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Shipping in 900 horses from around the world

People learn more about WEG equine transport plans

TRYON — Five hundred thousand people and 900 horses are coming to the area in September.

While the sheriff’s office, the state troopers and local fire and rescue departments are working to figure out traffic, local horsemen and equine vets are talking about the horses.

Tryon Equine held an informative discussion about the transport, care and quarantine of the horses coming to the area for the World Equestrian Games in September. Tryon Equine co-owner Anne Baskett, a veterinarian, spoke to a crowd of 50 or more who attended the talk last Wednesday.

“I did not realize all the pieces that had to come together,” Baskett said.

There are more than 100 vets and 75 volunteers involved in assuring the horses’ health and safety during the two-week event in September.

“We have three objectives to accomplish,” said Baskett. “The welfare and safety of the horses, protection of the horses, health status and the maintenance of the health status of the imported horses so they can return home after the event.”

According to Baskett, the United States Department of Agriculture is responsible for the health status of the imported horses and the requirements for getting them home. The North Carolina state vets are responsible for all the regulatory and licensing protocols for the domestic horses. The domestic horses are defined as those coming from the U.S. and Canada.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale is responsible for overseeing the welfare of the horses during the competition. This includes overseeing anti-doping regulations and testing throughout the event.

WEG will provide veterinary services that will oversee the facilities, provide bio security, provide surgeons, and oversee the safety of the horses during transportation and any emergency and elective services that need to be performed during the event.

In addition to those overseeing the event itself, most of the equestrian teams will have their own vets on hand to oversee the individual horses on the teams. There will be approximately 70 team vets traveling with the horses and approximately 30 regulatory vets for the USDA and North Carolina.

Most domestic horses will arrive by truck and trailer.  Many international horses are already in the U.S. and have already gone through quarantine. Others will fly in through the Greenville Spartanburg Airport and will be transported to the Tryon International Equestrian Center by truck and trailer.

Baskett said the horses being transported from the airport will be accompanied by two equine ambulances, two vet trucks and a police escort. The horses will stay in quarantine for 42 hours where they will have exams and blood drawn.

The horses will ship approximately 50 per plane, and, because the Arabian horses are smaller, the first shipment of endurance horses will be approximately 75 per plane. The horses will ship in at different times so they do not have to wait at the airport and so they can rotate through quarantine.

During the qualifying tests throughout April, Tryon Equine vets will be assisting TIEC with a practice run for handling the horses coming in for WEG. Baskett said this will give everyone involved a chance to see how the operation will work firsthand and work out any problems with the system.

Baskett also assured the crowd, that while Tryon Equine is assisting with much of the protocol, they were not the main veterinary authority for the event. Therefore, Tryon Equine vets will still be available to service their local clients as usual.