‘Around $30,000 round trip’: What it takes to ship horses to equestrian Olympics

The Olympic games are now just days away and behind the scenes Karin Ahlqvist is telling me about which cities in Europe the Dutta Corporation is delivering horses.

“We also fly into Luxembourg, we can also fly into Paris,” she said. “Most of the horses fly into either Amsterdam or Belgium.”

The company’s responsible for making sure world class horses are in place for equestrian events.

“Some riders go over early and train in Europe and they go to different shows to qualify. So, it all depends on their schedule,” she said. “Some people go as late as a week before or 10 days before. It all depends, it’s customized to each individual.”

Ahlqvist said Dutta Corp. transports more than 5,000 horses yearly, most of those are show horses. The travel is similar to human flights in the sense that there’s a business class where only two horses travel together and economy, where three horses fly together.

“So, most of the horses that are competing on a higher level they go business class,” Ahlqvist said. “It’s around $30,000 round trip.”

Ahlqvist said to go from Miami to Europe is about 10 hours and an attendant is always with the horses.

Cathy Martin is one of those attendants.

“The most important thing is always the horse that they’re comfortable, hydrated, food and water as they want and recognize the signs if they’re uncomfortable,” she said.

She said the containers the horses travel in are highly specialized.

“The containers themselves, they’re all padded, there’s rubber on the floor, so it’s nonslip,” she said. “They also have bedding in there that will soak up the pee and poop so, they’re comfortable.”

Martin said the quarantine times vary based on the location. There are also blood tests taken on each horse to detect any diseases. Martin said high level horses are easy to deal with.

“And also seeing the results when they compete and watching them,” Martin said.

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