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Horse Transport

What's in this article?
  1. How Does Horse Transportation Work?
  2. Shipping
  3. Transporting
  4. What To Do After Reaching The Destination?
  5. Important Checklistthat Helps You To Safely Transport Your Horses By The Road
  6. Problems You Can Face While Transporting
  7. Safety Tips For Your Horse While Deciding Transporting
  8. Ensure That Your Horse Is Healthy, Plus Get A Health Certificate
  9. Try To Avoid Dusty Bedding
  10. While Traveling, Always Be Prepared For Any Emergency
  11. Before Transporting, Always Check The Weight Of Your Horse
  12. Plan The Route Before
  13. Choose Standing Wraps
  14. Allow Free Access To Hay
  15. Try To Prevent Shipping Fever
  16. Ensure Your Horse Stays Hydrated
  17. Always Make Regular Rest Stops
  18. If You Want Your Horse To Recover, Allow Him Some Time
  19. How Much Does Horse Transport Cost?
  20. Things You Need To Know Before Transporting Your Horse
  21. Conclusion
Horse Transport

Are you looking for a way to transport your horse? Or have you been worried about how to transport your horse without getting him injured? Then this post has all the answers you need.

Horse transport can be a very stressful task, but you can do this in many ways nowadays. You can use different types of transportation, depending on what is available and what is the best for the horses.

The vehicles you can use to transport the horse must meet specific requirements per the Horse Transportation Safety Act of the Animal Welfare Institute.

There are several other requirements as well that you need to take into consideration. (More about that later!)

But let's first understand how horse transportation works.

How Does Horse Transportation Work?

Did you know?There are 58 million horses globally, as declared by the American Horse Council in a 2006 report. Majorly humans are there to take care of them, and when their caretakers have to relocate, they have to take their horses along with them.

In the past, when you wanted to transport your horse from one state to another, you just put a saddle on the horse and rode it to the new location.

If you had to move your horse from one place to another a long way away, the only option was to put them in the cargo hold of a ship and move. But, it was not comfortable for the horse, and many did not survive.

Today, there are other ways to move your horse, like on an airplane or train. Usually, horses are driven in trailers attached to cars or trucks.

The two ways used to ship horses are:

  1. Shipping
  2. Transporting

Shipping and transporting are often considered the same. But, there is a big difference between the two. Here's what makes these two terms different. Let's take a look at these two:



Shipping is when your horse travels by air or sea. However, it is a stressful experience for the horse.


On the other hand, transporting is when your horse travels by car or truck. And it is not as stressful for the horse because it is a shorter trip.

There are two ways to move a horse by road: train or trailer. Trains are usually dark, and your horse might not be able to move around much.

There might not be any stops where they can get some fresh air. It can also be a stressful thing, even for the horse. Trailers are better because horses are used to traveling this way.

When you use a trailer, it's called transporting, not shipping.

Transporting a horse is different from transporting other animals. The difference is that the horse's needs and comfort are considered. The horse is loaded in a trailer that must be big for the horse but not too big so that horse might get hurt. A horse is given proper food and water, usually from a familiar source, so it doesn't get sick.

The route is planned out well and has vets located along the way in case of an emergency. The horse is given breaks at regular intervals to stretch, and a person checks the horse physically to avoid any problems in the future.

What To Do After Reaching The Destination?

After reaching the destination, keep an eye on the horse's condition. If it looks sick or tired, you have to take your horse to a veterinarian to ensure it doesn't have a shipping fever.

It is a common risk during long-distance travel and can also be fatal in some cases. When you move the horse to a new location, give it some time to get used to it. A few days to get back to average weight might take the horse if the trip was long.

Important ChecklistThat Helps You To Safely Transport Your Horses By The Road

If you are planning to transport your horse, then there are many things which you need to care about while transporting. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Make sure your horse is healthy before riding it on a long-distance trip. An up-to-date vaccine and recent vet visit will help keep your horse safe. If your horse is not feeling well, it is best not to ride it.
  • The stress of travel can cause problems in a horse's gut. Probiotics can help to support a healthy gut balance when the horse is stressed. However, it is essential to consult with your vet before giving your horse probiotics, as each horse is different.
  • Plan to take breaks every four to six hours when transporting your horse. During these breaks, don't forget to check if your horse shows any signs of discomfort. If you feel that they are feeling stressed or uncomfortable, then make sure to solve this issue first. Make sure to feed your horses with hay and water.
  • You need to have fresh air in your trailer to keep the horses calm and comfortable. It is also much less inviting for diseases to grow when the trailer is well-ventilated.
  • Rubber flooring is a type of flooring that is made from recycled plastics. It is not only more durable than other types of flooring, but it is also flexible. However, it must make it a good choice for horses because it reduces the tension on their muscles when they travel. It means that they arrive at their destination calmer and less tired.
  • If you tie your horse's head too tight, it won't be able to clear its lungs of dust by coughing. Leave enough room for your horse to lower its head and cough downwards.
  • Make sure all the items in your trailer are secure before you leave. Ensure to tie down containers, riding gear, buckets, first aid kits, and other objects so they don't move around and hit your horse.
  • Make sure that your horses have access to water during transport. Most probably will help them not to become dehydrated or overheating. If you can, bring a water tank with you in the trailer, it will be good. But, suppose if you can't do that, give your horses flavored water about a week before you leave. That way, they will become used to drinking water from a different source.

Problems You Can Face While Transporting

It can be tough to find transportation that is both qualified and affordable. The transport cost can be high, and sometimes trailers are not in good condition.

Drivers can also get lost or tired, which means there is a risk something will go wrong. The best way to make sure everything goes smoothly is to schedule the transport well in advance.

Safety Tips For Your Horse While Deciding Transporting

If you're planning to take the road trip with your favorite 1,200-pound passenger, follow these tips to keep him safe and prevent stress.

Ensure that your horse is healthy, plus get a health certificate.

Before going on a long trip, you must have a veterinarian check your horse to make sure that horse is healthy and can handle the journey. The vet will also give you the paperwork to take your horse to another state. Each state has different requirements, but most states require a negative test of Coggins, health certificate, etc.

Try to avoid dusty bedding

It does not matter that even if you are a good driver, it is hard to balance for hours on a moving trailer. Horses can get tired from this.

Putting bedding in the trailer will be helpful for your horse as it reduces the stress on the leg. However, it would help if you avoided dusty bedding because respiratory problems could be caught up and can also irritate your horse's eyes. If dust is an issue, consider using a fly mask.

While traveling, always be prepared for any emergency

It doesn't matter how well you have planned things. There are some things you can't predict. That's why it's essential always to carry a first aid box for your horses so it can be helpful in any emergency case. Ensure you store it in an accessible place and let the driver know where it is.

Before transporting, always check the weight of your horse

Horses can lose weight when they travel, especially for a long time. For example, if they travel for more than 12 hours, horses usually lose about 5 percent of their body weight. But there is nothing to be stressed about as they will usually regain their body weight in a couple of days. If you weigh your horse before and after traveling, you can figure out your horse will need days to recover.

Plan the route before

Before you go on your trip, think about the route you will take and when you will travel. If it's hot outside, a trailer with a horse inside can be much worse than the outside temperature. It cannot be very comfortable for your horse if you have to wait in traffic for a long time. When there's hot weather, traveling at night may be better because the weather will be calm and there will be less traffic.

Choose standing wraps

If your horse is shipped, you can use bell boots and standing wraps to protect its legs. However, it is essential to note that these can even be considered a liability if the horse is not used to them. But, if you choose to wrap your horse, make sure it is familiar with the bandages before shipping, and don't forget to check for any irritation during transport. By doing this, you will make the journey easy for your horse.

Allow free access to hay

If you're traveling with your horse, it's important to limit or stop them from eating grains. However, they should have enough access to hay during the trip. Make sure you have grass that can last through the whole trip and for some days in the other location.

Try to prevent shipping fever

When your horse travels, he may catch a respiratory infection. It is called shipping fever. It is a cough that lasts for a while after the horse travels. The best way to prevent shipping fever is to make sure your horse can clear particulate matter from his respiratory tract by dropping his head. You can also reduce stress by shipping with another horse.

Ensure your horse stays hydrated

Horses need to drink water every three hours while on a trip. Recent research suggests bringing your water with you on the trip. If the journey is so long and you can't get enough water, add the Kool-Aid to your horse's drinking water to help your horse be hydrated.

Always make regular rest stops

It is vital to make regular rest stops when on a road trip. The Kentucky Horse Council recommends that you take a break every 4 hours. This break should last for 20 minutes, and you should try to find a shady spot with open windows so the air can circulate in the trailer. Horses should not be unloaded from the trailer when you are on the road, as it can make them scared, and it is not safe. If you are going to travel with your horse for more than 12 hours, you should unload the horse after 12 hours and stable it for 8 hours. It will allow the horse to

clear its respiratory tract and rehydrate.

If you want your horse to recover, allow him some time

Even if your horse has been well with you when traveling, the horse will still need some time to relax and recover after the trip before you can use him again. A report about horses says that a rest of a full day is enough for your horse if he has traveled for six to twelve hours.

Must call a veterinarian if your horse doesn't want to eat, has a discharge from its nose, or has a high temperature when it arrives at its destination.


How Much Does Horse Transport Cost?

There are different ways to transport horses. People usually think of trucks pulling trailers, but that's not the only option. You can transfer your horse through sea or air, but it will cost you more.

Horses don't always have to travel, but sometimes they do. It can be due to many reasons like maybe you want to take your horse to the vet, or perhaps you have to sell the horse to other people, or if you need to attend an exhibition.

No matter the reason, it would be best if you made sure the journey was comfortable for your horse. It means taking precautions to ensure the horse is safe and calm during transport.

Transporting a horse is not an easy task. It is very different from transporting a cat or dog. Cats and dogs can fit inside your car, but horses need a particular housing unit, like a trailer, to be transported safely.

The cost of transporting a horse can vary a lot, depending on how far you are going and getting there. If you transport your horse by driving or flying, it will be a little more expensive if we compare it with transporting by boat and rail.

There are many things to think about when transporting a horse. The most common way to transport a horse is by using an equine transport company.

These companies usually charge between $0.75 and $3 per mile, but this can vary depending on the company's profile, how far you want to go, etc.

If you need to transport a lot of horses, you might be able to get a discount. If you need to transport one horse, it will cost more. Make sure you get the estimated cost before making any commitments.

Things You Need to Know Before Transporting Your Horse

Here are a few things you need to know before transporting your horse:

  • If you want to transport a horse, you need to apply for insurance at least 24 hours before the planned transport.
  • You need a special license to drive a horse trailer. The driver of the horse trailer needs a class B driver's license. Also, the person driving the car towing the trailer needs a class E trailer driver's license.
  • The maximum speed of the vehicle and horse trailer combination should be 80 km/h.
  • When you are transporting a horse, the long route can be risky and daring, but it's essential to make sure you're prepared for any possible problems that might come up.


There are many things to consider when deciding how to transport your horse. The most important factors are the cost and safety of your horse. Before deciding on a horse transportation service, consider all of your options and follow the outlined safety tips. We hope that this article has been helpful for you to clear all your confusion and questions regarding horse transport.

Thanks for reading!

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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