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Hiring a Hauling Service

This article addresses the process of preparing yourself and your horse for an interstate trip, from a legal standpoint.  A few websites offer information on horse hauling companies, such as www.travelinghorse.com and www.findahauler.com.  Regardless of where you find a hauling company, be sure to check references and make sure you are dealing with a reputable, caring, and experienced service.

Veterinary Records

Industry experts have written numerous articles over the years about how to prepare your horse for hauling.  This article will address what to consider from a legal standpoint. Please keep these suggestions in mind before your horse makes an interstate or international trip:

  • Make sure the horse has a negative Coggins Test taken by a licensed veterinarian within 12 months of the haul.  This test checks for equine infectious anemia (EIA).
  • Many states also require that the horse have an official interstate health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of the trip.
  • For horses making international trips, an international health certificate might be needed.

Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website, www.aphis.usda.gov for more information on interstate and international equine shipping requirements.

Protecting Yourself With Equine Insurance

Never assume that the hauling service has liability insurance that will fully protect you for damage to or loss of your horse during the trip.  The possibility exists that your horse could be injured, or die, without negligence on part of the hauler.  Consider protecting your investment before the trip through insurance, such as equine mortality insurance, equine major medical insurance, and loss of use insurance.  Because of the possibility that your horse could injure others, consider purchasing liability insurance, such Personal Horse Owner’s Liability Insurance coverage.  Discuss coverages and limits with a knowledgeable insurance agent.

What to Give the Hauler

When the hauling service takes your horse, it may also need the following:

  1. A negative Coggin’s Test, typically within the past year.
  2. An official interstate health certificate and/or international health certificate.
  3. Emergency contact information.  You will want the shipping company to know how to reach you at all times, and possibly someone else if you are unavailable.  Consider also making sure that the shipper has proper authorization to arrange for veterinary attention to your horse in your absence.
  4. Equine insurer contact information.  In case the hauler needs to make an emergency call to your equine insurer on your behalf, you can provide the hauler the equine insurance company’s name, emergency contact number, and policy information.
  5. Information regarding the horse such as unique vices and habits as well as health problems that require special attention.
  6. To reduce stress on your horse during and after transport, make sure the shipper has a bale or two of the horse’s usual hay and feed.
  7. Signed contracts.  Hauling services may ask you to sign a contract.  Just like all contracts, read it very carefully before signing.

If you have any questions about hiring a hauling service, please contact me.

Categories: Insurance, Liability

Photo of Julie I. Fershtman

is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.

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Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!

Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.

Julie Fershtman’s Recent and Upcoming Equine Law Speaking Engagements Include:

National Conference on Equine Law in Louisville, Kentucky on April 29, 2020. Topic will be on Waivers/Releases of Liability Involving Minor Participants. 

U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado on December 10, 2019. Topic will be on Equine Liability. 

IRMI Emmett J. Vaughan Agribusiness Conference (“AgriCon”) in Sacramento, CA (April 2019), and Richmond, VA (June 2019) and in Des Moines, IA (September 2019), on topics of “Equine Activity Liability Acts” and “Equine Mortality Insurance Disputes.”

National Conference on Equine Law in May 2019 in Lexington, KY, on the topic of “Equine Activity Liability Act Updates” and liabilities involving hosting of equine clinics. 

Agricultural Claims Conference in Kansas City, MO, in March 2019 on topics of “Loose Livestock Liabilities.”

2018 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, on “Equine Mortality Coverage and Disputes.”

November 2018, American Horse Council webinar on “Equine Liability.”

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:

"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee

"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council

"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership

"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council

"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association

"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association 

What our Equine Law Services can Provide

Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.

Litigating disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).

Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals,  businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.

Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.

Representing and advising insurers on  coverage and policy language as well as litigation;

Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.

Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.

Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners. 


Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.

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