Shipping Horses Long Distance - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-27-2019, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
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Shipping Horses Long Distance

Anyone who's shipped a horses or horses long distance in the United States, what was your experience? Any recommendations on shipping companies for me to look into? What paperwork should I have in hand in order to do this? I presume brand inspection (depending on where I'm going), coggins, health certificate... anything I'm not considering?

Has anyone shipped to Alaska from the contiguous states before? If so, did you go overland through Canada, ship by boat, or plane? I am thinking I want to go for shipping via trailer through Canada, if that's where I end up.

I'll be moving in about a year, and intend to take my horse with me eventually, though he may end up staying with someone I know for a while. My likely graduate schools are: 1)Rapid City, South Dakota, 2)Urbana, Illinois, 3)Fairbanks, Alaska, and 4)Gainesville, Florida. They are approximately 300 miles, 1030 miles, 2900 miles, and 1800 miles, respectively, from my current town.

South Dakota I could probably convince my parents to haul for me from Laramie, as it's a reasonable drive. But any of the others, I probably am looking at shipping. So I want to plan ahead and perhaps figure out who I want to arrange shipping with, find out rates, and have it planned out prior to when I'm actually in need of a shipper. I've only moved horses between Colorado and Wyoming before, so I'm trying to get some more information on moving long distance, since I'm pretty uniformed.

Any input is appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-27-2019, 06:29 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2019
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Subscribing because I have often wondered about getting horses shipped out here from other states but I haven't done it yet. Furthest I have shipped a horse is across Montana and I shipped two up from southern Idaho but that wasn't as far as the one I had shipped across Montana. That was only an 8 - 10 hour trip for the horse. I am curious to hear what you find out as well.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-28-2019, 11:05 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Are you looking for a ballpark price? I shipped a mare from southeast Texas to California for about $950. It's been several years... Brook Ledge wanted $6000 to haul my 11 from Texas to Kentucky.

I don't break horses, I FIX them!
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-28-2019, 11:19 PM
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I figure $1/mile.

There are shipping companies if you don't need it done on a specific day then that helps too.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-28-2019, 11:41 PM
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Being flexible in days leaving, day arriving and allowing the shipper a few days variation can save you a bundle.
If you are along some of the major shipping routes/corridors can also save a bundle.
For example, Thoroughbreds needing moved from one track to another...show horses needed moved from one venue area to another say northeast to Florida for winter circuit, when Spruce Meadows opens... major show circuits have competitions brings the big boys to town.
Sometimes allowing the shipper to pick-up on a smaller rig with a transfer to the tractor-trailer met at their lay-over barn could save time and expenses too.


I was familiar with Brookledge, Creech, Elite, and Beacon Hill when it was a sole company now it has merged with another and no idea of quality or reputation.
We shipped primarily the I-95 corridor from the northeast to Florida and points in-between for major show venues or the Thoroughbred racetracks or lay-up farms.
I was never disappointed with Brookledge, ever.


A few things of warning...
Not every company that is licensed to transport is a horse-shipping company...
Ask specific questions.
A license is paid for that may be a agricultural/livestock allowance does not mean they arrive with a truck specifically made for horses to ride in safety and comfort....do be careful.
Also make sure your contract is not sold to sub-contractors cause you have no idea of the equipment your horse will be placed upon, quality of drive teams either...
It costs money to do a ship...if the price is so fantastic-great..tread carefully and be suspect.
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-29-2019, 09:29 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2015
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There's a FB discussion board which critiques horse shipping companies. Some reviews are really hair raising. A lot can go wrong if the operators are negligent. There are lots of unlicensed haulers, lots of people with a big trailer and no other qualifications soliciting business.

In May 2018 I had my 2 horses hauled from California to New England. The drivers were horse people (friends of mine) with thousands of miles of livestock hauling experience between them, no worries about expertise levels. I had Coggins and proof of ownership (microchip #'s and sale slips) that's all. Nobody asked for them (not saying they won't!). They stopped every night at a horse motel or fairgrounds. Took almost two weeks, with a 3 day layover in Kansas. Horses arrived in perfect condition.

I also included a box of Ultraguard for daily administration.

The best rigs for very long distances are those special trailers with air cushioning. Only the really big companies have them. Layovers are really important, in my opinion -- giving the horses 8 to 12 hours to walk around even a small pen, eat with their heads down, roll, get a break from the noise and vibration.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-29-2019, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Wyoming
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I've definitely heard some shipping horror stories which is why I want to do my research. I know it'll cost a pretty penny to actually have a horse hauled anywhere with someone reputable. But definitely I will proceed with caution. All your advice thus far is helpful!
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-29-2019, 05:30 PM
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I'd ship via air or boat, to AK. However! I just got back from a visit and there are a couple of things you should know. I was in Anchorage, so things are probably even MORE rustic and harder to come by in Fairbanks (13 miles above the North Pole btw). It's VERY expensive to live in AK. Food is extremely high (a meal at a so-so restaurant $30/person easy) and has to mostly be shipped in. In Anchorage and surrounding areas, there were some farms and horses, Fairbanks is going to be a lot less temperate. Winters in Fairbanks are extremely harsh, my dad did a tour in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks, said Fairbanks was the worst place he's ever served, climate wise.

Shipping over land will depend on the hauler. A basic haul in a trailer will probably be between $1.50 & $2.00/mile depending on the cost of gas & oil. Air ride trailers will cost considerably more as will shipping in a large enough trailer for your horse to have a "box". Those trailers are generally pulled by semi-trucks and cost more. You'll need to call around and get a feel for prices and look up everyone's reviews.

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post #9 of 10 Old 07-29-2019, 06:38 PM
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A friend moved to Anchorage, and when she considered her shipping options to have her horses join her, she sold her horses here in the States, intending to purchase another in Alaska. She has yet to do so nine years later. Cost of living in Alaska is so high she can't afford to own a horse anymore, and everything to do with horses is extremely expensive compared to costs when she lived in Iowa, Wyoming, and even Oregon. Even with her love of Alaska, she said she would never live in Fairbanks...

If taking your horses is vitally important to you, I would rule out Fairbanks, or at least visit SEVERAL times at various times of the year before committing. It certainly isn't for everyone.
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-30-2019, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I'd ship via air or boat, to AK. However! I just got back from a visit and there are a couple of things you should know. I was in Anchorage, so things are probably even MORE rustic and harder to come by in Fairbanks (13 miles above the North Pole btw). It's VERY expensive to live in AK. Food is extremely high (a meal at a so-so restaurant $30/person easy) and has to mostly be shipped in. In Anchorage and surrounding areas, there were some farms and horses, Fairbanks is going to be a lot less temperate. Winters in Fairbanks are extremely harsh, my dad did a tour in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks, said Fairbanks was the worst place he's ever served, climate wise.
Cost of living is the main reason I ruled out the University of Hawaii, because living on Honolulu is so outrageous. Fairbanks is considerably less than HI, believe it or not. The idea of very harsh winters doesn't bother me, really. I know it's got to be much harsher than winter in WY, considering Fairbanks is nearly in the arctic circle. But the climate is likely not what would stop me from going there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverMaple View Post
A friend moved to Anchorage, and when she considered her shipping options to have her horses join her, she sold her horses here in the States, intending to purchase another in Alaska. She has yet to do so nine years later. Cost of living in Alaska is so high she can't afford to own a horse anymore, and everything to do with horses is extremely expensive compared to costs when she lived in Iowa, Wyoming, and even Oregon. Even with her love of Alaska, she said she would never live in Fairbanks...

If taking your horses is vitally important to you, I would rule out Fairbanks, or at least visit SEVERAL times at various times of the year before committing. It certainly isn't for everyone.
Regardless of where I go, I likely wouldn't be able to afford to buy another horse if I sold the one I've got. Because of that I'm reluctant to sell unless I absolutely have to. I'm attached, anyhow. He's be my partner for about 8 years, so hard to let him go, even if he'd be pretty sellable. I am intending to, wherever I end up (assuming I get to keep the horse), do a partial lease on him to help me out a little financially. It won't offset overall living costs, but can make a difference on the pay of a graduate student. I may be able to visit once, but honestly, I don't have the funds, nor the freedom to travel even within the states right now. I'm a full time student currently which means very little ability to leave Laramie, much less pay for air fair to Alaska.

I realize it could be expensive but unfortunately I don't feel like I can rule out Fairbanks entirely, as my niche area of interest (even unusual within the field of paleontology) means I have limited options in places to apply. I need to go somewhere where I would be able to have an excellent advisor. Nothing is set in stone yet, though, so who knows.

Thanks for your input!
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