If you transport horses, as a business or as a hobby or pastime, how do you know what regulations apply to you?
- What driver licence do you need?
- Do you need a Driver’s Qualification Card - DQC? (The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence – Driver CPC)
- Do you need an Operator’s Licence?
- Do you need to install and use tachographs? (If so, what about road transport working time rules?)
- Are you conscious of weight issues and other Construction & Use rules regarding the maintenance of roadworthy vehicles and trailers ?
Transport regulation in the horse transport equine sector can be involved, whatever the type of equestrian activity: eventing, show jumping, racing, point-to-point, modern pentathlon, etc.
The regulations that apply to you may depend on the extent to which you transport horses for business reasons, how large your vehicles are, how far you travel, and other factors. The vehicle weight thresholds of 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes are significant as they can determine what rules do or not apply to you.
Whether you need an operator’s licence or not will depend on whether you are transporting horses as a business activity. But, when would your activities be regarded as business? Many people transport horses as more than a serious pastime, with some reward, and sometimes with the benefit of sponsorship. If you do need such a licence, what type is required? This may depend on whose horses are being transported, amongst other factors to be taken into account. The use of some vehicles and trailers does not require an operator’s licence.
Do you have the correct driver licence for the vehicle in which the horses are transported, to take into account any trailers, too? Further, do you also need to have a Driver CPC qualification (this is required by all professional drivers with Cat C, CE, C1E, D, DE, D1 and D1E – but there are exemptions)? You may or may not be exempt from this, depending on whether you are a vocational driver and whether you are transporting horses as part of your business as, in effect, the tools of your trade.
Does a tachograph need to be installed and used? You may well have to use tachographs and abide by all relevant drivers’ hours rules which can include road transport working time compliance that must also be fully observed.
And so it goes on. It will be seen that road transport regulation in the equine/equestrian sector can be tricky. There are quite a number of issues - and the rules you do and do not have to comply with will depend on your particular circumstances.