I’ve recently begun searching for a new horse to welcome into my life, and I find myself looking at animals farther and farther away from of my home state of Texas. The process has reminded me how important climate and other considerations can be when shipping horses long distances. The following are some factors to consider when transporting horses afar, be it to a show or to a new home.
If you’re planning to ship a horse for more than three to four hours, think about his health first. Practice proper preventive care, vaccination, and deworming prior to travel. If your horse isn’t a frequent shipper, you might need to update his vaccines and have your veterinarian perform an overall health check at least two weeks before hitting the road. Your vet might also recommend doing blood work to determine if your horse is healthy enough to undertake long-distance travel or getting an updated Coggins test if your horse’s is more than 6 months old. Some states require proof of a current negative Coggins pulled within the prior 6 months for travel across their borders.
If your horse requires vaccination, schedule it early enough that the horse’s immune system gets a boost before the stress of shipping—which provides its own set of challenges to even a healthy immune system—and any disease exposures off the farm. This is also a good time to talk to your veterinarian about health certificate requirements and any concerns he or she might have about your horse’s destination, as animal health regulations can vary from state to state and often change depending on disease outbreaks.