Hauling Horses for Money – ELDs & CDLs

When you’re hauling horses for money in the US, it’s important to know how horse transport regulations may affect you.

Whether you’re hauling horses across country, or just to local shows, understanding the new horse hauling laws is a must!

If you’re confused about ELDs, CLDS and towing a horse trailer laws, you’re not alone.

With the recent changes many horse owners, trainers, and breeders are left wondering how (and if) the regulations may affect their business.

Hauling Horses for Money - New Laws, ELDs & CDLs

Here’s an overview of what to consider when hauling horses for money:

Electronic Logging Device (ELD)

An electronic logging device is a computer (tablet or phone) carried in the truck cab. It records data regarding the operation of the vehicle, as well as driver activity including driver hours of service (HOS) and record of duty status (RODS).

Example when an ELD may be required:

A driver transports a horse in interstate commerce in a vehicle or vehicle combination with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW (whichever is greater) of 10,001 pounds or greater, and the driver does not qualify for the “occasional use” exemption (get more details here).

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

A commercial driver’s license is required to operate large, heavy, or hazardous material vehicles for business use.

In the USA it includes the following:

Class A – Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR/GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating/Gross Vehicle Weight) of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR/GVW of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

Class B – Any single vehicle with a GVWR/GVW of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR/GVW.

Class C – Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is required to be placarded for hazardous materials.

Example of when a CDL may be required:

A driver who transports a horse in interstate or intrastate commerce in a vehicle or combination vehicle with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW of more than 26,000 pounds (get more details here).

To find out if you’re complying with the new horse transport regulations, visit the link below:

How to Determine if a Driver Transporting Horses is Required to Have an ELD or CDL

For those of you hauling horses without being paid, in most circumstances you would fall under the exemption.

Here is the official guidance from the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has provided guidance regarding an exception to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for non-business related transportation of horses, including transportation to horse shows or other events. To qualify for this exception, there can be no compensation for the transportation, and the driver cannot be engaged in business related to the transportation (i.e., a professional racing operation transporting horses to a race).

In such non-business related transportation, the FMCSRs do not apply, even if prize or scholarship money is offered. This exception includes Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations, requirements for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) regulations, unless a CDL is required by the driver’s home state.

For more FAQs and Common Scenarios see: Hauling Horses in the USA.

Happy (and safe) Horse Hauling,


  1. Dana Evans
    March 14, 2019 / 12:08 pm

    I’d love to see a post on what to look for in a vehicle for hauling horse trailers!

  2. Rebecca Lamb
    April 2, 2022 / 7:48 am

    When does the hauler get paid? My friends say they never pay up front, but on the successful delivery of the horse.

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