Transporting horses over seas, any experiences ?

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Transporting horses over seas, any experiences ?

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    01-07-2011, 07:54 AM
Transporting horses over seas, any experiences ?

I didn't really know where to put this so it's just going in general. I am a student currently doing a course in primary education and I am half way through my course, 2 years left. Once I qualify I have a probation year and then after that I intend to go teach in Canada.

I currently live in Scotland and all my family is Scottish but I was born in Canada and therefore have dual-nationality so it would be quite easy for me to go teach as I do no need a visa etc.

So I don't know what I would do with my boy, I am NOT selling. I understand it may not be practical to take him but no chance would I sell, if it came to it I would put him on full loan.

Problem is Hugo is very a one person horse and no-one else can actually currently get on his to ride him other than me, he is generaly quite nervous but that's another story.

I would be going over for a year and I probally would leave him on loan or in the care of a friend till I decided if I was staying but after that if I was I would really like him to come with me and my question is has anyone done this, and how easy/expensive was it?

I am also concerned about any health implications it could cause him such and stress etc. He is currently 11 and the point he will be moving he would be 15-16, I don't know if his age would make it more difficult for him but he will not be old, just older.

I understand I might have to find him another home if I stay in but it is quite a few years away I just want to know my options.

Sorry for the essay but I needed to give all the information to get an answer :)

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    01-07-2011, 08:55 AM
Green Broke
It will cost an absolute minimum of £6k to get him over there and a good few months for quarenteen. Then you have to factor in all the extra vaccines and health checks.

Flying is very stressful for a horses body. I wouldnt fly any horse that was not a very very good traveller and you will have to sign a form giving the vets permission to shoot him should he panic and endanger the aircraft (they will generaly try sedatives first).
Flying older horses who are in good health is no worse then flying young horses but it is still a stressfull experaince.

Also food for thought, if you fly him out aged 16 will you be able to fly him back afew years later if you have to come back? At 20 he could have all sorts of complications.
    01-07-2011, 11:11 AM
Green Broke
I was in EXACTLY your position a year ago! I left Australia to study here in Texas and was forced with the decision as to whether to take my once in a lifetime horse with me or leave her behind (she is the horse in my avatar). I have owned her for over ten years and at the time couldn't imagine life without her.

At a cost of AU$10,000 minimum I just couldn't financially do it. Also, she was 14 when I left and the stress of the trip would not have been good for her so I decided to lease her out. Now she is also very much a one person horse (landed two other people in hospital the little horror) but I was lucky as her breeding is impeccable, she was sired by on of Australia's top racehorses and she performed very well on the eventing circuit with me so had a considerable performance record. As such I leased her out as a broodmare and she is being bred to a Warmblood stallion that was imported from Germany to produce showjumpers in Australia.

It was hearbreaking to leave her behind but I know that she is in good hands and has a good life, even if I am not there with her. If you are going to lease, allow yourself plenty of time to find the right home. I had a huge amount of interest in my girl and it took me a couple of months to sort through the offers and find the one that was right for her. Good luck with whatever you choose!
    01-07-2011, 03:58 PM
I moved my horse from the US to England (I'm in Glasgow now but at the time I was going to Durham). It cost me about $4k. I went with a company which arranges all the flights , customs stuff, and ground transport.

My horse was 13 at the time and had done several trips across the United States by that point. Like any long distance travel even on ground transport, it is stressful on them but she withstood it just fine. The horse doesn't know it's on a plane. They put them into what looks like a huge shipping container rigged up like stalls and that's forklifted onto the plane. Anyway, the whole "they will shoot your horse if it panics" thing is a bit of an urban myth. No one is going to be firing a gun on a plane in the first place and if something does get agitated, they can tranquilize it pretty effectively.
    01-07-2011, 04:05 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by thesilverspear    
No one is going to be firing a gun on a plane in the first place and if something does get agitated, they can tranquilize it pretty effectively.
YOu don't need a gun, captive bolt is good enough! Yes they can and will tranquilize it and for most horses this is good enough, however some horses fight sedatives and get very dangerous when they do. My arab was one of them, he nearly killed the vet when we tried to sedate him for xrays! YOu do have to give them permission to do as they thinkb est and that includes humanely destroying the horse if it ecomes a danger to the plane
    01-07-2011, 04:22 PM
Thank you everyone for your input so far :)
Glasgow ! Really that's where I live currently, well just on the outskirts but I go to university in the city.

Originally Posted by thesilverspear    
The horse doesn't know it's on a plane. They put them into what looks like a huge shipping container rigged up like stalls and that's forklifted onto the plane.
I wasn't sure what it would be like for the horses on the plane, so if he just thought he was in a stable with a haynet and other horses I think he would be alright, maybe unsure of the noises and environment but if he was confined to a stall I doubt he would get up to much, obviously a panicking horse can cause damage though.

Silverspear how long did your horse have to be in quarintine on each side of travelling ?

    01-07-2011, 05:09 PM
I never had to sign anything that gave anyone permission to euthanize my horse if she freaked out on the plane. This happens in movies but in modern airplanes and modern shipping methods, it doesn't. It just annoys me because anytime anyone on something like an internet forum asks about international shipping, someone *always* writes a post saying, "And if your horse panics, they'll put it down because it will cause the plane to crash." Think about it this way: most of the horses who do fly aren't someone's beloved pet they're taking abroad with them. They're either super expensive horses someone has bought abroad, or super expensive show or race horses competing in international events. You wouldn't put your fancy import or FEI dressage champion on a plane if you thought he was going to get euthanized if he freaked out or if horses frequently died on flights. Stop taking International Velvet as fact!

Anyway.... They have each container set up like three straight stalls, so the horse has two traveling buddies. There's straw or shavings on the floor and the horses have haynets. They shifted around a bit during take off but no worse than they would in a lorry driving up a steep hill. I'm sure they thought they were in a slightly weird lorry.

The horse had six hour of quarantine in JFK airport before she was loaded on the plane but needed to have clean blood tests for several diseases.
    01-07-2011, 05:28 PM
Green Broke
Thesilverspear - I wouldnt use the company you used then. Even when Using a company to move a horse via land I have always been asked to sign a contract, Just incase something happens. Maybe it was different for you as you sound like you travelled with your horse and obviously they would have no problem contacting you in that case.

If a horse breaks a leg in transit (and I have seen it done, horse goes down in the trailer/lorry for what ever reason, panics getting up and breaks a leg whilst struggling, I've also known a horse who had to be destroyed because he kicked his way out of a horse box and severed all the tendons and a couple of veins in his back legs) or colics and they cannot contact me Then I have to give them permission to do as the vet reccomends and this includes upto and including destroying the horse humanely. .

I would never use a company that didnt do that because a vet cannot legaly destroy a horse without the owners explicit permission. I would rather not have my horse suffer whilst they try to contact me. Obviously they are expected to do everything they can before destruction and the horses are well enough insured that vet bills are not an issue.

No it is not an occurance that happens often, infact it is extremely rare but you have to be aware that the risk IS there no matter how small.

I am Not taking international velvet as fact, what I am doing is telling you exactly what the risks are no matter how small they are. Just like most people don't know that It is illegal for broken down horseboxes to be towed with horses onboard and that if you have to unload on the side of a motorway the police have the right to insist that a police marksman be given permission to shoot the horse if it gets loose (it is very very rare that they bother using this part of legislation, or that the highways officers even know about it but it is there and they can legaly insist!).
    01-07-2011, 05:43 PM
I know that there must be some risk of horses being pts if they become a threat on the plane but I doubt it is a high risk or people wouldn't fly horses at all.

I looked on a shipping website and in the FAQ this was one:

Is it true that the horse is being put down during the journey in case of amuck?
Putting down a horse is the last and utmost emergency measure in case of a so-called ‘worst-case-scenario’. True, it can happen but the chances are very little. This kind of situations are barely known, and since the establishment of European Horse Services we have luckily not had such kind of incident

Obviously I still have a few years before any decision has to be made, as I said I just want to know the options and get information from people who know of /have had a horse travel via airplane.

Thesilverspear- was your horse not quarintined for 30 days at all ? I read on the shipping website depending on destination in most cases horses would be in quarintine for 30days and have various blood work done.

    01-07-2011, 05:47 PM
Green Broke
Blood work will deffinatly have to be done to check for infectious diseases that are not already in america (although obviously a horse carrying any disease will not be allowed to travel) and a vet will have to sign a form saying the horse is fit to fly, normaly the shipping company will arrange those for you as not all vets will do them and obviously the horse has to be in quarenteen when they are done so that they don't pick up anything nasty between blood test and travelling.

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