horse and handlers preparing for travel

Leaving the Farm

If your horse is showing signs of illness, do not leave the property unless you are transporting the horse to a veterinary clinic.

Make sure the barn manager has a record of where you are going, when you are leaving, and when you are returning. If the destination is far from your farm, research potential risks in that area, such as endemic diseases (which are common in that area), current outbreaks, and different types of parasites that may be present.

Before your horse enters the trailer, it should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. This excerpt from the AAEP General Biosecurity Guidelines (PDF) gives clear instructions on how to clean and disinfect trailers properly:

“Horse trailers and vans should be cleaned and disinfected between uses even if there is no known risk of disease. In general, protocols for cleaning stalls can be adapted to the cleaning of trailers and vans. Mats should be removed to allow wood plank floors to dry. Surfaces around the feeders and cross ties should be given special consideration due to contact with potentially infectious nasal secretions.”

It is much safer to trailer your horse only with horses from the same property rather than horses from other farms. 

Leaving the Farm Key Points

  • Only transport your horse when he or she is healthy.
  • Make sure your barn’s manager has records of your travel plans.
  • Look into health risks in the area you are visiting.
  • Only load your horse onto a clean and disinfected trailer.
  • Try to trailer your horse alone or only with horses from the same property.

Returning to the Farm

If your horse has been exposed to or has contracted an infectious disease, stay at your travel destination until you are released. If you are leaving to keep your horse safe from disease (for example, if there is an active outbreak, but your horse hasn’t been exposed), have a veterinarian examine your horse and issue a CVI 72 hours or less before arrival. When you return, your horse should be quarantined at your farm. The length of quarantine will depend on the pathogen’s incubation period.

Even if you had no disease exposure or active outbreaks while traveling, your horse will still need to be quarantined from the rest of the herd, especially if you interacted with horses from other farms. This quarantine period should last at least one to two weeks and should follow the same protocols as when you first moved to the farm. 


Returning to the Farm Key Points

  • Do not leave your travel destination if your horse has been infected.
  • Quarantine your horse when you arrive back to your home farm from travelling.