Cheryl Erpelding CEO Riding's Publications Inc. www.ridingmagazine.com
Within the last year or so, with the economy continuing to spiral downward, we have received a large increase in e-mails and phone calls from horse owners regarding “unlicensed carriers” operating within the industry. And with every horror story we hear, it is getting harder to let this go unnoticed.
When you are shopping around for a carrier, you should always make sure they are licensed and insured. Not just in the state of origin, but also in the states in transit. Carriers who are licensed and insured are federally regulated and have to meet set standards on how they operate and maintain their equipment. Also their drivers are held to very strict regulations, such as hours a driver can drive on one shift. That is why most commercial carriers run team drivers. Regulated carriers must qualify drivers for experience and training. This also includes mandatory drug and alcohol testing.
Always ask about the carrier’s equipment. You don’t want to be promised an air ride tractor-trailer and not get it, especially for long distances. There is a big difference between air ride and spring ride and your horse will feel the difference. Many people will use goosenecks and will say there is no difference, but that is not true. Yes, we do use goosenecks, but only for short hauls, which minimizes the effects.
People interested in shipping their horse should also ask for references and be sure to check them. At the very least it will give you reassurance that somebody else has had a good experience. You never know, that reference could help you out with something else in the future.
Beware of carriers who ask for a deposit before they even pick up the horse. Most legal carriers ask for a prepayment or a C.O.D. and this is usually only when the customer does not have an established account with the company. The difference between the two is simple. A prepayment is when you pay the carrier while the horse is on the van while a deposit is just to reserve the spot before the truck even leaves. We have all heard the story of someone paying a deposit and the truck never shows up.
With the economy like it is, you can’t take that chance.
Extra side note:
For your protection, you need to make sure that the transport company you are planning on hiring has a USDOT and an MC number. Why? In case of an accident, your coverage may not be adequate if the transport company is not registered with the State and the Federal authority.