horse transport UK

What To Expect

When you contact a horse transporter to move your horse Locally, Nationally or Internationally, they will have several questions before they can offer you a quotation.


First of all they will need the full address where your horse is located, and the full address of your destination, getting the actual postcodes will help the transporter immensely, for example lets say your destination is Birmingham, is that Birmingham Midlands, or Birmingham Alabama?

Most transport routes are calculated by mileage (from their depot to your pick up address, onto your delivery address, and back to their depot) charges can vary a lot per mile, so make sure you get several quotes; they may include waiting time, loading time, any toll charges, ferry charges, lairage costs (rest periods) and/or flights costs. Some horse transporters may charge additionally for tack, grooms, and completing export documentation, make sure you are fully aware of what is included or excluded in you quote.

How many horses or ponies?

The horse transporter will need to know how many horses you intend to transport, their transportation vehicles are limited to space and weight allowance set by the governing body, this information will determine which transport vehicle in their fleet that they will need to book for you, they will also need to know if your horse is a stallion, mare in foal, or mare with foal at foot, a filly or colt, or gelding and their size, this is due to the new guidelines on separation during transportation and to make sure horses and ponies in transportation are not subjected to undue suffering.

When do you need your horse moved?

Most horse transporters can offer you 2 types of quotation.

The first is designated transportation, this is where they will transport your horse or horses only on that particular journey, so the date and time can be arranged to suit you.

The second is a shared load option, this is where the horse transporter has a planned route from several customers, and will stop at several locations to collect horses and ponies, the date and timing of this method will be arranged by the transporter, may also involve keeping your horse or pony in lairage, as the transporter is under strict guidelines on drivers hours and how long a horse or pony can travel on transport, shared load options are very competitive on price.

Export documents

If you are transporting your horse internationally by sea or airfreight, the export documentation can take several weeks to put in place, so make sure you choose a transporter who is able help you organise the paperwork, some horse transporters will organise your paperwork even if you are transporting your horses yourself, they will charge additionally for this service.

For further details: See Defra Guidelines

Has your horse or pony been on transport?

This particular question should be answered truthfully! To ensure your horse is not put under any undue stress. Registered horse transporters have been examined and fully assessed with a certificate of competence, and most are very experienced loaders and are used to handling the un-broken horse through to the seasoned competitor.

If your horse has not been on a lorry or trailer before, this doesn’t mean a transporter will not move your horse or pony, he may need more time and charge accordingly, ask your vet or transporter for further advice.

Does your horse or pony have a passport?

All horses and ponies must have their passports with them during transportation, if you don’t have a passport you will need to get one, you cannot legally transport a horse kept anywhere in Europe without one. Contact Horse Passport Agency at: or see our links page.


Some horse transporters will charge for carrying tack, but most will try and find space for you, insurance for these items will be your own responsibility. To make sure all the items reach the other end without being mislaid it's best to pack your items all together sealed and clearly marked.


All horse transporters should legally have duty tax, and insurance, and should make sure the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, and that it is suitably equipped for the safe carriage of horses.

On the whole horses and ponies are transported at the customer’s own risk, most horse transporters can arrange insurance for you in respect of injury or death during the transportation being undertaken, if you have horse insurance check with your provider prior to your travel date, you may already be covered. If not it is advisable to get cover.

Delays, unfortunately happen from time to time, you have to consider road traffic, breakdown, delays with ferries, strikes, sea conditions, weather, wind speeds, airport closures, these all have a direct effect on your instructions. To avoid disappointments, make sure your horse transporter will keep you fully informed.

Travel Kits

It is up to you to decide if you want your horse or pony to wear protective items, some horse transporters carry travel boots, tail guards, and rugs, if your horse is not accustomed to wearing travel kit, then you should practice in advance, and on the day your horse should be ready to load.

During transportation

Your horse or pony will be loaded and placed on board. On shared loads subject to sex and size and destination (for ease of unloading) depending on distance and time, your horse transporter should check horses (some horse transporters have CCTV, which means your horse is monitored during the journey) and feed and water at regular intervals.

Depending on distance your horse or pony may stop at lairage for rest periods, the horse transporter may take any route, and may take other forms transportation (i.e. ferries) at his or her discretion. The transporters obligation is to deliver your horse or pony at the delivery address in reasonable time. Sometimes due to outside circumstances your delivery time may be expected in the early hours, your horse transporter should advise you of this, if this may prove unacceptable try to arrange an alternative address, but remember this will incur additional costs and expenses.


Most horse transporters will accept cash on delivery, subject to distance and out of pocket expenses, quite a few horse transporters will accept credit cards either on line or on the phone, check with them.

Transport that incurs high mileage (high fuel costs) and flight/ferry tickets or tolls they will ask for a deposit up front to cover these expenses, with the balance payable on delivery.

Most horse transporters will not accept cheques unless cleared in advance.

This is just an overview and by no means a comprehensive review, it has been written to help you understand why some of the horse transporters will ask you some of these questions, with full knowledge they should be able to deliver your horse or pony within the legal guidelines, safely and stress free.

Safe Journey.