Hatton & Lilly was established in 2016, bringing together the combined expertise of co-owners Lyn Hatton and Deon Lilly in the design and manufacturing excellence of ‘next generation’ horse floats. By keeping to Lyn Hatton’s original design (which successfully sold over 1000 Hatton Horse Floats), and continually testing and evolving new methods and technologies, Hatton & Lilly deliver premium quality horse floats that are backed by their extensive knowledge base and personalised, friendly service. They’re available and happy to discuss your needs at any time, and are only ever a phone call away.


lyn hatton horse floats


Lyn’s reputation in equestrian circles needs little introduction. He’s well known for his extensive knowledge of horses and his ongoing commitment to horse float safety and quality. Lyn has over 30 years of experience in designing and building horse floats. His focus is two-fold; firstly, on how well horses travel so they arrive calm and safe, and secondly on how well a horse float will perform to maintain horse safety in case of an accident. You’ll find Lyn easy to talk to, with a down-to-earth approach to getting you matched to the right horse float for your requirements.

deon lilly horse floats


Deon is a well-respected tradesman with an exceptional eye for detail that settles for nothing short of perfection. Trade qualified as a fitter/welder with 10 years’ experience, plus certified as a structural welder, Deon’s commitment to quality and the manufacturing process ensures every Hatton and Lilly horse float meets and exceeds industry standards for quality and performance.

CONTACT: 027 813 8112

Check out our article in NZ Dressage bulletin April 2017

NZ Dressage bulletin April 2017



Article by Jess Roberts

Lyn Hatton tried retiring from his horse-float building business but demand for the South Island-based Hatton brand was too strong – he’s firing up again, mentoring new business owners Deon and Emma Lilly, and says his triedand- true floats are “better than they’ve ever been.”

Lyn has been making his floats for over two decades now, starting off in Blenheim in 1994. He then sold the business in 2014 but “I had so many people chasing me! I was doing maintenance on horse floats in my ‘retirement’ and people just kept saying, ‘why don’t you start it up again’,” he says. “Then Deon [and Emma] came along and said they’d like to start it up and would I assist, and I said yes.”

“So I rebooted it and now I’m the teacher! They are the main directors [Lyn still owns shares in the company]

– I’m in it for a couple of years to make sure everything goes the way it should. Deon is a great guy and Emma is lovely – very smart people, and that’s what you need.”

Apart from a few minor changes, the design is the same. “The product is actually better this time round from when we were doing it in the early stages – we’ve put a lot more effort into certain aspects of it,” explains Lyn. “We’ve gone up 100ml with the roof. We thought, why don’t we make a higher roof, because a lot of the horses are getting bigger, so we’ve now gone up to 2.2 metres and it’s fantastic! It makes everything look bigger inside the float.” Emma agrees: “We’re not wanting to change his design; it’s worked so well. There’s ways we can improve it, which we have, but the overall design we are not going to change.” She says her mum has owned a Hatton for 10 years, and was instrumental in her and husband Deon’s new venture, convincing Lyn to give her son-in-law a call when she took her float in for repairs.

Deon, a well-qualified engineer from Christchurch, went and had an interview. “I could see that he would be very easy to teach,” compliments Lyn. “He already had all his welding tickets and was looking to start up [a business] of his own.” Hatton and Lilly Horse Floats kicked off in February, running out of Lyn’s workshop on his 10-acre block in Ohoka on the northern outskirts of Christchurch.

63-year-old Lyn has made 1,000 floats over his career - peaking with 85 made in one year when he was based in Blenheim – including a couple for the Lord of the Rings crew in 2001. “They were doing their filming in Otago and came looking around for two horse floats; they wanted to cart their cattle and horses in them around some of those really bad back roads,” he remembers. “So I gave them a special deal on the proviso that they would give them back in four years. Then when they’d finished, they came back and said to me ‘do you want the floats back because our workers [two of the horse handlers] want to own them’, they’d been so damn good! They had a few dents and plenty of scratches but that was it. I said no, you take them – it’ll be great publicity for me.”

That same year, Horse & Pony magazine took eight different floats and had them tested by engineers as well as used for a month transporting horses. Lyn’s brand came out on top with a glowing review and the H&P journalist ended up buying the Hatton they’d tested for herself, and he says this helped him to get a foot in the door of the Auckland and North Island market.

The sales side of things is Lyn’s department, as well as most of the finishing work. “We’re getting calls and orders from Auckland to Invercargill at the moment – it’s a little bit hard to keep up! And our pricing is still very reasonable. There’s also a lot out there not guaranteeing their floats after they sell them; we always back our product up. If we’ve had a fault we will rectify it, we’ve always done that.”

"We're getting calls and orders from Auckland to Invercargill at the moment - It's a little bit hard to keep up!.."

The Hattons have a long equestrian association and are also long-time sponsors of dressage. Lyn used to hunt and showjump competitively, and his wife Sharon rode for 37 years. She competed up to Intermediate I dressage and was on the squad with her lovely big mare Bitte Schon. Sharon had a number of successful horses following Bitte Schon including My Volante, Andora and Warrego Sophie who also competed at Advanced level. “That’s where it all started, I was taking her round the country from one end to the other!” laughs Lyn, who maintains that trust is a big part of his business, and being on the horsey scene for so long helped to build that.

Emma – who is also a nurse - has ridden since she was 5 years old (although the horses have had to take a back seat slightly while she brings up their two young children) and says the future looks bright for her and Deon’s new venture. “We knew it was a good opportunity because we knew Mum’s was such a good horse float, and we’ve had lots of interest which is really positive.”

Emma went on to say that Hatton and Lilly chose to sponsor this issue of the Dressage NZ Bulletin because the Hatton brand of horse floats have always been so popular with dressage riders and they are proud of this association.


Hatton and Lilly 50th float

Team photo May 2019

Emma, Deon, Lyn, Heath & Jamie