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Beware of Non-Licensed Transporters

Cheryl Erpelding CEO Riding's Publications Inc.

Within the last year or so, with the economy continuing to spiral downward, we have received a large increase in e-mails and phone calls from horse owners regarding “unlicensed carriers” operating within the industry. And with every horror story we hear, it is getting harder to let this go unnoticed.

When you are shopping around for a carrier, you should always make sure they are licensed and insured. Not just in the state of origin, but also in the states in transit. Carriers who are licensed and insured are federally regulated and have to meet set standards on how they operate and maintain their equipment. Also their drivers are held to very strict regulations, such as hours a driver can drive on one shift. That is why most commercial carriers run team drivers. Regulated carriers must qualify drivers for experience and training. This also includes mandatory drug and alcohol testing.

Always ask about the carrier’s equipment. You don’t want to be promised an air ride tractor-trailer and not get it, especially for long distances. There is a big difference between air ride and spring ride and your horse will feel the difference. Many people will use goosenecks and will say there is no difference, but that is not true. Yes, we do use goosenecks, but only for short hauls, which minimizes the effects.

People interested in shipping their horse should also ask for references and be sure to check them. At the very least it will give you reassurance that somebody else has had a good experience. You never know, that reference could help you out with something else in the future.

Beware of carriers who ask for a deposit before they even pick up the horse. Most legal carriers ask for a prepayment or a C.O.D. and this is usually only when the customer does not have an established account with the company. The difference between the two is simple. A prepayment is when you pay the carrier while the horse is on the van while a deposit is just to reserve the spot before the truck even leaves. We have all heard the story of someone paying a deposit and the truck never shows up.

With the economy like it is, you can’t take that chance.


For your protection, you need to make sure that the transport company you are planning on hiring has a USDOT and an MC number. Why? In case of an accident, your coverage may not be adequate if the transport company is not registered with the State and the Federal authority.


It is our hope this page will help answer some of your questions and alleviate any concerns you may have regarding your horse’s transportation.
  • What is your cancellation policy?
    Shipments must be cancelled 48 hours prior to pick up. If cancelation takes place within 48 hours prior to pickup payment will still be required. Private trailer and special circumstance shipments require a deposit of 20% at the time of booking. If you need to request a change in shipping date or cancel the haul, this must be made 7 days prior to the originally scheduled ship date or the deposit will be forfeited. If the haul is cancelled within 48 hours of the originally scheduled ship date, full payment will be required.
  • Are you licensed and insured?
    Absolutely! We are licensed through the Federal Highway Safety Authority and the Department of Transportation. USDOT 3616019. We also carry cargo insurance, and general liability. A COI is available upon request. The horse owner is responsible for providing insurance on individual animals if desired. We are happy to get you in touch with reputable insurance providers.
  • Legs wraps or no leg wraps?
    This maybe the most frequently asked question and unfortunately there is not a standard answer. Wrapping a horse’s legs is up to the owner. With that said we do need to ensure a safe environment for all the horses during shipment. If the wraps or boots begin to come off during shipment, we will remove all wraps or boots from the horse. If the horse is with us during an overnight layover, we will remove all wraps or boots. We will not allow an animal to remain standing with wraps or boots overnight. If the horse is sent in boots, we will reboot the animal to resume the haul. However, due to liability concerns we will not rewrap a horse’s legs. If you require that your horse be rewrapped, please let us know during the booking process. We will schedule a licensed veterinarian to rewrap your horse prior to re-trailering. The owner will be responsible for all veterinarian fees. If you choose to have your horse booted or wrapped please be sure your horse is acclimated to having boots or wraps on for longer periods of time. It is our goal to minimize the stress on your horse during their trip. Introducing boots or wraps the day of shipment will only increase your horse’s stress.
  • What paperwork will I need to send with my horse?
    If your horse is leaving the state you will need a current negative coggins and health certificate from your veterinarian. Coggins test must be dated within a year of delivery date. Health certificates are valid for 30 days and must be current through the date of delivery. If your horse is leaving a brand inspection state, a Brand Inspection is also required. Brand inspection states include: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Please note that a Brand Inspection is required regardless of if your horse has a physical brand or not. For information on scheduling an inspector, paperwork the inspector will require and timing to ensure a valid inspection though delivery date please contact your local brand inspector. · Colorado: · Idaho: · Montana: · Nevada: · New Mexico: · Utah: · Washington: · Wyoming:
  • Will my horse be on a layover?
    All cross country trips will have a scheduled layover. Layovers will be at reputable equine facilities and all horses will be closely monitored. Horses are generally kept in a box stall for overnights. Depending on the facility large outdoor pens maybe available.
  • Can I contact the driver during shipment?
    Absolutely! We pride ourselves on effective communication with our clients. You can contract the driver as well as the office at anytime. We will keep you up to date on current location and ETA’s. We are happy to send you a video of your horse during lay over stops.
  • Can I send tack and equipment with my horse?
    You are welcome to send a reasonable amount of tack up to 50 lbs with your horse at no extra charge. Please send in durable containers that are clearly marked with your name and phone number. Due to the possibility of DOT inspections containers cannot be locked.
  • What feed will my horse get while traveling?
    We ask that you send a bale of hay with your horse so we don’t add the unnecessary stress of a changed diet. Grain is not recommended during the trip. Drivers stop every four to six hours to hand water the horses. Unfortunately, we are not equipped to feed any soaked products or hot mash while on the road.
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