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3.5 tonne horseboxes

Since the change in UK driving laws in 1997 we have seen a huge increase in the range and variety of smaller, 3.5 tonne horseboxes on the UK’s roads. Perhaps the most significant reason for the rise in popularity is that a 3.5 tonne horsebox can be driven by any driver on a standard UK car licence, including those who passed their test after 1st January 1997. But there are other factors to be considered, including manoeuvrability, cost implications and the practicality for day only trips.

For drivers who passed their driving test before 1st January 1997, you are entitled to drive a vehicle weighing up to 7.5 tonnes in weight and tow a trailer with a combined vehicle and trailer weight of up to 8.25 tonnes on your standard, full UK Driving Licence.
For drivers who passed their test after 1st January 1997, you must take a further driving test for each required category.  

Please click here for driver eligibility and required tests.
Please click here to find out more about towing horse trailers.

Vehicle Payload

Payload refers to amount of cargo you can safely and legally carry onboard your horsebox. This includes you, your horses, passengers, tack, hay, water, clothing, equipment and so on.

A vehicle’s payload is calculated by subtracting the vehicles unladen weight from its gross vehicle weight (GVW) or maximum authorised mass (MAM).

In this case:

3.5 tonnes (GVW) – unladen weight = vehicle payload

To accurately work out your lorry’s unladen weight, take it, or ask the manufacturer/dealer to take it, to the nearest weighbridge.   For a list of public weighbridges, please view the directory and click on weighbridges.

You then need to assess if you have sufficient payload to transport your horse/horses and all required equipment and people. Driving a vehicle over its MAM is potentially dangerous and is likely to affect the way the vehicle handles.

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Last updated: 02/07/2010
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