Check with your veterinarian and officials in the state where you’re headed to verify the paperwork you need for travel.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

When I came to California (the “Grand Poobah of Documentation”) with my two Quarter Horses, I had never taken a long distance trip with stock. Aside from the basics, I didn’t really know what to expect.

Every time you cross a border, you will be expected to produce paperwork for your stock. The type of paperwork varies from state to state. Some states don’t have check points at the border (California has checkpoints.), but if you are pulled over the officer will likely ask you for your horses travel papers. It is a hefty fine and sometimes a misdemeanor if they are missing. Here are a few tips from the school of hard knocks, so you don’t have to attend (check the requirements for all states you are traveling through):

1. The health certificate or vet inspection: Obtainable through your vet, this little piece of paper identifies your horse and verifies its health is needed to cross most state lines.

2. The negative Coggins test: Plan to have this done about month before you are planning on leaving, because it has to be sent off to a laboratory to be analyzed. The Coggins test identifies horses