2 Start’s guide to driving a horsebox

As a horsebox user, there are many things that you need to know and consider before heading out onto the road. There can be a lot of legal rules and regulations that you need to meet, depending on what type of horsebox you are using and what purpose you are using it for.

What licence do you need?

The licence that you require will depend on the size of the vehicle you are looking to operate.

Horseboxes

If you are driving a smaller horsebox with a weight of 3.5-tonne or lower, then you only need a standard Category B (Car) licence.  Smaller horseboxes are generally a 2 stall with a tack and changing area.

If you plan to drive a larger horsebox and the weight of the vehicle is between 3.5-tonne and 7.5 tonne then you will need to apply for a C1 licence and take a DVSA test. 

Larger horseboxes generally are kitted out more like a caravan, with kitchenette, toilets and come with 2 or more stalls, with more storage space for tack and equipment.

If you plan to drive a horsebox that is over 7.5-tonnes you will need to obtain a Category C licence.

Horsebox Trailers

If you are using your car to tow a horsebox trailer using a Category B (Car) licence, the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer cannot exceed 3,500kg if you passed your test on or after the 1st January 1997.  If you passed your test before this date, you will have what is called “grandfather rights” and you can drive a vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of 8,250kg.

If you passed your test on or after the 1st January 1997 and you are planning to drive your vehicle and tow your horsebox and the combined weight is over 3500kg you will then need to obtain your B+E licence and take a DVSA test.

If you are planning to drive a vehicle over 7.5-tonne with a trailer over 750kgs, you will need a C1+E licence.

If the vehicle and towed horsebox has a combined MAM of both exceeding 12,000kg then a C+E licence will be required.

Do you require an Operator’s Licence?

You will be required to have the authority of an Operator’s Licence if you are driving a horsebox for business use.  If you consider driving a horsebox as part of a hobby or you don’t receive any financial gain, then you won’t need an operator’s licence.

Driver Hours Rules & Regulations

There are many rules regarding drivers’ hours when the driving is being done as part of a business. These rules do not apply to you if you drive a horsebox that is between 3.5-tonnes and 7.5-tonnes for personal use or no financial gain. However, if the horsebox that you operate is over 7.5-tonnes, you will require a tachograph and will need to adhere to drivers’ hours rules and regulations.

For more information on drivers’ hours and tachographs click the link below to read our article discussing this.

Do I need drivers CPC?

By law anyone who drives a vehicle over 3.5-tonnes professionally, for hire or reward is required to complete 35-hours of periodic drivers CPC training.

If you are driving as part of a hobby or for personal use such as going to amateur shows or taking your horse to the vets, you won’t need drivers CPC.

Vehicle Maintenance

As a horsebox user, it is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle complies to maintenance rules and regulations. Having good vehicle maintenance will help you stay within the regulations, as well as improve the safety of your horse.

DVSA is the agency responsible for vehicle safety and environmental standards. They carry out tests each year on your vehicle to make sure it meets road safety and environmental standards.

Additionally, they can also complete road-side testing which your vehicle could have to take. If any issues are found at your annual test, you’ll be given the chance to fix any problems found before the MOT certificate is issued. Furthermore, if serious issues are found you can be given vehicle prohibition, meaning it would be illegal to use your vehicle further until the defects are fixed.

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