Horse Transportation Cost: Everything You Need to Know (2023)

24 Mar Horse Transportation Cost: Everything You Need to Know

Posted at 13:55h in Horse Tips, Lifestyle by Carmella Abel

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Horse Transportation Cost: Everything You Need to Know (1)

Transporting your horse is a huge responsibility. Not only does it have a financial impact, but it can also negatively affect your horse if it is not done correctly. Whether for a big show, a cross-country move, or even an international relocation, most equestrians will need to hire someone to help transport their horse.

Understanding various transportation options, as well as the costs associated with them, will help you to better prepare for the next time you need to acquire transportation for your horse.

So, how much does it cost to transport a horse? Transportation costs will vary depending on the type of move, the distance, and other factors of your situation. On average, however, hiring a professional equine transport company will cost between $0.75/mile and $3/mile. International transport by air for your horse will cost somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000 for a one-way flight.

As you can see, there are significant costs associated with transporting a horse. However, working with a professional equine transport company is oftentimes the best way to ensure the safety and health of your horse. In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about relocating your horse and the expenses associated with it.

Ways to Transport Your Horse

There are many ways to transport your horse. Each of these methods has unique costs and benefits associated with them. Below are listed just a few of the most common transport methods.

DIY Horse Transport

If you need to transport your horse often, investing in your own equipment may be the most cost-effective option. A horse trailer can cost anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to $50,000 or more.

Purchasing a vehicle or trailer that enables you to tow your own horse is definitely an investment. However, this investment will save you money in the long-run if you are transporting your horse several times each year.

Professional Horse Transport Companies

Many horse owners choose to hire a professional horse transport company to safely transport their horse. This is often the best method of transporting your horse during a cross-country move or other long trip. Horse transportation companies typically charge a set fee per mile of the trip. There are also additional fees for layovers or additional care required for your horse.

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Transporting a Horse by Airplane

If you need to transport your horse internationally, you will need to work with a company that specializes in this type of equine transportation. International air travel can be especially stressful for your horse. In certain situations, air transport may be used for domestic travel within the country as well.You can expect to pay between $2,000 and $10,000 for a one-way international flight for your horse.

Average Cost of Transporting a Horse

Horse Transportation Cost: Everything You Need to Know (2)

The most important thing to realize about the cost of horse transportation is that there are many variables that will affect the final cost. Things such as layovers, special care requirements, accommodation needs, and trip distance will all factor into the end cost.

Cost of Hiring a Transport Company for Your Horse

There are many professional horse transportation companies that will ensure that your horse arrives safely and in good health. Because transporting a horse is such an investment, it is important to work with a reputable transportation company that you can trust.

One of the best ways to find a trustworthy horse transportation company is to ask other horse owners for recommendations. However, there are also many resources available online for locating professional horse transporters.

Most horse transport companies charge a set fee based on the mileage of the trip. This fee typically ranges anywhere between $0.75/mile to $3/mile depending on the company. There will also be additional fees such as layover fees which run anywhere from $150/day to $300/day. This often covers anything your horse would need during the layover and while they are being transported.

It is best to research several equine transport companies before arranging for the transport of your horse. Most companies will be able to provide an estimated fee either online or through the phone. This will provide you with the information you need to make a wise decision regarding the transport of your horse.

Cost of Transporting Your Horse Internationally

International horse transport is a much more complicated situation. It is important to note that there may be times a horse is transported by airplane within the United States. However, this is not very common as road transport is typically cheaper and safer for the horse. For this reason, we will be focusing on the international air transport of horses.

There are many variables that impact the investment for international air transport of a horse. Just like any airline ticket, the final cost will be impacted by the departure and destination locations. Many companies also offer various tiers of care and comfort which will affect the cost of investment. As mentioned previously, it is safe to estimate that international transport of your horse by airplane can range anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 for a one-way trip.

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When you are transporting your horse internationally, you must also consider the fees associated with pre-flight bloodwork and testing. There is also a mandatory quarantine period that will add several thousand dollars to the final cost of transport.

Tips for Safely Transporting Your Horse

There are several steps you can take to ensure the safe and healthy transportation of your horse. Thinking through each portion of the transportation process will eliminate the potential for discomfort for your horse. If you’d like to learn more about this subject, here’s my article on20 Essential Tips for Traveling With a Horse.

Prepare Your Horse for Transport

By preparing your horse before their transportation, you can make the trip less stressful both for the horse and the individuals in charge of the transport. Knowing your horse is prepared for travel will help calm your nerves during the trips as well.

If your horse has not traveled before, or if they have not been transported recently, it is a wise idea to familiarize them with a travel trailer. Teaching them to successfully load into the trailer and ensuring they know the basic commands necessary for transport will make the process go more smoothly for everyone involved.

If you’re not sure how to train your horse to board a horse trailer, here’s my step-by-step guide for training horses to board trailers.

Plan for Layovers During Transport

Another way to ensure the happiness, health, and safety of your horse is to arrange for layovers during long trips. These breaks in travel provide your horse with the opportunity to stretch and eliminate any stiffness from their time in the trailer.

Allow for a Recovery Period

No matter your reason for transport, it is important to plan several days for your horse to recover and relax after their trip. It’s vital you keep this in mind if you’re transporting your horse to compete in a competition.

Transportation is often quite stressful, even for horses that are accustomed to it. Because of this, a recovery period is crucial to ensure your horse is healthy and happy after their transport.

Final Thoughts on Horse Transportation

Transporting your horse is a complex task. Whether you are transporting them using your own equipment or you are hiring a professional transportation company, there are many factors to think through. Proper planning before transportation will eliminate the potential for errors that cause discomfort for your horse.

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Additionally, by planning ahead for the transport of your horse, you may be able to eliminate some of the costs associated with equine transportation. Finding transportation last-minute will force you to pay top dollar for services.

Any horse lover will tell you that owning a horse is an investment. Because of this, it is important to take care of the animal you have invested so much time, money, and love into. Providing them with high-quality equine transportation is the best way to ensure they are safe and healthy, even when transportation is necessary.

In my experience, I have found that it is important to work with an equine transport company that truly loves horses. By interviewing several horse transport companies, you will be able to find one that will care for your horse as their own while it is under their watch. This will allow you to relax while knowing that your horse is being loved and cared for while you are separated.

Related Horse Questions

How long can a horse stay in a trailer?

If you are transporting your horse a long distance, it is important to follow some general guidelines to ensure optimal health and safety. As a general rule, it is important that your horse spends no more than eight hours in the trailer. Following these eight hours, they should have eight hours outside of the trailer.

Although your horse will be okay in the trailer for up to eight hours, it is wise to stop to check on your horse every two to four hours. During this time, you can ensure that they have sufficient food and water for the remainder of the trip.

How much does it cost to own a horse?

It’s no secret that owning a horse is not cheap. On average, you can estimate to spend around $4,000 per year as a horse owner. Some of the fees you will encounter may include food, medical care, boarding expenses, riding lessons, and competition fees. There are certainly ways to save money as a horse owner, many of which I have implemented.

At the end of the day, the yearly cost of your horse will depend greatly on the type of horse you own, your boarding accommodations, and the type of competitions in which you participate.

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FAQs

What is the average cost to transport a horse? ›

Numerous factors can affect the cost of transporting a horse, but on average you can expect transporting your horse to cost roughly $2.55 per mile for trips less than 100 miles and $1.10 per mile for journeys over 100 miles.

How much is a haul horse per mile? ›

On average, it costs $2.55 per mile for horse transport less than 100 miles but costs $1.10 per mile for horse transport less than 1,000 miles. Whether you're buying a horse from another state or shipping your horse to a show, choose your horse carrier carefully.

Do you tip horse transporters? ›

“They are there to work, offer good service, and receive tips, so we don't think any differently about who helps get us to the pen,” she says. Tips are a financial expense that should be included in your horse show budget; but if you find that money is tight, consider alternatives.

How does horse transport work? ›

Horses are regularly shipped by ship, airplane and train. Most often, however, they are transported by trailers attached to vehicles. Shipping and transporting are often used interchangeably, but there is a major difference, especially to your horse.

How much does it cost to transport a horse 2000 miles? ›

On average, however, hiring a professional equine transport company will cost between $0.75/mile and $3/mile. International transport by air for your horse will cost somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000 for a one-way flight.

Does FedEx ship horses? ›

Available in the U.S. and internationally for one-time or long-term use. FedEx Charters specializes in general cargo; hard-to-move cargo; and animals, including zoo animals, horses and cattle. Individualized security options and temperature-sensitive cargo environments are also available.

Can you make money hauling horses? ›

You may be quick to argue that out of those 9 million horses only a small percentage are in need or can afford frequent transportation but the reality is that 28% of the 2 million horse owners in the country have an annual income of over $100,000 and 46% of them are in the $50,000 to $75,000 bracket.

How long can you trailer a horse? ›

Horses are fine for up to 9 hours in a trailer as long as they have food and water, and unloading during the trip just adds to your end time considerably. Rather, get to where you are going and let them –and you- have a long rest.

How do you haul a horse long distance? ›

6 Trailering Tips for Hauling Horses Long Distance
  1. Make Regular Stops. ...
  2. Feed Horses Hay in the trailer. ...
  3. Offer Water Periodically. ...
  4. Tips for Increasing Horse Water Intake While Hauling: ...
  5. Carefully Consider Shipping Boots & Specialized Equipment. ...
  6. Plan your Route. ...
  7. Check your Packing List. ...
  8. Double Check your Horse Trailer.
May 1, 2017

What is something you should never do when transporting a horse? ›

Tying your horse up – Don't tie your horse too tight. Ideally they should be able to get their head below their chest, as this will allow mucous to drain. Otherwise this can descend towards the lungs leading to travel sickness.

Should I put shipping boots on my horse? ›

While shipping wraps/boots do protect your horses' lower legs from trauma in the trailer, they are not always needed and can sometimes cause more negative effects. Some things to consider: What is the weather like? Hauling your horse on a hot day and applying shipping wraps may cause overheating issues.

Should horses be tied in trailers? ›

Seatbelts and Good Knots, Two Keys to Safe Horse Hauling. Whether you're trailering for a short distance or long haul (pun intended), it's important to keep safety top-of-mind. Tying your horse safely in the trailer is one critical component to keeping them safe on your journey.

How often should I stop when hauling horses? ›

How often should I stop? Your horse should have a 15- to 20-minute rest period every four to six hours during a long haul when the trailer is stopped and parked, ideally in a shaded area if it's hot. During this rest period, offer water, replenish food supplies, and do a general safety check.

What is needed to transport horses? ›

All interstate horse movements into California require: (1) a valid CVI, valid equine passport, or Working Horse Permit and (2) evidence of a negative EIA test within 12 months of entry.

How often can you trailer a horse? ›

Duration of journey—the guidelines here are not to haul more than 12 hours at a time; going no more than 8 hours is preferable. Then your horse needs 8 hours of rest off the trailer. Of course, you'll still want to check on your horse more often than that, ideally every 4 hours.

How do you transport a horse across the country? ›

For horses Moving Internationally, flying would be the clear option. Some horses traveling domestically will do better flying for 6 hours then to travel the road in a trailer for 5 days. Shipping your horse by air will require the services of a company that specialize in equine air transportation.

How much does it cost to fly a horse to the Olympics? ›

Overseas travel for a horse averages from $8,000 to $30,000 depending on several factors. These factors are the travel class, the departure/ final destination of the horses, and what airline operates from your closest airport. Shipping a horse overseas is expensive and tedious.

How much does it cost to import a horse from Germany? ›

Cost of importing a horse from Europe to America

As a ballpark figure of importing a horse from Europe to the U.S., you're looking at the cost of between $7,000 and $10,000, although it's worth noting that the cost comes down if several horses are traveling together.

Can you mail a human? ›

Human mail is the transportation of a person through the postal system, usually as a stowaway. While rare, there have been some reported cases of people attempting to travel through the mail.

How many horses fit on a 747? ›

Cargolux states that its largest aircraft, the Boeing 747-800 freighter, can carry a maximum of 90 horses, loaded three per pallet across 30 pallets, and its 747-400 freighter can handle 84 horses.

Do horses like being ridden? ›

While some horses seem to enjoy the companionship and the attention that they receive from their riders, others may find the experience to be uncomfortable or even stressful. Ultimately, it is up to the individual horse to decide whether it enjoys being ridden.

Can you leave a horse in a trailer overnight? ›

Horses are fine for up to 9 hours in a trailer as long as they have food and water, and unloading during the trip just adds to your end time considerably. Rather, get to where you are going and let them –and you- have a long rest.

Can you make money hauling horses? ›

You may be quick to argue that out of those 9 million horses only a small percentage are in need or can afford frequent transportation but the reality is that 28% of the 2 million horse owners in the country have an annual income of over $100,000 and 46% of them are in the $50,000 to $75,000 bracket.

Should horses be tied in trailers? ›

Seatbelts and Good Knots, Two Keys to Safe Horse Hauling. Whether you're trailering for a short distance or long haul (pun intended), it's important to keep safety top-of-mind. Tying your horse safely in the trailer is one critical component to keeping them safe on your journey.

How often should you stop when transporting a horse? ›

How often should I stop? Your horse should have a 15- to 20-minute rest period every four to six hours during a long haul when the trailer is stopped and parked, ideally in a shaded area if it's hot. During this rest period, offer water, replenish food supplies, and do a general safety check.

What insurance do you need to transport horses? ›

Public Liability insurance to protect you against claims made against you in respect of third party property damage or bodily injury. Employers Liability insurance to protect you against claims made against you in respect of injury to, death or illness of anybody employed by or working for you.

How long can you transport a horse? ›

In an approved vehicle horses may be transported for 24 hours, as long as they are given liquid and (if necessary) fed at eight-hour intervals. At the end of the 24-hour period of transport, horses must be unloaded, fed, watered and rested for at least 24 hours.

How far can horses travel in a day? ›

You can ride an average, healthy and energetic horse for 25 and 35 miles (40 – 56.5 km) in one day in ideal conditions. However, most of them will successfully handle only 15 and 20 miles (24 – 32 km) a day with enough water, food, and rest.

Should I sedate my horse for travel? ›

If transporting a nervous traveller for reasons other than competition it is probably worth a small amount of mild sedation to ensure that the whole experience is as stress-free as possible. The withdrawal time should be longer than the detection time, so this option is not suitable for competition horses.

Should horses travel with hay? ›

Ideally horses should be allowed access to hay or haylage while travelling during these longer trips. If you are feeding hay, it should be thoroughly wet (submerse it in water for 5 to 10 minutes) before being put into the feed manger or hay bag for feeding to reduce dust and mould spore contamination of the air.

What do I need to be a horse transporter? ›

Hiring a horse transporter
  1. Needs a 'Certificate of Competence for Drivers or Attendants' and can then apply for an Animal Transporter Authorisation.
  2. Requires no checks of the vehicle being used or the competence to handle a horse.
  3. The horse must only be in the transporter's care for up to 8 hours.

What states require Coggins test? ›

(This passport should work in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. However, some states may still not recognize this document.)

What do you need to haul a horse? ›

If you are hauling horses for hire, or if you are hauling client horses, or if your truck or combination is over a certain size, you may be required to obtain a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number, a Motor Carrier (MC) number, and/or a Commercial Driver's License (CDL).

How do you calm a horse in a trailer? ›

Lunging a horse for a short time, either near the trailer or away from it, can help them settle their nerves and also warm up their muscles. A little bit of exercise can go a long way in getting them to settle.

How long can you ride a horse without water? ›

“A horse can live for almost a month without food, but within a mere 48 hours without water a horse can begin to show signs of colic and can quickly develop an impaction, lethargy, and life-threatening sequelae. A horse can only survive about five days without water,” shares Peter Huntington, B.V.

Do you need an escape door on a horse trailer? ›

Before walking a horse into the trailer, make sure that chest bars and escape doors are open for the handler to exit safely.

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