Horse Transport FAQ: The process of transporting a horse or pony from the UK to Europe

FAQ: The process of transporting a horse or pony from the UK to Europe

The process of transporting a horse from the UK to Europe sounds complicated but if you find an experienced horse transport company who is well versed with dealing with the specific requirements for transporting horses, it makes the whole process a lot simpler!

At LOC Ltd International Horse Transport we have a wealth of experience of transporting horses from the UK to Europe. When making your initial enquiry with LOC all we need to know are a few details such as how many horses you would like transported, a few facts such as your horse’s size, age, breed etc., the address where your horse will be transported from and the address where they will be transported to. We will then take care of every element of your horses travel from door to door.

Often at LOC, we are asked by clients about how we apply for health papers, what is an Official Veterinarian (OV) or an Export Welfare Declaration (EWD), if you are interested to know more about any of these areas and what happens behind the scenes at LOC, then read on…

In Great Britain the export of horse and ponies is regulated by the provisions of the following legislation:

  • - The Animal Health Act 1981
  • - The Export of Horses (Veterinary Examination) Order 1966
  • - The Export of Horses (Excepted Cases) Order 1969
  • - The Export of Horses (Protected Cases) Order 1969.

If you are moving horses or ponies within the European Union (EU) this is considered as EU trade and is subject to protocol. Interestingly countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland whilst not members of the EU are also covered by the same EU protocol.

If you are importing or exporting horses or ponies within the EU, your consignment must be accompanied by an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC). If you would like to bring a horse or pony into Great Britain you must make sure the person you are importing the horse or pony from, has arranged the ITAHC in their country. If you are however moving a horse or pony from Great Britain to another country that is part of EU trade it is your responsibility to obtain the ITAHC.

In Great Britain, ITAHC’s are issued by DEFRA using their online tool called Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). Once you have completed your ITAHC you must let the Animal and Health Plant Agency (APHA) know that you have created an ITAHC and who your Official Veterinarian (OV) is. The OV must be a registered vet who has been officially authorised to sign trade documents and able to do the necessary checks to make sure that your horse or pony is fit to travel. The OV’s check on your horse or pony must be done within the 48 hour window prior to your horse travelling. It is worth double checking with your local veterinary practice that they have an OV as not all practices do.

If you are moving your horse or pony in or outside of the EU you must also complete an Export Welfare Declaration (EWD) for your ‘consignment’. There are two different EWD forms, one for horses over 147cm (14.2hh) in height and one for ponies of 147cm (14.2hh) height or less. There are only a few situations where the requirement for a EWD does not apply, for example, it does not apply to horses and ponies sent from Great Britain to Northern Island, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man or to horses and ponies that are exported directly to countries outside of Europe.

When completing the EWD, you need to include details such as the name and address of the exporter/transporter, the quantity of horses or ponies in the consignment, the port of departure, the country of destination, the countries of transit etc. A copy of the EWD must be given to the aircrafts pilot or the ship’s captain as you board.

And don’t forget your horse or pony must of course be transported with a valid passport!

So as you can see, when choosing a company to transport your horse or pony it is worth finding a knowledgeable and experienced horse transport company such as LOC International Horse Transport who will make the whole process as easy and stress free as possible for you!

If you would like some more information, please contact LOC International Horse Transport by phone on +44 (0)1293 871877 or email

International horse transport by road, by sea, by air
Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Japan Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Romainia Russia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland USA