Fly-grazing (illegal grazing) is where horses are grazed on private or public land without permission.

What should I do if I spot fly-grazing or loose horses?

If the horse is loose on a road or public highway, please inform the police.

Phone: 999

If the horse is in Hertfordshire, contact Hertfordshire County Council's customer service centre.

Phone: 0300 123 4047

If the horses are adjacent to the highway and you have reason to believe that the horses can, or are likely to, escape onto a road or public highway:

Phone: 101


If you spot a horse fly-grazing on an area other than a road or public highway, you may choose to inform the owner or tenant of the land and inform them that guidance can be given as to their powers available under the Control of Horses Act.

If you do not know the owner of the land, ownership can be found by using the Land Registry. Please note that this may incur a fee.

What can I do if there are horses fly-grazing on my land?

The Control of Horses Act 2015 came into force on 26 May 2015, and gives power to local authorities and private landowners to act when horses are being fly-grazed on land owned by them. 

You should obtain independent legal advice before proceeding.

Further Guidance

Guidance on horse welfare is available from the World Horse Welfare and the British Horse Society.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has produced a 'code of practice for the welfare of horses and ponies.

The guidance  explains the 'duty of care' for those who own or are responsible for a horse, including how to provide for a horse's needs as laid down by the Animal Welfare Act.

View the DEFRA code of practice.

This information does not constitute legal advice.  All parties contemplating or intending to exercise powers under the Control of Horses Act should seek independent legal advice.