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FEI Press: Horse Transport, Beijing Olympics

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FEI Press News
22/03/2007 -
Transportation of Horses to the 2008 Olympic Games
The Veterinary Committee and the Welfare Sub
Committee of the FEI had a meeting to discuss transport related
issues for the 2008 Olympic Games, on 19 March 2007. The meeting was
attended by Mr Martin Atock, Managing Director Peden Bloodstock, and
the FEI Directors of the Veterinary and Olympic

The meeting considered flight schedules, arrival
times and the related competition dates.

While recognising
the many complicating factors involved in competition horse shipment
and being appreciative of the huge amount of work and support that
those involved, in particular Martin Atock as the appointed
transporter, had carried out it was felt that the Committee should
make a number of issues clear.

In the interest of a safe
competition and an optimal transport, the Veterinary Committee
advises, parallel to the pre-Atlanta research outcome, that the
horses arrive approximately 10 days prior to competition. This will
enable a thorough flight recovery and give the horses a fair chance
to get used to the HKG climatic conditions. It also leaves room for
treatment in case any horse suffers from travel sickness or minor
injury in flight. At the moment, flying schedules are being designed
to adhere as closely as possible to the 10-day period, although this
will not be possible in each case.

Further discussions are
required to define the optimal stable temperature in air-conditioned
stables and the temperature phases leading from horse arrival to
competition (e.g. start with a cool temperature and gradually
increase in the days leading up to competition). The test event will
help in this evaluation.

At the moment it looks like most of
the horses will travel to HKG in combi flights; this creates more
room for transport of grooms, gives more flexibility in flight
scheduling, but causes some problems in terms of unloading the
horses and the aircraft turnover time. This issue is being given
urgent attention as the time from aircraft to air-conditioned
lorries/stables at the venue is one of the most important transport
related factors in preventing post flight fever and has a major
effect on post flight recovery of the horses.

It would be of
great benefit to the sport if NFs participating in the Olympic Test
Event are requested to share their monitoring protocols in an
attempt to collect as much data as possible in a standardised way,
and also to allow these data to be shared for the benefit of our
sports both at the Olympic Games and in the future. The chairman
would be happy to coordinate this issue as soon as the final list of
those attending is finalised.

For the future it is
recommended that the FEI is represented during discussions between
the allocated horse transporter and the representatives of BOCOG,
HKJC, airport authorities, etc. when transport issues are

It is planned to organize a seminar on Competition
and Transport issues in heat and humid conditions at the beginning
of 2008, during which the findings from the test event will be
discussed with any involved party. This seminar will be open to all

John C. McEwen BVMS MRCVS. Dr Frits
Chairman, FEI Veterinary Committee Director of FEI
Veterinary Department


i was really worried about our horses getting to the beijing olympics! i am very impressed with the travel arrangements and hope they all had a pleasant flight, and arrived safely. who did they fly with???? come on great britain!!! oh britannia!!!
horsey horsey dont you stop, let your hooves go clipperty clop!!!
i like horses
so do i, very beautiful creatures!
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