Some Things You Should Know
Traveling is stressful for any horse. How they handle & recover from it varies from one individual to another. There will be new smells, sounds & activities, which will make the horse more on edge than usual. S/He will need time to get used to new surroundings, so try to be understanding & patient. Horses who have traveled longer distances shouldn’t be worked for a few days.
A bit of preparation & planning before your horse steps onto the trailer can make the trip a lot easier on everyone involved; especially the horse! This may sound elementary, but for everyone's safety & convenience there are a few "ground rules" I must insist on:
- The horse must at least be halter-broke, taught to lead, and MUST be able to be left unattended while tied. If I show up to find a horse that no one has managed to hang a halter off of yet, I will drive away & leave that horse behind unless I have been advised in advance.
A special note on foals: If I show up to get your baby & find s/he has not been weaned, I will drive away without that baby. Please don't ask me to wean your horse for you!
- While I always allow extra time for horses who need to think about getting onto the trailer, that time is wasted if I have to help catch, halter, blanket or wrap the horse. Please make sure your horse is ready to be shipped by the estimated pick-up time! There will be extra charges if I have to wait while your horse is readied for transport. If it takes more than 1 hour to load your horse, I may ask for additional money to cover the time.
- If your horse has any extra or special needs, or if you know of any condition or situation I should be aware of, now is the time to tell me; not while we're loading! I will happily administer meds or special diets during the trip, or re-arrange a loading pattern in needed; but there may be a small charge. If your horse needs to be tranquilized in order to travel, let's discuss this in detail. Tranq'd horses do not travel well.
- I will NOT load an ill or injured horse, unless the condition has been clearly explained in advance. If I arrive to find your horse in a state of health that could endanger me or the other horses I may have on board, your horse will stay right where s/he is.
- I transport horses, I am not a moving company. I can accommodate tack & such, but there is an extra charge for this service & room is limited.
- Pick-up & delivery times are estimates only. Road, weather & traffic conditions can impact ETA's by as much as a full day or more in some cases. I will stay in contact with pick-up & destination locations & advise of any changes as soon as I am able. Certain deliveries are time-sensitive, such as arriving for shows/events, or to meet other transport for furtherance. Appointments like these may take priority over others.
- If I'm told the place we're going to is in a certain town, and I get directions to the place & find it's actually 25 miles out of town & out of my way, there will be additional charges to cover the extra miles.
- Projected overnight costs are factored into the quoted rate(s). Unscheduled stops & layovers do happen on occasion, and if this becomes necessary I may ask to be compensated for the costs of such stops.
Scheduling, Traveling & Mother Nature
Scheduling is done with the best interests of everyone involved. I book my overnight & rest stops well in advance, and the intervals are based on those horses who have been in the trailer the longest. For instance, if I pick up your horse at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, but I've had another horse on since 7 AM that morning, we may only get a couple of hours down the road before we overnight. When I'm on the road, I'm on "horsey time". That means the welfare of the horses is my primary concern. If I elect to lay over, stop, keep going or change the schedule in any way, understand that decision will be made with the horse's best interests in mind. Weather can be a concern, particularly in winter. If I book to pick up on a certain day, and the forecast is for a foot of snow the day before, I may not leave on the day we had planned. Horse are far happier standing in their own stalls rather being stuck inside a big tin box sitting on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. I am much happier knowing I don't have to fret over having your horse stuck inside a big tin box out in the middle of nowhere. So your horse is happier, I'm happier; that should at least add to your happiness. There, now we're ALL happier!
Direct/Express & Charter Trips
It's been proven time & again that it's often easier on a horse to just "load & go", foregoing layover stops. This is particularly true in performance horses, whose nature & temperament make stopping at an unfamiliar barn difficult on them. This added stress negatively impacts their performance, which of course is contrary to why we're competeing with them in the first place!
I do offer express trips between various points to accommodate show schedules; many of these trips will be posted enough in advance to allow interested parties to book spaces. These trips include guaranteed pick-up & delivery times/dates for loading to the show & returning to your barn or stable. If you do not see a posting for a show you're interested in attending, please contact me as I can often accommodate extra trips.
Charter trips can also be arranged. Some instances of when a charter trip might be advisable would be;
Transporting quarantined horses to & from air transport points
Full load status; if you have enough horses to fill the trailer, or simply do not wish your horses to travel with others, I will be happy to discuss special rates with you.
Feeding & Water Intake
I feed hay on every trip, regardless of length or duration. Nothing "hot" or rich; just good quality grass blends that keep the tummies working & bowels moving. On shorter trips munching gives horsey something to do; on long trips while I will usually limit the driving time to 8 - 10 hours per day, that's still a long time to go with no food. I stop every hour & a half to 2 hours. This allows the horses to rest & relax. I may top up feeders & water at these stops, I may not. It depends on the individual situation & the particular needs of each horse. If this doesn't meet with your approval, or you have concerns, let's talk about it.
Some horses are OK with a bucket of water in front of them on a trip, others aren't. I make sure everyone is able to drink as often as possible. Many horses will refuse to drink on the road, and I have a long list of tricks to get them have a sip or two. If I have had a problem getting your horse to drink, I'll tell you about it & make some recommendations on what to do or watch for after the trip.
When Your Horse Arrives
When your horse arrives, there may a few things you should be aware of. Let's face it; some horses just don’t travel as well as others. Watch for hints to potential issues; like an unsteady gait or a marked drop in activity or demeanor, or refusal to eat or drink that lasts into the following day. These can be due to simple depression (in short, horsey may be homesick!), or signs of stress-related ailments.
You may need to consider a brief quarantine period for your horse’s safety, and of others in the new place; especially if the horse came from a high-risk area or environment. I urge you to discuss this with your vet.
If you think a medical condition exists, call your vet right away! Even minor injuries or ailments can be complicated by stress. If you believe a call to the vet is in order, take a moment to make notes about the condition, & record the horse’s vital signs. It is important to stay calm in this situation. The horse will take his/her cue from you; so if you’re upset s/he will feel their concern is justified & fret all the more.
I always call the vet first & wonder why later. Vet bills usually tend to be cheaper than horses.
The Legal Stuff
You must affirm that you have full legal right to offer the horse(s) for transport, and accept full financial responsibility for ANY & ALL fees, expenses & costs directly or indirectly associated with or arising from the transportation of the horse(s).
I agree to provide safe transport & humane treatment for your horse, and to do so in a manner in keeping with all applicable laws.
We both agree & understand that horses are unpredictable, especially while being subject to any activity outside their normal environment. Being transported in a horse trailer is NOT part of a horse's natural environment! While all reasonable care will be taken during the trip, I will make no guarantee or testament as to the fitness of the horse for travel, nor the health or general condition thereof at any time.
Should the horse require emergency veterinary care during transport, I will do my best to contact you. In the event you cannot be contacted within a reasonable time, I may elect to enlist the services of the nearest available vet. If such action becomes necessary, you agree to fully assume financial responsibility for any & all related expenses.
You have the choice whether or not to have the horse covered by mortality insurance. Should you elect NOT to carry mortality insurance, you must assume ALL risks to the horse.
Should you decide to enlist my services to transport your horse, you may be asked to agree to these and other terms, depending on the nature of the trip or haul.