How to transport horses long distance
Horse’s traveling is very common, and for many can be frequent, such as going to competitions, horse shows and breeding are all routine reasons for journeying to distant destinations. Horses are often sold and travel to their new owners, and some travel with their owners to a new home.
Plan And Prepare
Required documentation - Each state has its own regulations for out of state horses entering or passing through. Contact the offices of state veterinarians for each state you will be entering to find out their requirements. This should be done at least 30 – 60 days prior to your move date.
If your horse will need any vaccinations or boosters, be sure to allow plenty of time, between 2 – 6 weeks.
How to transport your horse
Whether you move your horse yourself or hire professionals, much of the preparations will be the same and knowing how to Travel Safely With Your Pet is vital.
Personal trailer: You will be hauling the horse to its new destination. If this will be a new experience for you, there are some good resource books to obtain information. Two common authors are: Neva Kittrell Scheve and Cherry Hill
Commercial shipper: Is a company that transports horses. They will be insured and have trained drivers and can offer transport options:
Some commercial shippers specialize in transporting horses to shows or to racetracks. Therefore, they will only travel via certain routes. Their flexibility may also be dependent on whether they have a full load, which will mean there is a possibility that your horse could be on a trailer for longer than needed. Commercial shippers tend to take the horse directly to the destination without unloading them.
If you will be using a commercial shipper, allow plenty of time to contract with a company. Research different shippers to find one that best suits the needs of you and your horse.
Independent shipper: Is someone who either owns their own truck and trailer to ship horses, or will drive your truck and trailer while hauling your horse. You will want to ensure they are insured and can handle any emergencies that may occur to either the horse, or any other situation that may present itself.
Using an independent shipper means less travel time and personalized attention for your horse.
Fees for using an independent shipper will depend on the use of equipment, whether they are using their own or yours.
If you use a commercial or independent shipper, any veterinary fees that may occur during transit will be billed to you. Before contracting a shipper, be sure to know any additional fees that could be billed once your horse is on the trailer.
Having insurance on your horse is highly recommended. Inquire with equine insurance companies about the different policies. If a horse has been purchased, one party must be responsible for the insurance during transit.
Finding A Shipper And What To Ask
Commercial and independent shippers will advertise in local and national publications. The Internet is also a good resource. Move My Horse is a site where shippers can be located.
When choosing your shipper, you will want to find out some information:
Horses are frequent flyers. They come in second after humans. However, unlike humans, their duration of confinement should be kept to a minimum. When possible, direct flights are recommended and the fastest route should be factored into pre travel plans. Air quality is important for horses when flying, auxiliary ventilation systems should be used to maintain this quality.
For horses Moving Internationally, flying would be the clear option. Some horses traveling domestically will do better flying for 6 hours then to travel the road in a trailer for 5 days.
Shipping your horse by air will require the services of a company that specialize in equine air transportation. One of the first and leading companies in the industry is H.E. Tex Sutton who has been providing horse flights since 1969. Among the equine airlines, FedEx is also a known shipper of horses by air.
When planning your horse’s flight, you will need to follow regulations and provide documentation. Horse Flight provides information for both domestic and international requirements.
In Case Of An Emergency
It is always a good idea to have some medical supplies on hand. Speak with your veterinarian for any recommendations on what to include in a first aid kit. Some essentials to include are:
On The Road
The route taken should be carefully planned. Avoiding extreme heat, or cold weather.
If you will be traveling more than 12 hours, it is advised to stop and rest. The horse should be removed from the trailer and stabled for at least 8 hours. This rest is necessary for the horse and of course the driver and caretakers.
You will need to find a place that can accommodate horses. There are acres of public land that provide horse camping:
If you prefer a motel, visit Horse Motel International(https://www.horsemotel.com) to find horse friendly motels for the traveling equestrian.
Arriving To The New Destination
A horse that has had a good journey will be happy and bright. They will be thankful to be let out of the trailer as soon as they arrive, and have a walkabout either by hand or in a small paddock. Depending on the length of the journey, and the purpose of relocating your horse, they should have adequate resting time and be monitored daily. Rectal temperature should be recorded morning and night, and the horse should be weighed at the same time daily for 3-7 days.
A recommended read by the University of California, Davis Center for Equine Health, School of Veterinary Medicine on Transporting Horses by Road and Air (PDF) was published in 2013