So I’ve requested shipping from Brookledge and given them the date that my horse will be ready to ship. But their policy is that they only ship on carriers convenience and will let me know 24-36 hours before he ships. I’m afraid it might take them a long time to fill a van from where he is coming from and I don’t want to wait more than a week from the date I requested. Does anyone have experience with Brookledge and were they on time? How far from your desired date did they actually ship your horse? I need to know if I should get in touch with another shipper instead… Thanks!
IME and others I have discussed this with, Brookledge doesn’t keep to what they say.
This has happened to me a number of times. I stopped even calling them a number of years ago. Figured enough time had passed maybe they have new management in place. 2 years ago I needed to get a racehorse to Fl in December. I am in PA LOTS of horses ship to Florida that time of year. They told me the should have a full load in a week to 10 days. Would call me the following week if not sooner with the pick up day and to make sure to have my shipping health papers current to Florida standards.
To cover my bases I called couple of other small shippers that I knew. Brookledge never called me back.
Got the horse shipped with one of the others before my health cert was out of date and for several hundred less.
I would have to be desperate to ever call them again. DESPERATE
I were you I would call some others for back up. First come first served when I am writing the check. But I always call my back ups and tell them I have a confirmed date as a matter of courtesy.
If I were you, I’d go ahead and get quotes and dates from other shippers of comparable quality. They have hubs in different locations and that can make a difference in for the person trying to get a horse shipped from an out-of-the-way spot.
IME, shipping horse (especially when the locations are inconvenient for the shipper) does involve some “hurry up and wait”… followed by the “OK, get him ready Right Now.” This might not just be Brookledge.
The best you can do is give the shipper your locations and ask about where there routes normally go. Ask them how long your trip is likely to take and how long/where the layovers will be.
After you pick the shipper with the best-sounding itinerary and price, try to time things like health certificates and shoeing (and any vaccines you need done) so that you have a nice, 2-3 week window within which the horse could go without needing a new health certificate (they are good for 30 days), or the horse doesn’t arrive really, really late in his shoeing cycle for the new farrier to figure out.
And the last bit of getting this all coordinated and done involves communicating well with the shipper. Sometimes, they make up their trucks’ slots (and for multiple trucks that will meet at hubs) just a week or two ahead of time. If they tell you to expect your horse to be picked up on any given date or range of them, call the week before to confirm. They should call you, but they have a lot of moving parts. Don’t stand on ceremony: Call them about your trip until you guys have it solidified.
And if you are trying to set up this trip now: Know that most folks in the transportation industry try to stay off the roads Thanksgiving week. If you can’t get a firm answer about a trip scheduled for the next three weeks, the holiday interruption, and not a flakey shipper, might be the cause.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who has found Brookledge frustrating to work with, especially for us “normal folks.”
Way back in the day when I worked for some big names with high profile horses, Brookledge was available on demand. They were the greatest company in the world to work with and would bend over backwards to meet our every need.
Then when I tried to use them myself or while working at smaller, low profile facilities, they were ridiculous. They’d tell me they couldn’t provide services which I had received from them in the past at other farms, they’d give me the run around on dates (moreso than usual when shipping), their pricing would make no sense whatsoever, and worst of all, they wouldn’t show up!!!
As far as the actual shipping itself, I have always found them to be great for the horses. But if there is no self-promotion to be gained from your business, good luck getting them to show up.
I just had my horse shipped from Lexington KY to the middle-of-nowhere Kansas. I chose Brookledge for the air-ride and available box stall.
They were OUTSTANDING. My horse arrived one day after my requested ship date. He walked off the truck as calm and easy as can be. He’d ridden up here in absolute luxury. He was not sweaty, tired or nervous. The drivers were extremely nice and knowledgeable.
He did arrive at midnight – which was not very convenient, but it worked out.
Also, their price was extremely competitive. I got other quotes, but none with the air-ride and box stall. Even with those upgrades, my cost was less than half one of my other quotes (a local shipper offered to go get him for $3/mile each way).
All in all, I was not only satisfied with Brookledge, I was blown away.
I had another horse shipped cross-country about 5 years ago. Our pony arrived worn out, covered with sweat and wide-eyed. Also, he had been tied for the ride. The cost was almost the same, but the pony had a much harder ride.
I would use Brookledge again without hesitation.
Yeah, I’ve always had that experience with Brookledge. Sure, we’d be happy to ship your horse. No, we have no idea when we’ll be able to do it.
I’ve always called others to haul because of that. They might be incredible, but I need to know at least a BALLPARK of when the horse might go.
Other big nationwide haulers seem to have solved this scheduling problem. Dunno why it’s just so damned difficult for Brookledge to figure it out.
Where is the horse located and where does he need to go? I used a pro out of Kansas City to bring me a horse from Washington, DC. for $1 a mile in a box stall. His departure and arrival estimates were spot on.
I had a. Terrible experience with Brooke ledge.
I hired the whole tractor trailer since I could fill it.
My horses were MIA for eight hours and they arrived at my farm 10 hours later.
I would never use them again.
Since I go back-and-forth I’ve used a number of Shippers and I have never had that problem.
The worst was when Kurt who is the manager told me I should be thankful my horses were OK . Such arrogance .
Similar story here. When I first started going to Florida from Western NY in the fall and then back again in the spring with two horses I used Brookledge. At that time they would commit to a one week pickup window so it was possible to plan. I was always pleased with their equipment and drivers/handlers – very experienced and professional. BUT – a couple years ago they went to their new program which , as you say, is to promise NOTHING and give you at best ~ 36 hours advance notice. That’s just not practical when working to coordinate the logistics of two barn managers and my own travel plans. So I spoke with my trainer and identified a smaller shipper based in New Jersey who I have used for the last few years. So far so good – he’s been good to work with and my horses have arrived safe and sound. I think Brookledge has so much business from the racing industry as well as large show barns and trainers that they really don’t need “the little people” anymore.
Brookeledge home base/headquarters is only 30 mins from me in PA and their quote to ship my horse from GA back to PA was $2000 . Call someone else. The shipper I used end up costing $700 , my other quote was $800 . Both of the other shippers were able to also quote the day he would be picked up
Wouldn’t use them. And sometimes that’s all people can say
Call anyone one but Brookledge.
I’ve shipped carrier’s convenience but it wasn’t with Brookledge. I never even talked to them because they would never even return a call. If you actually talked to someone, you should feel honored.
Equine Express is pretty good. I’ve used them, when my local one was not hauling where I needed to ship.
I stopped using them years ago. Hard to get a commitment on anything - even when you get a whole truck - and hard to get make contact/get information once they’re on the road.
I stick with the companies that have always given me good service: Judge Manning and WJ Barry.
If you’re not getting warm fuzzies from Brookledge, then start shopping around and have 2-3 other options lined up. Local carriers could be an option, or Equine Express has great reviews if you are anywhere near their routes. If you get what you need with another carrier, then drop Brookledge.
That said, I had a wonderful experience with Brookledge back in 2014 when I had them haul my guy from Omaha to the DC area. I had a week-wide window, and had a head’s up on the truck’s arrival several days ahead of time. Gave me plenty of time to get horse ready, his stuff packed, and coordinate the loading with the farm owner (I was already on the road). He overnighted in Lexington and arrived when I expected him, looking well. I had no problem getting anyone on the phone before, during, or after the trip, and loved that they upgraded my horse to a box stall thanks to the military discount. So I would happily call them again next time we move, but YMMV.
I would not use again. Had a friend who paid for a full box stall and then they ended up taking more horses and the box stalls were made to straight stalls and they had a prolonged trip, and pneumonia. Overall a pretty bad experience unfortunately.
Brookledge has very nice equipment and IME takes good care of horses. But their service to us “little people” has nosedived in the last few years.
5 years ago I got the very best customer service from them, shipping just one horse coast to coast. Not sure if it was because I hooked up with them through a track connection who uses them frequently or because their practices were more friendly to owners like me then, but they were willing to give me an exact pick-up date, called with updates en route, administered GG and electrolytes en route as a matter of course, and did both pick up and drop off during business hours. Well worth the extra grand or so it cost to ship with them vs. other reasonably reputable companies to know my horse was in good hands and avoid logistical clusterf***s.
This year I went back the other direction, paid more than double the price per mile, and it was like pulling teeth to get it all organized. I felt like I was hounding them, and they wouldn’t commit to a week, let alone a day. They gave about a day notice for pickup, which was enough to coordinate with management of barns in multiple locations, but just barely. No updates en route. No call on this end until horse was <1hr away.
That said, my nervous shipper arrived in decent condition. And while BL was giving me the runaround early in the process I actually booked with a competitor, who gave us a pickup window, and then when I called at the beginning of that window to try to get a narrower estimate they told me that they’d gotten a bigger load from a single client and weren’t planning to pick my horse up for over a month! They hadn’t bothered to communicate this info to me until the 11th hour, and only when I expressly inquired. Would have cost me a couple grand to pay an extra month of full training, start paying board on a yet-unoccupied stall, and re-do the health certificate. So I called BL and said “can you get the horse here in the next couple weeks” and they made it happen (bad communication, non-committal scheduling, and new fees notwithstanding). So I suspect the industry is just moving in that direction – some of us are willing to be jerked around and pay through the nose so our horses can travel in well-maintained air ride box stalls, and the shippers know it. My every-few-years business just isn’t worth any more than that to them. Any of them.
My friend has used Johnson Horse Transportation for a few years to go to Wellington from SE PA. She had had very good experiences with them.
What happened to Blue Chip? Back when I was in short pants, they were considered the best by far, and priced accordingly.
My friend has used Johnson Horse Transportation for a few years to go to Wellington from SE PA. She had had very good experiences with them.[/QUOTE]
Ditto for Johnson. They are located near Shartlesville PA just off I78. Still owned and managed by the Johnson family- who are local. Nice layover facilities. I always considered Johnson the “show” hauler and Brookledge the “race” hauler.