Self-drive horsebox hire: everything you need to know

  • Self-drive horsebox hire is a perfect solution for horse owners who do not want the expense of owning and maintaining their own horsebox, but who are still keen to get their horses out and about.

    Here we explain how it works…

    What’s on offer?

    A range of horseboxes are available to hire across the market. The most popular are 3.5T horseboxes, which can be driven on a standard driving licence. Some companies also offer 4T, 4.5T and 7.5T vehicles, should you require a little more space, or perhaps living accommodation too. Some hire companies also have even larger horseboxes available.

    How much does self-drive horsebox hire cost?

    The average cost for hiring a 3.5T horsebox for one weekday is around £100. Prices tend to be around £20 more for weekend hire for one day.

    How does it work?

    Each company has their own individual terms for self-drive horsebox hire, so you need to check those first, but it is common for them to have a lower age limit in order to hire — these vary from 21 to 25 depending on who you book with. Many companies also have an upper age limit of 75 too.

    You will need a full valid driving licence (if hiring a 3.5T horsebox), and most companies require you to have held your licence for at least two years before hiring.

    Additional drivers can be authorised with most companies for a little extra cost — they also must have a valid driving licence and the same terms and conditions will apply as for the main driver.

    Most companies will require you to present at least one recent utility bill (some require two bills), a credit or debit card with the same name as the one shown on the driving licence of the person driving the horsebox and also a DVLA Check Code to make sure you don’t have too many points to be insured.

    Horseboxes are usually hired with a full tank of diesel, and as you would when hiring a car, it is expected that you refill the vehicle before returning it. Failure to do so will incur a refuelling charge.

    You will need to closely check the insurance terms for each hire company and you will need to insure your horse for travel as this will not be covered by the vehicle’s insurance. You must always carry your horse’s passport when travelling.

    Each horsebox will have a specific payload depending on the lorry’s build, and it is illegal to exceed this. It is the hirer’s responsibility not to overload the vehicle they are driving, but in order to do that, you need to know what the payload is so ask the company you are hiring the vehicle from. Remember this isn’t just the weight of the horses – it also needs to include all of your kit, the driver, passengers and the fuel and water you have on board.

    If the truck is stopped and found to be overweight, it is the driver who is held responsible. Penalties can include fines, or even a court appearance, while the vehicle will not be allowed to continue while it is overweight and could be impounded. Driving a vehicle that is overweight also invalidates its insurance.

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    Many companies have a mileage limit — charges per mile will be incurred after that. For example, one company has a 200-mile limit and you will be charged 35p per mile once you go over that limit.

    Some horsebox hire companies require you to fully clean the box before returning it, others don’t, but it is always required for you to remove any droppings before returning the vehicle.

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