How Do Horses Get To The Olympics?

The Olympic games, hosted every four years, are an athletic event that originated in Ancient Greece, and that is the height of athletic prowess and sporting competition.

Only the best of the best get to compete in this event, and every four years, the location changes to a different country, so that it takes place all over the world!

How do horses get to the Olympics?

And of course, the Olympic games also feature some specific events with horses! Specifically, horses will compete (with their riders) in jumping, eventing, and dressage.

Only the best riders and horses get to go, and the level is incredibly high, which is why it is so impressive to watch! 

But…since the Olympics are hosted in a different country each time, and all the competitors have to travel to said location in order to compete.

how do the horses get there? It’s not like they can just jump on a plane in the same way humans do. So how do they travel to the Olympics, in order to compete? 

Well, fear not, they do get there. It just takes some special travel. So if you want to know more about it, stick around! We’re going to talk about everything you need to know about how horses get to the Olympics. Let’s jump right in!

How do horses get to the Olympics?

How Do Olympic Horses Travel?

Olympian horses will usually travel by plane, just like any other horses traveling internationally would.

They are placed into extra secure and safe stalls, and then these stalls are lifted up and loaded into the plane, where luggage and suitcases usually are.

Usually, it is three horses per stall. However, Olympian horses are elite athletes, and so they get special treatment, meaning that it’s only two Olympian horses per stall, so that they get a little more room. 

Before the flight, the horses are fed a special type of hay, which has a higher amount of water, plus they are also given buckets of water so that they drink as much as possible.

This is to ensure that they stay extra hydrated during the flight so that they remain healthy and comfortable. 

It might seem like it would be super uncomfortable for them, but traveling by plane is actually better for the horse than traveling by road! This is because there is less movement, and the journey is a lot smoother.

The only problem would be take-off and landing, but the pilot is well aware that they are transporting horses, and so they make sure to be extra gentle. 

In fact, when there are horses on the plane, pilots will use a different type of landing, which is longer. This means that there won’t be that sudden bump of movement when the plane hits the ground, avoiding that little scare so the horses aren’t freaked out. 

Oh, and the horses are well taken care of too. On board the flight, there will be at least one veterinarian, and some groomers and they are in charge of double-checking the horses and making sure that they are completely healthy and comfortable.

And if anything goes wrong, they will instantly jump into action to solve any issues. 

Trust us, Olympian horses are elite, and they are treated as such! The journey is planned well in advance, and everything that needs to be considered is done so carefully so that the horses have everything they need. Not to mention that there are a lot of safety rules to abide by!

What Do Horses Need In Order To Get To The Olympics? 

Getting horses to the Olympics is possible thanks to plane journeys, and when planned well, they are smooth and comfortable for the horses in question.

That being said, getting horses to the Olympics takes a lot of planning and a lot of preparation. It’s no easy task! 

In fact, these journeys are prepared years in advance, as there are many different factors to consider, and many different things to prepare so that all the rules and regulations are followed, and the horses can be transported safely. 

Here Are Just Some Of The Main Things That Need To Be Considered, When Getting A Horse To The Olympics

  • Having the right documentation, such as the horse’s passport, and any other documents and certificates that prove who the horse is, who the horse belongs to, why the horse is traveling, and the health checks and condition of the horse in general. 
  • Veterinarian checks and examinations to ensure the horse is safe for travel (health comes above all! If a horse cannot safely be transported, it won’t be) 
  • Quarantines and travel regulations (depending on the country the horse is traveling to, there might be certain restrictions or quarantines in place, so it could be that the horse has to get there with plenty of time before the Olympics!) 
  • The plane ticket and the travel arrangements, as they all need to abide by horse travel regulations and safety measures (after all, a horse can’t just be placed on any plane!) 
  • Appropriate accommodation for the horses, before and after, and during. The horses need to always have a safe and comfortable environment to rest in, and they also need water and food

Also, horses need to get to the location of the Olympics with plenty of time to spare. Not only to respect any quarantines or regulations that might be in place, but so that they can rest after the journey, and get used to the new place.

They will then undergo some extra training to make sure they are still at the top of their skills after having traveled. 

How Much Does It Cost For A Horse To Get To The Olympics? 

Plane tickets can get pretty expensive, especially if you are traveling far. So how much does it cost to get a horse to the Olympics? 

The short answer: a lot. Like seriously, getting a horse to the Olympics is expensive. Getting people to the Olympics is already expensive, and horses come with a longer list of expenses and costs! 

For example, a round trip specialist flight for horses from the US to Tokyo is around $55,000 per horse. Yup, you read that right. 

Then on top of that, you need to consider the cost of the accommodation, the materials, the veterinarian and the groomers, the food and drink, the documentation…and much more! 

It’s safe to say that getting a horse to the Olympics is very costly, but it’s worth it to see them compete at that height of skill and ability! 

Final Thoughts

Horses get to the Olympics in the same way that most other elite athletes get there, by plane. Of course, it has to be a specialist horse flight, in which the plane is adapted, and the pilot is prepared to handle the plane with more care.

But basically, the horses are loaded into stalls, which are then loaded onto the plane. They are given special food beforehand, to stay hydrated,

and they are accompanied by a team of groomers and veterinarians, to ensure they are safe and comfortable the entire time. 

It’s expensive and pretty complicated to plan, but they can definitely get to where they need to be in order to compete!

Catherine McDowl
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