VIPs: Very Important Passengers 03/08/2008
Gandalf, the horse of Eventing legend Mark Todd (NZL) is being fed carrots
right before take off. (c) Peter Nixon
With many horses taking part in the Olympic equestrian events already safely at Sha Tin – the remaining 85 will arrive between 4 and 6 August – we would like to invite our readers to visit the new “transportation” photo galleries now available on www.fei.org/olympics
(direct link http://www.fei.org/olympics/photos/Pages/Default.aspx?par=Categories&val=Photo%20Essay,Olympic%20Atmosphere)
Indeed, an FEI crew was given the rare opportunity to be present during the departure of 13 horses from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam and 24 horses from Stansted Airport near London. From the arrival of the horses from their quarantines – some personally accompanied by their riders who could barely speak so moved were they by the
fact that their “boys” and “girls” were travelling all by themselves like grown ups – to their unloading, pre-flight exercise and light snacks, loading into specially approved flight stalls, loading into the aircraft and all the way to the spectacular take off – we saw it all. The horses travel all by themselves? Not quite. They are accompanied by experienced crews of grooms especially trained to take care of their inmates in flight conditions.
A vast selection of photographs is high resolution is also available in the FEI online photo catalogue for download and use by the professional media.
The FEI would like to thank the IOC, BOCOG, the Equestrian Company, Air France KLM Cargo, BAA Stansted and especially Peden Bloodstock for making possible this extraordinary experience which has met with very positive interest from the public and the media.
The flight stalls with the Olympic horses are being loaded into the aircraft.
(c) Peter Nixon
Connaught, the horses of USA Eventing team member Phillip Dutton, is being loaded into a flight stall. (c) Peter Nixon