Can Horses Travel by Plane? (Detailed Guide With Expenses)

Every year, around 5,000 horses air travel overseas with equine transporting corps. The protocols of horse transportation are pretty complex as every country has a different set of rules.

Despite the high air travel rate, the majority of the folks don’t know how it works. More specifically, can horses travel by horses?

Yes, horses can travel but on the Cargo plans. Cargo planes have jet stalls that keep the horses safe throughout the flight. Yet, the process requires paperwork and preparation. Before transporting a horse overseas, you need to pass it through different procedures.

How exactly does horse travel by plane?

Not much rocket science defines how exactly a horse travels by plane. What happens is;

A shipping agent picks up your horse from the home and drops it at the airport. Here, an expert veterinarian passes your horse several blood works, then loads it in the van. The van finally loads the horse in the plane- ready to take off.

By reading, this process is like cutting a cake piece and eating with a fork. Yet, the reality is a bit different. This whole process takes several hours to complete.

The presence of expert veterinarians is necessary; to make sure no health problems occur.

Preparations you need for horse air traveling!

Just the way you prepare for traveling, here are the things you need to do for your horses.

1. Pre-preparations

The pre-preparation list is pretty extended for transporting horses by air traveling. Before entering any country, you have to fulfill the requirement list. First, you need to pass your horse through several tests.

If you are exporting or importing horses for sports events, specific vaccinations are also required. Besides that, horses need to complete the quarantine period before air traveling.

Make sure your horse is in its best shape, has no sleeping disorders, and eats aptly. It depends on the country the horse is entering about what vaccinations are required.

All blood samples will be sent to the border for screening. Upon approval, your horse is all set to proceed further.

2. When leaving

So the departure date is here. You do not need to load your horses in your van and drop them off at the airport. Instead, the shipping agents will come to take your horses to the airport.

When reaching the airport, horses are loaded in a van for detailed inspection. A veterinarian will come to check whether horses are having fever or not before leaving.

Upon cancellation of flight due to weather conditions or any other, the horses are sent back to their stalls (rather than being stuck at the airport).

After the health checkup is done, the van will load the horses on the plane. Some air companies might ask horses to walk up to the plane.

3. En route

For this, you need to be very attentive. Whatever your horses prefer eating throughout the day, you need to tell the shipping agent. In general, the jet stall has net hay in front.

Sometimes shipping agents do not have a variety of fodders (they mostly use timothy or alfalfa). It is advisable to provide specific hay to the shipping agent to prevent disturbance in the dieting plan.

Ask the shipping agents to ensure the horses are well hydrated throughout the flight. Ask them to provide the preferred hay yet in less quantity. Also, the cargo should be cool to keep the horse happy and comfy.

4. When reaching

The last flight preparation protocol is to check the detailing at the arrival. Most horse owners prefer presenting at the arrival time- so they can handle their horses in their way.

Before handing over your horse to you, a veterinarian will check the hydration level, temperature, attitude, and appetite; even before arrival, daily urine and blood tests are recommended to make sure the output is standard.

After getting your horse, isolate it for 7-10 days to reduce the chances of illness spreading. During the quarantine period, call a veterinarian to have a detailed inspection.

Things you should know before transporting horses by air!

Here is the list of things you should be careful about before transporting your horses by air.

1. Traveling gears

The major traveling gear required is traveling horseshoes. Consider putting them at home instead of at the airport. Check the temperature of the country your horse is arriving at.

If the current temperature is in winter and the arriving country has summer, remove the extra weather layers to prevent overheating and stress.

2. The stalls

Just like we travel in business and first-class, the same equation applies to horses. Depending on your budget, book a stall for your horse. The business class will have two horses/ stall, while the first-class offers one horse/ stall.

3. The staff

Don’t you want your horses to have VIP protocol while air traveling? While finalizing the contract with the shipping agent, ask him about the team he offers. Have a meet-up with the staff.

Ask them how they will take care of your horses.

4. Loading up process

This factor is of crucial importance. A wrong loading up process can cause a slight fever to horses which lasts throughout the flight.

Ask the shipping agent to load the horses via vans instead of walking them up to the plane.

5. Feeding

As discussed earlier, the diet plan shouldn’t be disturbed at any cost. You have two options; whether to pay extra for the preferred horses’ fodder. Or provide them the hay yourself if you think they will compromise on the quality.

6. Quarantine

Quarantine is a must; before and after air travel. The least to isolate your horses is seven days. However, much better if you go for three weeks.

During quarantine, make sure your horse is separate from others, don’t go too close to the horse, and have weekly blood tests.

How much does it cost to transport a horse by plane?

Once you decide you will transport a horse by plane before the next sports event, the next thing that will come across your way is the cost.

Transporting animals overseas is colossal accountability. Whoever takes the responsibility has to be responsible for the on-flight checkups and health conditions.

The cost of transporting a horse by air depends on the mode of traveling, several test checks, destination, and the equine transporting company you opt for. An average cost is $2000-10,000 for an overseas one-way flight.

The reason for the high rates of transportation is the horses’ size and the traveling protocols they necessitate. The sensitive nature of the horses makes it hard for the shipping agents to handle them.

That is why they hire professionals for the job (of course, they are costly).


How do you transport a horse on a plane?

Here is the procedure for transporting a horse on a plane;

  • Hire a shipping agent and book a cargo plane.
  • Pass your horse through vaccinations and blood tests and isolate it.
  • The agent will drop your horse at the airport for the last tests, then lastly load it on the plane.
  • After reaching the destination, again isolate the horse and take it wherever you want.

What airlines fly horses?

It depends on which country you belong to. The most famous cargo airlines include UPS, Tax Sutton, and FedEx. Tax Sutton is the first-ever air equine transporting company to ship horses overseas.

Are horses sedated for air travel?

Horses are not sedated for air travel as it will result in falling on the floor and getting injuries. As an alternative, horses remain active throughout the flight to maintain body balance against gravity.


As it is the time of the year, make sure to participate in the sports event with your best horse. Undoubtedly the process is hectic but is necessary to air travel horses.

What you need to do is, make sure your horse is clear with all bloodwork and vaccinations. If you detect flight fever in your horse, consider canceling the flight before it worsens the situation.

Keep in touch with the shipping agent to know your horse is doing and eating well. Give extra guidance to not compromise on the diet plan and quality. A body hydration level test is also needed to be checked.

Try to be present at the arrival time to handle your horse effortlessly and calm him down in the unknown place. Lastly, when you reach the sports event, ensure to give your best.