What Documents Do I Need to Travel With my Horse?
by Rachel Beetz DVM
In the United States anytime you cross state lines you are required by law to have a current negative coggins and health certificate on each horse that is traveling with you. This is true whether you are traveling for a horse show, trail ride, or relocation. Some states, such as Florida, require you to stop at the agriculture inspection station when both entering and exiting the state. Florida is very stringent about horses importing and exporting and will check your paperwork closely. Other states do not have actual stations to stop at, but you may be pulled over at any time and asked to present the health documents.
A coggins is a simple blood test that only a USDA accredited veterinarian
can collect and submit. The blood test is looking for the disease Equine
Infectious Anemia. Most states will consider a coggins current if it has
been performed in the last 12 months; however, some shows and facilities
require the coggins test to be performed more frequently. It is important
that you always check the requirements of your final destination as to the
health paper requirements.
Once you have a negative coggins test, a USDA accredited veterinarian must examine the horses that will be traveling to establish that they are free
of disease. After the exam the USDA accredited veterinarian will fill out
a health certificate. This health certificate is good for 30 days from the date the horses were inspected. Some states have developed a 6 month health certificate. This certificate establishes reciprocity of health certificates so you can travel frequently with your horses and not have to get a health certificate every 30 days. This 6 month health certificate or Equine Interstate Event Permit is not applicable in all states. Contact your veterinarian to learn more about this option or visit USDA APHIS.
It is imperative that you check with your final destination to see if they
have any other special requirements, in addition to the negative coggins
test and health certificate. Some such requirements could be vaccine
records, a more current coggins (example: less than 6 months), or a more
current health certificate (example: less than 10 days). Some western
states will also require your horse to have a brand inspection, even if
they don’t have a brand. The purpose of this is to provide proof of
ownership. Lifetime brand inspection certificates are available in some