Thursday, 25 August 2011

How did the horses cross the ocean?

It's not a joke so no punchline I'm afraid! and it's really not an issue that most people, even those with horses, need to look into very often. But the truth is that there's a lot more involved in moving horses, especially long distance, than you may imagine.

"You're taking us where?"
The journey itself needs careful planning. Every stage needs to be thought out and an itinerary written up with each stage, stopping point, distance and time to be travelled. Of course the stopping points need to be organised before and confirmed to make sure that the horses will have somewhere to stay and that they are expected. Then there is a vet certificate for the horses and for the disinfection of the trailer and finally a certificate from the regional department of agricultural and the acceptance of the equivalent department in the region where the horses are to be taken. I'm not sure if this is in every country but we had to do the same to bring the horses from France to Spain as we did to take them from Tenerife to the mainland.

Our carriage awaits!
Then to take them by cargo ship to the mainland we had to do the paperwork for the transport company and customs - and then more customs paperwork once we arrived in Cadíz! The good thing is that it's all experience and next time, although I imagine it'll be the same, we'll know exactly where to go and in which order each part has to be done.

The cargo ship takes approximately 3 days from Tenerife to Cádiz and, fortunately for us, it was a new ship and the accomodation was perfect. The meals were provided by the ships' chef and we had permanent access to the horses during the whole trip. There wasn't much else on board except for the dining room with a seating area and a TV but to be honest we were more than happy to spend the time with the horses and time passed quickly.

Our departure was on a Friday afternoon and we arrived in Cádiz port on Monday morning. The horses were calm when we arrived and we then had to make the journey to the riding club in Madrid.

It's a lot to organise and we were constantly supervising the horses during the trip but there is no greater satisfaction than having them with us - so it was definitely worth the effort!

Hasta pronto!


  1. It sounds like there is a lot of work involved in moving them. This is the first time I have seen your horses, they look nice from what I can see, may I ask what breed they are?

  2. The black mare (the one you can see most in the photos) is a Dutch warmblood and the other one is an hispano-arab. They are the apple of my eye - as I'm sure yours are to you!