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Horse owners who want to take their animals off property for competitions, training, and medical treatment must use either a horsebox trailer or an HGV horsebox. Horsebox trailers have less stringent licencing requirements as long as tow vehicles and trailers are below a certain weight threshold. If a horse owner wants to drive an HGV horsebox, that is an entirely different matter. In this guide, we will discuss the licence requirements to legally operate a 7.5-tonne horsebox in the UK.

Before we get the licencing requirements, it is important to understand the difference between a horsebox and a horsebox trailer in light of the fact that the terms are often used interchangeably. A horsebox is generally defined as a self-contained vehicle with the engine, driver cabin and horse transport areas all built on the same chassis. Think of it along the same lines as an RV or a light goods van.


A horsebox trailer is a separate unit that requires a tow vehicle to get around. Some horsebox trailers have only enough room for one horse while others can move multiple animals at the same time. The largest trailers could require an advanced licence depending on overall size and weight.

Licencing for Horseboxes

Let’s assume you want to purchase and use a 7.5-tonne horsebox for one or more animals. What licence would you need? Assuming you do not want to tow a trailer behind your vehicle, you will need a Category C1 licence. This licence enables you to operate vehicles of between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes MAM.

Please understand that these weight limits do not necessarily reference only the weight of the vehicle. They are measured in terms of maximum authorised mass (MAM). In other words, the total weight of the vehicle and its cargo when fully loaded. This is important if you plan to use a horsebox capable of carrying enough horses to exceed the 7.5-tonne MAM. If you go heavier, you will probably need a Category C licence along with CPC training.

While we’re at it, what are the licencing requirements if you want to tow a trailer behind a 7.5-tonne horsebox? You’ll need a Category C1+E. This licence would let you tow a trailer in excess of 750 kg as long as the total MAM of both vehicles is no heavier than 12 tonnes.

Obtaining Your Cat C1 Licence

Regulations require the advanced licence for 7.5-tonne horseboxes due to the additional weight involved. Remember, driving a vehicle that heavy introduces additional concerns not experienced when driving a car. Basic things such as braking and cornering are all affected as size and weight increases.

Knowing this, the HGV Training Centre always recommends new horse owners undergo appropriate training before taking the test for a 7.5-tonne horsebox. Training will prepare you to take your test with confidence and, in the end, pass it with flying colours. The process works as follows:

  1. Contact us to enrol in one of our courses
  2. Sit through our comprehensive classroom training
  3. Undergo our extensive behind-the-wheel training
  4. Take and pass the practical skills test at an approved testing facility.

We make the entire process fast, convenient, and easy. As long as you are not a professional driver hiring out your services as a contractor or salaried worker, you do not need lengthy commercial driver training. Instead, we can have you ready to take your test within a matter of days.

Three Components of Effective Training

We would not expect you to choose a training partner without understanding what goes into your training. At the HGV Training Centre, we are very open about what our programmes entail. Training to earn your Category C1 licence involves three primary components:

In the case of all three components, our training includes the additional knowledge you need to account for horses. This additional information is provided in light of the fact that transporting live animals is different from transporting inanimate objects. You have a legal responsibility to make sure your animals remain safe and in good health at all times while in transit, and some of that pertains to how you physically operate your horsebox.

We Succeed Where Others Fail

We are fully aware that you have a lot of options when it comes to receiving driver training. We believe our business model is such that we offer you the best chances of success. In fact, there are several things we do that enable us to succeed where other training companies fail. It all starts with our experience.

The HGV Training Centre has been in business for decades. Over the years, we have gained invaluable experience that applies as much to the 7.5-tonne horsebox as it does an articulated lorry. You will see that experience displayed throughout the entire training process. It extends from management to our instructors to support personnel.

Second, our training programmes are student-centred. In other words, the student always comes first. Our number one priority is to ensure that you get the training you need to pass your tests the first time you take them. We don’t want you to have to repeat courses or book your tests multiple times.

Our student-centred focus includes:

The HGV Training Centre takes our commitment to the students very seriously. We know that the degree to which we fulfil that commitment determines the success or failure of our company. As one of the largest and most respected companies in the driver training arena, our success is proof that we do right by our drivers.

Whether you drive a 7.5-tonne horsebox professionally or as an amateur horse owner, training is essential to doing it safely and legally. We hope you will consider annual training with us in order to keep your skills fresh. If you don’t yet have your licence, we can provide the training you need to obtain it. Contact us to learn more.

Additional Information on Horse Transportation

Want to read more about transporting horses in the UK? Please select a heading from our list of related articles below:


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