Transporting precious mares and youngstock takes expert knowledge and care. Horse Deals finds out how the professionals operate this specialist service
Transporting horses safely needs expertise offered by professional “horse taxi” companies with years of experience. And when it comes to delivering youngstock and mares, it takes special knowledge and a proven track record to ensure a stress-free experience. Recommendations from happy customers are always a good starting point.
White Horse Enterprises (www.whitehorse enterprises.co.uk), which has been offering a personalised service since it was established in 2003, is run by Len and Heather White, who have a solid background in breeding and stud work.
“It took about five years to become established in the industry,” says Len, who also runs a small sport horse stud with his wife. “You can advertise until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t have the appropriate knowledge and reputation and maintain high standards, you won’t get the work.”
White Horse is among companies recommended by many vets, professional studs and racehorse yards.
“Most large commercial establishments have their own vehicle, but often call us in so they can get on with the day-to-day running of their business,” says Len. “Many smaller studs and individuals who choose to breed have little use for transport outside the stud season.”
The back of Rosary Transport’s lorries lowers, to make the ramp easier for foals to negotiate
White Horse caters for all types, breeds and age and every care is taken to deliver their precious cargo in top condition.
“Horses must be fit to travel unless they’re being moved on veterinary or welfare grounds,” says Heather. “During transport, foals must have enough space to lie down and are always transported with their mothers. When sold, foals mustn’t be transported until they’re fully weaned or they must be sold with their mothers.”
White Horse prides itself on attention to detail and a personal touch, as Len sums up: “We treat horses as sensitive animals and not parcels.”
Mark and Tricia Gosling, who run Rosary Transport (www.rosaryhorsetransport.com), both own a certificate of competence for transporting horses and offer a five-star care.
“We travel every horse or pony as if it were our own, giving attention to detail in every aspect of safety, comfort and kindness,” says Tricia. “We regard our own horses as part of the family and know our customers think of theirs in the same way.
“Some customers have horses competing to a high level, while others own a riding club pony, breeding stock or old horses and ponies. All are equally important.”
You can advertise until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t maintain high standards, you won’t get the work – Len White
The owners of White Horse Enterprises have their own stud, so are used to handling mares and foals
Nowadays, many people use professional transport companies, some because of the cost of purchasing and maintaining a horsebox themselves or liveries might club together to hire transport, as it’s more cost effective to go to a show or sponsored ride in a group.
From February to June as the breeding season takes off, calls come in to Rosary Transport for mare and foal transportation.
“Some mares are sent to stud to deliver their foal,” says Tricia. “After foaling, both need transporting to their owner. Some mares are sent to a stallion for covering with a foal at foot or there may be veterinary reasons for transporting a mare and foal.”
Whatever the requirements, it’s vital for mare and foal to have a pleasant experience.
“We travel the mare tied and the foal loose, to feed when required. We always supply a deep bed for the foal to lie down and remove all partitions so it can’t get trapped. Mares need to be offered water regularly because they’re producing milk and will in turn keep the foal hydrated.
“All the walls on our lorries are padded and the floor fully rubberised. This exceeds the minimum requirements by law, but experience has shown this is the best way to ensure a safe, uncomplicated journey.
“Mares and foals would always have a helper in the lorry as well as the driver and are monitored on the CCTV system — we have immediate access from the cab to the horse section if needed.
“Our lorries have air suspension, which gives a smooth ride and also lowers the back to make the ramp easier for loading and helps encourage the foal or first-time traveller. It makes sense to travel a foal well because it will grow into a horse that is easy to load and happy to travel.”