If, for whatever reason, you choose not to join our clientele of extremely satisfied equines and equine owners, please make sure you thoroughly research any transport company, private or commercial that you hire. Make certain and ensure that your equines safety, physical and mental health and well-being are the top priorities and that what you have been told or read about that company’s or person’s services are not just merely “words”. There are a lot of haulers that appear to be better than they truly are and we have seen and heard accounts of equines being mistreated and handled roughly, arriving at the destination injured or in poor condition, requiring medical attention, arriving days late or not at all with little to no communication between client and transporter, etc. Your equine doesn't have a choice, but you do...make it the best one for your equine’s sake, even if it is not with our company.
So many people who are not legally compliant with the regulations set forth by the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are being hired by owners and agents to transport equines locally or for long distances. "Legal" transporters must have a DOT number and MC number associated with their individual name or company name. Not only do they have to have those specific identifying numbers but to maintain their legal status they have to comply with regulations pertaining to vehicle and commercial liability insurance coverage, driver qualifications and licensing, drug screening, on-the-road drive time, written or electronic driving logs/records, and medical clearance from an authorized medical professional. The risk you take in hiring a transporter that is not "legal" is if the person is pulled over or has contact with law enforcement in any state, they could be ordered off the road and the equine(s) could be impounded by animal control or law enforcement and moved to an unfamiliar location until a "legal" transporter or the owner arrives to complete the transport. This unfortunate, but preventable, circumstance can not only mentally, physically, and financially affect the owner or agent but it can cause undue stress to the equine, delay the equine's arrival, cause the equine to remain inside the trailer on the side of the road for an undetermined amount of time in the heat of the summer or inclement weather awaiting an authorized or "legal" transporter, disrupt the diet of the equine during the time period it is impounded, and / or increase the likelihood that an injury or medical emergency will occur due to changes in diet, unfamiliar surroundings, questionable containment, inexperienced caretakers, or just stress in general.
Illegal transporters who are being hired to transport equines may be, and are most often, experienced horseman(women) who have handled and managed equines for years, hauled a trailer thousands of miles, and truly may be an exceptional equine transporter with top-notch care of the equines in their custody. Some of those people will admit they are not "legal" and others will attempt to omit the facts and try to disguise the fact that they are not legal by mentioning that they are "licensed and insured", "insured and liable" or "have commercial insurance". Those words can be confusing to someone who isn't familiar with the difference between driver's licenses and commercial vehicle insurance. Being "licensed" simply means that the person holds a drivers license class (A, B, C) for the total vehicle weight that they are driving and/or towing (GVWR of truck and trailer). This does not mean that they possess the correct driver's license class for the vehicle combination that they are operating. There are many people who are towing trailers behind trucks with a combined weight that requires a Class A license (not necessarily commercial) who are in possession of a Class C license. If they are stopped by law enforcement, they can be removed from the road and cited since they are operating a vehicle combination that is heavier or larger than what their license shows they are authorized to operate. Only when a person is operating the motor vehicle for hire or to make a profit does the license class become "commercial". Being "insured" simply means they have some type of vehicle insurance. There is a difference between commercial vehicle insurance with a minimal coverage amount of $750,000.00 that is required to be a "legal for-hire" transport and regular commercial vehicle insurance with lower coverage amounts or commercial liability insurance. When asked about insurance, some may confirm that they have commercial liability insurance and even provide proof of the coverage, however that proof of coverage doesn't confirm that the coverage includes "transporting equines for hire (to make a profit)" and if that specific coverage is not listed in the policy a claim may be rejected by the insurance company should an incident occur. Furthermore, if the policy does list "equine transport" as something that is covered, it may only pertain to transporting equines that are being shown, trained, boarded, or otherwise already (previously) in the care, custody, and control of the insured or being transported for no compensation or profit. Therefore, it is important to confirm exactly what a transporter's insurance policy specifically covers and what the coverage amount is for each incident prior to hiring someone to transport your equine(s) that is not legal for hire and in compliance with US DOT / FMCSA at the current time. Remember, the equine's life is in your hands and you should make every effort to ensure that they are covered should an incident occur during transport.
Even though an equine transporter is "legal", we highly recommend you research the individual or company thoroughly and check multiple references, personal and professional, search for unbiased reviews online and on social media, correspond with their clientele, ask for recent photographs or video of their transport trailer(s) and towing vehicles, require proof of insurance and a detailed written contract, and remember that you sometimes get what you pay for so cheaper is not always better however you can also end up paying more than the service was worth so make sure the price is fair for the quality of care and management of your equine(s) during the transport. It’s extremely important to consider that just because the transporter or transport company is "legal" does not mean they are knowledgeable, experienced, or even competent when it comes to equine healthcare, management, or handling unexpected emergencies during the transport. As an equine owner or agent for an owner, you owe it to the equines in your care to ensure they are in the best hands when they are being transported...it is your responsibility to make the best decision for what is in their best interest, ensuring that their safety, welfare, and comfort are the transporter top priority.
If you want to check the status of an equine transporter, click the box below to be directed to the US DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website and type the transporter's US DOT, MC number, or company name into the "Enter Value" field and click "Search".