Animal Transport - For Shippers - 28 July

How to choose a horse transporter?

Cagri · Animal Transport · For Shippers · 28 July

A horse tied to a trailer behind a truck

A horse tied to a trailer behind a truck

Whether you need to move a horse to get it to a race, for agricultural purposes, or for pleasure, it’s critical you take the time to choose a professional and experienced transporter who will care for and respect your animal. This article will help guide you through looking for and selecting a horse transporter. 

Look for transport companies and individuals

Get started by looking for reliable and reputable transport companies in your area. You may be able to get a list from local stables, horse equipment stores, or your veterinarian. Once you have a list of options it’s time to do some research. A really simple way to get access to a huge range of transporters is to use the transporter marketplace CitizenShipper. Simply post your needs to the site and experience horse transporters will contact you with a personalized bid. Once you have a few possible transporters in mind it’s time to go further into your research. ere is a list of things you must check before committing to a transporter. 

Adequate licenses and authority

A transporter must have a USDOT and MC number. The first thing to ensure is that your horse carrier is licensed to transport live animals and has extensive knowledge of interstate and intrastate transportation laws. Next up is to check your carrier’s mortality insurance policy. Insurance should cover the loss, injury, or death of your horse during transport.

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Experience

Ask your potential transporter how long they have been in the game and get some information about recent trips that have taken. You want them to have experience in similar jobs to yours. So if you need a single horse shipped from your barn to a race three states away – check they know about long-distance travel. Similarly, if you are transporting a very young or inexperienced horse ask some questions to understand how much experience they have in calming and reassuring animals under stress. 

Equipment

You may provide the transporter with your own horse trailer or they may provide it themselves. If they do be sure to ask for photos and even better inspect their transportation before committing. What condition is the trailer in, is it clean, well maintained, and orderly? Or does it have old hay, rusting sides, and insufficient space? Making sure your horse is comfortable on its journey will influence its behavior and temperament once it arrives. 

Depending on the type and number of horses you need transporting there are also several trailer options, multi-horse trailers, and single horse trailers. The choice here will depend on a combination of what’s available and what you are most comfortable with. 

Preparing your horse

Ask your transporter what they require you to do to prepare your horse for transport. They may have something specific they need. Otherwise following this list will help you drop the stress of moving your animal. 

  1. Make sure your horse is healthy and get the papers to prove it.
    Moving a horse can be very stressful for them. So it’s important they are in top health before the journey starts. Get your vet to do a check-up and write a certificate of health that can travel with the horse. In some states, this may need to include any vaccines the horse has had.
  2. Wash and prepare bedding and blankets. Horse blankets and bedding can get really dusty – usually not an issue, but with a horse in a confined space for some time, the dust may contribute to respiratory issues. Best to have everything as clean and dust-free as possible before you start. 
  3. Weight your horse. Knowing both the physical dimensions and the weight of your horse will help the carrier prepare their trailer and tow vehicle. 
  4. Think about food and water. Discuss with your transporter the best way for your horse to access water and hay throughout the trip. They may supply this or you will need to make arrangements
  5. Think about the horse’s arrival. Travelling can be exhausting for horses, even animals used to long distances. Plan several days’ rest into the horse’s schedule once it arrives at its destination for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. This is particularly important if it will be required to do something strenuous such as racing or agricultural work. 

So you are almost there. By this time you will likely have a good idea who to select as your transporter. The final decision can come down to a combination of price, availability, and previous customer reviews. CitizenShipper allows you to see all these things in one location making comparing drivers really easy. 

Good luck with your horse transportation.

Updated September 17, 2021

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