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Who knew that horses were such international travellers? Apparently, they are. Some of the most profitable and well known horses in equine circles make appearances all over the world in any given calendar year. It turns out that horse transport goes well beyond just towing a horsebox trailer throughout the UK and Europe.

The data show that more than 1,000 UK-based thoroughbred racehorses competed internationally last year. Where did they race? The Horse Magazine says the animals were sent to Ireland, the US, Japan, Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, the Channel Islands, and throughout the European continent. That is a lot of travelling for a horse.

International horse transport does not get a lot of media attention outside of equine circles, but perhaps it should. There are a lot of risks involved in transporting horses over long distances that need to be addressed. For example, horses are creatures of habit and do not do well, physically or mentally, when exposed to constantly changing environments and ‘strange’ animals sharing transport space. Domestically speaking, this problem is addressed through isolation and quarantine. However, when transporting a horse internationally, it is not quite the same. Some countries have very few restrictions in place

It is not uncommon for international horse transport to result in injury, disease, and colic. Horse owners have to go the extra mile to ensure their animals are properly transported and well cared for in the absence of government regulations restricting how transport agents do their jobs.

Horse Transport for Hobbyists

Back here on UK soil, we work with many equine hobbyists who transport horses locally for shows and competitions. Part of what we do at the HGV Training Centre involves offering horsebox training to new drivers. We provide this training for a very good reason.

The law does not require a special driving licence for horse owners transporting their animals for recreational or hobby purposes. This means that individuals with standard car licences are operating the vast majority of horseboxes and horsebox trailers on the road. We see nothing wrong with this, but we do know that transporting horses can be a challenging task. Our horsebox training helps drivers to understand how to best transport horses in a safe manner.

Horsebox training deals with a number of important issues common to towing trailers of all kinds. For example, our training includes skills such as coupling and uncoupling, steering and braking, and manoeuvring a trailer in tight spaces. Yet horsebox training goes one step further to deal with issues that are unique to horse transport.

As a horse owner, we urge you to take an introductory training course for horse transport if you have never done so. Experienced drivers can also benefit from annual training designed to refresh one’s skills and keep abreast of current regulations. We offer horsebox training at dozens of facilities around the UK, making it convenient and, at the same time, affordable.


  1. The Horse Magazine – https://thehorse.com/111797/global-horse-transportation-issues/


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