Why it costs so much to ship a horse

In this section I will highlight the expenses horse transporters incur and why there is a price difference between transporters and why some can do it for so much less. Before I get started, I would like to say one thing – you get what you pay for.

The difference between “legal” and “illegal” transporters. “Legal” transporters have the proper credentials, i.e., MC Number, DOT Number and insurance which increases their costs of doing business. These transporters are professional transporters and do it full-time. They go through background checks, drug tests and are held to a high standard by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The biggest cost for legal transporters is they are required to have $750,000 in liability insurance. The cost of the insurance varies depending on the transporter. If the transporter is new and does not have a record their insurance is going to be a lot higher than an experienced one. This is like being 16 and you just started driving. The cost of this insurance is around $15,000 a year per truck.

Next is what I like to call the Costco effect. If you are shipping a horse to and from a location where multiple horses are being shipped then your price will be less. This is just like buying in bulk at Costco, the more horses a transporter can fit on their trailer, the lower cost per horse will be.

If you are not shipping a horse to and from a location where multiple horses are being shipped, more than likely your horse will be shipped by a transporter using a pickup and gooseneck trailer with a ramp. 
o Legal transporters will be using dually pickup trucks, they cost about $75,000-$100,000. They will get a new one after about 300,000 miles. 
o Their trailer will be for horses. Yes, there is a difference between a horse trailer and a cattle trailer. Horse trailers are taller, have ramps and have the proper railings to keep horses separated. These trailers cost about $50,000-$60,000 depending on the features and the number of horses they can carry.

Gas – All transporters share this common expense. They will get 4-6 miles per gallon and the cost of diesel will vary from state to state. As I write this, according to AAA the average cost is $2.877 a gallon.

Maintenance – Routine maintenance on a truck and trailer such as tires, oil changes, brakes, and normal wear and tear can be $15,000 a year.

Tolls – While it may be a small amount of the total costs but tolls can add up to $3,000 a year.

Now let’s break down these costs per mile. Assume a transporter drives 125,000 miles a year for easy math. 
• Insurance – $0.12 per mile
• Truck and trailer ownership expense – $0.24 per mile 
• Gas – $0.5754 = ($2.877/5) per mile
• Maintenance – $0.12 per mile
• Tolls – $0.02 per mile
• TOTAL = $1.08 per mile

Keep in mind, they have not paid themselves and this does not cover food and hotel expenses. If you are paying your transporter less than $1.25 a mile you could potentially be using a transporter that is not legal and/or have an incorrect or old and worn out truck and trailer. Like I said at the beginning, you get what you pay for.

By: - Worlds Leading Mobile App Horse Transportation Company Connecting Owners, Trainers, & Drivers