FAQ: Check that your horse transporter is legal

FAQ: Horse transport - check that your transporter is legal

There are many horse transporters out there some legal and some not so legal.  So how do you tell which is the legal one?

  1. Operators Licence- either green (international) or blue (national only) discs usually displayed next to the road fund licence in the windscreen. The discs have the operators licence number, expiry date, registration number of the lorry and the  transporters company name.  You can check the validity of the licence number on  www.vosa.gov.uk. Any vehicle over 3.5 tons gross plated weight used to transport horses for payment must have this license. Those offering horse transport without an operators license  are doing so illegally and risk the confiscation of their lorry. 
  2. DEFRA Licence- this is a licence obtained by DEFRA. There are 2 types of Licence-TYPE 1 and a TYPE 2 authorisation.  A TYPE 1 licence shown as T1 on the licence certificate only allows horses to be travelled up to 8 hours. A TYPE 2 Licence is for over 8 hours. The transporter has to carry the certificate on board the lorry.  You can ask to see the certificate of DEFRA authorisation when the lorry arrives to collect your horse or at any time prior to booking. 
  3. Hire and Reward Insurance - this is just a standard insurance required to transport for money/as a business.
  4. Employers Liability Insurance.  For the staff that will be grooming or driving you and your horse.
  5. Public Liability Insurance.
  6. Care, Custody and Control Insurance-this insures horses on the lorry whilst in the care of the transporter for negligence.  You still need to have your horse insured by your own company but should something go wrong.
  7. Certificate in Equine transport (for drivers and attendants). Mandatory  from 5th January 2008 - All transporters (drivers and attendants) will be tested for competence and understanding of the rules to transport horses. The Driver will have either a Certificate in Equine Transport (under 8 hours) or an Advanced Certificate in Equine Transport (Over 8 hours), which must be carried by the driver at all times. Check that your driver has this, again it is legal requirement.
  8. Passports - Your horse must have a passport to travel even the shortest distance within the UK at all times. If you transport your horse yourself you still need to carry your horses passport. IT IS THE LAW.  Any legal transporter will need the passport of your horse before they will travel.
  9. Animal Transport Certificates

A legal transporter will carry Animal transport certificates for each horse that they transport.  
The ATC are required by law for your horse, it should show:

  • Name and address and DEFRA licence number of the transporter
  • Estimated journey duration with exact journey duration for your horse
  • Date of transport, time the first animal was loaded,
  • Names and addresses of owners
  • Addresses of pick up and drop off
  • Times and places where food and water was given
  • Date transport ended with time of last animal unloaded
  • Reason for transport, i.e. going to vets, moving yard, changing owners, show etc
  • Is the horse fit to travel
  • Name and age of horse/pony, passport number.
  • The Animal Transport Certificate must be kept by the transporter for up to a year after the transport was carried out.

Other things to consider when transporting your horse by a transport company.

  • Can your hose transporter give you the telephone number of the lorry that your horse will be travelling on – so that you can keep in touch as to the whereabouts of your horse from collection to delivery?
  • Will the transporter allow for Hay/haylage to be fed whilst travelling?
  • Does the transporter carry enough water and water buckets on board to water the horses being travelled?
  • Is there CCTV on board?
  • Is there enough ventilation in the horse box?
  • Can tack and Rugs be carried?
  • Is the company experienced in loading and travelling all types and temperaments of horses including
  • Mares, foals, stallions, competition horses and family friends?
  • Is the transport company covered in case of breakdown?
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