Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How do horses travel to international competitions?

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PRESTIGIOUS EQUESTRIAN events and horse races are an international industry. Events like CHIO Aachen, in Germany, and the Kentucky Derby, in America, attract riders and their mounts from across the world. For the equestrian events at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic games, 325 horses from 50 countries travelled to Tokyo. How do horses get to these competitions?

Horses’ owners have always taken advantage of the latest technologies. Steeds have been transported by sea since ancient times. By the 19th century some racing horses were moved around in vans, first pulled by other horses, later cars. In 1912 horses travelled across Europe by rail and road for the Olympic games in Stockholm, which was the first to include the sorts of equestrian events seen today. These days, horses travel by aeroplane. After being coaxed into air-conditioned stables, called pallets, they are loaded onto specially configured planes. In flight, grooms provide them with special water-enhanced hay to keep them hydrated. (They also pack tonnes of baggage including saddles, shoes and pitchforks.) Pilots who know they have horses on board try to take off and land more gradually to keep their equine passengers steady.

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