Accepting payment in any form for transporting horses requires an operator’s licence.
This includes any kind of reward in exchange for transportation, and penalties for not
using a licenced transporter could be a fine and your insurance being null and void.
Anyone who has passed his or her car-driving test on or after 1 January 1997 is now
required to pass an additional test in order to tow a trailer of a MAM over 750kg. The test
requirements can be found through the DVLA. Vehicles of 3.5 tonnes and up to 7.5 tonnes MAM can be driven by any driver with a
category B Licence. If the driving test was taken after 1 January 1997, the driver must take
a PCV (passenger carrying vehicle) test. To drive a lorry over 7.5 tonnes MAM, an LGV
(HGV) licence will be required. Remember the MAM includes the total loaded weight of the
box including horses, passengers, water, fuel etc. Horseboxes must be plated (MOT) every
If you are considering transporting a horse into or out of the UK, it is advisable to get a
professional to do it for you. There is a considerable amount of red tape to get through to
ensure that the whole operation goes smoothly, which a shipping agent will be used to.
The abilities of the driver can make or break a good traveller. Do not assume that you can
drive a lorry or tow a trailer without adapting your normal car-driving style. You have to think
about the ride for the horse – how and when you brake is entirely different when carrying a
live load, as are consideration of cornering, stopping and accelerating. Better to arrive
late than not at all – better still to plan ahead and leave in plenty of time to arrive fresh