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How Much Does It Cost to Import a Horse from Europe?

Do you want to know how much it cost to import a horse from Europe? If YES, here are 6 factors that will influence the cost of importing a horse from Europe.

When it comes to analyzing the cost of importing a horse from Europe into the United States, there’s a wide variance in what you might pay to get that dream horse. For instance, it is more costly to import mares and stallions than it is to bring a gelding into the country, due to the quarantine requirements and costs in the U.S.

Airport fees can also differ as do ground transportation costs. However, as a ballpark figure of importing a horse from Europe to the U.S., you should expect to spend between $7,000 and $10,000, although it is worth noting that the cost comes down if several horses are travelling together.

When importing a horse, it is very advisable that you employ the services of a reputable, full – service transportation company that specializes in moving horses.

Note that a good horse transportation company will arrange a full shipping service for you, including all the administrative elements, quarantine, vet testing, air and road transport, customs, and any other requirements in the exporting country, transit countries (if appropriate), and the final destination country.

All these costs mentioned above should normally be included in the price you’re quoted for importing the horse. Nonetheless, you should understand that not every transportation company includes extended quarantine fees, additional customs charges, and trucking fees are not always included in the costs.

Also note that you can keep the cost down by piggy-backing onto a shipment of horses. Even though your horse will be travelling as an individual, you may want to share the cost by having him included in a shipment of racehorses or competition animals en route to an overseas event.

Importing a single horse to Los Angeles from Spain would cost roughly $9,000. That would include all pre – export tests and paperwork, trucking to the airport of departure, groom fees to travel with your horse, air freight to Los Angeles, import clearance and handling plus three days import quarantine.

Have it in mine that extended quarantine for mares and stallions, customs fees and trucking to the final destination are not included.

Once your horse arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), it must be cleared by international customs. However, with today’s technology it usually goes quickly. Custom officials require copies of the shipping documents that include the country of origin, a health certificate, passport and purchase invoice for each horse.

Also based on the value of the horse, a merchandise – processing fee (MPF) is usually charged (approximately .35 percent).

If additional items, such as riding equipment, are imported, the customs procedure might even take longer. All horses that land at LAX are transferred to Jet Pets in nearby Playa del Rey for three – day import quarantine, which is mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

During this time, horses undergo blood testing for four diseases (dourine, glanders, infectious anaemia and piroplasmosis) and general health exams. They are confined to a box stall and can only be seen by veterinarians, USDA officials and attending staff.

If the blood – test results come out negative, geldings, colts and fillies under 2 are released. However, additional quarantine for Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) is required for mares and stallions over 2 years of age (15 days minimum for mares and 33 days for stallions). Horses that have positive test results cannot enter the U.S. and must be returned to the country of export.

Note that the process of importing a horse from Europe is not as complicated as one might think, although it is indeed daunting (and expensive) than driving across the state to pick up a new horse in your two horse trailer. Here are some approximate costs and things that will influence the overall cost of importing your dream horse from Europe.

Factors That Will Influence The Cost Of Importing A Horse From Europe

  1. Blood Work

When shopping internationally, your pre – purchase exam is expected to include some essential blood work for export. Horses are expected to be confirmed negative for Piroplasmosis, Glanders, Dourine, CEM and EIA in order to arrive in the United States.

  1. European Ground Transport

Just the same way a horse bought in the states has to make it to your barn, your new horse will require transportation to a facility before export.

This horse will be collected from its home stable two to four days before the scheduled flight. This offers the government vet enough time to make health and export papers prior to departure. European ground transport and horse hotel is more or less included in your horse’s flight to the US.

  1. Flying Home

At this point, the horse will be transported to the KLM Animal Hotel the morning of its flight and loaded onto its pallet. Note that a standard pallet holds three horses, but you have the option to ship your horse in a stall and a half (two horses per pallet), or a box stall (one horse per pallet) for an extra fee.

Have it in mind that this cost tends to vary by destination and depending on if your horse is a mare, gelding or stallion. Also note that the cost can also change based on KLM’s fuel costs. Spring 2019 costs for geldings are €5,900 ($6,700) to LAX and €5,520 ($6,250) to MIA or JFK. For mares and stallions, it is €6,200 ($7,025) to LAX and €5,820 ($6,600) to MIA or JFK.

  1. USDA Quarantine

Also, do not forget that all imported horses spend their first 24 hours on US Soil in USDA Quarantine. If you bought a gelding, then this is your last step before taking delivery. Mares and stallions transit from USDA Quarantine to CEM Quarantine, which is explained below. Cost for USDA quarantine is $3,250 for mares, stallions and geldings.

  1. CEM Quarantine

CEM is renowned as a sexually transmitted disease in horses. Before flying, your horse will be confirmed negative, but the US takes the extra precaution of quarantine. Mares spend 15 days in CEM Quarantine, while stallions stay for 33.

Note that during CEM Quarantine, mares are cultured and tested for CEM several times. Stallions are also cultured and tested. Coupled with the cultures stallions are required to live cover two mares, and those mares are tested. Cost for CEM quarantine is $3,400 for mares and $9,700 for stallions.

  1. Finally Getting Home

At this point, after all the mandatory quarantine has been completed, your new horse is ready to go home. Since Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) and Miami (MIA) are the three major airports that handle imported horses, you will have to arrange shipping from quarantine at those three central locations. Shipping rates depend on the distance and the provider.

Sourcing a horse from abroad is not an endeavour you should undertake without first seeking the advice of a trusted expert. Before making a commitment to buying a horse, you must expect to spend time and money travelling around, trying different horses, and getting to know a selection of breeders too.