dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, March 21, 2015


It turns out that buying a horse far away comes with a bunch of logistical problems that I never really appreciated.

Until now.

There was a lot of stuff I knew and stuff I didn't know. And I didn't know I didn't know it. But now I know not only what I didn't know but I also know completely new stuff.

Sorry if that made your head hurt.

See to bring a horse into the country you need certain paperwork in order. This includes a vet health certificate. Once you get this health certificate you have 30 days to get the horse into the country. If you miss the 30 days than you have to get a new one.

This means a bunch of stuff has to align:

  • vet check on the horse
  • health certificate & current Coggins test (to be honest I don't even know know what 'Coggins' is but it seems a big deal in the U.S.) 
  • insurance (which you can't get until the above two are done)
  • payment for the horse
  • and shipping. 
I am an organized person - I've organized horse shows and work events. I've been show secretary and organized setting up a chain link dressage ring. Thank heavens I've had that training because I needed all of it to coordinate this. 

I innocently thought that I would contact one of the many shippers advertising and determine the best one and go from there. 

Some of you are probably chuckling at my naiveté. I only had one person get back to me. One. Fortunately, he was the one that came the most highly recommended. He can bring her as far as Quebec.  So after talking on the phone and arranging a tentative shipping date I put the first four items into motion. And I arrange for her to be picked up in Quebec. 

 Then there was weather which meant that the vet check had to be postponed. And then there was more weather. Fortunately for me the seller arranged to take Charlante to an indoor to have the check done. And then I had to wait for for the vet certificate for the insurance before they could insure her. But the office closed in Virginia due to weather. And now it's friday. I'm talking to a truly wonderful person at the vet clinic who made sure that everything was done on time so that insurance could be arranged. We made it right under the wire of 4:30 because of everyone pulling together for a stranger trying to buy a horse. 

With vet certificate, insurance and bill of sale all in hand I'm ready to finalize the shipping. But the shipper keeps saying 'he'll get back to me'. And then goes on vacation. 
how I was starting to feel
Turns out the vacation was a blessing in disguise- this meant that his office assistant took over and she was fabulous. I signed all the papers I was supposed to. Sent along proof of sale and vet certificate. It was all done. When the shipper came back from vacation I contacted him for a confirmed pick up date. 

I'm at work when I get notification that the person he arranged to pick up Charlante had a car accident so it might be next week. 
excuse me? 

Um. No. This would mean that I had to start over with the Quebec to Nova Scotia shipping. Plus I arranged for vacation for when she arrives. I'm in my office having kittens. I vent to my friend Karen. 

Karen is good in a crisis. She calms me down and says that, if necessary, she will unbury her trailer from the snow and we'll hit the road. I calm down. The shipper is also bringing a big rig of race horses up from Florida. If I can arrange for Charlante to meet him along the highway he can pick her up. His rig can't handle back roads. 

I send out a plea to the seller. And she's all 'no problem.' 
I'm as happy as a dog with a stick at the beach. 

What does this mean- this means that Charlante was picked up at a Wal-Mart parking lot off of I85 at around 5 a.m. Thursday. She's now in Quebec resting for a couple days and will continue her journey here monday.

I couldn't have done it without help from the seller, her agent, my friends, April at the vet clinic and the insurance agent. Oh and Ed. Poor Ed had to keep my grounded. 

I might almost be ready for wedding planning......


  1. Oh Teresa, how are you not a raging alcoholic???? LOL Or, maybe you are!!! LOL I can't wait until she arrives, and she is able to finally rest and settle in to her new forever home. She's going to be such a joy!!!


  2. What an ordeal!! So glad she's on the road! Shipping over international lines must be way harder than over state lines. I've had no problem getting quotes and info to ship Pug across the U.S.

    Btw: a Coggins is a test for EIA negativity. It's pretty much useless, but we require them anyway. I guess it's fair, EIA is nasty.

  3. Wedding planning would be a piece of cake after this. Coggins is a big deal here -- you have to have to cross State lines not just go out of the country. What a pain.

  4. Glad you got that sorted out - sounds very stressful. Can't wait to hear she's safe and sound on the farm with you. :D

    Coggins is a test to be sure your horse isn't infected with, or a silent carrier of, equine infectious anemia (Swamp fever) - sort of similar to HIV in humans. There is no cure, so euthanasia or permanent quarantine are the only options. I think it used to be a terrible problem years ago, but not allowing travel of horses without a negative coggins has limited the spread somewhat.

  5. I can definitely sympathize with you on that experience. Trying to coordinate with a shipper and horse boarder and on closing escrow on our new house was a nightmare. Everything depended on other people, and their lives had to go smoothly in order for my life to go smoothly, but it everything went smoothly, it wouldn't be life.

  6. Wow! It was stressful enough hauling Henry from Quebec to Alberta and Mystic from B.C. to Alberta...I can't imagine having to cross the border. Thank goodness it's all sorted out now :)

  7. Great read. :) Congratulations on your super organising and staying calm skills. :)

  8. That sounds exhausting and emotionally fraught! Glad it all worked out! Hooray for competent office staff & good sellers! Monday (and Charlante) will be here before you know it!

  9. Whooo Hoooo! Good things come to those who wait.

  10. So glad to hear that things are all falling into place -- and that you haven't totally fallen to pieces in the process! Sounds like your mare will be with you very soon. Wishing you all the best with her! Vicki ~

  11. Hope it all goes a little easier with me. I certainly can relate to how you feel!

  12. Wow! That sounds incredibly stressful!! You're a superhuman organizer getting all that together. Good job!!

    The others explained coggins well. There is no way to prevent EIA or to cure it so positive horses have to be euthanized or quarantined. That's why it's not a big deal anymore, but If people stopped testing for it and unknowingly transported a positive horses around it could spread again, so the test may be a pain in the butt but it does serve a purpose.


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