Q&A: Driving a horsebox

  • Expert advice from HORSE magazine on the licence requirements for driving a horse lorry

    Q: I am thinking of buying a horsebox but I do not have an HGV licence. What size lorry can I legally drive with an ordinary car licence?

    Motoring journalist John Henderson replies: Basically, it depends when you passed your driving test. If you passed before January 1997, you can legally drive lorries witha gross weight, or maximum authorised mass (MAM) up to 7.5 tonnes.

    If you passed your test since January 1997 you are only allowed to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. In order to drive vehicles of 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes, you need to be over the age of 18 and take the medium goods vehicle test.

    To drive a lorry which is more than 7.5 tonnes, you will need to be over the age of 21 and take a large goods vehicle test. To tow a trailer behind a truck, as many carriage drivers do, you are allowed to tow up to 750kg. Anything above this weight, and you will need to sit a test specially designed for this purpose.

    It’s wise to get training even if you can legally drive lorries. They’re very different to cars to drive due to their size and limited visibility – especially the larger 7.5 tonne vehicles. Many lorry driving schools do courses and, while they may be expensive, doing a course could save a lot of grief.

    If you are tempted to get a 3.5 tonne horsebox, remember they often do not have the weight capacity for large horses, so check the vehicle’s payload (the load carrying capacity), allowing for people, tack, water and anything else you intend to transport.

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