Preparing Your Horse For International Travel

Posted on

Whether you're looking to enter your horse into an equestrian competition or you're fulfilling a lifelong dream of owning a farm in a faraway land, transporting your horse can be a complicated endeavor. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help ensure safe and smooth travels for your equine friend. Use the following guide to prepare for your horse's international journey. 

Quarantine And Isolation

Some countries will require a horse to be isolated or quarantined for a set period of time. The length of the isolation can depend on several factors, including current health status and potential exposure to certain diseases affecting the equine population. It's a good idea to check with the proper authorities in the country you are shipping your horse to so you can allow for this extra travel time before competitions. Remember you may have to quarantine the animal upon re-entry into the United States as well. Horses visiting countries impacted by Contagious Equine Metritis, for example, may have to quarantine for longer before returning to their home in the U.S. 

Horse Brokers/Shipping Agents

Hiring a horse broker or shipping agent to accompany your animal on the journey can make navigating the process of international travel easier. These brokers handle everything from working with customs to help your horse enter the country to ensuring proper nutrition and care along the way. Even if you choose to travel at the same time as your horse, you may want to consider hiring a broker. They will understand the ins and outs of notifying local authorities about your animal's presence and ensure all rules and regulations are properly adhered to. 

Veterinary Appointments

It's essential to ensure your horse is healthy before making this long journey. Travel can be stressful for any animal, and those with health concerns may have a more difficult time. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and partner with your broker to ensure all required tests are performed in advance of the trip. Veterinarians who are USDA-accredited can issue the International Health Certificate required for travel, though some areas might also allow state-licensed veterinarians to issue a certificate as well. Be sure to ask your vet before you schedule your horse's appointment so you can have all the paperwork, testing, and evaluations completed at the same time. This is also a good time to discuss vaccination for your horse. Risk-based vaccines for a variety of diseases, such as West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, may be smart options depending on where your animal will be traveling. 

For more information about global horse transport, contact a professional.