History of Association

The National Horse Carriers Association was founded on September 16, 1960 in Louisville, Ky. Eleven companies signed on as charter members. At this time, the Federal Government regulated all trucking companies as to the territories they were eligible to travel through as well as the amount they were allowed to charge for each shipment. The organization was formed to “act for and on behalf of its members in the publication of freight rates and tariffs.” Founding members included:

Wilhelm Van Service
Benton, Illinois
(Vice Pres)
Frye & Sons
Grove City, Ohio
Thompson Van Service
Ft Worth, Texas
(Treasurer and Tariff Issuing Officer)
O.P. Elzey & Sons, Inc
Louisville, KY
Murlogg Farm Van Serv.
Louisville, KY
Muth Van Service
Louisville, KY
Ed Wellestat, Inc.
Chicago, Illinois
John R Morgan, Inc
Detroit, Michigan
L. Harbaugh
Grand Isle, Neb.
Ehrlick Horse Trans.
Quebec, Canada
Kuhl Horse Vans
Chicago, Illinois

Annual Meetings were held to discuss the rules and regulations governing the transport of livestock pertaining to horses. The group established and published rates for transport and other charges. The illegal transport of horses by so called “For Hire” carriers was also an important topic discussed and that remains an issue for all members to this day.

Over the years, the members established much of the ground work for transporting horses that we, as an organization, rely on today.

Robert H. Kinker and his law firm were hired in 1966 as counsel to the membership. He represented the organization at meetings with the Interstate Commerce Commission. He was instrumental in establishing uniform bill of ladings and the $200.00 release provision. This provision is the backbone of all NHCA member’s bill of ladings today. Rob Kinsey became actively involved with the organization as legal advisor in the 1980’s. He was officially elected General Counsel on July 18, 1986. His legal expertise and knowledge of both the trucking industry and the horse business continues to be an invaluable asset to our organization today.

Tom Cummings of Nationwide Horse Carriers, Inc was the first member to actively pursue a way to provide affordable cargo insurance with a legal and workable policy to all members. He contacted Ed O’Rourke, who first presented his proposal on group cargo insurance to the membership in 1972. He has directed the insurance program ever since, offering affordable cargo insurance to all members. His commitment to the organization still stands today.

Beale Frye, Ed Wellestat and Tom Cummins were very active members who served on numerous different committees throughout the years. They met with other horse organizations to help improve the quality of horse transport in America. They also worked together to police the tariff of non-association members and file reports with the I.C.C.

The Maxwell family of Sallee Vans became involved in the NHCA in 1966 through their association with Ed Wellestat. They purchased the operating authority of Murlogg Farm Van Service and became recognized members in 1973. Robert Maxwell was elected President of the association in 1974. He filled this capacity for over thirty years. Following his retirement in 2006, Bill Barry took over the reins as association President. He held this office for nine years. J.R. Hudson was elected to the position on February 3, 2015. Mr Hudson is the son-in law of past President Robert Maxwell.

Various members have made significant contributions throughout the years. They include: William Breede of Morrissey’s Horse Pullmans, Sid Drexler of Drexler Horse Vans, Hoot Smith and Gene Hull from Hull and Smith Horse Vans. They all had the common goal of providing safe, reliable and healthy horse transportation for all passengers.

The membership continues to work together on various issues relevant to the modern day shipping of all equines, no matter their breeding or discipline. The National Horse Carriers has maintained a standard of excellence among its members unequaled in the horse transport industry. Thank you to all members past and present who continue to work for the benefit and welfare of all travelling equines.