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When you have horses, being able to tow them means that you can make the most of events and competitions all around the country.

However, to keep you, the horses, and other road users safe, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has issued guidance on transporting horses in horseboxes and trailers, so we thought we’d take a look.

Firstly if you plan on transporting horses to or through Europe, it’s worth noting that there have been new rules in place since 2022 so you’ll need to look them up and make sure you comply.

Here in the UK you need have the correct driving licence category – it’s easy to check online and will depend on when you passed your test and the size and type of vehicle – so if your horsebox or horse trailer and towing vehicle has a maximum authorised mass (MAM) over 3,500kg you might need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.

Similarly, if your horsebox or trailer and towing vehicle has a MAM of 3,500kg or more and you are using it commercially, or simply has a MAM of 7,500kg or more, you need to follow official ‘drivers’ hours rules’ rules and use a tachograph but this is fairly unlikely to be the case for the majority of horse lovers. You also need to check whether you’re qualified to transport horses for commercial reasons or on journeys of 65km or longer, or more than 8 hours.

As with any trailer, regular routine maintenance is essential – for compliance, safety, and of course, the horses’ comfort – especially as horseboxes and horsebox trailers are likely to be used regularly at some parts of the year and only occasionally for the rest of it. And just like other road vehicles, a horsebox must have an annual MOT which is where Cheshire Trailers’ service, inspection and repairs are useful for keeping your horsebox or horse trailer legal and safe.

Of course, doing your own check can help nip any problems in the bud so a regular look at the ramps, the floor, the stalls and the partitions for example, is a good idea.

It goes without saying that keeping your horses safe and comfortable on the journey will be a high priority for you. You can help this by planning the journey with the shortest route, checking the horses frequently and seeing to water, feed and rest, only transporting them when they are fit to travel, making sure the horsebox or trailer is safe, and that the horses are handled by people who are competent with them. Basically, looking after their welfare to the best of your ability.

Finally, it’s probably worth checking your whether breakdown cover includes your horsebox or trailer – just in case.