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How do I know my transporter is operating legally?

This is a question we are often asked at HayNet The Horse Transport Network.

There are strict regulations and guidelines regarding the transport of all live animals, not just horses. Some are not that easy to follow and if you wish to read up further, there is a good PDF available from DEFRA by following this link "Transporting Horses PDF".

To sum up in brief for the U.K. and Ireland these are the basics.

The governing bodies in the U.K. are DEFRA and in Ireland DAFM. As the EU brought in these regulations in 2007 they should be applicable to the whole of the EU.

For short journeys of up to 8 hours:

Type 1 Transporter Authorisation.

Drivers and attendants should be in possession of a Certificate of Competence.

Valid and up to date insurance covering hire and reward.


For longer journeys over 8 hours:

In addition to the above a Type 2 Transporter Authorisation.

Vehicles inspected and approved, they will have a container certificate.

Contingency plans for emergencies in place.


Further requirements for both Type 1 and 2

If a vehicle is over 3.5 tonne laden weight, this includes the combined weight of a towing vehicle and trailer, then an Operator's Licence is required, and a tachograph should be fitted to the vehicle. The blue disc should be clearly displayed in the window.

It is also advisable, although not a legal requirement for breakdown cover and rescue to be in place. 

Again not required by law, Care Custody and Control Insurance is strongly advised.

You can ask your transporter for proof of these documents, all the transporters on HayNet The Horse Transport Network have sent in their documents before being added to the website. However the contract is between you and the transporter, so it is up to you to check the details.

If you have any questions or concerns about your horse's journey then ask your transporter, who will be happy to advise you of the care they will take of your precious equine whilst in their custody.

There are no guarantees and with the best of care and preparation things may still go wrong. That is why all these measures are in place, and remember to keep your part of the contract. Read Help Your Transporter. For whatever your reason you need your horse transported, the transporters on this website are here to give the best possible service and strive to offer a legal and as safe as possible transportation service.


Dual Purpose Exemption?

We are quite often asked to add transporters with towing vehicles and trailers to our website.

The transporters are often sure they are legal as they drive "dual purpose" vehicles and claim they are exempt from the Operators licence. However please read below the requirements for a "dual purpose" vehicle are not that straightforward.

"Generally speaking you require a goods vehicle operator's licence if you use a vehicle with a gross plated weight exceeding 3500 kgs for the carriage of goods for 'hire or reward' or for use in connection with a trade or business. If the horse transport vehicle meets the following criteria then it could be considered ‘dual purpose’ and an exemption sought.

If you are using a combination of a vehicle and trailer you need a licence if the vehicle or combination of vehicle and trailer exceeds 3500kgs gross plated weight excluding any 'small trailer' if it is being used for restricted operations carrying your 'own' goods. A 'small trailer' is a trailer of 1020 kgs or less unladen weight. So for example if you are using a 3500 kgs gross plated weight vehicle and your trailer is 749kgs 'unladen weight' the trailer can be excluded when deciding if a licence is required or not and as the gross weight of the vehicle would not be exceeding 3500 kgs an operator licence would not be required.

However, if you are doing standard operations carrying goods for hire or reward i.e. goods that belong to another party the 'small trailer' exemption ceased to apply from the 4th December 2011 and in the example given above you would add the unladen weight of the trailer (749kgs) to the gross weight of the vehicle (3500 kgs) and given the combination exceeds 3500kgs you would require an operator licence.

Notwithstanding the above there is also an exemption from goods vehicle operator licensing for "dual purpose vehicles" which are exempt under Schedule 3 (2) of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995. The full description of a "dual purpose vehicle" can be found in Regulation 3 of the Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986.  It includes 4x4s -  like Land Rovers and their equivalents and states:

“a vehicle constructed or adapted for the carriage both of passengers and of goods or burden of any description, being a vehicle of which the unladen weight does not exceed 2040 kg, and which either-  

(i) is so constructed or adapted that the driving power of the engine is, or by appropriate use of the controls of the vehicle can be, transmitted to all of the wheels of the vehicle; or

(ii) satisfies the following conditions as to construction, namely –

the vehicle must be permanently fitted with a rigid roof, with or without a sliding panel;

the area of the vehicle to the rear of the driver’s seat must  -

(i) be permanently fitted with at least one row of transverse seats (fixed or folding) for  two or more passengers and those seats must be properly sprung or cushioned and provided with upholstered back-rests, attached either to the seats or to a side or the floor of the vehicle; and

(ii) be lit on each side and at the rear by a window or windows of glass or other transparent material having an area or aggregate area of not less than 1850 square centimetres on each side and not less than 770 square centimetres at the rear; and

(c) the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the back-rests of the row of transverse seats satisfying the requirements specified in the head (i) of sub-paragraph (b) (or, if there is more than one such row of seats, the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the back-rests of the rearmost such row) must, when the seats are ready for use, be not less than one third of the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the rearmost part of the floor of the vehicle.”  


To qualify as a "dual purpose vehicle" any vehicle must meet the requirements above. If the vehicle does meet the requirements above then it will be exempt from goods vehicle operator licensing. However pay particular attention to the 2040 kgs unladen weight as some vehicles now weigh more than this although you still would not require an operator licence if you are carrying your own goods unless the trailer used exceeds 1020kgs unladen."

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"...used this site for a journey from Berkshire to Lancashire and was quoted a great price from a transporter who needed to fill an empty box on a return journey. Highly recommend!"


 I've been so impressed with HayNet. Transporters on your website are so geared up to enquiries and when I have used HayNet I have had lots of responses very quickly and appropriately, giving me the chance to research the company as well as comparing prices before making a decision. The one I chose offered an individual run which suited myself and the vendor as we were both shielding due to COVID. 




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