World’s largest equine airlift begins for WEG

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The largest commercial equine airlift ever undertaken in the history of horse sport has begun, ahead of the Fédération Equestre Internationale World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018, which gets underway in North Carolina on Tuesday.

The first 67 of a total 550 supremely fit airborne equine athletes recently set foot — or should that be hoof — on the Tryon International Equestrian Center venue, nine days before the start of one of the biggest sporting events on U.S. soil this year.

After arriving at the airport, the horses were transported directly to TIEC. (Photo courtesy of FEI)

They will join an additional  270 horses coming overland to team up with their human partners from over 70 countries at the games, which are the world championships in all of the FEI’s eight disciplines and qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Specialist horse transportation company Peden Bloodstock — working alongside The Dutta Corp — has coordinated the highly complex logistics, with horses from six of the world’s seven continents flying into Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina and Miami, Florida.

FEI-Horse arrivals at Greeneville Spartanburg
Photo FEI/Tori Repole

The horses will be flying into the USA on a total of 23 flights from Liège (BEL) and Dubai (UAE), plus flights from 11 South American cities including Buenos Aires (ARG), Sao Paolo (BRA), Santiago (CHI), Lima (PER), Montevideo (URU) and San José (CRC).

“This is the largest commercial airlift of horses in history, with only wartime shipments of horses coming close, so the military precision involved in the logistics is incredible,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “These horses are finely-tuned equine athletes and are not only very valuable, but they must arrive in peak competition condition, just like their human counterparts.”

After touchdown at GSP, the first equine arrivals were transferred directly onto trucks — without setting foot on the South Carolina tarmac — for the 50-mile journey to Mill Spring, crossing over the state line into North Carolina.

The FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 will see human and equine athletes compete from Sept. 11-23 for 29 medals in the Olympic disciplines of eventing, jumping and dressage, the paralympic sport of para-dressage, alongside driving, endurance, reining and vaulting.

– Submitted article