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4 Important Strategies for Transporting Horses that Every Horse Owner Should Know

shipping horses

Horse racing and showing has been a tradition in the Caribbean and South America for some time now. For example, the annual Clasico Internacional del Caribe is the most prestigious horse race in the region and has been for 25 years.

As the horse racing tradition lives on, so does the act of transporting horses from the U.S. to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. However, transporting horses is a delicate process.

Transporting horses takes experience, the right equipment and trained professionals. The right carrier will coordinate the transportation with the horse owners and handlers to ensure that the horses are handled and transported in accordance to strict IATA animal handling guidelines.

Properly preparing for your horse’s journey is a crucial part of safe transportation. Here are four tips to keep in mind when shipping horses.

  • Shipping Gear – According to Towing Horse Trailers, you need to have your horse’s gear prepared prior to travel. Boots or leg wraps need to be fitted to all four of your horse’s legs and extend above the horse’s knees. This will protect the legs during transport and offer leg support over long-distances.

Head collars should be leather in order to avoid becoming stuck in cases of emergency. The leather head collars should be able to break under extreme pressure or to be cut if need be.

A fitted blanket suitable for that season should be placed on your horse to avoid it being rubbed against during transportation. Fitted blankets may be light-cotton or fleece during winter and thick or wicker for the winter.

Your horse’s tail also needs to be protected. The bone at the top of the horses tail is sensitive and will need to be bandaged or wrapped during transport. A tail wrap will protect against the tail being rubbed and against impact, however bandaging will only protect against rubbing.

  • Help Your Horse Get Accustomed To The Idea Of Travel –Avoid aggressive workouts days prior to your horse’s transport. Workouts can wear a horse out and prevent it from being relaxed and rested during their journey. Loading and unloading your horse will often be the most stressful part of its journey. To help make this process easier and to acclimate your horse with the idea of traveling, practice loading and unloading using at-home horse trailers.

It is also wise to visit the vet prior to travel in order to ensure your horse is in the right physical condition for transport. The horse-vaccination requirements may differ from state to state and from country to country. Once you know where your horse is going and when, take them to the vet and see if any additional vaccinations are needed. This needs to be done at least a month before shipping.

In addition, blood work and health records should be up-to-date and on hand prior to transport. If any health issues arise in transit or at the destination, recent health records will be extremely useful when the horse is being treated. Blood work and a visit to the vet will also help to determine if your horse is healthy enough to travel. Even horses that seemingly hale may have undetected issues.

Provide a Horse Handler – Airlines that specialize in transporting horses allow horse handers on board their flights to ensure the animal is cared for during the flight. Many shippers use their own employees or horse-handling companies to assist with transportation arrangements.

The handler will ensure that all of the international shipping documentation is completed correctly, verify the health certificates and make arrangements for pre-export quarantine (if necessary). Horse handlers will also ensure that the horse is transported in a TSA approved horse stall.

  • The Right Shipping Company – The shipping company you choose to transport your horse should have a dedicated animal handling desk with well-trained professionals to plan and coordinate the details of the transportation. The shipping company should be experienced in shipping horses and be able to provide you with references.

The shipping company also needs to prepare for what to do if the journey is lengthy. According to SmartPak, a journey that is more than three hours is considered “long-distance.” During a long distance journey horses need to be offered a sufficient amount of water every four hours.

Horses should not be transported over 12 hours in one day. If transportation consists of 12 hours in one day, horses need to be unloaded and allowed to rest for at least eight hours. The shipping company you choose needs to be one that is able to stop and tend to horses during short-distance and long-distance travels.

In addition, when you do decide on the horse shipping company that is right for you, it is beneficial to make a list of your most important questions in order to ensure that all your concerns are met.

Amerijet’s trained specialists make sure that all horses receive the utmost care throughout the transportation process. The company’s dedicated Live Animal Handing Desk works closely with every shipper to coordinate all required documentation and ensures that horses are transported in full compliance with the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Live Animal Regulations.

With over 40 years of animal-shipping experience, Amerijet’s primary priority is the health and safety of its animal passengers. Please click here for a quote and more information.