How the law applies to you:

Transport of Animals (Cleansing and Disinfection) (England) (No 3) Order 2003

Any person transporting horses shall ensure that:

  • They are loaded onto a means of transport which has been cleansed, and where necessary disinfected
  • Any soiled litter and excreta are removed as soon as practicable

This applies to the transport of all horses, there are no exemptions for transporting your own horse in your own transport.

Further information can be found here – https://www.hants.gov.uk/business/tradingstandards/businessadvice/animalhealth/disinfectionvehicles

The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 (EC Directive 1/2005)

Horses shall not be transported in a way that causes or is likely to cause them unnecessary suffering – vehicles must be of sound construction, have non-slip floors, no sharp projections, and have adequate space to allow the horse to stand in their normal position.

A horse shall not be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey – a horse shall not be considered fit if:

  • It cannot move or walk unassisted
  • It is ill, injured, fatigued, has a severe open wound, or has given birth during the previous week
  • It is new born and its navel is not completely healed
  • Is a mare which is beyond 90% of its gestation period (unless, the journey is to improve the health and welfare conditions of the birth)

The above do not apply if the horse is transported direct to the nearest available place for veterinary treatment or diagnosis under the advice of a veterinarian. N.B. A horse may not be dragged or pushed by any means, or lifted by a mechanical device unless under the supervision and in the presence of a veterinary surgeon who is arranging for it to be transported with all practicable speed to a place for veterinary treatment.

Where horses are not led into, or out of a vehicle, the loading ramp must be provided with protection on each side, sufficient to prevent them from failing off or escaping. Ramps must not have an angle exceeding 20 degrees and must be fitted with foot battens or similar to prevent slipping.

Partitions should be fitted to support the horses and prevent them being thrown about by the motion of the vehicle.

The 2006 Order has no further implications for the transport of pet horses, including privately owned horses used for recreational purposes, unless the transport is of a commercial nature.

If you transport horses as part of an economic activity the regulations have further implications, guidance can be found here – https://www.hants.gov.uk/business/tradingstandards/businessadvice/animalhealth/horsetransport