We are helping spread the Olympic legacy and putting more people in the saddle.
Ifor Williams Trailers's award-wining horseboxes are being used to carry life-sized mechanical horses thousands of miles around the UK to encourage people to take up horse riding.
The electronic horses are computer driven riding simulator which respond to the rider’s leg and hand aids and have five ‘gears’ – walk to gallop.
One trailer was purchased last year for Take up the Reins, a national initiative launched by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), supported by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and funded by Sport England, as part of the London 2012 Olympic Legacy.
A second has just been purchased, and BETA executive director Claire Williams, says they will be looking to buy a third later this year.
BETA’s team of three mechanical horses, which between them cost nearly £50,000 in total and each weigh around 400 kilos, RoboCob, Trigger and Queenie – named in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – will travel thousands of miles in the Ifor Williams Trailers horseboxes.
The two horse trailer purchased by BETA was voted the best in Europe by a leading German equine magazine that put trailers from all over Europe through a series of rigorous tests.
Ifor Williams Trailers accounts manager Daniel Joyce said: "They take these electronic horses around the shows to educate children, and adults, about riding. They are an expensive item of kit and they use our trailers to transport them up to 10,000 kilometres a year.
"They bought one last year and because of its quality and reliability they came back to get another one.
"The fact that they run these without a single problem is a great advert for us and they think the strength and reliability are superb."
Claire agrees: "We bought one last year and it performed so well throughout the summer that we had to have another. A lot of horse trailers these days have side loading which is no good for us and Ifor Williams kindly adapted ours because RoboCob only comes out backwards."
The three mechanical horses tour the country to spread the word about what a healthy, fun and accessible past time horse riding really is. They will stop off at county events, holiday parks, town centres, shopping malls, universities and colleges.
They come equipped with a conventional saddle and bridle, and can offer new riders a feel for the real thing, novices their first taste of trot or canter, while experienced equestrians can hone their skills.
"RoboCob can be hired by both members and non-members alike. He comes complete with his own transport, which doubles as a show unit. He is great at shows and events, both horsey and non.
"He does not buck, or kick and is great to give nervous riders confidence, or give those who have never been on a horse, their first taste," said Claire.
The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) encourages professionalism among its membership of leading UK manufacturers, distributors and retailers. It fights for consumer rights, lobbies at government level, liaises with equestrian bodies and works tirelessly for rider safety.
"There is a real myth that horse riding is only for the rich and privileged, but that’s simply not true. Anyone can do it – it’s great fun, healthy, something you could enjoy with family and friends, and you’re never too old," said Claire.
For further information on Take Up The Reins visit www.takeupthereins.co.uk For information about BETA visit www.beta-uk.org and for more information about the horseboxes go to www.iwt.co.uk
News » RoboCob rides in style