Skip to content

Traveling with Your Horse?



by Lydia F. Miller, DMV

Whether it’s a short distance or a long trip, you’ve got a lot to think about any time you haul your horse. Getting all the right tests done and paperwork filled out may seem like a lot of extra time and money. However, there are some very good reasons why these examinations and documents are required. In this article, you’ll find out what you need to travel and why. What You Need

There are three broad categories of travel: intrastate, interstate and international (the last is beyond the scope of this article). Although most states do not have regulations governing intrastate travel, or, travel within the state of origin, some do. And depending upon your reason for travel and your final destination, you may again find yourself needing the same kind of documentation that is required for interstate travel, or, travel outside the state of origin.

For example, if you are trailering your horse to a show, more than likely the show officials will ask to see a copy of your horse’s negative Coggins test, the most commonly used means of finding antibody to the equine infectious anemia (EIA) virus. If you are transporting a horse to an auction, the facility may require that each horse be accompanies by a health certificate, also known as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). These certificates, which attest that the horse exhibits no obvious signs of disease on the day of inspection and are signed by your veterinarian, are generally good for 30 days.

What changes when you want to travel with your horse outside your own state? Not only is a negative EIA test required for entry into all 50 states, it must be performed at an accredited laboratory (your veterinarian will know which laboratories are accredited). Your veterinarian will also be able to tell you if your destination state requires this test be performed within 12 months of entry, 6 months or, for Wisconsin, within the calendar year (Hawaii requires the test be performed within three months of entry).

Also, with some exceptions that will be pointed out later, all states require that a health certificate accompany horses entering their borders. Some require that the horse’s body temperature the day of examination be recorded on the health certificate and a few even require proof of specific vaccinations. While your veterinarian is obligated to submit the health certificate to the origin state veterinarian’s office prior to shipment, some states require that an approved copy of the health certificate be submitted to the destination state veterinarian’s office after entry.

Horse owners in the states of CA, ID, MT, NV, OR and WA and horse owners in the states of TX, AR, OK and MS have an alternative method of complying with interstate health requirements. These two groups of states have formed a reciprocal livestock health arrangement so that people who travel frequently with their horses between these neighboring states do not have to keep getting health certificates every 30 days. Horse owners in any of these states should contact their veterinarian for details on the new six-month CVI and six-month equine passport. Why You Need It

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) accredits veterinarians to carry out these and other services. Local veterinarians work with their state veterinarian and the Area Veterinarian-in-Charge (AVIC) to protect the health and well-being of both you and your horse by preventing, controlling and eradicating animal disease. In recent years, state and federal animal regulations have protected the United States equine industry from vesicular stomatitis, screwworm, piroplasmosis and, most recently, West Nile Encephalitis.

Just because you do not travel internationally or even interstate with your horse doesn’t mean you are safe from the effects of foreign (or not-so-foreign) animal diseases. Even if your horse does not come into direct contact with a sick horse that has traveled extensively, once any horse shows signs of a reportable disease for that state, equine transportation from that location and sometimes even from that state may be shut down. Complying with our country’s disease prevention requirements helps keep our national equine industry healthy and active.

Finally, complying with animal transport requirements not only serves to protect your horse and the horses he or she comes into contact with, it also lays an excellent paper trail should there be any question of your horse’s disease status. Veterinary examinations, negative EIA test results, body temperature and vaccination records are all in one place for easy retrieval.

More Stories

  • **Updated Event Cancellations

    Saddle Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse events. Read More
  • A Blast From The Past

    Saddle Horse Report is pleased to bring you a series of past feature stories on some of the greats of our sport. Please enjoy this walk down memory lane. Read More
  • Future Forum: The Up and Coming of Young Trainers

    Enjoy the first in a series on young trainers! Read More
  • 2020 World's Championship Horse Show Update

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA), along with the WCHS Advisory Committee and Joint Leadership Council, have been working with the Kentucky State Fair Board and World’s Championship Horse Show to ensure that our industry’s voice is heard and concerns are being addressed, while acknowledging that much could change between now and late August. Read More
  • Mid-Ohio Memorial Trotting Sale Roadster Challenge

    Robert Hershberger and his group have been busy gearing up for the Mid-Ohio Memorial Trotting Sale, which was supposed to have been held May 22 but has been postponed to June 26... Read More
  • Wisconsin Futurity Extends All Futurity Nominations To August 1st

    Wisconsin Futurity Board of Directors has extended all 2020 Futurity Nominations to August 1 due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Nomination forms will be mailed in late June. Additional forms may be requested by contacting Nominations Secretary, Emilee Healey by text at 262-825-8424 or emilee.healey@gmail.com... Read More
  • Deadline Extended On Horse World People's Choice Of The Decade

    We have had some inquiries about the Horse World People’s Choice Horse Of The Decade (2010-2019) voting. The paper ballots were in the February (ASB) and March (Morgan) editions of Horse World. We were planning to start the online balloting on April... Read More
  • ASHA Statement on KY State Fair Proposal

    “Due to the effects of COVID 19, the Kentucky State Fair Board is tasked with presenting to the Governor for approval social distancing and safety options as it pertains to the Fair and the horse show. However, no final decisions have been made. ASHA and the JLC are working with the State Fair Board to develop a viable plan based on the guidelines offered by the USEF.”  Read More
  • Ten Years Ago - Devon

    We miss all of the traditions of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. While we can’t be there this year, let’s take a look back at some of the memories we have from Devon 2010. Read More
  • Class of 2020 Yearbook

    Saddle Horse Report presents the Class of 2020 Yearbook. We are proud to feature some of the 2020 graduates who are and will be a major force in the show horse industry. We know their talent and perseverance will help carry them on to many successes ahead. Read More