How Will Horses Be Transported to the Tokyo Olympics 2021 for Equestrian?

Published 07/10/2021, 5:28 AM EDT

With the Tokyo Olympics 2021 nearing, a ton of questions come up. In equestrian, the primary question is how horses would travel to Japan. Well, the process will shock you, but the transportation of horses is one of the most interesting concepts in Olympic equestrian.


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Will horses traveling to Tokyo Olympics 2021 need passports?

TOKYO, JAPAN – MARCH 25: A boat sails past the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Rings on March 25, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Following yesterdays announcement that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed to 2021 because of the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, IOC officials have said they hope to confirm a new Olympics date as soon as possible. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, horses traveling to the Olympics do need passports. Just like their riders, groomers and veterinarians, horses need official documentation to embark on a journey over the ocean. This applies to the Olympics more extensively since it gives the animals a means of national identification.


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Unlike FEI competitions, the Olympics require horses to have the registration of the country they represent. Because of this policy, Italian and Dutch riders Tatiana Miloserdova and Dinja van Liere bowed out of the Olympics. Hence, passports are a must for horses traveling to Tokyo.

In terms of in-flight service, horses aren’t subject to economy or business class. However, they sleep in stalls modified for their convenience. Horses often sleep standing up by locking the major joints in their legs. Hence, they’re not only comfortable but can rest adequately before the most important three weeks of their lives.

Horse safety and health conditions

Aside from being the most logistically complicated sport to organise, equestrian also revolves around the horses safety. The venue of the Olympic Games has a massive impact on the horses. As a result, doctors and veterinarians have to monitor the health of the horse regularly and whether it’s acclimating to the weather of the place.

We can find horses in every climate and they thrive in almost every condition. However, just like humans, a horse from a country like Canada, which is predominantly cold, will find it extremely difficult to adapt to the weather of Rio Di Janeiro.

Similarly, the climate in Japan will be an obstacle to horses traveling from European countries like France and Belgium. The equatorial climate will play a role in how the animals and athletes perform in Japan.

Which companies transport horses?


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Horse transportation as an industry is more happening than one believes. Aside from Olympics, horses get transported for basic-import export reasons. One of the leading companies that handles this is Equiflight. Based in the United States, they have been in the horse transporting business for over twenty years.

One of the largest transporters of horses is IRT, the International Transport of Horses. With offices in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK, they have dominated this industry.

In terms of COVID-19, horses are susceptible to the virus, but the mortality rate is low. However, no tests for horses have taken place, and it is unlikely that it’ll happen in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics 2021.


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Nathan Fulgado

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Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.



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