Blue van man

Written by Tamzin Renfew

Horse trailers are a common sight in France, and when you go to a competition you’ll see dozens – of all shapes and sizes. A few scary looking narrow ones (and some with suspiciously rotten looking floors) somehow make it there intact, but most of the randomly parked vans (French for horse trailer) are pretty smart.

I’ve got a 6 year old Ifor Williams, which has served brilliantly - both for the horses and more than a few pallets of breeze blocks - but I’m conscious that it needs to be fully safe and regularly serviced.  I sometimes worry when I think about the concept of putting my horse into the trailer, attaching it to my 4 x 4 and driving off, so I always check my tow bar just in case and find a useful man (easier said than done!) to check that it isn’t wobbly or held on by blue tac!

Recently, I was starting to have problems with the braking system - and after a bit of research, thought perhaps the hydraulic damper was on its way out. I would be driving along quite happily when suddenly there would be a shunt from the trailer and the 4 x 4 would lurch forward. I enquired about this at the local garage, but they didn’t want to touch it, so it required a bit of asking around to find someone who would. And then I chanced upon Aquitaine Remorques, and made a rendezvous to call round with the van and explain the situation.

A very nice young man came out to see me and I tried to explain what was happening. I was slightly stuck as under pressure I couldn’t think of the words I needed, so my explanation came out in an unintended and rather risqué way. I kept mentioning bottom, behind, smacking - and then to ‘help’ myself decided gestures were the way to go. They weren’t - and instead they made the situation more awkward. The lad tried to help, but I was determined to dig my way out of this embarrassing hole and explain the problem in French. And absolutely without mentioning bottom at all. Eventually we got there, just as the patron came out to see how we were getting on. He must have seen me gesturing and thought I was behaving in an inappropriate fashion towards his worker, and explained that he spoke English, Dutch and Spanish..... and if I needed to explain anything further, then it might be easier to do it with him!

So problem explained, new words learnt - some of which that should be saved for a different context - and the overall view was I needed a new head (for the trailer, that is).   So I left it there and they checked out the lights, brakes, tyre pressures, flooring and gave it a through service.  I went back a few days later to pick it up, and as I was leaving they mentioned that if I was passing and wanted anything checked then I could just pop in.

Totally impressed by the level of service, I now have complete peace of mind that my trailer is safe and sound for my precious horses – and the occasional brick too.


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