Van or box?

C1airey

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Looking tentatively at getting a 3.5t but can’t decide whether to go van conversion or more traditional horse box. I’ve travelled horses in both, but never owned so keen to know day-to-day irritations, things you wish you’d paid extra for, things that were a waste of space/time/money, etc.

Not really bothered for living, but are external tack lockers worthwhile? Or just easier to break into? Am transporting a 14.1 so lower payload for a more solidly-built box not a problem, but is there any significant fuel efficiency payoff with a lighter van-type? Can anyone give me a quick run-down of the good/bad points of both?
 

Chippers1

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I've got a van (although have hired a box type a couple of years ago) and I know that a lot of people don't like the van type but I'm happy with mine. I only travel my 14hh in it on his own and he has loads of space and head room etc.
I like having a van that is the same width all along and I know where it will fit 😅
My tack is kept inside in a little grooms area at the back which I love having as it has a little seat so when I'm at comps I sit in the back and eat or whatever whilst buzz stands in and eats his hay. Mine doesn't have a full wall between the horse and the groom area but the partition is pretty high so I'm not too worried.

I like that I can take mine to get it's MOT and normal garages that take vans, not sure the boxes can do that!
 

milliepops

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yeah the van ones are definitely a bit more handy if your access is limited. coachbuilt ones can go to normal garages though :) not sure there'd be much difference in fuel consumption tbh, payload is often fairly similar so it's the same weight of vehicle that you're carting around.

I wanted a coachbuilt because they are quite a lot bigger inside - overall ceiling height and also because the sides don't curve in at the top. but for one smaller horse it's less of an issue.

I would 100% go for a proper barrier between horse and groom area. and I'd prefer an external tack locker, i found it faffy carrying saddle etc round to the back.
 

catembi

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I was v v unsure about van conversions until I got one! I have a Renault Master & I totally, totally love it! It's a stallion box, so no breastbar & a solid wall between horse area & the tack area at the back. My 16.1 ex racer fits in there fine. I would only travel one for payload reasons, but that's fine as I only want to travel one at a time. It's light on fuel, much easier to MOT than a 7.5 ton and I am not afraid to go out n about as it's not too big. I have organised the back v tidily to fit one set of tack, water, bucket, grooming kit, mounting block, caravan step etc and it does all fit.

I really do totally love the small size. It drives just like a car and is so much fun, and I actually prefer driving it to my car as the driving position is higher and it's more powerful. When I had a bigger box, I would be more worried about driving it than about competing sometimes!
 

Pippity

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I opted for a van conversion because they tend to have better payloads than the coachbuilt. Even with going for every reinforcement option available, mine has a payload of a hair under 1.2. I'm not aware of any proper tests regarding which is safer, but my gut feeling was that something that has the original framework of the van, with added reinforcement, will be more rigid than a coach-built. (I really wish a reputable independent body would test horsebox safety.)

My horse was only used to going into a coachbuilt, and it did take a few sessions to get her loading happily into the conversion, but we're pretty much there now.
 

milliepops

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I'm not aware of any proper tests regarding which is safer, but my gut feeling was that something that has the original framework of the van, with added reinforcement, will be more rigid than a coach-built. (I really wish a reputable independent body would test horsebox safety.)
there would be so much variation between manufacturers. some seem very flimsy (anyone seen the videos of people fixing up the ones where the sides are barely attached to the floor?!) but others are very solid. My Racemaster was pretty robust, they are not as pretty as some of the ones with fancy moulding etc but they are built for safety.
 

Pippity

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there would be so much variation between manufacturers. some seem very flimsy (anyone seen the videos of people fixing up the ones where the sides are barely attached to the floor?!) but others are very solid. My Racemaster was pretty robust, they are not as pretty as some of the ones with fancy moulding etc but they are built for safety.
True, but at least we'd have a better idea of what we should be demanding from manufacturers.
 
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I had a van conversion. My mechanic (equine transport) was of the opinion that he saw more good builds of van conversions, and that they tended to be safer as the sides are more robust.
 

scats

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11 September 2007
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Love my van conversion! Easy to drive and manage on my own.
I have a grooms area at the back with a seat (lifts up for storage underneath) and an inbuilt tack locker so saddle and stuff doesn’t get full of hay.
I removed the partition and only travel one Horse in it (15hh, though I have had a 16hh in it- I wouldn’t travel anything bigger).
Best vehicle I’ve ever bought.
 

PeterNatt

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You are best off with a chassis pan cab and then having a good container built on top of it as it will be far stronger. The best chassis pan cabs for a 3.5 ton are a Renault master. Also get it built by a reputable company such as Bloomfield, Boss, Marlborough Oakley John Oats etc. who build good solid containers.
 

Asha

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A friend of mine has the van type and she loves it, another lady at her yard had one on the strength and also loves it. They both only travel small horses ( approx 15.2). I personally dont like them. We opted for the coachbuilt one, its much more light airy inside and has a full divide between horse and groom area. Plus external tock lockers. The extras we had where a fan in horse area and seats in the grooms area that can push together to make a bed. Horses travel great.
 
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