One thing that all horse owners know is that it is expensive to haul horses anywhere. There are many factors in deciding what is the best method for transporting your horses. First, it is making sure your horse arrives at its destination safely. Next, many horse owners are also concerned with the environment and none of us want to contribute to the pollution problem. Then, you need to be sure that your horses arrives at its destination at a time and date that is convenient for you. You can either pay a professional service to transport your horses, or you use your own vehicle and trailer. Either way can be beneficial, but both have their drawbacks, so it is best to be prepared and make an informed decision.
If you are considering using a transport company you will first want to ensure that they have a good record of safety and meeting deadlines for arrivals. You should ask for references and make sure that you actually check them. A minimum of 3 separate references should be given and checked. Ask questions such as did their horses arrive when expected, where there any delays, did the transporter maintain contact with them during the transport and were there any problems with the horse after the transport. Many professional transporters now are bonded and insured. Using one of these companies may be a little more expensive, but you are insured against loss and they tend to take excellent care of the horses in their care to avoid claims. Make sure you check with the company about the paperwork required and ensure that all your paperwork is in order BEFORE the trailer arrives. Most transport companies are working on a tight schedule and they have other horses on the trailer, they don’t have time for you to search for paperwork that you misplaced.
Before you load your horse on the trailer you should take photos of your horse from several angles. Do not EVER give registration papers to the transporter, they do not want to be responsible for these items and there is no guarantee that you will get them back. However, they will need original copies of a health certificate and a current Coggins test. You should always keep a copy of that paperwork for emergencies or to identify your horse if there is a problem. Most transporters will also ask you to fill out a form with contact information for you, the person receiving the horse and possibly even a form so that they can obtain vet care for your horse should it become ill or injured. Please make sure that you give the transport company a cell phone number, not just a home phone number so that you can be reached 24/7. Most transports go smoothly and without a problem, but it is for you and your horse’s safety that they ask for certain things. If your horse has any special needs or habits please make sure that you give that information to the driver so he/she can provide the best care possible for your horse.
There are certain things that you should get before you load your horse as well. First, you should have a contract or receipt for the transport if you pay up front. Also, take down the license plate number of the trailer/truck, name of the driver and the contact person at the transport company. If there is a reason that you feel uncomfortable your horse’s travel arrangements reschedule or try a different company. Remember that you are the one that is responsible for your horse’s safety and health.