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How do horses get to the Olympics? The equestrian travel arrangements for Tokyo


50 nations will compete in equestrian events this summer at the Olympic Games (Picture: Getty Images)

Tokyo is going to be a long trip for almost everyone competing, or working in another capacity, at the Olympic Games this summer and it is perhaps the lengthy journey that has got people wondering just how the horses involved get there.

Clearly there are not too many options for horses to reach the island nation and of the two modes of transport you can think of, it is planes rather than boats that are used to transport the beasts.

U.S. Equestrian Federation Director of Sport Will Connell told Yahoo: ‘What you do is you take the horse, and you put two horses in a box, and you put the box on the plane.’

Sounds simple enough when you put it like that.

The boxes used to transport the horses are built to carry three, but they are afforded more space by only carrying two on these flights.

Clearly a stressful environment for the animals, but British Eventing Team vet Liz Brown explained to the Radio Times that measures are taken to make the flight easier for the horses.

‘The pilots will control a more gradual take off and a slower landing to a typical flight,’ she said.

The equestrian events are separated into dressage, eventing and jumping (Picture: Getty Images)

‘When you’re on a passenger plane you’ll experience a positive landing where they brake quite hard, but with horses they do a longer landing… so they don’t feel that sudden deceleration.’

On the flights will be a string of grooms and vets there to look after the horses, along with all the kit and food they require for the long journey.

Such this the extent of the trip from the US that the American team stops off in Europe for a week, where the riders fit in some pre-Olympic training.

These specialist flights for horses do not come cheap, with a round-trip to Tokyo from America costing around $55,000 (£39,700) per horse.

‘I mean the Olympics as a whole is not a cheap venture,’ Connell continued in conversation with Yahoo.

‘It’s a big, big logistical challenge, but at the end of the day all sports are the same, aren’t they? At the end of the day, we’re all about trying to get athletes to perform to their absolute best on a given day in history.’

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