With the Olympic games opening ceremonies coming up this week, Emirates answers the question on everyone’s mind: how do equine champions travel?

Well, as it happens, they travel rather comfortably.

Horses bound for the Rio 2016 Olympic games
Horses bound for the Rio 2016 Olympic games are loaded onto an Emirates SkyCargo Being 777-F at London Stansted Airport. On the flight were 34 horses from 10 of the nations competing in Equestrian at Rio 2016″ (FEI/Jon Stroud media) (PRNewsFoto/FEI)

The first group of Olympic horses took off for Rio from Stansted on Friday 29 aboard a custom designed Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F, which left the UK at 15.20 BST and arrived safe and happy to their Olympic village residence today.

  • In all 34 horses from 10 nations worth many millions of dollars got the VIP treatment on the 12 hour journey.
  • Each horse weighs 515 kg on average.
  • This is the first of nine flights which will bring over 200 Olympic horses to Rio.
chilling_morning_at_rio gabriel_nascimento 30072016_N1C5150
Touchdown! The first Olympic horses flew into Rio de Janeiro just before midnight on 30 July before being transferred, complete with Federal Highway police escort, to their athletes’ village, the new-build stables at the Olympic Equestrian Venue in the Deodoro Olympic Park. (Rio 2016 / Gabriel Nascimento)

So what is the Passenger Experience like, if you’re an Olympic champion horse?

  1. Dedicated Flight
  2. VIP Check-In Area, including full health check and passport control
  3. You get a private cabin! Extra legroom guaranteed.
  4. No baggage fees! All 9,900 kg of horse equipment are included with the fare.
  5. Business Class Service
  6. Amenity kits: flight socks (leg bandages)
  7. Butler (grooms) flight attendants serve special meals and beverages (water with a choice of mixers: apple or carrot. Reeeeefreshing.)
  8. Specialist Vets look after your well-being. (Humans don’t get vets onboard, but flight attendants are trained to handle medical emergencies.)
  9. All-you-will-eat feed in-flight! (A total of 6,000 kg of feed was onboard the aircraft to keep the horses well fed throughout the Olympics).
  10. Red Carpet on arrival. (Of course. A horse is a horse.)

Nathan Anthony, team vet for the Australian Eventing squad, was one of the six vets that flew with the horses to the Rio Olympics.

“Flying is actually easier on the horses than going by truck”, he said. “The only slightly difficult bit is the take-off, after that there are no bumps in the air! And we had a great captain on board who made the landing nice and smooth, and then the transfer to the Olympic stables with a police escort was really easy.”

The more you know.

Best of luck to the equine champions and their equestrian athlete friends. (Dressage is one of my favourite events so I am rooting for you all!)

 

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