Equine Transport: cost and things to know

There’s a horse in Maryland I’ve fallen in love with and, if I purchase, would have to be shipped to Austin TX. I’ve never shipped a horse before and I was wondering what I ought to know, typical cost for such a move (1600 mi, and yes I’ll be pursuing quotes), and if there’s any transport services I ought to avoid.

Use a reputable company, licensed and insured, with an air-ride semi. If one quote is substantially cheaper than the others, be suspicious. Most major carriers will be within a few hundred dollars of each other. Price will depend on how popular the route is. On a super common route, we pay around $1.50 per mile for a stall and a half, and $2 for a box stall.

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This sounds like my experience as well. I would always opt for an air ride for most of the trip if at all possible. I paid about $1.25/mile for a stall and a half on a air ride semi, but it was on a regular route and a “carrier convenience” trip. I waited several weeks for an open slot on a trip.

You’re not necessarily going to get a say, but if you get a choice at all, I’d see if the horse could get a backward slot. I believe, in general, for long trips it can be easier on them to ride backward rather than forward. I got lucky and he rode backward. Feel like he came off the truck in better shape than I would have expected.

If the horse is a relatively seasoned traveler, I’d also try to get a straight through trip. My horse went from Michigan to Wellington last January and they did not stop for more than to water and check the horses once they were loaded. Granted my horse was the last on/first off, but it was almost exactly 24 hours on the truck for a 1400 mile trip.

I just loaded my boarder’s horse on a commercial transport from WA to Virginia(!) She opted for Equine Express and when they arrived, seemed like they knew what they were doing, very professional. He had a box stall reserved and loaded in just fine, had access to water and hay, stall was deeply bedded, and he appeared happy before they left. They had to travel to Spokane to pick up a horse and then the were heading south to Texas where they were set to let the horses out of the van to rest for 3 days, then continue on to final destination. It was a 12 horse air ride trailer, everything that was going with him was tagged so it didn’t get lost, the driver was very efficient and competent handling the horses. I would use them if I were hauling long distance.

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One other thing to expect: most shippers do NOT want the horse in any sort of wraps or shipping boots. The vast majority of the time, the horse will be fine without them.

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This is super helpful! I’ve done a lot of googling and there’s so many options out there! The rehoming org I’ll be working with has connections too, of course, but it’s always helpful to have a third party opinion

I’ve used Equine Express twice in the past 3 years. Very professional and horses arrived in great shape. Plenty of updates along way, including pictures.

The last horse I shipped was from OH to NM, cost was a little over $1800 (box stall all the way) and included overnight stop at their holding facility as my horse was changed from their East Coast van to the West Coast van.

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I shipped a horse last summer from Oregon to Alabama on an air ride. I went through Bob Hubbard transport and was very happy. He got on the trailer on a Friday, spent a night in California and was loaded back up Saturday late day. I think he didn’t get off again until he arrived midday Tuesday. Since he wasn’t expected to go straight into competition, had no health risks and had traveled before I opted for a 1.5 stall rather than a box.

He arrived well hydrated, well fed and pretty fresh (spend 2 hours bouncing around a small pasture before he truely settled). I was able to lightly hack him the next day and by the weekend we were in full work again.

Overall my experience was really good. The controller was easy to work with, communicated arrival times and when things changed. I did ship him during the hight of the first COVID lock downs and with the race tracks not running or shows happening it did cause a bit if delays getting a shipment arranged. However it was more of a headache for the controller than me. I ended up paying about $2300 for door to door 100% on the air ride.

I just shipped a horse from KY to Bulverde TX—not far from you in Austin—with Equine Express. I’d called several places in KY about transport and THEY (shippers) recommended Equine Express. Very happy with my choice—they were awesome with communication since this was over the holiday. The quote and booking processes were super easy and there was almost nothing I had do other than that. And their pricing was super fair. HIGHLY Recommend them!!

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Get quotes from Equine Express, Brook Ledge and Bob Hubbard. The latter is usually more expensive but all three are reputable. Recent quotes from VA to CA were $3400-4600 and travel time about 3-5 days.

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I have shipped horses near and far over the years, and Equine Express is my first call. My last shipping experience was a mare I bought in Austin, TX, and had shipped to No. CA. She arrived looking as fresh as a daisy, and the drivers were in contact the entire time.

I would recommend having a halter covered in fleece halter tubing for shipping a long distance. I had a horse shipped cross country who had some halter rubs develop during the trip.