Ask H&H: moving horses abroad

  • Q: MY family and I are shortly moving to Karlsruhe, Germany, with my two Thoroughbred horses, but I have no idea how the German riding system works. Also, what is the best way to transport the horses?

    GERMANY does not have a comparable body to the British Horse Society, and its equestrian groups are much more regionally focused. Contact the German Equestrian Federation (GEF) for further information on the Karlsruhe area.

    Caroline Saynor, of Highwood Dressage in West Yorkshire, imports Hanovarian and Oldenburger horses from Germany.

    “From my experience, most towns and villages have their own riding club; there’s no overall governing body for stables. The clubs are generally run as a riding facility, where you can have training, with livery usually available by arrangement, including use of arenas and facilities,” she says.

    “There are no mandatory vaccinations required to enter Germany, although some yards require proof that flu and tetanus jabs are up to date, and may require that a herpes jab is given; although this is not a requirement of DEFRA.

    “In terms of transport, air transport is rarely an economical viability. In my experience, the cost of road transport is around £500 + VAT, dependent on where the horses are collected from.”

    Kevin Scott, from international transporter ECS Transport in Oxfordshire, says many owners taking their horses overseas prefer to go by road.

    “Although flying a horse to Germany would only take around 90 minutes, there is also the added time of transport to the airport and on to the final destination,” he says.

    “The journey time via road from a central UK location, such as Oxfordshire to Karlsruhe, would take around 14 hours, although there is also the unknown time factor of traffic and waiting for a ferry.

    “Sorting out the paperwork is a fairly simple process, which the transporter moving the horses to Germany should be familiar with,” he adds.

    As reported in H&H, a new EC regulation “requires transporters to have their vehicles inspected and approved, and applies if a commercial transportation company is involved. Transporters should check with the authority in the relevant member state for their requirements. The Animal Health Divisional Office can also offer the transporter advice,” says a DEFRA spokesperson.

    Karlsruhe Tourism suggests you visit www.baden-galopp.com for advice on finding local equestrian facilities.


    ECS Transport Tel: 01608 683911 www.ecshorsetransport.com
    DEFRA Tel: 08459 33 55 77 www.defra.gov.uk
    GEF Tel: 00 44 20 258163620 www.pferd-aktuell.de
    Highwood Dressage Tel: 01924 862252 www.highwood-dressage.co.uk
    Karlsruhe Tourism www.karlsruhe-tourism.de

    This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (5 July, ’07)

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