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Purchasing/transporting a horse from Canada

I wasn’t sure the best place to post this, but :crossed_fingers:t4:

I’ve already checked the USDA site and know that it’s only at certain crossings, and I plan on calling that border crossing to ask them for some more information, but I’d love some insight from someone who has done this recently. Obviously the plan is the health cert required to cross, but what will be required when I approach the specific border crossing with the horse in the trailer and paperwork in hand? Apparently there is a cost? Any help is appreciated :slight_smile:

ETA: so many typos :laughing:

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Sumas crossing is the only border between BC and WA that has a vet stationed in the lower mainland/upper state. You need a vet to read the health papers etc to permanently bring a horse over the border, so you would have to cross at Sumas M-F between (I believe) 9am and 5pm. It is a Washington (US) vet that you have to show all the paperwork to, not a Canadian vet also.
Not sure about costs -perhaps State sales tax if it pertains to livestock, but you’re not going to have to pay GST since it’s not a Canadian crossing.


If you are transporting the animal yourself have paperwork in order for customs agent inspection and appointment with USDA vet for approximate time of arrival. Make appointment ahead of time when you know your arrival time. There is a fee–I think a couple hundred dollars. Took ten minutes for us. We crossed at Niagara Falls area. Customs may look in trailer also to make sure you actually have a horse and are not smuggling something.

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From Canada is much easier than too Canada. You;; need the Canadian Health Certificate and Coggins. I don’t think there is a cost to the USA (its a nightmare to go from the US to Canada even for a show). If you tell Canada you’re selling the horse they will make you pay a cost, but not the US.

I got a very errr… sarcastic guy to answer the phone for the USDA part of the nearest crossing for animals, and it’s limited on days and hours open and it apparently costs $46 for them to do the check. Not as bad as I thought the cost would be but the available times is just awful for my travel plans.

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That’s better than the 5% deposit on the value of the horse going to Canada!! Good luck!

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You would think they would have decent hours especially when hauling livestock, but at least its isn’t too expensive!

What breed of horse are you bringing home??

Scheduling her PPE for next week I hope, there will be a post to announce if everything goes well and we get back home safe and sound! :grinning:

As for hours? No. M-F 9-4 only, and you have to make an appt because they will leave if there aren’t appts. Yeesh.

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Those aren’t bad hours unless you are going way, way into Canada? Hopefully if you have an appt time they will be there…

North of Edmonton, it’s an inconvenient 13 hours away - too long to drive up and back in one day, and can’t just burn a weekend because I can’t get her checked at the border on a weekend. I’m going to try to rework my work schedule and go up on a Sunday, and come back on Monday, and thankfully (so far) the seller is willing to meet me about 2/3 of way, so 7 hours for me, about 5 for her, which sure makes life easier on me because now I don’t have to leave at 2am to make SURE I make it before they leave at 4pm. Hurray!!!


Good luck!

I have found it seems nothing is easy anymore!


If you’re shipping north of Edmonton Coutts/sweetgrass is the closest border crossing…. It’s open 24 hours and I think if you’re after hours you can book the vet (but I could be wrong)…. There’s some numbers here to call! This is the crossing everyone in Alberta takes when heading down into California to show takes!

Also if you need a shipper Foothills transport goes into the USA a lot and they also may be able to answer any questions



I’m using the Sumas crossing in Washington (I’m very west, so it’s a steep northeasterly climb from me to the seller looking at the map). We are going to meet quasi-halfway on Sunday and I’ll spend the night overnighting in Valemount, which will get me to the vet check on Monday while they are open.

ETA: on a Sunday, not this coming. Her PPE is this week and then she goes our breed’s inspection next weekend :crossed_fingers:t4:


Have a good trip! Weather for next week in the Rockies looks nice! Just be aware as of October 1, winter tires, (or equivalent) or chains are mandatory in BC :blush:

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…all of BC? Even the flat areas? I have good all season, should be fine.

Here’s a link to the few routes that don’t require them……not many! Check that your tires meet their requirements, (they must have one of the symbols shown) there are fines if not!


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It’s likely I’m not seeing it, but what symbols shown?? The little M+S?

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Yes, it’s a little mountain symbol and MS for Mud and Snow.

If you are from northern Alberta you are likely fine. They don’t ‘change tires’ in BC, my parents have all season M+S.

Here in Quebec you have to have two sets and change your tires by a certain date on both sides of the season.


I’m in the US, traveling to BC.


Yes….your tires have to have the M&s or snowflake symbol on….regular all seasons (without th m&s) they’ll ticket if you don’t have a set of chains….ask me how we found out! I use winter tires in winter on my car, hubby had regular all seasons on his truck! We were driving to Montana in his truck and RCMP were doing spot checks near Sparwood BC….his tires didn’t pass muster so they fined him and now he Carrie’s a set of chains as he doesn’t need winter tires nor,ally! When he’s due for new ones he’ll get the m&s (mud and snow) ones next time, so the issue doesn’t come up again! (Alberta doesn’t have the same tire rules)

Edited to add….he’s put the chains on once….the highway was in terrible shape (heavy snowfall end of October) and even with 4 wheel drive it was awful! Next week is supposed to be nice and the chance of needing them are very low, but they set the tire rules because it changes fast this time of year and snow has already started at some of the higher elevations!

You can take your chance but BC RCMP are notoriously strict if they pull you over! Also keep your cell phone out of driver reach….zero tolerance for distracted driving (even at red lights) but you can talk if it’s totally hands free ….plus I believe, in BC, Vehicles can be ticketed if they travel in the passing lane when not active passing