Here’s my story about crossing into Mexico.
To begin, here’s a list of the players that were on our team, to help us get across, easily and inexpensively.
Dr Theresa Taraska
USDA port vet, Alexandria Bay
Dr Sarah Ortiz
USDA APHIS vet
Endurance rider, logistics support, Guatemala
Dr Mario Camacho
Veterinarian, Mexico City
Laredo Export Pen Operator
Dr Roberto Garcia
USDA port vet, Brownsville
Hondo Veterinary Services
USDA endorsing vet, Austin
The Long Riders Guild
Long Rider, Brasil
Ranch neighbour, Laredo
Charreria Guajuco Traconsa
To cross a horse into Mexico a broker is necessary. They are the liason between the rider, the American vet, the usda endorsing vet, the border runner, and the Mexican border vet and customs.
They know the deal.
My goal was to get the broker who would get me the best deal.
I knew that from my time living in Guatemala that everything is negotiable.
I began my contact research in the fall thru Dr Theresa Taraska. I had read background info in The Horse Travel Handbook, as well as on Filipe Leite’s blog.
I knew I had to get the right contacts.
Around Christmas, Dr Terri got me in touch with Dr. Ortiz, who got me in touch with Enrique Martinez, the export pen operator. He got me a list of brokers and then I got prices for the export and trailering to Monterrey from one of them. It was stupid high. So I contacted my friend Fernando who is not only Guatemala’s top endurance rider, but also in the international shipping business.
He had just had a horse shipped from Houston to Mexico City. He told me he paid way less than my quoted price, for a distance much further.
He gave me his contact, who was Dr. Mario of Mexico City. Fernando explained my situation to be able to ensure the best price possible. After talking with Dr Mario, he then got me in touch with the broker he uses, Mr Contreras.
I got in touch with Alejandro, the broker about a month before my expected crossing into Mexico.
I talked with Enrique some more about where and when I should get my American vet inspection.
I ended up doing that in Hondo, Texas, 2 weeks before my expected crossing.
If you do it too far ahead, you may not make it before the 30 days on the export paper expires, if you wait to long, you have to wait for the paperwork to get endorsed in Austin.
Alejandro gave me explicit instructions as to how the forms should be filled out by the vet, so that the Mexican authorities approve it.
THIS IS WHERE I MADE MY MISTAKE.
I relayed the message to Dr. Galuskey In Hondo, but I did not have them work together on it. MY BAD!
What happened next is a back and forth between Dr. Galuskey and USDA vet Dr. Miazgowicz. Dr. G attempted to fill out the forms as requested by Alejandro, but it was overridden by the USDA vet. This back and forth before and after Easter cause some delays in our timeline. Then when the documents were mailed out to Alejandro in Laredo, copies weren’t emailed as requested.
I was due to cross with some other horses the following Monday. Alejandro received the paperwork late Thursday afternoon and noticed it wasn’t filled out as requested. If he and Dr. G had in been regular communication this would have been noticed days before.
Alejandro said the forms weren’t good, but he would go to the Mexican side and see if they would approve it anyway.
I was told that we would know the next day, Friday, by 10. The weekends are closed for horse crossings.
I brought in my back up plan and started communicating with Dr. Terri, Dr. Garcia, Dr. G, Dr. M and Enrique. In case we had to make new paperwork at the last minute.
It ended up that Alejandro is the man and he used his connects to make it happen.
He also charged me a greatly reduced rate.
Over the weekend I stayed at Alejandros ranch 300 metres from the border.
We were supposed to load the horses at 9.
It ended up we loaded at 11am. Then I went to the border with Alejandro to get my visa. I then went back to the American side to head back to where the horses were.
We got the horses inspected. Unfortunately I got kicked by one as I was trying to move mine so the Mexican inspector could get a photo. Thank god for my big calves as they protected my bones from getting broken. I took some Tylenol, the we waited for the paperwork to finalize before crossing into Mexico. My saddle and backpack had crossed at another location, I was with the truck driver. I walked across the truck crossing (for some reason I had to get out and walk, and it was tough walking that bit!)
I was in Mexico for the second time, but my horse was in a separate truck.
We had to wait for several things on the Nuevo Laredo side, so we didn’t leave town til around 7pm.
We left for Monterrey and got there around 1030pm. Some other horses were being dripped off there, so I got permission to stay with a Mexican Charro group, Charreria Guajuco Traconsa. Camorras, Hugo, Jesus and all the others practised every day.
What a perfect place to spend my first few days in Mexico. Just outside of Monterrey with some excellent horse riders, and excellent people.
I stayed for 3 days while my leg healed up.
I got my phone sim changed to a telcel plan and got the phone activated, then I immersed myself in Mexican culture!
I watched a lot of their practising. I rode roxy a bit myself without all the saddle bags, learned about Mexico, and ATE LOTS OF MEXICAN FOOD!
I took off on my first day of travel in Mexico 4 days after arriving in mexico.
More on that later!
But, I will add that the Charros from Monterrey won their competition that weekend in Saltillo.
PS. About safety and accidents.
In a split second, the worst things can happen. How do you prevent these things from happening?
By staying vigilant.
I made the mistake of not paying attention to my safety for one moment, and almost got my leg broken, by a kicking horse. Normally I would have told the person:
You have to wait for the photo, now is not a safe time or place. In fact this is what I did ALL THE TIME in the States. I’m sure lots of people think I’m an asshole because of it. But my safety is much more important to me than your entertainment by me.
But this one time at the border, I screwed up, I didn’t pay the utmost attention to my safety, and in a flash, came immense pain to my leg. It has hurt severely for over a week.
So you’ll excuse me if I go back to my overly cautious/abrupt ways, BUT I’M GOING TO FINISH THE TRIP ALIVE.