When most think of someone who transports livestock all over the country, likely they picture a rugged, large male tackling the very dirty, tough job of taking large and potentially dangerous animals from Point A to Point B. Well, those folks would be correct — except for the “rugged, large male” part. If you have ever seen Shipping Wars on A & E, you already knew this because one of the show’s stars is none other than the gorgeous Jennifer Brennan. Being a young, attractive woman hasn’t stopped her from transporting everything from horses to camels to dangerous bulls. She has definitely earned her position as one of the strongest of all shippers on the show — and in the country for that matter.
CDL was lucky enough to pull Jennifer off the road for a few minutes to have a conversation with us! Since her job is quite unique, we asked Jennifer how she got started in the business of transporting livestock. While Jennifer grew up on a cattle farm, it was her cousin’s participation in the expensive sport of cutting on the rodeo circuit that pulled Jennifer in. Jennifer shares that it is very expensive to transport horses, so in an effort to help her cousin and family save money, she took on the laborious job and, because of her love of horses, she loved every minute of it. It was also during her time transporting horses that she met show producers and “everything just fell into place from that point,” she shared.
Transporting livestock, even for those experienced with animals, is not an easy job. So much more comes into play when dealing with actually transporting the animals. Jennifer shares that she not only has to have an understanding of the animals she is transporting but must also take many other factors into consideration. For example, she must consider safeguarding the animals during the trip. Jennifer must ensure she has the proper health papers and the right trailer.
Beyond that, Jennifer says she must consider “keeping them cool, getting them exercise, and feeding them. I am responsible for keeping them alive!” And while this type of transport may seem intimidating to some, she still prefers transporting animals over other non-livestock items.
Jennifer tells us, “I’m not sure I can say it is easier than [shipping non-livestock items], because I am responsible for keeping the animals alive, but I have such a huge heart for animals that I definitely prefer transporting livestock to other types of loads.”
Speaking of non-livestock items, we asked Jennifer what it was like to take on other large loads — everything ranging from furniture to planes to luxury cars — and how she learned to ship such items.
Jennifer shares that her former castmate Roy Garber (who passed away in January 2014 after suffering a fatal heart attack) taught her what she needed to know to expand her shipping services. “Roy and I were very close. He would always come and help me, and taught me so much. His death has been really hard on me, especially since now I can’t pick up the phone and call him like I used to.”
Not having her ally to call for help any longer, Jennifer must continue to rely on her own talent and experience to get her through some of the most difficult loads. We asked Jennifer what allows her to stay on top in such a competitive field, and how she breaks stereotypes of a male-dominated industry.
“I think I have more patience than most, and I have great customer service skills. Being a single woman I try harder because I really have to prove myself. I have to constantly prove myself day in and day out. I do probably get more help than a man would, though, like with changing a tire. I usually have someone offer to help me with things like that.”
This strong woman doesn’t need help often, either. And aside from one of her first transports on the show that left her feeling pretty vulnerable after being kicked by a camel, she has continued to take every new challenge head on without the need of any assistance.
Jennifer told us about one of her most challenging loads to date. “I had to transport bulls. It was such a challenge! I am used to more domesticated breeds, but these bulls were inbred and very mean. I had to get them on and off the trailer so that was really difficult. Knowing the animals were bred to be mean, it was hard to think that when I was feeding them and getting them on and off the trailer, they could easily try to kill me.” Despite how dangerous that load was, Jennifer confirms, “Yes, I would do it again. I like to be challenged.”
Apparently so! Jennifer also tells us her dream transport would be a tiger! This woman is brave!
While that may have been her most memorable experience, Jennifer has recently added some very precious cargo to her list that tops anything she’s done so far: son Brennan Grey. We asked Jennifer how her life has changed since the birth of her son last October. Jennifer tells us, “The whole film crew says I’ve changed! My outlook has changed, for sure. He is with his father [Todd] while I am filming. I am doing all of this for him and I. As a single mother, I may have to work harder and sometimes I am gone longer, but I know it won’t last forever.”
Jennifer says she is working hard to secure a solid future for her son, who she enjoys spending her free time with, along with staying active by swimming, going to the gym, and horseback riding. Jennifer has always had a strong love for horses and one day hopes to own her own horse ranch. Her goals also include starting a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding. Because of her love for horses and helping others, we’re confident her dream will soon become a reality!