How Does Horse Transportation Actually Work?

November 24, 2016

According to the American Horse Council there are 58 million horses in the world, the majority of which are cared for by humans. At one point in history, if you wanted to transport your horse from one place to another, you simply saddled up and headed out. If you had to transport your horse across an ocean, your only option was to travel by ship, with the horse located in the cargo hold or cradled in a hammock-like lift above board. Neither option was very comfortable for the horse. In fact, many did not the survive the trip. Today, there is much other way to transport your horse from one spot to another. Horses are regularly shipped by ship, airplane and train. Most often, however, they are transported by trailers attached to vehicles. 

Shipping 

Shipping and transporting are often used interchangeably, but there is a major difference, especially to your horse.  Where there is an ocean between where he is and where he needs to be, you don’t have a lot of choices. Unfortunately, both air and ship shipping are still the most stressful for your horse. The very nature of this kind of travel makes it necessary to be considered shipping.  Basically, horses are treated like packages. Luckily, this kind of long-distance travel is not done often. 

Trains and trailers can fall into either category. Trains normally have your horse tethered in a dark train car with no regularly-scheduled stops to allow him to stretch. Ventilation may be a problem and your horse may remain either alone or with several other unfamiliar horses for long periods of time. Shipping a horse this way is extremely stressful for both you and your horse. A trailer made specifically for moving a horse is normally the best available method since riding a horse cross-country isn’t exactly logical. When executed properly, it becomes transporting, not merely shipping.

Transporting

So, how is transporting different? The difference is that your horse’s needs and comfort are considered a priority with transporting.

*He is loaded into a trailer that is large enough for him, yet not large enough to put him at risk.

*He is given plenty of food and water, normally from a source that is familiar to him because horses tend to be very dependent upon consistency.

*He is tended to by someone who has experiences with horses and is willing to meet any special needs he may have.

*The route is well-mapped and vets are located in advance in case something should come up. 

*He is given regularly-scheduled stops to give him a chance to stretch and be checked physically.

*Sometimes he is even able to travel with a familiar human that can ease his stress.

With all this going on, you would think all horses traveled this way, but there are a few problems that arise consistently, often causing extra stress and turning transportation into shipping.

The Roadblocks

Finding qualified and affordable transportation isn’t easy. The cost can be outrageous, trailers aren’t always in the safest condition and sometimes even those who offer transport have no clue on how to handle a horse. Scheduling becomes a problem, especially if the travel time is sudden. Drivers get lost or tired and have no Plan B in case something goes wrong. The best transports are booked months in advance. 

 Equo to the Rescue

Equo was started because we understand exactly how frustrating and stressful it can be to have the horse you love be sent off on a journey that you are not sure is the best for him. Our first goal is to provide a safe trip for your horse. Our second is to make the trip as stress-free for both you and him as possible. And our aim is to do this without you having to sign over your first-born child to pay for it! At Equo we offer:

*Fully-inspected trailers that keep your horse safe and provide proper ventilation and room.

*Trained drivers who are in constant contact with headquarters and have been given a pre-planned route, complete with rest stops incorporated.

*A chance for one of your horse’s humans to ride along.

*A network of vets available at a moment’s notice should help be needed.

*A backup plan should something require the driver to not complete the journey.

*Many other amenities!

 Overall, Equo offers you peace of mind. You know whether you ride along or not that your horse companion will be treated with kindness and respect by qualified drivers who care about their safety. That, in the end, is what is most important.

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