Transporting Horses

Unlike livestock such as cattle, hogs, and sheep, which are frequently hauled in big groups in large trailers, horses are more often transported in smaller trailers with only two or three animals at a time. Horses require extra, personalized attention during long journeys. Here are a few considerations to make when transporting horses.

What Type Of Trailer Do I Need?

There are many trailer options designed specifically for horses, but in general haulers need a trailer that is strong enough to hold the horse and prevent escape with a rigid roof and non-slip floor for protection from injury. The dimensions of the trailer can vary according to the type of horse being transported. Horses should be able to stand in a natural position with enough space around them for head movement and good air circulation.

Horses need to be able to put their heads down to maintain balance and clear their airways. Also, ensure that the horse is tied securely yet loose enough to quickly release in the event of an emergency. Trailers should also have a “butt bar” or chain behind each horse. This safety measure helps keep the horse in place in case the door comes open or was not securely fastened. These bars or chains can be padded to prevent tail rubbing. Adding bedding or rubber mats to the trailer can make the horse more comfortable and decrease stress on their joints.

Horse transported in a horse trailer

Loading Considerations

If using a ramp to move the horse into the trailer, it needs to have a gentle slope and secure footing to prevent slipping. The ramp also needs to be solid to prevent loud noises as it can frighten the horses when they try to walk on the ramp. Horses can also step up to enter the trailer provided it is low enough to the ground to allow the horse to maintain proper footing.

Food, Water & Breaks

It is best to try to keep trips as short as possible to reduce stress on the horses. When trips spanning multiple days, horses will need to be taken off the truck and walked for at least 20 minutes every 12 hours. Stops should be made at regular intervals, at minimum every eight hours, but ideally more frequently, as much as every three to four hours, to feed and water the horses. Water can taste different from one location to another of due to the container which may make a horse refuse to drink. A flavoring, such as apple juice, can be added to the water to mask the taste, though it works best if the horse has been exposed to the flavored water in advance of the trip to get accustomed to it.

Horse Tied to Horse Trailer

Monitor Weather

Like all animals, horses are sensitive to heat and cold. Open vents wide in warm weather and add blankets in cold weather. Some vents will always need to be open, even in cold weather, to keep enough air flow. Be sure to adjust as needed for temperature changes during breaks.

What Paperwork And Permits Do Need?

Horses should have a veterinary inspection done prior to transport. Paperwork to look for includes items such as vaccinations, blood tests, a Coggins test, health papers, and entry permit, though exact requirements vary by state.


How To Find Horses To Transport On FR8Star

Finding and bidding on loads for horses and other livestock is easy with FR8Star. From the Load Board, use the drop-down filters on the left side to set your shipment type to “livestock.” You can create additional filters such as location (including specific states and mileage ranges within a specific ZIP code), distance (minimum or maximum mileage), and weight if desired.


Create a cost estimate based on freight size, permit requirements, and other factors using FR8Star’s Freight Rate Calculator. This tool factors in the load information provided to give carriers an idea of the cost. That formula can be adjusted by companies based on the current mileage costs and market forces to create instant rates for the shipper before the carrier places a bid.


After filtering loads and selecting one to bid on, haulers can review load information, including the Freight Rate Calculator estimate, and enter their bid, pickup and delivery date range, and other information. Haulers can also communicate with customers via the messaging system or, for Pro Subscription users, contact the customer directly.


Once the bid is submitted, the shipper can review the details and compare with other bids as well as any details haulers have added about their company and number of loads hauled using FR8Star. Shippers can message haulers directly for additional questions and accept bids any time before their set expiration date and time. FR8Star immediately connects haulers and shippers once the bid is accepted.

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