Taking the Mystery Out of Exporting Miniature Horses
Many Miniature Horse owners here in the USA as well as overseas, do not know anything about how to send a horse by plane to a foreign country. Because of their fear of the unknown‚ people are often reluctant to pursue international sales. Here is a step by step approach how you can approach the export process.
The payment for the horses goes usually by international wire transfers. The buyer needs your bank information, account number, SWIFT code and the ABA routing number. Sometimes, depending on the bank it can take up to a week before the money will clear into your account.
Before the horses get picked up by a transport company, you need a Coggins test and a regular health certificate for the shipper, who will transport the horse to the quarantine facility. It is also a good idea to provide a color copy of the registration papers and an invoice to clear customs. It is not necessary for the registration papers to be in the new owners name.
It is a good idea to provide previous vaccination records to the quarantine facility. Some will automatically provide the necessary vaccines required for the transport. At Oasis, our standard practice it to provide all the required vacinations.
After the horses arrive at our quarantine facility, we set up small groups that will go together to the same destination. Stallions have their own paddocks with a nice stall and mares or young horses will be held in a large area with trees and a big shed to find shade from the sun or other elements. We have small feeding sections, where the horses get fed individually if needed. After they finish their meals, they will be turned loose to stay in the herd situation.
Every time a new quarantine starts, a USDA health inspector has to comes out, start the quarantine and file the paperwork. The quarantine horses need to be kept away and isolated from any other horses.
Anyone, who is entering this section for cleaning or feeding must disinfect the shoes and hands, before and after. Equipment, tool and feed used for the quarantine horses is only used for the quarantine horses.
Several vaccinations and blood tests are required, depending upon where the horses are going. International health papers have to be filled out and need to be filed with the USDA in a certain time frame. The process is very time-sensitive. The papers must be stamped and approved by the USDA before the horses leave, which should take place near the departure time. A health certificate for Europe, for example, is only good for 10 days after the Vet signed it and mailed it out.
We determine which airlines and agencies to use and find the best prices for the customers. Flight delays and cancellations can result in all the blood work and paperwork needing to be redone, making it crucial to stay on top of every aspect of the flight information.
After the quarantine ends, we drive the perfectly groomed horses ourself in a clean and disinfected trailer to the airport where they have to spend at least 5 hours at the animal station in nice large stalls to rest, before they get loaded for the flight. During this time, the USDA veterinarian will check the paperwork and identify the horses. After the horses are loaded they drive them to the cargo plane where they are loaded.
There are 2 ways to fly miniature horses:
1. Wooden custom-build crates. In this case, a wooden crate will be built to hold 1 or more minis. The airbill will be calculated by weight and dimensions. The advantage to this method is the cost and convenience of shipping the horses as cargo. The disadvantage is it is almost impossible to take care of the horses during the flight.
2. Special designed horse container. These are ‚‘ big horse‘‚ containers with the possibility to slide over some or all dividers. In my opinion the best way to fly a group of horses. They can roam free in there, lay down to sleep, eat hay, and an escorting groom can go down into the cargo area to take care of them and water the horses. .
Minis seam to take the whole journey very well and do not get stressed out as some big horses do. They get used to the noise and the pilot can set a nice temperature in the cargo room.
For the logistics and airfreight, there are only certain airports from where you can fly out animals. These airports need to have animal stations with a USDA veterinarian for USA and a state inspection veterinarian for Europe. The veterinarian at the destination airport will check the health of the horses and all the paperwork. An agent is taking care of customs clearance and Import Vet Check. The new owners just have to pick up their horse or send a transport company.
The process is normally quite easy for the new owner, who needs only to provide transportation from the airport and pay the bills. At Oasis Miniature Horses, the owner pays us only for the quarantine service and transportation to the airport. The air bill and all other fees are billed separately by the flight agency, shortly before the horses depart. This enables our customers to pay only what the airfreight actually cost.
A good quarantine service should help make the export process go easily for both buyer and seller. They take care of the stressful planning; endless phone calls and emails; and coordination of all the parties involved. When the job is done, there is a happy owner of a wonderful new mini!
Marion Maschke owns Oasis Miniature Horses and Quarantine Services.