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Let’s Go Ridin’ – for May. 14, 2009

If you own horses, chances are you sell some from time to time. With the aid of the World Wide Web, your horses can now be accessible to international buyers, particularly in the U. S. Selling them may be the easy part, but exporting them can be a whole other ball game.

If you’ve done it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I thought I would give you some tips on where to start and what is required to export a horse from Canada to the U. S.

First off, you should know that if the value of the horse is more than $2,000, you are required to use a broker to export it. Anything under that amount, you can export it yourself. Or if you choose to use a commercial carrier, they will have a broker and will handle most of the paperwork for you.

Regardless, you will need a current negative Coggins test on the horse, and an export certificate signed by a federal vet. The Coggins is valid for 60 days, while the export certificate is only valid for 30 days so keep that in mind when deciding on the export date. You should also have all vaccinations done well in advance, as you cannot vaccinate a horse within two weeks of the export date.

If you are taking the horse across the border, you need to fill out a U. S. Customs and Border Protection Form 7523, which is a “Merchandise Free of Duty” form and carrier’s certificate and release. You can get help filling out this form by calling a toll-free number in Washington, and you can find this number on the Customs and Border Protection website, under Border Services. You can also download this form from the website.

You will need a copy of the bill of sale, stating the value of the horse and a description, including age, gender and purpose of the horse, i. e. pleasure, breeding, etc. If the horse is registered, a copy of the registration papers is helpful. The name and social security number of the buyer is required as well.

That pretty much takes care of the paperwork for the horse. Beyond that, you will need something called an “SCAC code” if you are transporting the horse yourself. It is a Standard Carrier Alpha Code issued by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association Inc., info available at www.nmfta.org.You will need to apply for this ahead of time at a cost of US$55 and it is valid for one year.

You also require an E-Manifest filed ahead of time, either through a broker for a fee, or you can do it yourself online at www.cbp.gov.The manifest must show among other things, all passengers on board when you cross. If not, you will not get across. Also, if the manifest shows a passenger and he is not on board, (perhaps he changed his mind at the last minute), that could also cause problems.

There are a lot of costs associated with exporting a horse – the Coggins test, a fee for the federal vet to sign the export paper, the SCAC code as mentioned to name a few. When you arrive at the border crossing, there is a charge of US$10.75, not sure if this is per horse or per vehicle. Then the horse will need to have a vet inspection, US$29. Keep in mind that you must cross at a port where vet services are available, and you must give the vet office 24 hours’ notice of when you will cross.

You should allow a minimum of one hour to get through the border crossing, as you will have to fill out another form when you get there, and then wait in line for the vet inspection. If you have all your paperwork in order, you shouldn’t have any problems, but if there is any little thing missing, you may have a long wait ahead of you. This is why many people use a commercial carrier, and avoid most of the headaches.

One more piece of advice when you return through Canadian Customs, do not go through the semi-truck lane, they really don’t like that. It is for commercial goods carriers only.

So, if you think all of this is worth the effort, go ahead and sell your horse to the U. S., and best of luck to you!

Till next time, stay in the saddle, and never say whoa in a bad spot!

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