Nice Little Runner, Squire - Malcom Twigg meets George Smith Horseboxes in Shrewton

PUBLISHED: 14:10 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:37 20 February 2013

George Smith with a newly built horsebox awaiting delivery

George Smith with a newly built horsebox awaiting delivery

Malcolm Twigg gets a leg-up in the equestrian transportation world with George Smith Horseboxes in Shrewton.

Malcolm Twigg gets a leg-up in the equestrian transportation world with George Smith Horseboxes in Shrewton.



When I finally tracked George Smith down - and it was difficult because he was haring about from client to client - he was in between calls. Just returned from a service call in Frome he was about to head off to another client in Hampshire to sign off a deal for an all-singing-all dancing horsebox in the world-class league, where the living room and bathroom pull out and the roof pushes up to form a bedroom. I'm tempted to say 'and that was just for the horses' but that would be stretching incredulity a furlong too far, although there's not much George and his team can't do with horseboxes. Whatever the client wants, within reason, George Smith Horseboxes Ltd can build. George and his eponymously named company build horseboxes for anyone remotely involved with horses, from the weekend gymkhana competitor to the seriously rich and famous involved in the equestrian world.



Operating out of a collection of barns in a remote location just outside Shrewton, near Amesbury, George is one of the leading players in vehicles for the equestrian world. See a horsebox almost anywhere on the road in the south of England and it is more than likely one that started life in George's workshops. It hasn't always been this way. George started out purely as a self-employed commercial vehicle repair mechanic. A lot of his clients owned horseboxes, and one day he was asked if he could build a small horsebox as a birthday present for a client's girlfriend. From that one favour, a whole new business began, and since 1988 George Smith Horseboxes Ltd has become a byword in the horse transportation business. But isn't a horsebox just a horsebox? Apparently not.


See a horsebox almost anywhere on the road in the south of England and it is more than likely one that started life in George's workshops.


'Different markets have different requirements,' George pointed out. 'Show jumpers, dressage and event riders pretty much live in the lorry when they're at meetings, so the boxes we build for them are part horsebox and part mobile home. The racing market is all about efficient transportation of animals from the stables to the racecourse (staff will be housed in accommodation by the racecourse), therefore we just need to allow for the animals, and so the vehicle can be slightly smaller. Polo teams tend to transport all their horses in the one vehicle (we've just completed a vehicle for 12 ponies and recently did one for 16 ponies, although that was articulated and we don't get much call for them in England). The players look after their own accommodation and often turn up in their Lamborghinis or Ferraris,' said George with a rueful smile.


At the lower end of the market, whilst living accommodation will still be provided in the vehicle it tends to be more basic. Carriage driving is another category that requires a different type of vehicle, with front- and side-loading options for ease of access, and space to carry the carriages as well.



Strangely, this is the only equine sport where the horses stay with the horsebox throughout, being housed in temporary stables attached to the horsebox.


As someone in the motor trade - albeit dealing with vehicles of a highly specialised nature - George Smith knows full well the old saw 'caveat emptor', but when you've only just taken delivery of a used vehicle you hardly expect it to blow up on the M5. That's precisely what happened to George and what made it worse was that the vehicle had actually come from a wealthy client in part-exchange for a brand-new horsebox, so he could hardly complain. You can almost hear the patter now: 'Nice little runner, squire. Only one owner. Hardly used. Needs a bit of touching up'. George shrugs it off. 'It's one of those things in the motor trade, but it didn't seem too bad a vehicle at the time, even if it was 12 or 15 years old and the paint was hanging off.'



Well, you win some, some you blow up. Some you just happen to know their radio code when an owner rings you up at 5.30am asking what it is because they disconnected the battery the previous evening and now can't get Radio 4. But that's the sort of service that George Smith likes to provide... with a smile, and even that early.


Malcolm Twigg


www.georgesmithhorseboxes.com,


(01980) 620158

0 comments


 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Wiltshire Magazine regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search