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Long Distance Shipping Questions

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  • Long Distance Shipping Questions

    I've never shipped a horse long distance so I have some general questions. I'm preparing for a possible short term relocation, and I have no idea about what would be practical for my horse.

    Firstoff this is a horse in their early twenties. Still completely healthy, competing etc, but older. He is uncharacteristically robust for that age.

    The horse is currently located in Maryland. If I was relocated to Colorado for 6 or 8 or 12 weeks during the summer, would it be completely unrealistic to ship the horse there for that period? Thats probably too much for an older albeit completely healthy horse, right. And probably too expensive.

    There is also the possibility of being relocated in Vermont for the summer. Would it be feasible to have my horse shipped there, both from a financial standpoint and from the standpoint of an older horse's health?

    Whats the farthest distance you would ship a horse for a short term relocation? On a side note, he has trouble with the heat and humidity of the mid-atlantic area, so getting to a cooler climate for the summer would be great for him. But I don't know how much trailering stresses out their health.

    OK thats it, just trying to get a sense of whats realistic and sane, healthwise for the horse and monetarily.

  • #2
    I have long distance shipped a horse one time so I'm glad to share what little I can about the experience. I did a ton of research and got tons of quotes from the multitude of transport companies out there. I got quotes all over the map. In fact, some of the quotes were literally $1000+ apart! I was not comfortable shipping mine in a truck/trailer due to the distance and time involved. Those were the cheaper options. I ended up going with a company in the upper middle of the price points I was quoted and that hauled with a big rig (air shocks, hopefully smoother ride was my thinking). The company I went with gave my horse a 2 day layover in their hub about halfway across the company. I was happy with that because I wanted the horse to get a break. They had 2 drivers on each truck and pretty much drove around the clock, stopping every few hours to check horses, give water, etc. Long story short, the horse stepped off the trailer looking great. When they arrived I stepped on the truck and was pleasantly surprised that the truck was clean, and all of the horses seemed to be just fine. My horse was fine...lost a tiny bit of weight but basically walked off the truck, went into the paddock, rolled, and started eating grass. Didn't seem to be stressed at all. I was very pleased. In your shoes, I would haul my horse for the summer providing you are very careful with your choice in company. If your horse is healthy and still competing, I would think he is healthy enough to haul for that kind of distance and for that period of time. Just be careful. There are a lot of companies out there and from what I could tell, lots of shady ones. I cancelled a trip with one company because their timetables didn't add up. They were telling me how they stop every 2-3 hours to check on horses but then gave me a total trip time that couldn't possibly add up if they were stopping that often! Just make sure you know how long your horse will be on the truck. Bigger companies that drive more routes will typically be quicker. Some companies unload the horses every night. Some don't. You know your horse--and the good news is there are a lot of options out there to find a hauler that will meet the needs of your horse. Not gonna be cheap necessarily....but this is one of those times where I wouldn't cut corners if I was gonna do it! Hope that helps a little!


    • #3
      Personally, I wouldn't move a horse from Maryland to Colorando for 6-12 weeks, especially not if the horse is older. It's just a hassle and expensive for that short period of time, not to mention a LONG trip!

      Vermont is at least close enough that it would probably be a one day trip, provided the shipper doesn't have to go out of the way or make a ton of stops.

      One logistical consideration is that many commercial shippers often give you a range of dates they'll be in the area, as opposed to YOU setting the date. If you want your horse there on exact dates, it may not be possible with many companies.

      Having shipped my horses long distances, my advice is spend the money for a reputable company. I was in my early 20s and broke when I moved several states away. I cut corners on my shipper and used a mom & pop operation that cost considerably less than the highly recommended pros. The professional companies quoted me from $1500-3000 for 2 horses, my company cost me less than $800. While my horses arrived safely, they shipped a MONTH later than the originally scheduled date, and this was after several less-than-professional conversations with the "company." The whole ordeal was beyond stressful for me and I definitely learned my lesson.
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


      • #4
        I agree that it's just not worth it to move a horse--particularly an older one--half way across the country for only a couple months. In addition to the hassle and cost of it, you would also have the elevation element, and that could either be a non-issue or a big issue. Most people I know recommend giving a horse some sort of adjustment period when coming to CO from sea level.


        • #5
          I shipped an older (18, 19) horse to Florida for two winters; the first time we were here 6 weeks, the second time 8 weeks. I had no problems, and I'm pretty darn sure he didn't miss the winter cold!! He was on a trailer 22 hours each way.
          That said, Colorado, I wouldn't do...its a long trip, though the horse will lay over somewhere, but all in all, just worrisome. Its also my understanding that in addition to the altitude, that footing there is HARD generally and that can create additional problems.
          Vermont, yeah, I'd probably do that if I was sure I would have the time to ride.
          On the other hand, it might be interesting/fun to leave him home, arrange for someone to keep fit and just enjoy the different location. I also can bet that if you wanted to ride in either location now and then, it probably wouldn't be hard.

          Last but not least - the cost depends a lot on whether the shipper has a load going your way; my expense to/from Florida wasn't too bad. The less common the route, the bigger the $ and time uncertainty
          Last edited by 2tempe; Nov. 9, 2011, 09:20 PM. Reason: other point
          We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


          • Original Poster



            • #7
              Depending upon which summer months and where in Colorado, yes it can be cooler. Definitely less humid. Parts of the front range can get into the 90-100s, cooling off at night.

              I know I was lucky, but the last time I had a horse shipped, the owner was able to contact Brookside and persuade the driver that they would be hauling a less empty trailer if they were willing to move my new filly to Colorado for a set price. They agreed, she got a box stall, and I got a great price. Filly walked off 3 days later like nothing had happened.

              Maybe let a big shipping company know when, how much you are willing to pay, and that what accomodation you'd like. They might say no, but if they can include another horse on a less than full trailer and make a bit more money, you might be lucky too.
              Nothing with horses is ever easy or cheap. And if it is, you're doing it wrong. They always rip out part of your soul when they leave. I guess that's how they find us later.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Texarkana View Post
                Personally, I wouldn't move a horse from Maryland to Colorando for 6-12 weeks, especially not if the horse is older. It's just a hassle and expensive for that short period of time, not to mention a LONG trip!

                Vermont is at least close enough that it would probably be a one day trip, provided the shipper doesn't have to go out of the way or make a ton of stops.

                Having shipped my horses long distances, my advice is spend the money for a reputable company.
                I just shipped my mare from NC to CO with a highly reputable shipper and she was on the road almost a week! She arrived tired, but in excellent health with not a scratch on her. I wouldn't' subject a horse to that just for a short term relocation. Plus they need time to acclimate to the dry air and the altitude. My poor pony (who is a pet and not in competition shape, fwiw) still huffs around the arena after 2 months. We take lots of walking breaks... come to think of it, she probably is just taking advantage of me.

                Heck, if you relocate up towards my area, just come ride my girl.
                Dreaming in Color