What You Should Do Before Crossing State Lines With Your Horse

Floyd Fain

July 11, 2017

horse-and-trailer-crossing-state-lines-canyonIf you're a rider, chances are you'll take your horse over state lines at one point or another, perhaps for trail riding, clinics, shows, vacations or even a horse sale.

Before you hitch up your trailer, however, there's a lot you need to know. Let's take a look at the documentation and preparations you'll need to cross the state border without any problems.

Consult With Your Veterinarian  

Start out by contacting your veterinarian. Have him prepare an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) so your horse can travel across state lines. An ICVI is basically a health certificate for your horse. It should prevent you from having to turn back once you cross the state.

Be sure to check in with the Department of Agriculture of the state you'll be traveling to as well to ensure you are in compliance with that state's regulations. Each state requires evidence of negative Coggins. Many states accept negative test results taken within the past year, but some require proof from the past six months.

A handful of states have “6-month Equine Certificates" that serve as equine passports for those who frequently travel across state lines. With one of these certificates, traveling will be even more of a breeze.

A Word About Vaccines

Some horse diseases are unique to specific regions. If you are venturing to a part of the country where a disease that your horse hasn't been vaccinated for is prevalent, you are putting your horse at risk. Certain vaccines require boosters and must be applied several weeks or even months ahead of travel. Start planning now.

Mind The Showground Requirements

Plenty of horse shows require horse vaccination histories issued by the veterinarian rather than the horse owner. This is also true of the majority of boarding facilities. Be sure to carry veterinary vaccine records with you every time you cross state lines.

Inquire About Boarding Stablesman-helping-horse-into-trailer

It is possible to secure overnight stabling for your horse when traveling through horsetrip.com and some other websites. Some choose to bunk with friends or stay at horse-friendly areas.

Keep in mind that your horse will likely be stressed out by the trip. The stress could weaken his immune system. Keep an eye on your horse's TPR and be extra cautious at barns. Try to avoid petting new horses, sharing buckets, or letting your horse get nose-on-nose contact with another horse.

If you spot any signs of shipping fever, keep your horse as far away as possible from other horses.

Research The Closest Veterinarians

Find a reputable veterinarian in the state you are traveling to. Establish a relationship with the vet so you have someone to turn to if an emergency occurs. Though many shows have a veterinarian on-call, it won't hurt to have a backup vet's contact information readily accessible.

Research Feed Stores

You will need hay along with fortified feeds upon arriving at your destination. Find a local feed store before departing. You can pinpoint feed store locations by conducting a web search and/or making a few calls. This way, you won't have to search for supplies once you have arrived.

If you can't find a feed store that stocks your horse's favored hay or feed, start a 7-10 day transition period to procure these materials. Be sure to load up on fortified feeds and hay, as extensive travel is particularly grueling on horses.

Heading to a show? That arena footing could have more of an impact on your horse’s performance than you might think. Download our free whitepaper find out how.

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