Transporting your horse within the law

  • A private horse owner employs a groom, part of whose job is sharing the driving to shows. What must they do to comply with the law?

    VOSA: “If the groom is employed by the private horse owner, and, in turn, the private horse owner is not using the horsebox in connection with a business, then no operator’s licence (OL) or tachograph is required.”

    Defra: “The private owner is organising a private journey in their vehicle. The purpose of that journey is non-economic and therefore the new EU regulation, Welfare of Animals During Transport (WADT), does not apply. However, the groom is employed to help the organiser complete the journey. The groom is involved in an economic activity because their services are being bought. S/he is not the organiser/transporter and so does not need an authorisation, and the vehicle is not his/hers so vehicle approval is not required. But any driver/attendant involved in an economic activity (as the groom is in hiring out their services) must be assessed as competent and hold a competence certificate.”

    A private horse owner wins £20 at a show. Does this turn his trip into commercial use? If so, what must he do to comply?

    VOSA: “As long as the private horse owner is not using the box in connection with a business, no OL or tachograph is required.”

    Defra: “No, small prizes such as this do not constitute an economic activity in our view.”

    A person is paid by horse owners to produce show horses, taking them to shows. What must they do to comply?

    VOSA: “If they are paid to transport the goods of a third party, in this case horses, then an OL and tachograph would generally be required, as it is in connection with a business and the horses are not their own goods. However, each case would be assessed on its merits and this is not a definitive answer.”

    Defra: “This is considered an economic activity so the trainer, as they will be transporting, will need to be authorised if transporting over 65km. They will require a Competence Certificate from January 2008 and the vehicle will require Vehicle Approval Certificate if journeys last more than 8hr.”

    A livery yard owner uses their horsebox to fetch hay and their 1,600kg estate car to collect feed for the yard. Do they need OLs or tachographs for either of these vehicles?

    VOSA: “No OL or tachograph would be required for a 1,600kg estate car. However, the horsebox would require the authority of an OL in these circumstances and if over 3.5tonne, a tachograph is required.”

    Defra: “There are no requirements for this under the Welfare in Transport Regulation.”

    A livery yard owner occasionally takes clients and their horses to shows, along with her own, in return for sharing fuel costs. What must they do to comply?

    VOSA: “As it is not in connection with a business, this is a private arrangement and, as long as no payment for transportation from A to B is involved, no OL or tachograph is needed.”

    Defra: “The regulations will not apply if the journey is purely a private, non-economic activity with friends sharing fuel costs, irrespective of whether they may also be clients, provided the transport is carried out separately from the livery yard business.”

    This formed part of a feature about transporting horses in Horse & Hound’s transport special (5 April, ’07)

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