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Dream Rig - Ali Berwick’s 'home away from home'

This article is from the July 2019 Horse Deals magazine.


Victorian rider Ali Berwick has been winning in the show ring for many years and yes, she did start young. Despite a Business and Commerce degree, the prolific showing class winner, including the famous Garryowen, is a full time horse professional. “I do the horses full time,” says Ali “and I have between eight and ten horses in work. I also work casually for accountants, Michelle Labahn and Associates and that works well, especially over winter when it is a quiet time with the horses and a busy time with tax, so I can do a few more days in the office.”

With the ongoing support of parents, Vicki and John Berwick, a horse transport was needed for the growing business. “The truck was built by Tyrone Latham in Queensland and I knew it, and more to the point really liked it. When we started talking about trucks last year, I thought of this one. We looked at quite a few trucks, then heard that this one that Tyrone sold two years ago might be for sale. It was and we bought it during the first week of January this year. The main reason for buying it was of course, the business, but also it is very enjoyable accommodation. It’s elegant and functional and works well for us. It’s a home away from home.”

The Mack Midlum 270DCi carries five horses and is 4.2m high. “It is quite high, which has its advantages, but we have a Garmin Navman that takes us on a route that avoids low bridges. The height gives us advantages, including belly storage and we can carry a lot of feed and up to 18 bales of hay.” The height also helps with internal space as there are no slide outs. Another important feature is that the truck has a 16,000kg carrying capacity and even loaded with five horses there are no problems at the weigh bridges.

The Mack Midlum 270DCi carries five horses and is 4.2m high. “It is quite high, which has its advantages, but we have a Garmin Navman that takes us on a route that avoids low bridges. The height gives us advantages, including belly storage and we can carry a lot of feed and up to 18 bales of hay.” The height also helps with internal space as there are no slide outs. Another important feature is that the truck has a 16,000kg carrying capacity and even loaded with five horses there are no problems at the weigh bridges.

John Berwick installed a floodlight at the centre top of the rear of the truck. “In case we have to load or unload in the dark.” Notice the two air vents at the top.

John Berwick installed a floodlight at the centre top of the rear of the truck. “In case we have to load or unload in the dark.” Notice the two air vents at the top.

The split screen camera in the cab. One half the horses, the other a rear view camera.

The split screen camera in the cab. One half the horses, the other a rear view camera.

No show without Penny Berwick. “She is the team mascot and is always keen to go to a show,” says Ali.

No show without Penny Berwick. “She is the team mascot and is always keen to go to a show,” says Ali.

The Berwicks have added their own touches to the truck including the splashback in the kitchen and some themed artwork.

The Berwicks have added their own touches to the truck including the splashback in the kitchen and some themed artwork.

“I am too busy riding horses to cook,” says Ali. The microwave is a convection oven as well, so there is some possibility. “We have a BBQ and can set up a Sunbeam frypan in the horse section and bring the food in from there, to avoid cooking fumes in the living,” says Vicki Berwick. The split system air conditioner is above the kitchen bench.

“I am too busy riding horses to cook,” says Ali. The microwave is a convection oven as well, so there is some possibility. “We have a BBQ and can set up a Sunbeam frypan in the horse section and bring the food in from there, to avoid cooking fumes in the living,” says Vicki Berwick. The split system air conditioner is above the kitchen bench.

The crawl through to the cab with a bed behind the seats.

The crawl through to the cab with a bed behind the seats.

The full sized house fridge is a feature of the living. This is a view from the living looking back through the bathroom towards the mirror door to the horse section with the second queen sized bed above the bathroom. There is no dining table in the living. “I spoke to Tyrone about that,” says Ali “and he thought it would be too crowded if there was a dining table, because there is no slide out. We have a portable table that is stored behind the fridge if we need it.”

The full sized house fridge is a feature of the living. This is a view from the living looking back through the bathroom towards the mirror door to the horse section with the second queen sized bed above the bathroom. There is no dining table in the living. “I spoke to Tyrone about that,” says Ali “and he thought it would be too crowded if there was a dining table, because there is no slide out. We have a portable table that is stored behind the fridge if we need it.”

The queen bed in the luton. As with the bed over the bathroom, it is possible to sit up in bed and read due to the extra height of the truck, reading lights provided. To access the engine for servicing the luton bed comes out and hydraulics lift the cab.

The queen bed in the luton. As with the bed over the bathroom, it is possible to sit up in bed and read due to the extra height of the truck, reading lights provided. To access the engine for servicing the luton bed comes out and hydraulics lift the cab.

The toilet door opens and locks into the side of the shower to form the bathroom wall.

The toilet door opens and locks into the side of the shower to form the bathroom wall.

The toilet door opens and locks into the side of the shower to form the bathroom wall.

The toilet door opens and locks into the side of the shower to form the bathroom wall.

The hand basin and proper household china toilet occupy one side of the bathroom. The truck carries 200 litres of fresh water and has a grey and black water tank. If plugged into mains water the plumbing for the bathroom, kitchen and outside tap works from the one inlet.

The hand basin and proper household china toilet occupy one side of the bathroom. The truck carries 200 litres of fresh water and has a grey and black water tank. If plugged into mains water the plumbing for the bathroom, kitchen and outside tap works from the one inlet.

The rear ramp, although quite steep, has heavy duty rubber and secure cleats for easy ascent. Also the last bay doors open either side to act as a guide for loading and unloading. There is also a black caravan curtain wall for the back with a zip door.

The rear ramp, although quite steep, has heavy duty rubber and secure cleats for easy ascent. Also the last bay doors open either side to act as a guide for loading and unloading. There is also a black caravan curtain wall for the back with a zip door.

The high roof, plenty of windows, roof ventilation and LED lighting provide plenty of air and light in the horse section. There are five adjustable bays which have head dividers and anti kick rubber to the floor. A CCTV camera also allows Ali to check the horses when travelling.<br>
Plenty of room for rugs with the double rug racks thanks to the extra height.

The high roof, plenty of windows, roof ventilation and LED lighting provide plenty of air and light in the horse section. There are five adjustable bays which have head dividers and anti kick rubber to the floor. A CCTV camera also allows Ali to check the horses when travelling.
Plenty of room for rugs with the double rug racks thanks to the extra height.

Can anyone remember going to the laundromat? No need here as there is a washer and dryer on board.

Can anyone remember going to the laundromat? No need here as there is a washer and dryer on board.

The tack box with storage for saddles and plenty of hooks for bridles and other gear.

The tack box with storage for saddles and plenty of hooks for bridles and other gear.

Tony Bayley made these rear rub cushions. “I have them in various sizes,” says Ali, “some that go down to protect their hocks.”

Tony Bayley made these rear rub cushions. “I have them in various sizes,” says Ali, “some that go down to protect their hocks.”

“The great advantage of having huge storage space” says John Berwick, “is that a lot of the gear can stay packed in the truck and it makes getting ready for a show that much easier.”

“The great advantage of having huge storage space” says John Berwick, “is that a lot of the gear can stay packed in the truck and it makes getting ready for a show that much easier.”

More storage. The high gloss one piece fiberglass side of the truck is covered with a 3M product called Clear Guard. “I did not want to put press studs or tracking for a vinyl protection sheet. The Clear Guard that Tony Bayley put us onto protects the sides when horses are tied to it. It is a kind of self-repairing plastic that can be replaced.”

More storage. The high gloss one piece fiberglass side of the truck is covered with a 3M product called Clear Guard. “I did not want to put press studs or tracking for a vinyl protection sheet. The Clear Guard that Tony Bayley put us onto protects the sides when horses are tied to it. It is a kind of self-repairing plastic that can be replaced.”

A full width box useful for carrying yards or hay.

A full width box useful for carrying yards or hay.

Photos: Julie Wilson.

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