Horse Riding at the Olympics: How Did Horses Get to Tokyo?

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The Knight Yuri Mansur | became the first finalist of the Brazilian delegation of equestrianism on Tokyo Olympics. The 42-year-old athlete qualified at dawn this Tuesday (3) to the final of the jumps, which will take place at 7:00 am this Wednesday (4), at the Equestrian Park, in the Japanese capital.

With the state of emergency imposed by the pandemic of coronavirus, only very select groups managed to fly to Tokyo, among them: athletes, coaches, referees, journalists… and horses. More than 300 horses flew to the capital of China for the Olympic Games for the equestrian events. But how does a horse fly from one country to another? Do they also need passports?

how to make a horse fly

Transporting a horse from one country to another can be done in the same way as with humans: by plane. But in the case of horses, they fly in spaces much larger than regular passenger seats. Depending on which equestrian event the horse competes in, it can weigh anywhere from 500kg to 600kg (sporting event horses are the lightest, while dressage horses are heavier).

loading in cargo hold opt Horse Riding at the Olympics: How Did Horses Get to Tokyo? Mobile stable inside the cargo space of a plane bound for Tokyo.

Mobile stable inside the cargo space of a plane bound for Tokyo. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster/Disclosure)

To Tokyo, the horses were loaded into mobile stables, which were taken to the holds of large cargo planes. These stables are equipped with hay and water. In addition, the animals are accompanied by veterinarians and companions, even during the trip. During the trip, the animals do not undergo sedation, only in situations where the horse is stressed and undergoes a light level of sedation.

According to the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sport, the Tokyo Games have 247 horses, which were transported in 20 trips to the Chinese capital. Curiosity: the company responsible for the transport has been the same since the Olympics in Rome, in 1960.