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PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PAGE WAS WRITTEN IN 2004 AND IS OUT OF DATE. The current exchange rate is around 1.55 as of May 2008. The cost to import a horse is now $10-12k for mares and more for stallions.
After extensive research we went to Spain at the end of February 2004 and again in September 2004 to look at horses for sale. We have developed PRE-Imports as a result of our travels to help other people import horses from Spain. We have had lot of new experiences and have certainly learned a LOT. It is more economical when you buy horses in groups. We have made friends in Spain, developed a lot of contacts with farms, breeders and agents and have a large range of horses for sale at any time. Also, by combining the shipping it is cheaper for our clients and ourselves to ship horses to the USA. I have found that it is a lot of work to import but I truly enjoy the people in Spain and searching all over horses horses for sale. If you wonder what our commission is - it is usually around 5%. Not much of a mark up. At the end of 2005 we expect to have imported between 10-15 horses.
This page contains some information that I have spent hours and hours researching. It should help you learn more and give you a starting place with links for more information on importing. You will find more information on farms (yeguadas), interpreters, etc on the Spain Links page.
If you are interested in importing please contact me.
(*Note: this information is to the best of my knowledge and is F.Y.I. only. It should not be used as your sole basis for your decisions. A LOT of research has been done to add all of the links below. If they become outdated or become bad links please e-mail me. Any of the content or links may be outdated. It was current at the time I created this page. The content on this page is not guaranteed to be current or correct and you should investigate on your own and weigh the risks and cost of importing and make your own decisions. I will provide the links to the sites that I found information on.)
After you select your horse you will want to do a pre-purchase vet exam (300-400 Euros) on the horse and test for Piro (approx. $200). You dealer will probably require a 10-20% down payment that is refundable if the horse does not pass his exam or tests positive for Piroplasmosis. Your horse will then need to be transported form the farm to the Spanish quarantine location in Madrid where it will stay for approximately 3 weeks. From there it will need to be transported (in a sealed container if it is under the CEM Exemption) to the area of shipping - usually Amsterdam. (The cost for the quarantine in Spain and the transport from there to be flown, and the flight to the US is approx. $5500-$6300 EUROS - multiply by current exchange rate to get USD.) After shipping by air freight it will arrive in either, Florida, California, or New York. There it will remain in mandatory quarantine for 3 days (approx. cost of $850 if it shows no signs of sickness and can be released in 3 days). Current pricing for using a shipping agent is $1700-2100 USD for the 3-day quarantine in the USA. If your horse is under 731 days old you can take it home at this point. If it is over 731 days and has the proper documents proving that is has not been bred then you may also take it home. If it has been breed or is over 731 days and does NOT have the proper documents then you will have to have the horse transported from the U.S. quarantine station in a sealed container to a CEM quarantine testing facility of your choice. You can pick your horse up and transport it yourself in a "sealed" container. Contact the N.Y. Quarantine facility for details. There are more than 10 sates that do this testing and the prices vary a lot. Some of the CEM Quarantine stations will pick up the horse at the NY 3-day quarantine facility and transport it for you to their facility. Or you can arrange with your transport broker to have it done.
Total Transport Costs: Current rates run around $8-11k USD for mares (Stallions can run as high as 1$4k) USD total costs depending on if you need CEM quarantine, etc...
Read the Regulations for Importing - read parts 93.300 - 93.315 read parts 93.300 - 93.315
Some things that you will need to know about importing from Spain:
Unfortunately for us the cost of the US dollar is weakening. This makes importing more expensive and buying in Spain with the Euro more expensive. Back in Jauary 2000 the exchange rate was about equal (1.00700).
On May 2005 the exchange rate is about $1.35 USD buys $1.00 Euro. So, you can take the cost in Euros and multiply by 1.35 to get the approximate exchange rate. You can click this link to get a current exchange rate. USD = U.S. Dollar and EUR = Euro.
Example: $10,000 Euros = $12,331 USD the exchange rate on 3/23/04 was 1.23310
Cost can vary greatly depending on whether you decide to use a broker, the cost of the horse, where the horse is located, the cost of the horse, and the age of the horse. Not figuring in the cost of the actual horse - a guesstimate on importing costs is about $7100 to get the horse to N.Y. ($8200 to CA) + ADD IN CEM quarantine - an additional $1500-2000 for mares and $2500-5000 for stallions. Also, if they should test positive you can just about double or more the cost of the CEM quarantine for treatment and re-testing. It is much advised to get the horse treated for CEM in Spain before it is shipped (if possible) since the cost is less.
You will want to have the horse tested for at least Piroplasmosis (Piro) before you purchase it.
If you want to have the horse tested only in Spain before it is shipped - it is up to you. Personally I would prefer to have the exact same lab do the testing that will be determining if the horse should be rejected from import to the US. In this case, the samples should be sent to The Ames, Iowa laboratory to be tested. This is the same lab that will do the tests while the horse is in quarantine in the US. If you would like to have the horse tested for Glanders, Dourine, EIA and Piro the 4 tests will cost approximately $41 USD. You can have them tested in Germany for about $160 Euros. The specimen needs to be shipped overnight to the Iowa Lab. You will need to contact the lab and have them fax you a One-Time Specimen Import Permit so that the blood may be imported to the US to be tested. You will also need to fill out the 10-4 form (Specimen Submission Form) to send with the sample. If you use your credit card for payment and use your own name and fax number for the Submitter then the results will be sent directly to you.
Directions for the 10-4 form.
Directions for collecting and shipping the specimen.
Directions for Labeling and packaging of specimens.
Shipping address and how to mail.
Authorizations for sending specimens to Ames testing facility (Call Ames to get the Import Permit (515) 663-7212). They are open M-F only.
Read about the testing procedures & import diseases.
Piro - treatment
Glanders - the disease
Dourine - the disease
CEM - the disease
EIA - the disease (This is what they test for with the Coggins test)
Bacteriology does the CF (compliment Fixation) test for Piro and their number directly is 515-663-7563. They were supposed to start using the more sensitive ELISA (Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) test in February but have not switched over yet. With a more sensitive test you will have fewer (false negative) horses testing negative before shipping and then testing positive after they are shipped because they get stressed and start producing more antibodies to the disease. If you want to get both tests done you can request that the ELISA test also be done in addition to the CF for Piro on the 10-4 Form. I think the additional cost is only $18.
Ames Iowa Testing Facility 515-663-7212
Your horse will need to be transported form the farm to the Spanish quarantine location. From there it will need to be transported in a sealed container to the area of shipping (usually Amsterdam). After shipping by air freight it will arrive in either, Florida, California, or New York. There it will remain in mandatory quarantine for 3 days. If your horse is under 731 days old you can take it home at this point. If it is over 731 days and has the proper documents proving that is has not been bred then you may also take it home. If it has been breed or is over 731 days and does NOT have the proper documents then you will have to have the horse transported in a sealed container to a CEM quarantine testing facility. There are more than 10 sates that do this testing and the prices vary a lot.
AATA - Animal Transport association (US)
AATA - links page. Many links to US government agencies, including the Dept. of Agriculture, and also foreign links to Dept. of Agriculture
Spain Transport Broker (not a sales broker) firstname.lastname@example.org
International Transport Companies:
Mersant - door to door services including CEM arrangements
Edgar Heyn - Individual broker provides shipping from Madrid to N.Y.. PLEASE contact him directly for a quote and exactly what is included or excluded from the quote. (Does not include US quarantine or expenses, insurance, or transportation TO Madrid from the farm. Suggests that you get an agent in the USA to handle that and can refer you to someone.)
Mersant - gave a very competitive quote.
- based out of Pilot Point, TX. Offers very competitive rates if
your dates are flexible. Cost to coast, single horse shipments, door to door.
East coast, west coast, Florida, and N. Central shipments.
International Horse Transporters, Ltd. - Between Canada & the USA
Animals by Air, Inc. ANIMALS BY AIR, INC. P.O. Box 60941 AMF, Houston, Texas 77205 Shelagh Mason Tel: (281) 358-7960 Fax: (281) 358-7997 Cell: (281) 989-6034
Texas Cowboy Express - based out of Houston, TX servicing all of the USA. 254-379-3844, 281-731-1036 . 254- 379-3844, 281-731-1036
Grand Champion Horse Transportation - based out of Montana. Nationwide service & W. Canada. No additional charge for overnight stabling. A discount is offered for multiple horses on the same trailer and for reserving 30 days in advance. Credit cards accepted.
Quarantine in Spain
The normal location for quarantine is Madrid, Spain. Horses are normally transported in a sealed container to Amsterdam and then shipped to the country of import. The testing includes: CEM testing, Dourine, Piroplasmosis, Glanders, EIA (Equine Infections Anemia)
Quarantine in the US
Horses entering USA from abroad must meet two separate
New York (
You MUST reserve space for your horse(s) before shipping and must pay in FULL to reserve your space. There are cancellation fees fro cancellations less than 31 days advanced notice. The fees are 25-100% of the reservation cost. Import Permit Fees Import Permit
Before entry into the USA, the horse must be quarantined upon arrival and must be accompanied by an International Health Certificate, endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture of Country of Origin of the Animal. The horse must arrive into the USA with no visible signs of communicable disease, skin rashes, or infections of any kind.
Tests that must be negative before horses are allowed past quarantine.
If a horse tests POSITIVE for any of these diseases then the owner, at his expense, will have to immediately make arrangements to export the horse back to the country of origin, or agree to have the USDA euthanize the animal. *NOTE - your mortality insurance will NOT pay a claim on this basis because you have the option to return the horse to the country of origin at your expense.
USDA charges a minimum of $792.00 for a three day stay regardless of whether the horses stay one, two or three days. After the minimum three day stay, should horses be held in quarantine, the charge is $191.00 per day from days 4 through 7 and $162.00 per day from days 8 and over.
Stallions require a longer CEM quarantine, lasting four to six weeks, during which time they must breed two test mares by live cover.
CEM (Contagious Equine Metritis) Quarantine Testing
CEM Quarantine Testing Facilities in the US
Please check with each Quarantine station for current pricing.
CEM exemption from testing in the US
If your horse is under 731 days old you can take it home at this point. If it is over 731 days and has the proper documents proving that is has not been bred then you may also take it home. Geldings are exempt from CEM testing.
All goods entering the United States must be cleared through U.S.Customs. This includes livestock. A U.S. Customs Bond must also be posted upon entry.
The Department of Treasury currently does not assess any duties on horses being imported into the country, however, they do assess a U.S. Customs User Fee on all non American goods entering the country, including horses. This fee is based on the value of the horse and is calculated at a rate of .0021% , the minimum being $25.00, and the maximum , per entry , $485.
Brokers in Spain
There are brokers in Spain that can help you import your horses. They can help take the headache of getting all the correct paperwork together and will know of Yeguadas (Farms) that will have the type of horses you are looking for. It can make your trip more productive rather than driving all over just to see 1 or 2 horses and then on to the next place. They can coordinate your trip for you if necessary and can make seeing horses a pleasurable experience. They will provide their services for either a markup fee on the price of the horse you buy if you find one through them, or if they go with you to the farms and translate and help negotiate a price on horses for you they will charge a flat fee or a fee per day (usually plus expenses). The way that we do business in the US is quite different than how people do in Spain and they will be able to recommend how and when to bargain on the price of a horse and help to explain what is a normal transaction. Remember that the culture in Spain is different than here and they are not in a hurry like us Americans always seem to be. It is not unusual to spend several days going back and forth on the price and spending lots of time eating and drinking with the owners over the deal.
You can also use us now to find and import a horse for you! We are working with many contacts in Spain and also directly with the farms to list their horses for sale. We are doing business under the PRE-Imports name. Please visit our website. We have a small sample of what is available. There are too many horses to list them all so please contact us and we will find what you are looking for.
2005 Articles about my trips to Spain in 2004 published in the ANDALUSIAN Magazine.
Non-printed Interesting Facts and Info about Spain:
Our first trip to Spain was truly was a very interesting learning experience. I put hours and hours and (many hundreds) hours of research into this trip before I decided I was ready to go over. I researched the farms in Spain, classified websites, magazines, travel, etc... I made may of my own appointments to go see the horses without a broker/agent.
One thing that I would like to comment on is that you can only reasonably go to 2 Yeguadas (farms) per day unless they are very close together. (You have to figure in time to drive around lost because there are no street signs a lot of the time) If you have a broker that has farms that are used to the way Americans shop for horses then you can probably go to see 3 places or so. It is customary in Spain for the owners to invite you in for either drinks, snacks, or a meal. You can expect to spend 2-3 hours just to go and see a few horses. It is considered insulting if you don't let these people entertain you at least a little.
Driving in Spain - Do you drive fast? Are you really good at reading maps and knowing where you are? Can you speak enough Spanish to stop and ask for directions? It is amazing how fast people drive on the roads in Spain. We were going 80-90mph (128-145km per hour) on the highway and people went by us so fast that it shook the car as they passed us like we were standing still. In some cities it seems like no one likes to stop since you find a round-a-bout at every intersection. What is a round-a-bout? It is a traffic circle where you all 4-6 road merge onto a circle and then you just merge off when you (hopefully) see the sign that is your road. What are the rules? I am not sure but he who gets there first gets to go first? Anyway, Madrid and Sevilla have a lot of round-a-bouts. You really need one person to drive and one to have the map and navigate for you. Another thing that was very different from how people in Texas drive is that blinkers actually mean something besides "hurry up and cut them off". We are used to slowing down to try to find a spot behind the person next to you. In Spain, once they see your blinker on they slow down to let you in and the next thing you know - you are both slamming on the brakes. Also, if you are in the fast lane and you see the person behind you with their left turn signal on it is asking you to move over and let them pass. So, they drive very, very fast on the highways but are also polite and let you on/off the highways and actually listen to and respond to turn signals.
Getting There - A major recommendation if you are staying in
downtown Madrid - TAKE A TAXI. I am really good at finding my way around
and have a good sense of direction. Madrid is a maze with many one way
streets and many very narrow streets. They only have street signs every
4-5 blocks and never where you can find them, every one in a different
location. Even driving a small car we could not even fit down some
of the streets they were so narrow. Plus, one thing that happened
to me is that my directions to my hotel that I printed from the internet were
wrong. After a very frustrating hour and a half I ended up just paying a taxi
so I could follow him to my hotel. I would have never found it on my
own. If you are going to a farm and you can not get really easy
directions they will probably have you just pull off at an exit and call them
and they will come to meet you. Many of the streets don't have street
signs in the country either and the barns can be in the strangest places like
next to a restaurant or bar and in the middle of town in someone's back yard.
They can be anywhere at all and they can be a long way from any highway
through several tiny towns.
Calling - Get a cell phone in Spain. They are all on the GSM network so your phone from the USA may not work there. You can buy calling cards from the tobacco shops but when we went to the airport they were all sold out. Tobacco shops in town can be hard to find and pay phones are tricky to find and to use also. They are not neatly located in a booth on every corner like in the USA or at very many gas stations. They are located in the occasional gas station or restaurant and look like a regular plastic business phone. IT can take you 30 minutes of going form shop to shop to find a phone. Everyone in Spain and Europe has a cell phone. It can cost 1-5 Euros per phone call if you can figure out how to call around Spain. Sometimes you need an area code, sometimes you do not. I asked for help from a local 2 different times and THEY could not even figure out how to call. You can buy the SIM cards for your own cell phones if you have the right kind of phone and take it with you to Spain. We rented one from AT&T which they are not doing anymore. It ended up costing about $100 anyway. For about $80-90 Euros (about $100USD) you can buy a cell phone in Spain that comes with about 2500 or more minutes and you just dial the phone numbers direct. It makes life SO simple! If you need more minutes you just get another SIM card for it. One thing that was strange was that someone paged us once and the phone kept sending the page every 1.5 hours for several days. We had to turn the phone off at night to sleep and could not figure out how to make it stop even though we retrieved the message.
The Schedules - Don't plan on getting to see horses on Saturday afternoons as many of the help have the afternoon off, Sundays can be a bad day too depending on the farm you go to. People go to work later that here in the USA (9ish) and break for siesta around noon until 3pm or so. Then they go back to work until about 6pm. Don't plan on shopping during the siesta hour since many of the shops and restaurants will be closed. You can't find anything to eat for dinner except at the tapas bars until after 7 pm. You may find an occasional restaurant that will open really early at 6 pm.
The Food - The pastries are amazing. It was one of the highlights of our trip. They have a croissant type flaky pastry shaped in a rectangle about 3" by 6" and filled with a not too sweet dark flaky chocolate and the top of the pastry is glazed with a sugar. YUM! They have these at almost any pastry shop or at the breakfasts at the hotel. Another fun place you could visit is any of Paradors or historical sites that are hotels/restaurants. and maintained by the government. We had an amazing dinner and the best part was the dessert buffet with amazingly wonderful milk cake or Leche cake and all of the other beautiful and tasty desserts. the After living in Texas and being used to the spicy Mexican food we found the food in Spain amazingly bland and without spices. They do not seem to eat many vegetables. If you ask for vegetables you will probably get a small salad or a sliver of a carrot on top of your meat. They eat a lot of olives, potatoes and french fries or papas and seafood and rice and bread in the areas that we visited (Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona). The breads were like French breads with a crispy crust but don't expect to find any butter for your bread either. It is an American custom to butter your bread, you will likely have to coat it or dip it in olive oil. The best food you will likely have on your trips will be the meals or snacks you may get invited to eat at the farms or people's homes. We did have one very tasty meal at a restaurant in Albacete but we were with friends who lived there and knew where this restaurant was. It was down a back alley and we would have never found it on our own. When you order your meal it will probably be only a very large portion meat and you have to order soup and all of the side dishes separate unless you get the meal of the day which may include your drink (wine) and possibly a desert. After living on a sort of Atkin's diet with a lot of meat I lost more than 10 pounds in 10 days even eating those yummy pastries for breakfast every day. It is funny to find orange trees growing in every yard and used as ornamental trees at the hotels with oranges laying all over the sidewalks and hanging from the trees. I had the BEST oranges I have ever had in my life. It was like eating candy they were so sweet and flavorful. We also had some amazing fruity wine.
The people - more to come....
The prices & negotiating
The size of Spain & in-Spain flights
e-mail us Ph. 817-271-5889 We are in Texas (2 hours ahead of CA)
Last updated on Sept 6, 2008