Transporting Your Horse Cross-Country: Should You Use a Transport Company or an Independent Hauler?

Posted on: 8 July 2016

You're in the midst of a cross-country move, and you want to take your horses with you, but you cannot drive them yourself. Your options are professional transport companies or an independent hauler. Wondering which one is right for you? Here's what you need to consider:

1. Is the journey on well established highways?

Transport companies typically have routes along well established roads, making them an ideal option if that's your route. If your existing or new home is in a remote location, however, you may prefer to find an independent hauler to take your horse. However, there are other factors to consider as well.

2. Do you have strict stall requirements for your horse?

When you ship your horse with a professional transport company, you may have the option of various stalls such as full stall, a double box stall or something in between. If your horse needs extra space or if you are transporting two horses who need to be in separate stalls, a transport company can provide those options for you.

Independent haulers may have a range of options, but in many cases, especially if they run a small operation, they may only have one type of trailer available.

3. Do you have a flexible schedule?

With transport companies, the company may have specific days assigned to certain routes. In some cases, they may travel all of their routes multiple times a day, but for special cargo such as horses, they may have more restricted schedules. Because of this, you may have to ship your horses a day or so later than the date you plan to travel to your new home.

If you have stable hands on both sides of the journey, they can help load up your horses or take them to the transport company. In contrast, if you need to travel on a very specific day and you have no flexibility, you may want to talk with an independent hauler. As an independent may just be carrying your horse, they can typically tailor the schedule to your needs.

4. Does your horse need to have a layover or other special considerations?

Ideally, horses should have a break from the trailer every 18 hours. On this issue, both commercial transport companies and independent haulers observe different practices. If your journey is long-distance, you need to ask whether or not the horse will be taken out of the trailer in the evening for a break.

Similarly, if your horse needs medication or has other issues that require special attention, you need to ask both potential transporters if they can help your horse with those needs.

In many cases professional transport companies who transport horses on a regular basis may have training and experience with horses, and in addition to having a driver, these transporters may have staff in follow cars who replenish the horses' hay, take care of medications and remove horses in the evening for a layover.

An independent hauler may have these offerings, but if they're just a single personal hauling horses, they may not have enough hands on deck.

5. Do you have other items to ship?

Professional transport companies often handle all sorts of cargo, and if you're moving house, you may need furnishings, art, vehicles and all sorts shipped. A transport company can help with all of it, while an independent who focuses on horses isn't likely to have that capacity.

Still not sure if a professional transport company or an independent hauler is right for moving your horse? Contact a professional hauling company today to talk more about your needs.