. If yo go up to the next level the 4.5 then you are into having them plated, speed restrictions etc. I have to say i much prefer the box, i hated towing the trailer even though i was quite adequate at it, i just didn't like it. I know with the box that wherever we go i will always be able to turn and get out, whereas with the trailer i have had to unhitch it as folks have made it impossible to turn it.
 
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