Not everyone out there is legally licensed to haul for hire. To haul interstate for hire legally, operating authority and a United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) number is required. Some people will tell you they only use small trucks, so they don't need the authority, but that is simply not true. A US DOT #, and operating authority is issued by the federal government and shows the carrier meets the government's requirements. Get their number, and check the status of a carrier at www.safersys.org or at http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/ Some may say private, or not for hire. If you knowingly use a carrier that is not legally licensed for hire, you may, be liable for their actions if anything should happen.
Make sure you know what type of truck your horse will be on. Just because the carrier is going a long distance, doesn't mean they will be using an air ride tractor trailer. If you don't want your horse on a goose neck trailer for a long ride, you had better ask before you book the ride. Now there is nothing wrong with gooseneck trailers, we use them ourselves, but mostly for regional and local transports. For the long distance, we prefer air ride. There will be people out there who tell you there is no difference, but if that is the case, why do they make air ride?
Ask the carrier how long the horse will be on the truck, sometimes it can take six or seven days for a trip that should take three at the most. If they say they stop every ten hours for an eight hour break for the horses, I would question that, unless they are unloaded into a layover facility and have room to move around.
For the safety of your horse, these are just some things we feel you should keep in mind while looking for a carrier. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us, we will share our thoughts. Remember, ask the carrier questions, if they don't have the answers, think twice about using them.