We will move to Australia in Oct. 2012 and our beloved horses will come with us. Since I found it very difficult to gather information on this slightly exotic topic, I want to share my findings with everyone who is interested at PIO and the Internet.
How to transport your horse or horses to OZ/ FAQ on horse transportation
Formalities / Transportation / Vaccination and Health Requirements / Quarantine guidelines and rules based on current regulation 03/2012:
1. Your horse can only be transported to Australia from one the following countries: Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, USA
2. If your horse originally came from a country not on this list, it must have stayed in one of the authorized countries for approx. 180 days (variations exist depending on origin and export country) before starting of pre quarantine.
3. Horses can only be imported via Sydney airport where they have to stay in post quarantine for approx. 2 weeks (based on horses gender and agent procedures), so you have to arrange transport via landroute to your final destination afterwards. There are a couple of vendors which offer scheduled weekly land transports from Sydney to all major cities. Costs are aprox. 1000 AUD per horse. These are easy to find via google.
4. It is very important to have a valid EU horse passport with complete identification for every horse. Furthermore you need a vaccination pass, if this is not integrated in your EU horse passport
5. You horse has to spent approx. 14 - 28 days (depending on if it is a stallion, mare or gelding and on agent procedures) in pre-quarantine within an authorized quarantine stable in your home country. You can´t do it yourself :-(
6. Here you can find all the horse health requirements and pre + post quarantine + transportation procedures of AQIS, the relevant OZ goverment authority:
7. It is terrible to read, but the most important ones for horses in the EU are the test for Equine Infectious Anemia (Coggins) + Equine Piroplasmosis (B. Caballi, T. Equi) (ELISA or IFAT Test). I would do them upfront as soon as
possible, as a positive result will rule out any transportation... :-( It is important to understand that your horse could have this disease and NOT show symptoms. The tests are approx. 100 € per horse and your VET can help you with them. The remaining procedures deal with rather standard health requirements and deal with the exact transport and transit procedures. This will all be handled by your transportation agent during pre and post-quarantine and during transport.
8. If you own a mare or a stallion or a young foal together with its mother, additional tests for sexually transferable diseases apply. These can also be found in the above document. Since we have geldings I did not bother reading
them... As far as I can see a couple of further tests are neccessary in these cases. In the special case of a pregnant mare, she has to stay in quarantine until giving birth.
9. Furthermore you need to vaccinate your horse with the ProTeq Flu vaccine against Equine Influenca. The intervals for vaccination must be 100% matched from the beginning. The base vaccination (2 shots with interval) has to be done before the pre-quarantine starts. The horse has to be given an additional booster shot of this vaccine approx. 90 - 21 days before the pre quarantine period, no matter if it would be neccessary based on the normal intervals. It is VERY IMPORTANT not to take shortcuts on this vaccination, as this disease is the main reason for the strict OZ quarantine regulation for horses. If anything is not done by the book with this one, your horse will not be allowed to board its flight!
How are horses transported? / What agents are there? / How do horses cope with flying? / Can my horse be put down during flight? / Can I visit my horse during quarantine? / Can I accompany my horse during flight?
1. Normally you will not be able to visit your horse during pre and post quarantine due to strict sanitation procedures. All agents offer full care based on your specifications for your horses during pre and post-quarantine and the
2. Horses are transported in IATA pallets during flight and ground movement, which are similar to horse floats.There is a video showing how horses are shipped around the world:
It is in German, but should still be interesting to watch for everyone.
I have also found a couple of pictures:
3. Horses normally cope well with flying, and all agents very rarely encounter problems. If they encounter them, horses are given a mild sedative and will be fine then. There are a lot of stories on the net that horses have to be put down during flight due to panic, but these are just rumours and there is nothing true about them. No need to worry! Even cases of colic are very rare and are avoided by feeding special feed before the flight. You also do not need to sign an authorization that agents are allowed to put down your horse in flight. These are dumb rumours as well. When you compare a horse float to a plane, the plane is actually much less noisy and far more stable than a standard float. Only the take off and landing is more stressfull.
4. Horses are transported on cargo flights and mixed cargo / passenger flights. Normally pilots take special care during take off and landing and choose very flat landing and starting vectors. Furthermore they try to fly routes with as little turbulence as possible in order to reduce stress for their live cargo.
5. Your horse will be accompanied by professional horse grooms during the flight. I have heard that some agents offer the possibility to take owners as grooms on horse flights. I have read that often these owners are very nervous and are not much of help... :-) We will fully trust our agent with this.
6. There are not many companies who specialize in International horse shipments to OZ. I know of the following ones for UK and Germany:
IRT (International Racehorse Transport) http://www.irt.com
Peden Bloodstock http://www.peden-bloodstock.com/
Guido Klatte International Equine Services http://www.gklatte.de/
Crispin Bennett International http://www.crispinbennett.com/
7. Horses will be fed hay during flight and have access to water. Due to quarantine regulations you should only send the bare neccessities together with the horse. As far as I have understood these items will be destroyed at the end of quarantine. So you have to bring new ones when picking up your horse in Sydney.
8. Taking horse items: All other stuff such as tack and saddlery has to be cleaned (do not get me wrong on this one... cleaned means it has to look brandnew :-) ) and shipped with your other household goods. If customs / quarantine agents will encounter any fur or dirt on them, it will get very expensive as they will "professionally" clean them for you. I have read of charges exceeding 100 AUD per item.
9. GST / As long as you own the horses for more than 1 year before export, you will not be charged any import GST as they are regarded as personal belongings.
10. Insurance / You can insure your horses for quarantine risks and standard health issues / death. This will help if any horse on a consignment fails quarantine, in this case you will be covered for the additional quarantine costs until the consignment gets released (200 AUD per day) and standard vet costs if they get sick during quarantine. In the past if somthing like this happended quarantine clearance for the consignment partially took more than 8 weeks (over 11000 AUD additional cost!!!). So this insurance makes a lot of sense and is very affordable.
11. Our agent supplied us with a contact number of the Sydney quarantine grooms, so that we could call them if we wanted an update on our horses. They have been very nice and I trusted them 100%.
1. The cost of transporting 1 horse to Australia is approx. 16K € / 13K GBP per horse. This price includes everything (pre-quarantine, post-quarantine, transport, all grooming activities, feed etc.). Keep in mind that 3 horses can share a container, which will bring down costs to approx. 14K per horse when you have 3 horses in an own container. Furthermore I would set aside approx. 500 € for tests and other stuff.
I hope that all this information proves to be useful for you, it took me months and countless phonecalls to gather it :-)
Wishing all horse owners the best of luck!
CU all in OZ!
Our horses have arrived in Sydney safely in October. Everything has worked out just as described above. They have both settled in rather easily and really enjoy the good weather. We had to clip one of them since he already had a full winter coat, but that is the only thing that did not work out to plan. :-)
The whole experience of transporting our horses was really excellent and I would not be worried of doing it again!
I have been asked how they cope with the heat and until now I have not noticed that they have been struggling. A lot of the more expensive Oz horses are actually imported from Europe (warm bloods) and they all seem to be doing fine as well. I also did some research on this topic and most of the sources claim that horses can adjust easily to temperature and normally feel fine in a large variety of climate zones. Nevertheless if you ship horses from EUR winter to OZ summer, I would make sure that they are clipped prior to boarding their flight and rugging them for the remainder of their time in EUR... :-)