FAQ: Equine Flight Process to United States of America

FAQ: The Equine Flight Process to United States of America

LOC specialise in transatlantic Equine flights and fly horses to a wide range of destinations all around the globe, we can handle every element of your horses travel.

From your first contact with LOC, we will prepare a comprehensive and detailed estimate within 48 hours of making the initial call.

Example: Flying your horse to the USA

Let’s take the USA for example. At your first point of contact we will ask you for details on the horse/s that are travelling, the destination and reasons for travel as this will all impact the estimate we prepare. We only work with agents that are known to us and have the same values and high standards of care when handling the horses. We will liaise with the various agents to make all the arrangements on your behalf so that you need only one point of contact – LOC.

Passport to travel

Firstly all horses travelling must have a valid passport to travel – it doesn’t matter where it was issued or what type as long as it is an official passport. The sex of your horse will also determine both what pre-export testing will be required and the duration of quarantine needed upon arrival in America.

The process for shipping horses from the UK to the USA involves no pre-export quarantine in the UK. However, before export, blood serum should be pre-tested for Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA), Dourine, Glanders & Equine Piroplasmosis. This will be re-tested upon arrival into the USA. CEM swabs must also be taken for mares and stallions - this should be within 30 days of travel and take approximately 7-10 for results to come back.

Required paperwork

Should you chose to accept our quotation, we will ask for all of the details on a booking form and begin the process of booking flights and applying for the required paperwork on your behalf. Our full service package means that we will advise what is required and keep you informed every step of the way in order to ensure that your horse travels safely and legally.

Once a flight date has been booked and the necessary blood samples are being tested, health papers will be applied for with DEFRA (Animal Health) in the UK, there are two sets of Health Certificates required – the standard TRACES/ITAHC papers and a set of International health papers. These must be signed off by an LVI vet prior to your horse starting his/her journey and also be countersigned by the local Animal Health offices in the area.

Airport selection & departure

There are only a few airports in The States that receive horses internationally, namely: Miami, JFK (New York), LAX (Los Angeles) & Newark (New Jersey). The majority of these flights depart from Amsterdam & Liege airports and LOC will take care of the road transport to ensure safe arrival of your horse in either Holland or Belgium, whichever the case may be.

The lorries used for International road transport are built with horse comfort and safety in mind, they have on board CCTV cameras for safety and monitoring of the animals; the driver grooms are all qualified in equine transport and are horse owners or riders themselves. The road journey would take the horse to the port of Dover (where there are facilities to rest the horses in stabling as required) for a sea crossing to Calais.

In the instance of are bad weather conditions at sea, the Ferry’s Captain will not allow horses to sail - this means you can rest assured that your horses will never have a bad sea crossing. In the event that the weather prevents sailing, our vehicles have the necessary Type 2 authorisation required for travelling by Eurotunnel so you can rest assured that your horse will arrive in time to rest before the flight.

Generally speaking you should allow a day or two for this leg of the journey over to Holland and, upon arrival, your horse will be rested at overnight facilities specifically designed for horses in transit – much like a B&B for horses - until the day of the flight. They are then transferred to the airport by road with all their paperwork ready to be loaded for their flight. LOC will liaise with all points of contact to ensure that these stages run smoothly and keep you informed very step of the way.

The flight

Once at the airport, the horses are handed over to their professional flying grooms who have airside clearance and plenty of air miles under their belt – all Pro grooms are regulated and certificated by the ATA and it is their responsibility to care for the horses in their charge, to water and provide hay and make sure they are comfortable and relaxed.

Generally speaking horses travel in specially designed equine jet stalls of 3 spaces per stall, so if you are flying only one horse across, they will have the company of two other horses for the duration of the flight.

For larger horses the pallets can be split into two stalls of one and a half spaces each so that they travel more comfortably with the additional room. Each jet stall of 3 has one allocated groom so they provide a ratio of 1:3 ratio of care, ensuring that your horse is well looked after.

Arrival & quarantine

Upon arrival in America, your horse/s are received by the US agents at the airport and their paperwork is cleared before they are transferred by road to the approved quarantine facilities where all horses must complete a mandatory 2-3 days import quarantine period. During this time the blood tests are re-run and a vet will monitor the horse’s temperature and general well-being.

Thereafter, if your horse is either under 731 days (2 years) old, OR he is gelding or a racehorse that is in continuous training he/she is free to be released from quarantine and can go to his/her new home.

Sometimes owners prefer to collect their horse themselves; however LOC can arrange the transport to your yard if you wish – no matter the distance.

If your horse is a mare or stallion that does not fit the above criteria they then go on to a separate CEM quarantine (which is approximately 15 days for mares and 30 days for stallions), after which they are free to go.

Finding out more:

If you want to find out more about transporting horses to America (or any other country), please contact us: info@locltd.com

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