Transporting your horse across the country or even internationally is a big commitment and a considerable financial impact. How much does it cost to transport a horse? It obviously depends on the type of transportation option and distance traveled.
In general, transporting a horse will cost between $0.80 per mile and $3 per mile if you choose to go with an equine transport company. Transporting your horse by air to another country will set you back between $3,000 and $10,000 per flight.
As you can see, the cost of transporting your horse varies, but it’s never cheap. Furthermore, apart from the transportation fee itself, you can also expect to pay extra for layovers and any special needs your horse might have, not to mention accommodation. First things first, though. Let us now have a look at each main method of horse transportation in order to figure out the costs behind it.
Transporting the horse yourself.
If the transporting distance for your horse is relatively small and you expect to transport it around several times a year, it’s definitely a good idea to invest in your own equipment. The main thing you’ll need is a horse trailer, which typically costs between $5,000 and up to $40,000 for a new, spacious, and fully-equipped one.
Spend wisely in accordance with your budget. The main thing you should be looking for when it comes to a horse trailer is size, structural integrity, and potential horse creature-comforts. With a horse trailer, you’ll be able to tow your horse around wherever you go. However, it’s important to mind your speed if you plan to do the drive yourself.
Stop frequently along the way to check up on your horse, and try to avoid highways as those can be particularly stressful for the animal. Apart from the trailer, food for the road, and money for gas, there aren’t any other expenses you need to worry about.
Using a horse transport company.
Depending on where you live, there are plenty of professional horse transport companies available. One that comes to mind, and one that I’ve used myself, is Shiply. This company charges $2.55 per mile for trips less than 100 miles and $1.10 per mile for journeys over 100 miles.
As you can see, these types of companies will charge you a set fee per mile. This makes it easier for you to calculate how much you’re expected to pay depending on the distance of the trip.
For instance, let’s say you want to transport your horse from Phoenix, Arizona to Fort Worth, TX using Shiply. The distance between these two cities is 1,033 miles, which means that you’ll pay $1,136 for a one-way trip. Easy enough to figure out, easy enough to calculate.
The trick is adding up extra costs for layovers and accommodation along the way. This trip will take around 15 hours, and the horse will definitely need quite a few breaks along the way. For extra costs, it’s best that you get in touch with the transport company directly. Figure out what their expectations are before you commit to anything. On average, layover costs will set you back between $150 per day and $300 per day.
Transporting a horse by air (airplane).
I generally wouldn’t recommend transporting a horse by airplane, but if international travel can’t be avoided, you really have no other choice. The good news is that it’s doable. The bad news is that it costs a lot.
If you need to transport your horse in the US but over vast distances such as coast-to-coast, you might want to invest in a flight for your horse as well. This will set you back between $3,000 to $10,000. Pricing depends on the airline company, the departure location and final destination, and on the class of travel that you want for your horse.
Yes, horse transportation by airplane also has different classes. If you value your horse’s comfort enough to pay extra, rest assured that these airlines will accommodate.
I should also mention that you’ll be required to perform some mandatory pre-flight bloodwork and testing. This will come out of your own pocket, as will the mandatory quarantine period after the flight, which could add a few extra thousand dollars to the overall transportation cost.
A few tips on horse transportation.
Horses are large animals, and transporting them is requires careful planning and care. If you plan to transport your horse yourself, make sure that you consult with a horse trainer beforehand in order to figure out what you should and shouldn’t do along the way. If you’ve transported horses yourself previously but you’re looking to switch over to a transport company, make sure that you interview multiple ones before making a decision.
It’s important to work with a reputable company that treats horses the way they deserve: with care and kindness. No equine transport company will harm a horse physically, at least not intentionally, but neglecting their needs and causing emotional stress is not that uncommon.
I’d advise having a chat with other horse owners that have used such companies beforehand. Try to get some recommendations that might help you make the right call. After all, you won’t be around during the transportation process, so you need to choose someone you can trust. The same can be said with airline companies that transport horses. Don’t choose the one that costs the least, but the one that can strike a good balance between affordability and quality care.
Keeping costs down.
In order to keep costs down, plan ahead, and book a trip for your horse months in advance. Whether you’re looking to transport it for a show, to change owners, or because you’re moving to a different farm, booking transportation as early as possible will always reduce the final bill.
Transporting your horse with little to no notice for the airline or the transport company will yield extra costs which you will be forced to pay. Of course, sometimes these things cannot be helped. Emergencies do arise. If you can, plan ahead. If not, there’s no point in sacrificing your horse’s emotional health for a few saved pennies.
I hope that the tips and information I provided in this article will be of help to you. If you have any advice of your own or any experiences that you would like to share, don’t hesitate to get in touch!