Even the horses got pampered on the way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While usually, they’re the ones for transportation, these Olympian horses got to travel in style.
According to Insider, roughly 325 horses made their way to Japan. In total, it took 19 airplanes and 185 trucks to transport the creatures. Over 240 of the horses flew through Belgium’s airport with its very own “horse hotel” on site.
Additionally, they even had their very own passports, groomers, and in-flight meals (bananas, hay, and carrots). They kept it at a cool 60 degrees Fahrenheit with 19 stables on each aircraft. Meanwhile, the horses were greeted with their very own Olympic village on site.
Although it was lavish for the horses, things were quite difficult in terms of health due to the pandemic. The horses were subjected to a seven-day health quarantine and had to get health certifications from vets. In total, most horses took a total of eight chartered flights.
Each horse weighs in the ballpark of 1,200 lbs. Surprisingly, the cargo plane, Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F, was able to hold 236,000 lbs per trip.
“To see these horses arriving at Haneda Airport is a truly historic occasion, and what makes it even more special is that these are not simply horses, they are Olympic horses,” Administrator of Tokyo International Airport Takahashi Koji told The Chronicle of the Horse. “It’s a really big night for the airport, and particularly for the cargo team, and we see it as one of the major milestones of the final countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
Team USA and Their Olympics Voyage
Team USA shared a video of their Olympic horses on the long journey. The horses seemed calm and thoroughly enjoyed their in-flight meals. There were caregivers with them the entire journey to cater to their every need.
According to Forbes USA’s equestrian team will be made up of at least 64 people. With Covid-19 restrictions, they had to cut a number of typical roles. America will bring a total of sixteen horses to the Olympics and just four athletes. It will cost the country six figures just to transport everyone and all of the equipment.
Additionally, this took a lot of planning for the travel, accommodations, logistics, and safety. They spent $30,000 on human COVID-19 testing during the horses’ mandatory quarantine for the Olympics.
Furthermore, Will Connell, U.S. Equestrian Sports Director Will Connell shared that they are already planning for the next Olympics for Paris 2024 and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.