Five years ago, I realised a childhood ambition of owning my own horsebox. For anyone that knows me, I did not make my choice lightly.
I built a file of pretty much every horsebox manufacturer in the UK and then began an interview process. Of course, none of these horsebox manufacturers were aware that they were being interviewed for a very imminent build.
My criteria was really very simple:
1. Safety & Security of my horses
2. Price Performance – what I got for my money
3. Customer Service & Helpfulness from the very beginning
4. Knowledge and attention to detail
And the final one
5. Living accommodation
BUILDING A SHORT LIST
I started on my list of more than 20 companies. Many didn’t even make it past the first phone call and a big black line went through their names. Why? Because many were extolling the virtues of their living accommodation and could not answer even the most basic of safety questions and truthfully did not seem to care. One by one the big well-known brands fell by the wayside and I still hadn’t got to price! My black Sharpie was having a great time and I was getting worried that I would run out of companies!
Then I spoke to Kevin at KPH and the world turned on its axis. Our first conversation was about safety, security and weight. His level of detail and knowledge blew me away, every question was patiently answered with lots of additional detail with questions for me to think about. Nothing was too much trouble even at that early stage and there wasn’t even a hint of a sale at that time. He wanted to make sure that I was equipped to make an informed and sound decision. I learnt an awful lot about horsebox manufacturing, information I would have never know if I had not found this guy.
So I made the decision to go to Kevin. You may think me nuts, living in Berkshire and having a box built for me in Preston, Lancashire but I just felt comfortable that I could trust this guy. A quick sprint with my husband up the M6, confirmed my decision. They opened specially early for us, with great patience we designed the horsebox together. Kevin helping us every step of the way with questions and advice. It was the most painless way to spend a chunk of change! We left feeling very comfortable with our choice.
Every week, I got an update on progress with photos of every piece of work. From a stripped chassis I could see the care and attention to detail that went into every piece of her. No amount of phone calls hassled either Kevin, Janet his wife or Russell, Kevin’s right hand man. I can tell you there were many, all were dealt with, with the patience of saints. They completely understand that this is a large investment for anyone.
Kevin knew I was desperate for my box but he was only 97% happy with the paint job, it had special gold flecks in it and apparently, they did not sparkle in the way they should. Now I am not sure that I would have been able to see the issue but Kevin could. Such is his commitment to the quality of everything coming out of the workshop that at his own cost he got his 100% finish not only that there was no delay on the delivery.
Finally, the day came when she was ready. I had agreed for Kevin to use her at the Royal Berkshire Show for his stand and she arrived BU54EER, my big orange. She was awesome. I loved her. She had been designed for our little Connemara who we lost tragically and my ROR, Is it Time a three time sprint winner.
For over four years she served me well. Never a moments trouble, everything mechanically sound, sailed through plating every time. If I ever needed any help Kevin was always at the end of the phone.
In July 2016 tragedy struck. On a trip to Kent for an event, we got stuck under a bridge, a long and convoluted story. Big Orange was pulled out by a monster truck and sent back to Kevin’s in Preston.
Such was the downward force on her that the insurance company deemed her “beyond commercial repair”. A right off.
KPH have come a long way in nearly 5 years, the Helios boxes have changed beyond all recognition. The changes are extraordinary but then Kevin is passionate about every tiny detail and he has been very busy lightening the weight, improving safety, checking new materials for strength and durability, introducing new wiring and heating systems, cameras and new funky interiors.
I have to be honest, the price has increased dramatically too but in comparison to others there is still no competition in my view.
I spent a lot of time educating the horsebox insurer about KPH Horseboxes. I had always taken great care of Big Orange, she was cleaned properly after every trip and was in totally mint condition. Such is the quality of workmanship from KPH that the insurance payment was only a couple of quid below what I paid for her. Now you can’t say that about many vehicles!
KPH has grown extensively and moved to massive premises and the wait list for a build was much longer than the first time around. Despite the fact that I would have to can the rest of my season and wait until early 2017 for my new box, it was worth it to me.
A trip to Kevin’s in August got the ball rolling. This time I took what I had learnt from Big Orange and with Kevin’s help designed a box built around Stretch, my 18 hand KWPN and my youngster Benjii who is likely to make 17.2.
NO CHANGE IN EXCELLENCE
To my delight despite KPH’s success the service has not changed one jot. The care and attention to detail remains paramount. The customer service remains completely on point.
The photos and progress reports come weekly and in vast quantity. Queries and changes are handled without a problem. Kevin, Janet, Russell and their vastly expanded team continue to deliver a service that I believe is un-paralleled in the UK.
On January 20th 2017 we headed back up the M6 to pick up my much awaited box. She was sparkling in the winter sunshine. WOW!! I was and still am blown away.
The Helios is not the only box from Kevin. He does massive versions that can carry an army of horses but he also does smaller versions with the same meticulous dedication and commitment.
Now I am quite a number of trips in with my golden girl and I can report a 100% record, again. No niggles, no problems, everything works brilliantly. Kevin’s modifications make my horses even safer and more comfortable than they were before, cleaning even easier, the interior is awesome and comfortable, every nook and cranny has been exploited, my underfloor tack locker is just the business and all the mod cons mean being away from home is not a problem.
I am not an easy customer, I am demanding as Kevin knows only too well and I certainly don’t provide praise where it is not deserved.
Whilst I am hoping that my golden girl will last a very long time, if I ever have to buy a third horsebox, based on my criteria:-
- Safety & Security of my horses
- Price Performance – what I got for my money
- Customer Service & Helpfulness
- Knowledge and attention to detail
There will only ever be one choice for me, Kevin Parker Horseboxes.