View Full Version : HELP...Import Horse from Mexico

Nov. 27, 2009, 09:43 AM
I could use some assistance in understanding where I need to cross the Mexican US border with a VET check facility. I am driving to Guatemala to pick up my girlfriends horses, and not sure of what to expect. If anyone has experience with bringing horses over the border, please point me in the right direction.

I could also use a list of Horse Hotels en route from Brownsville, TX to Woodstown, NJ.

Any advise is welcome, since this is not something I have done before, or neccessarily plan on doing again, Hahaha.

Thx, Peter

Nov. 27, 2009, 10:08 AM
Think you need to contact somebody to help you out with that in Mexico.

Don't forget you have to cross from Guatemala into Mexico and may run into some surprises there. Then cross mutiple provinces across the whole length of the coutry on some iffy roads. Then get into this country...and with Guatemala as your origin point, not Mexico.

Can't you fly it? That drive is going to take you at least a week just to get thru Mexico and...well....poltical climate and other issues ? Not sure it is as safe as hopping the interstates from Brownsville to NJ. And...well...some of the roads from Matamoros on south are not particularly safe for hauling any kind of freight.

Think if you do a cost comparison, you may come out about the same.

A shorter answer is I would not haul horses all the way up Mexico without substantial, locally based help. Or at all.

Nov. 27, 2009, 10:11 AM
I sold a horse to mexico earlier this year. It is a PAIN! You HAVE to use an agent to cross border into Mexico, not sure about coming out of Mexico. The paperwork is also a nightmare. There is an ag station in Scorocco (sp??) Texas and once I called there the ag person was VERY helpful. There is some info on the NCDA site, but not terribly helpful. You NEED to find out ahead of time all the ins and outs or they will hold the horses at the border.

As far as "horse hotels" we do layovers here at my farm in NC if that is on your route.

Nov. 27, 2009, 10:20 AM
More I think about this. Less I like it.

You will need to obtain, at least, an international drivers license and may need permission to haul livestock in 2 different countries. You may need to permit your rig, both truck and trailer for both countries. You may need additional permits and have to satisfy vet requirements several times en route. Vehicle insurance is complicated-you have to buy special. Any insurance on the horses may not cover International hauling by a non commercial operator, especially along some of your planned route.

It will take you a substantial amount of time to drive the rig down there and there is an awful lot of isolated country with no place safe to pull over. Not to mention local "entrepreneurs".

Lest anybody object here, I have been in both countries, I like both countries. I would not drive from Guatamala all the way up the length of Mexico, let alone haul horses. Not safe, especially along our own border.

Nov. 30, 2009, 12:11 PM
I appreciate the advise.

Does anyone have any contacts on horse haulers in Mexico, to bring them from the Guatemalan border thru Mexico into Brownsville, TX.

Any info would be helpful.

Thx, Peter

Nov. 30, 2009, 01:57 PM
I have a good friend in Monterrey who I have ridden with at Club Hipico de Monterrey. Don't know enough about that facility and how much transport they do (my friend owns their own private rig) - but maybe contact one of the big exporter/importers of sport horses in Mexico, like La Silla to see who they use. (http://www.hipicolasilla.com/contact).

I agree with the above posters, flying might be better and from personal experience, driving a long distance through Mexico is not all too pleasant all the time.

Nov. 30, 2009, 02:54 PM
OP, why not call around the major shippers and just fly the horse out? Round tripping that rig from wherever they are in Mexico down to Guatemala then all the way to our border then back to where they started is going to involve alot of days on the road, lots of petrol at whatever they want to charge for it and some kind of rest stops.

Just afraid it will be 7 to 10 days on the trailer-minimum. Plus, whatever you are quoted by land? You know it will be more if you want it to arrive at our border on time and in good health...as I mentioned, alot of "entrepreneurs" along that route. Plus outright pirates, bandits and drug runners.

I wouldn't do it.

Nov. 30, 2009, 03:27 PM
Also don't forget that you are going to have to quarantine at the texas border and maybe going into mexico as well.

My boss went through the border in texas and it sounded iffy to say the least. Grand prix horses next to beef cattle then were run through disinfected dip ( run through chute, dropped into a pool of disinfection).

Good luck!


Nov. 30, 2009, 03:45 PM
Right now many states are quarantining or banning horses from Texas due to an outbreak of Equine Piroplasmosis. It is a tick born disease that is endemic to Central America but not the US. You will have to check with each state's veterinary office to see what their requirements are as to the transport of horses. The minimum is proof of no disease using an ELISA type test with a signed vet certificate to take them out of TX.

I get the impression that also sounds like you have not done a lot of long distance hauling in the US either. I may be wrong. If you haven't done this before then I suggest having someone else do the work.

Nov. 30, 2009, 07:38 PM
Yikes, I would NOT haul horses by ground through Central America and Mexico! Forget the idea entirely, fly them or don't bring them. There are not roads that are maintained enough for you to be able to do that safetly. I love Mexico and the Mexican people and have been there a lot, but driving in Mexico for any length of distance is NOT safe. Nor is it in Central America. There is a lot of crime on the roads, as well as other unsafe drivers (vehicles are not maintained there like they are here), no regular amenities (like gas stations or water), and forget about finding a good policeman or worse a vet on the road if you had a problem. Not to mention all the blood work you would need to get from one country to another to then have to have to enter the US.

You are seriously talking months, if you arrived at all. It is not even a question, don't do it. It would absolutely be horrible for the horses.

Beam Me Up
Nov. 30, 2009, 07:46 PM
Just wanted to add that you get massive props for even considering this (air or ground).
My bf just mastered retrieving my horses from the lower field. Central America!?!? I cannot even fathom!

Nov. 30, 2009, 07:54 PM
I would only do a commercial shipper or fly them. I used to live in New Mexico and had friends who visited the interior of Mexico/Mexico City and had horror stories of shakedowns, bandits, and vehicle theft that you wouldn't believe. Plus you need truck/trailer insurance for the interior of Mexico and that's not cheap. I woldn't do it without a platoon of my favorite Special Forces guys for company-and I'm barely exaggerating. It's not worth risking your life to do this.

Dec. 2, 2009, 05:04 AM
You don't need an international driver's license to drive in Mexico. BUT beware of corrupt policemen. When I was there a few years ago we drove from the airport through Mexico City (BAD idea) and got pulled over, had my Dad's license taken from him, and had to pay about $200 to get it back. Same thing happened on our way back through. Once we got out of Mexico City, however, we drove over the mts to Puerto Escondido then to Oxcaca afterwords, and we were absolutely fine - it wasn't nearly as bad as findeight is making it out to be. The mountain roads, however, are a MESS. I would not want to take any horse trailer over them. It took us all day to drive 100 miles and that was in a small car.

Dec. 2, 2009, 06:52 AM
crossing any boarder, esp. guatemala into mexico can be very, very dangerous. i know plenty of people and plenty of stories of armed men pulling over people's cars/vehicles and taking everything. prepare yourself and be safe. maybe it would be best to have a shipper or a person who is acquainted with bringing animals over the boarder...bring them into mexico while you wait there. safe trip.

Dec. 2, 2009, 08:22 AM
Boy, I sure would be looking up flight costs at this point. I remember we used to have some dudes regularly - like every two years or so - bring a trailer full of polo ponies up from Argentina - I guess they thought our club was a good place to "wow" the americans with their stock - anyhoo, I remember being there one day when they pulled in from straight off the road - those horses were wild eyed. Wild eyed, I tell you, thin as rails and about ready to pop out of their skulls. Course, being argentinian polo ponys, I don't know if that was their baseline, anyway, nor could we tell from any of them just how trained they were, because none of the dudes spoke english well enough for us to tell, and it took some weeks of them here, riding and us getting used to the language and stuff to figure out about the horses, but I remember just how incredibly stressed those animals were. You can probably find someone who does this often and knows how to haul animals from that particular area (Guatamala) because they do it regularly, but I truly don't think you should do it yourself until you've ridden along with someone several times and learned the ins and outs of it. Find someone here on this side who has animals - horses - hauled up from that region and knows the people doing it and has experience. Otherwise, I say find a flight out for them.

Just my humble opinion.

Just wanted to add: The Argentinian men were just georgeous - blue eyes,j wavy brown hair with blond highlights, rowdy, sh!t eatin grins and very very male. They were about as feral as their horses, really. We really didn't need to understand their language all that much, if I recall...

Dec. 2, 2009, 10:36 AM
I can't speak personally for bringing a horse in/out of Central America, but I know two graduate students who have driven to South America a couple of times.

The most important thing they say is to always have a decent amount of cash on you. Border crossings can get sticky.

This isn't feasible for you, but they also say to bring a vehicle that you would have no problem just abandoning and walking away from. Obviously, not an option in your situation, haha.

Dec. 2, 2009, 11:05 AM
Try this website, and call the vets at the inspection/crossing point. You will need a customs broker/agent to arange paperwork. It costs upwards of 1500.00 to bring one from MX to the US, just for the fees, not incl transportation.


I'd agree w/the posters that said to fly him. There is so much violence in the border towns in MX (Nuevo Laredo and especially Juarez) right now, including kidnappings for ransom, etc, that I will not go down there. On a good day, you deal with corrupt government officials that may try to shake you down for more cash. Now you have to worry about car jackings and kidnapping, and being killed in the crossfire from a shootout. Juarez was recently named one of the most dangerous cities in the WORLD.

Dec. 2, 2009, 11:21 AM
Heck, I won't even haul from CT to Canada!! I can't imagine Mexico through to Guatamela!! Check into flying!

Dapple Dawn Farm
Dec. 2, 2009, 11:25 AM
Hey, what happened to the OP? Anyhoo...I wish I had someone in my life that would even "consider" doing something like that for me :yes:

Dec. 3, 2009, 08:00 PM
You are definitely right, there is nothing I wouldn't do for this woman, she is the love of my life. The option to fly them out seems less likely, the cost is rapidly approaching $20,000. I am however considering a Mexican hauler to bring them thru Mexico to Brownsville. I have made a few calls but nothing concrete yet. If any of you have any reliable contacts in Mexico, please drop me a line. My fiance is arriving in New Jersey on Dec 22nd, Christmas together, then we have to decide on how to get them up. Wish us luck !! :confused:

Dec. 3, 2009, 08:13 PM
Sent you a PM.