Bringing Roger Home

We’ve been searching for a new horse for Wee for about a year, and down south this winter, we were presented with two prospects. After an agonizing decision process, (for I rather fell in love with both of them), we decided on a 7-year-old Quarter Horse sorrel gelding with the unlikely handle of Who Ripped It.

In the cutting world, horses lose their value as they age, with the six-year-old year a critical point, being it’s the last year their riders can compete with them in the aged events. This leads to a population of great competitive horses (particularly geldings) priced well; a beneficial trickle-down effect for those on the look-out for a good competitive weekend horse, or in my case, youth horse.

Who Ripped It, or “Roger” has significant lifetime earnings, a good record of soundness and importantly, he seems to possess a kind heart and laid-back attitude. The kind of horse who will “pack” little Wee, hopefully through many years of cutting.

Roger was living at Mike Wood Performance Horses, and Wee got to try him out there a few times before we decided he was the right fit.

The process was welcoming and supportive. We were encouraged to come and ride him as much as we liked and we did so, as we worked through the idea of buying him in our minds, and hearts.

Mike Wood is a professional cutting horse rider, trainer and coach with over $650,000 in National Cutting Horse Association earnings. With many non-pros, amateurs and youth boarding and lessoning at MWPH, it’s a bustling training facility.

Yet, with all of the activity, Mike always carved out the time to see Wee. That is just the kind of guy he is. He rode with her each time she tried Roger out, observing her and helping this beginner cutter find her comfort zone on the back of a high-powered horse. There was some flipping and flopping, but it didn’t take long to see that this youth/horse combination had some promise.

See what I mean about packing her? This might have been the moment that signalled the nudge that produced the decisive, “yep, he’s the one.”

We went through this tryout phase in February, completed the pre-purchase and buy process from back in Alberta, and so when we returned for Easter break in Arizona, Roger was ready for Wee to lesson on and show!

And, so she did.

We had such a great time showing with the MWPH crew at the Arizona Cutting Horse Association April show in Queen Creek, Arizona. The show was fantastically run, and we really appreciated the welcoming support from everyone at the show. (more on that later!)

But, this post is really about what I learned about importing a horse to Canada. While it’s far from comprehensive, you might find any of these points useful.

1) Your horse will need Export health papers, and a Coggins certificate. Both are completed by a veterinarian prior to export. The former is good for 30 days. As for the Coggins, the horse must have tested negative for EIA (Coggins or ELISA test) within the last six months. Allow at least a week for this paperwork to be completed.

2) Hauling commercially, expect to pay anywhere from $900 to $1,200 to bring a horse across the border from points south. Roger already had a ride back with our other two horses, but we did check out a few prices with reputable haulers.

3) If possible, steer clear of New Mexico and Texas. Go as far as to keep your gas receipts so you can, if necessary, prove your travel path didn’t lead through those states. This is due to the prevalence of contagious equine metritis (CEM) there. According to what I read on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website, if the horse you are buying or bringing up originates from New Mexico or Texas, you will need an Import Permit. Remember this may take a bit of time to obtain.

In case you want the links for Import Permits, they can be found here:
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And, info about the permits can be found at this link: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/imp/perme.shtml
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(*Interestingly enough, CEM is a sexually transmitted disease. Even though Roger is a gelding, if he had been in New Mexico or Texas, I would still would be required to have an import permit.)
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Also, the issue of Piroplasmosis is a big concern for horses that have been in Texas. There are special considerations for bringing a horse back to Canada that has previously been in the state. Blood must be taken and papers must be drawn up and approved – and there are strict time regulations for how long those papers are valid afterwards.  Meeting those requirements and crossing the border within the allowed time frame requires careful planning.

4) Make sure you have an original Bill of Sale with the driver.

5) If you aren’t accompanying the driver, be sure to have a Power or Attorney form signed and with the driver. This letter simply states that you know the horse is travelling with said driver and you’ve entrusted this person to bring the horse across the border for you.

6) Be sure the Bill of Sale papers and the health documents are all in the same name. We initially considered putting the health papers in Dean’s name since he was the driver, and the health papers for the other two horses were already in his name. The federal vet at the CFIA strongly advised against this and recommended we put Roger’s in mine, mirroring the Bill of Sale.

7) Consider brokering the horse across. Customs officials seem less concerned about a horse which arrives this way. This does add cost to the process. I might not have done this if I were transporting Roger back myself, but because someone else is, I decided to broker him. I used a company accustomed to brokering horses, and with an office at the Coutts, Alberta crossing (where Roger will be passing through). The cost was $236.25, plus they collected the GST due on the horse. (yes, you will have to pay GST when buying a horse in the U.S.A. and importing him).

8) Check the federal vet hours at your border crossing, to be sure the office will be open when you arrive. Better yet, call them and make an appointment. Otherwise, you may have to sit and wait until he has time to bring you in.

As I pen this Roger is about an hour from the border. I hope I’ve crossed all my t’s and dotted the i’s, but I won’t post this until after he crosses, just in case there are further “lessons” to be gleaned (and shared!).

Fingers crossed. . .

 

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