A Colne Valley business is enjoying success at the gallop – turning vintage horseboxes into bars and food outlets.
AP Horseboxes at Slaithwaite has a well-established business fitting out, servicing and valeting conventional horse boxes and trailers.
Now it has also added another element to the business – converting vintage horse trailers into bars and catering outlets for summer shows, weddings and other private functions.
Richard Sykes, who is in charge of the vintage trailers side of the business, said: “We were originally dairy farmers, but gave up milking cows 10 years ago.
“We still farm beef cattle and sheep. We have 30 head of cattle and 30 head of sheep. We still deliver milk six days a week, but we buy the milk in.
“We set up a livery yard about six years ago and 12 months ago we started doing horseboxes.”
Richard, who also runs the farm with his father under the name M&M Sykes, said he saw a converted horse trailer at a summer show and thought it would be good to have one to hire out for events.
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AP Horseboxes kitted out an old horsebox which it now hires out as a bar – staffed or unstaffed – for private functions.
Now it is also building them to order.
“All the ones we have done so far are for bars, but we have had enquiries for things like pizza ovens and catering,” he said.
Richard, who works on the conversions with colleague Matthew Jefferies, said they were based on 30-year-old horse trailers manufactured by a firm called Rice.
“We strip them down, shotblast them, repaint them and rebuild them from the ground up,” said Richard. “They get new lights and tyres and insulation. We can fit them with fridges, lighting, sockets and stereos.”
A high-spec top-of-the-range conversion can cost £8,500.
“We started doing these conversions about six months ago,” said Richard. “We have been doing one a month since then, which isn’t bad going.”