None of us have to be convinced about the quality of German engineering and Fiona Kittson-Walsh’s imported Dickenherr horse truck is a case that proves the point. Fiona from Melbourne is a very successful showing owner and rider and her two daughters, Georgiana and Alexandra are following in her footsteps with ideas of branching out into dressage and showjumping. Fiona, her mother, Marlene and now daughters are successful regulars at the shows, owning the likes of the very well performed, Langtree Royal Affair Vic. 2020 Barastoc Small Galloway Champion, Amadeus, Vic 2020 Small Show Hunter Champion and BC Finesse, 2020 Barastoc Child’s Hack Runner Up.
“We had been doing more and more travelling to the shows with Mum and the girls growing up and getting more involved. It had always been our dream to have a truck and be able to stay with the horses and be comfortable. We enjoy the shows so much and have had great fun in the truck, even though we have only been to a couple of shows in it.
“We missed out on a truck in Sydney and it was suggested that we look at some European manufacturers. We contacted four manufacturers and decided on Dickenherr in Southern Germany, who’s Australian agent is Pegasus Horse Floats. The trucks are beautifully made and there is an economy of scale regarding demand for trucks in Europe and that makes them very competitive with trucks here.
“We went to visit the factory in Germany and they were keen and excited to export a truck to Australia. We discussed what we wanted and they made the truck exactly to our specifications. They recommended the MAN 18gvm 290hp to pull it and discussed colours to suit the Australian environment and we decided on BMW Silver.
“It’s beautiful to drive, is wonderful on the road and the horses don’t move. It has a speed limiter that can be set to any speed which is wonderful for going down steep hills, because you don’t have to ride the brakes.
“The manufacturers’ main concern is the horses and they will not compromise on space for the horses to put more in the living area. They were also horrified that we wanted to tie horses up to it, as it is something they don’t do in Europe. However, they put in ties for the horses and hay nets. John Nichols at Pegasus organised a protective cover for the side of the truck as well as a soft wall for the back of the horse section.”
Let’s take a look.
Photos: Julie Wilson. Article: Anna Sharpley.
The Dickenherr four horse truck is approximately 7.1m long excluding the cab and approx 2.4m wide and 3.94m high. The entrance steps are down for this photo.
A front view of the MAN 18gvm 290hp truck that powers the operation. The slide out houses the dining area. Remember, in Europe this slide out would be on the opposite side as entry would be from the right side of the truck.
The MAN cab.
This is a photograph of the gear stick in the MAN. Turn the pointer to the left for drive and to the right for reverse! It is that easy.
The entrance to the Dickenherr truck is inspirational and will no doubt save friendships and quite a bit of cleaning.
It really looks more like first class on Emirates! The kitchen boasts a two burner induction hob and adjacent sink with cover allowing more bench space. The oven is also a microwave and a grill. The crockery above does not move when travelling.
A full sized fridge surrounded by the stylish high gloss wood veneer.
There is a Dometic reverse cycle air conditioner that has several outlets throughout the living area.
The crawl through to the cab with a double bed in the luton.
There is certainly a, where am I? moment when you step in to the living area. The lights which change colour and/or stay one colour and the internal finish are absolute European luxury. This is the dining area located in the slide out. The table can be easily adjusted so the dining area can become a bed.
The TV, with satellite dish on the roof of the truck, is recessed in to the wall. It comes out on an adjustable arm for viewing. The huge bed above the bathroom is easier to access than it looks in this photo. Also above both beds there is a pop up window that can be opened for air and/or light or completely closed to both. The view to the right is down past the bathroom towards the horse area.
The bathroom has a full sized shower and generous vanity and the luxury of abundant mirrors.
To the left, the bathroom and straight ahead the door to the mud room and beyond, the horse area.
You enter in to effectively what is a mud room. Remove boots, coats etc and then proceed to the living area. They are not there yet, but there will be about half a dozen hooks along the wall for hanging coats. Fiona also has a tack trunk that fits in here when necessary.
A horse would have to work really hard to hurt itself here. The solid partitions have a padded swinging drop and the box in front of the horse is also padded. There is not a dangerous surface to be seen. The interior metal is rust proof stainless steel. Notice the small chest box area. It limits outside storage, but gives the horses more room. The channel in front of the horses allows for them to be fed and watered without leaving the truck.
The solid head dividers prevent any possible injury, but still allow plenty of reassuring contact between the horses. They can fold back to allow maximum contact if desired.
These plastic sheets are velcroed on behind the horse to stop any manure going down the holes that allow for horse bay adjustment. They are easy to remove and clean.
The windows slide down to allow plenty of fresh air.
There is almost an unlimited amount of adjustment for the horse bays.
There is almost an unlimited amount of adjustment for the horse bays.
There is ventilation and light aplenty in the horse section. The skylights allow light and air in and can also be completely closed from both air and light. The air extractor can take hot air out and bring cool air in. There is a temperature control in the truck cab and the extractor can be operated from there. The bank of LED lights along the upper wall guarantee daylight. At night these lights are a non disturbing blue for restful travel.
The ramp looks steep in this photo, because the truck was not lowered to lessen the angle. The ramp along with the interior of the horse area is covered with heavy duty non slip rubber. Notice too the ports on the ramp for the loading gates.
The easy to operate loading gates take the worry about getting on board. No one is going to bail off the side of the ramp. “They won’t make a ramp without these gates,” says Fiona.
All aboard! There is a very good loading light above the ramp.
The power boxes closed with the close by mains electricity inlet.
The truck runs only on electricity. The German manufacturers did not want gas anywhere on the truck. There are two powerful batteries to run the living area along with an inverter, and inverter back up and a Dometic generator that has an auto start from within the living.
The home of the generator and the inverter. All easy to access if it ever needs repair.
The tail ramp is not automatic as the makers did not want the possibility of the auto malfunctioning resulting in being unable to go up or down. “We were a bit worried about this” says Fiona, “but it is easier to bring the ramp down and put it up than it is for a float. It is amazingly simple and easy.
The tack box is small by some standards, but there is room for four saddles and bridles. The reason for this is that more room is given to the horses. Also in Europe most have mobile tack boxes that can be wheeled to where the horse is stabled and therefore more convenient.
A view of the non European standard tie ups. The higher ones are for hay nets. The rear box runs the full width of the truck and is good for storing hay, the side protective sheet and the horse area back covering.
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