We’re tapping the experts in transporting horses to get the answers to your real-life shipping questions. Here, Brook Ledge Horse Transportation’s Andrea Gotwals Boone weighs-in.
Q: “I’m a self-confessed, OCD horse owner (guilty as charged) and my gelding is moving across the country next month. I’m shipping him commercially and I’m worried about him being on the road for multiple days at a time — how can I check-in on him?”
-Jackie S., N.H.
A: Trust us, Jackie, we get it! It’s hard to put your horse into someone else’s care, and especially for something as major as a drive from coast to coast. From the shipper’s point of view, our general rule of thumb is, if the horse’s trip isn’t longer than a day, there’s usually no need to check-in. On our route from New York to Florida, for example, we’ll pick up on a Tuesday and deliver on Wednesday. In commercial, horse-shipping terms, that is considered a normal, one-day distance, and really, a pretty fast trip!
On the other hand, if your horse is on a 2- to 3-day journey like you describe, that’s a different story. At Brook Ledge, you can call our office and we can contact the drivers and get an update for you, and we’ll let you know where they’re located en route. That said, we typically don’t give out our drivers’ numbers for two main reasons: one, we don’t want them being distracted by customer calls, and two, our employees co-drive, which means that one is sleeping while the other is driving. Since our drivers don’t get to sleep the normal hours that most of us enjoy, the last thing we want to do is wake them up during a designated rest period. In general, you can be assured that we’re closely connected with our teams on the road throughout the day, and as an owner, the rule of ‘no news is good news’ very much applies!
One more thing we like to let owners know (since in our industry, there tends to be a lot of cooks in the kitchen), if you’re the owner and you are not the contact listed at the pick-up or delivery point, you’ll want to make sure that your contacts there know to give you a call to update you on your horse’s departure/arrival, and any other news from the road. Why don’t we always call the owner? Basically, the number of people involved with each horse on our trucks can be extensive, and it’s important that we try to simplify things wherever we can.
To give you some perspective, if there are 10 horses on one truck, that means there are already 20 people who need to be notified at our departure and arrival points. We have about 50 trucks on the road on any given day, so that’s A LOT of phone calls — 1,000 to be exact — and it doesn’t even include routine calls to our drivers, agents, and our Florida and Kentucky offices. Granted, there are usually less than 10 horses on each truck every day (phew!), but that’s still a lot of calls to make. Long story short: we greatly appreciate the little things our clients can do to organize their own contacts at either end of the line!