Horses – transport

Information about the requirements for transporting horses from one location to another.

Horses must be transported using suitable and appropriate vehicles.

All horses entering and moving within NSW must have an approved permanent form of identification and their location recorded using the Property Identification code (PIC) and dated.

Short-term movements usually do not require documentation. Long-term movements may require a TSS (Transport stock statement)

All movements should be recorded in a travel diary.

Horses do not have to have their movement recorded with NLIS.

Approved activities Category
Loading and unloading animals onto transporters 3

Before students are involved in transporting horses, they should be familiar with leading horses and bandaging their legs or fitting float boots. Use horses that are well used to being trucked or floated and trained to load and unload calmly and willingly. Students can be involved in initial float training of young horses, only after they have obtained considerable skills in handling calmer horses.

Horses that have not been trained to transport can be very difficult and possibly dangerous. These horses should not be used in schools and extra care should be taken to ensure a horse’s history of transportation behaviour is known. It is important to have a suitable and safe vehicle to transport the horses in.

Sequence in loading a float

Image: 1. Prepare the float
Image: 2. Prepare the horse
Image: 3. Lead the horse calmly and confidently onto the float
Image: 4. Shut the horse into the bay
Image: 5. Close the float

Young, inexperienced horses may take extensive training and many travels before they become completely accustomed to being transported. Handlers need to be experienced in aspects of loading, tying up, unloading, driving, operating vehicle and selecting an appropriate vehicle.

Key points when transporting horses

  • Ensure vehicle is strong, secure and can safely contain a horse
  • Ensure internal surfaces are smooth with no protrusions or sharp edges, including around the loading area
  • Flooring should be non slip material with foot battens on loading ramps
  • Horses should have adequate space to stand in a natural position in the vehicle
  • There needs to be sufficient head room and ventilation
  • In a straight load float, a single horse or the heavier horse should travel on the drivers’ side
  • Ensure the vehicle is not polluting the transport area
  • Area must be clean and dry
  • Correctly fit protective equipment (travel boots, knee and hock boots, rugs or tail bandages)
  • Headstalls and lead ropes should be used for loading and tying the horse during transport. Always make sure the horse is enclosed with bum bars, dividers or ramp before tying the horse.
  • Check horses 30 mins into journey and then every 4 hours
  • A calm patient approach when loading will always bring about a better result.

Additional information

Transporting horses in very high temperatures should be avoided, however if completely necessary, offering the horses water inside the vehicle or unloading them is strongly recommended.

In the event of a problem occurring with the vehicle such as a flat tyre or mechanical issue, it is best not to unload the horses unless completely necessary. This only adds to the stress and horses are much safer restrained inside the vehicle. Unloading horses on the side of the road is extremely dangerous and should only occur if there is no other option. In the event that this happens, if possible construct a temporary fence with a rope and have people hold it to enclose the horses while unloading.

When transporting horses it is important to always carry extra water, a fire extinguisher, extra halter and lead ropes and a first aid kit.


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  • Curriculum and Reform
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