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WATOs? Driver CPCs? Tachographs?! Laws relating to transporting horses are thoroughly confusing!
However, if you only transport horses as part of a hobby, the laws are simpler than you might imagine. Here we explore what laws you need to abide by to transport horses legally and safely.
Please also refer to our Travel and Transportation leaflet, which gives comprehensive welfare advice on travelling your horse.
I passed my driving test before 1st January 1997…
Car and trailer
Even though you can legally tow a trailer or drive a horsebox, we still recommend that you seek professional training. Remember that horses have good memories. A bad travelling experience could affect his attitude towards travelling in the future.
I passed my driving test after 1st January 1997…
Some horses will not be happy travelling in a 3.5 tonne horsebox. Please take your horse’s welfare into account when choosing a horsebox. Base your decision on your his happiness, and not what you can legally drive.
Car and trailer
At Redwings, we recommend that you do not tow a trailer without passing a test under any circumstances. Ignorance of skills needed to successfully tow a trailer may compromise the welfare of your horse.
My horsebox weighs over 7.5 tonnes. What laws affect me?
The laden weight Remember to include your horse, passengers, and tack, when assessing the laden weight of your transport. Take your transport to a weighbridge, with a full tank of fuel, if you are unsure.
Car and trailer advice Refer to your car’s manual to see the maximum laden weight it can tow. It is advised that a laden trailer does not weigh more than 85% of the unladen weight of the car towing it. You may find that some cars can tow significantly more than its own weight; however, your insurance may not cover you in these situations, so check your policy, or call VOSA for more information. You will be breaking the law and putting your passengers and horses’ lives at risk if you exceed the towing weight stated in your car’s manual.
The website Towinghorsetrailers.co.uk has lots of guidance on weights, towing tips and maintaining your trailer.
Qualifications You may have heard of qualifications such as the Welfare of Animals In Transport Certificate of Competence, and the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence. You do not legally need these qualifications if you are only travelling one horse, unless you are making your main income from transporting horses, or you win significant amounts of prize money.
Asking a friend for petrol money when transporting their horse does not constitute income. Prize money that does not significantly exceed your travel expenses does not constitute income either.
If you are unsure about anything, call the VOSA helpline before travelling! 0300 123 9000. For welfare advice on travelling your horse, click here to read our Travel and Transportation Guidance.