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Survey confirms need for trailer safety campaign

A survey conducted by The Blue Cross animal welfare charity at Blenheim Petplan International Horses Trials last week has identified that more than 50% of horse owners are unaware of even the most basic trailer maintenance requirements for the safe transport of their horses.
The survey, conducted at the launch of The Blue Cross Safe Trailer Campaign, invited horse owners to answer six simple questions on routine trailer maintenance. A frightening 56% of those asked were unable to answer all the questions correctly. Towing expert John Henderson who devised the survey explained: “It was of particular concern that some of the answers given suggested a potentially dangerous lack of knowledge with people being unaware of maintenance vital to ensure the trailer's braking system worked properly. This included people who thought trailer brakes only needed adjusting after the first 200 miles and those who did not realise the drawbar needed greasing.”

It is estimated that up to three horses every day need veterinary treatment as a result of transport related injuries. Many of these accidents are the result of poor trailer maintenance, with the collapse of the trailer floor being one of the most common and often fatal problems.

The Blue Cross Safe Trailer Campaign urges owners to undertake simple checks before transporting horses by trailer. The charity is offering free practical advice and guidance on trailer safety and maintenance in the form of an easy-reference leaflet produced in conjunction with respected towing expert John Henderson. In addition the charity is liaising with key trailer manufacturers, dealers and towing authorities to ensure that everything possible is done to provide for safe trailer travel for horses.

World-famous three-day event rider Mary King recognises the importance of such a campaign. She said: “Many years ago I had just bought a lorry from a reputable company and my horse King Boris put a foot through the rotten floor. Although Boris was luckily not injured it was a very frightening experience and I now make sure my lorries always have an aluminium floor. These statistics are really scary. As a nation who loves their horses so much we should make sure we do as much as we can for them.”

In France trailers are registered and given an MOT-style test annually. Leading French event rider Franck Bourny was shocked to learn that we do not do this in Britain. He said: “If you look at trailers here it’s sad compared with the trailers used in France. If you go to a show in France you might see two in poor condition but in Britain you’ll see 50.”

For details of the Safe Trailer campaign visit the Blue Cross website at

The Blue Cross is Britain's pet charity, providing information, advice and practical support for pet and horse owners. Through its network of animal adoption centres it rehomes thousands of animals each year. Its hospitals provide veterinary care for the pets of people who cannot afford private vets' fees.


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