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Transporting Your Horse

Horses often need to be transported on public highways.

At the BHS we want to make sure you are safe at all times and that you have the right licence for the vehicle you are driving and/or towing.

See our section on Driver Licensing Law for more information.

You may also find this VOSA leaflet (pdf) useful. Please note that it is intended only to offer general help and isn’t a legal document.

Horsebox and Trailer Rescue

DVSA and DEFRA now consider it illegal to transport horses on board a horsebox being either lifted or straight-bar towed behind a recovery vehicle. The only exception to this might be to move the vehicle a very short distance to enable safe transfer of the horses to fresh transport. Only DEFRA approved transporters may carry out this transport. All horses in transit must, by law, travel with their relevant passports.

However, it may be safer doing this than risking unloading and reloading horses on a busy motorway for example. Usually this would only happen short distance journey and/or to get the vehicle to a suitable and safe place to transfer the horses onto a new vehicle.

According to the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order, 2006: “breakdown vehicle operators attending vehicles carrying animals that have broken down or been involved in a road traffic accident should not attempt to move the vehicle with animals on board if it cannot be repaired at roadside unless directed to do so by the police or other competent authority for reasons of public safety”. And “In the unlikely event that a vehicle has to be moved by a recovery operator to the nearest suitable place of destination, it is suggested that the recovery vehicle operator is accompanied (where possible) by the transporter and that the vehicle is not moved by means of a suspended tow.” Be aware of this legislation when choosing a breakdown operator and it is worth reading all the documentation and small print of your policy to make sure you are aware of any details that may affect you if you do need to call your breakdown service out.

For more information on the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 2006 please use this link.

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