Cross-posted from CNN
Featured Image: Filed with this Report
by HEATHER BUCHANAN for CNN
(CNN)When the world’s best athletes travel they receive first class treatment from expedited security to special meals to extra legroom. The same is true for the four-legged world of top show jumping horses.
With major horse show competitions in Shanghai, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Los Angeles, and Palm Beach and the Olympics in Rio, these horses may have more frequent flier miles than many people.
Horses on this international circuit can cost as much as $10 million dollars and their health and safety is of utmost importance, as well as to arrive at the next horse show rested and ready to go for the blue ribbon.
Soaring across a six foot fence is one thing — soaring across an ocean is another.
Door to door
Special horse charter companies provide stall door to stall door service, picking the horse up at its home barn and transporting it in a specially air conditioned van to the airport, in the US most likely Miami or New York.
Their horse passport and health certificate are checked, and a vet will make sure they are fit for travel.
In the animal version of a VIP lounge they are kept comfortable until ready to board, then put in a special traveling stall which has good ventilation, a vibration-minimizing floor to keep those four legs from getting stressed and space to see the other horses.
These stalls are raised on a lift on the tarmac to be put in the cargo hold where special flight attendants or professional flying grooms ensure their comfort. Pilots even fly a special low ascent and descent to minimize the trajectory angle and are particularly keen to avoid bad weather.
First class, business, or coach translates into a stall which is divided for only one, two or three horses, and prices to fly from the US to Europe are usually in the $10,000 range each way.
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