Planning a vacation that involves horses and the great outdoors means doing a little legwork beforehand.
If you’re looking for a trip where you’ll ride horses available on-site, you’ll want to make sure you’ve booked the right dates, transportation and tours — and packed appropriate clothes for the planned activities. If you’re bringing your own horse, or crossing state or country borders, you’ll also need to make sure you have the right paperwork on-hand.
Duane Kesler, of Duane Kesler Championship Rodeo Stock, has decades of experience hauling horses both domestically across state lines and internationally. With locations for the stock contracting company in Montana and Canada, he shares some tips on documents you’ll need for the journey.
No matter where you’re hauling your horse, Kesler says you’ll want to have your horses tested for Equine Infectious Anemia and carry proof of the negative results, known as a Coggins test, with you on your trip.
“They have to be tested within six months [of your trip]…so we test them year-round,” Kesler says.
You may also need a current health paper from your veterinarian. It’s a good idea to check with your destination to see what documentation is needed.
For domestic and international travel, Kesler says you’ll need a 30-day health paper from your vet, and it needs to have been stamped by your vet within 30 days prior to your trip.
While every country has different requirements, to transport livestock between the United States and Canada, particularly Montana, Idaho and Washington, and the provinces Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, you have to have a brand inspection.
“There are brand inspectors throughout the state of Montana, and you’ll have to contact them to get an inspection done [if you’re in that area],” Kesler says. “Some states offer a yearly rodeo permit, and Montana does that.”
Keeping It Organized
Kesler stays on top of necessary documents the old-fashioned way: with a pen and a piece of paper. He communicates with his veterinarian about travel plans and required tests, while the veterinarian gathers health papers and has them signed by a federal veterinarian in order to cross the border.
“There is quite a bit of paperwork, but I physically don’t do a whole bunch of it. You have to make sure you get it done, but you don’t have to do it for hours on end. You do have to be organized, though,” Kesler says. “Do your homework, make sure you’ve got things in place, and, hopefully, everything will go well for you.”