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Horse Racing

Amazing photos reveal how horses travel thousands of miles by air, with luxury £50m stalls and personal handlers

JUST like us, horses travel.

But have you ever wondered how the best race horses go around the world to compete in the biggest meets?

The world’s most prized race horses travel by plane around the world

Horses travel in style and are given special consideration

Well, of course, they travel in style and are transported in £50million stalls with personal handlers, as trainers give their investments everything they need to succeed.

And don’t forget their in-flight meal – plenty of carrots to chomp on to combat ear pressure.

These amazing photos show how horses travel on planes.


A horse’s journey starts from being loaded into a trailer and traveling from their stables to a major airport that specialises in livestock transportation.

One of the many travelled routes is from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Miami, Florida.

However, the most impressive is The Ark at New York’s JFK Airport.

Located off the runway in Cargo Area D, the state-of-the-art climate-controlled facility enables the safe-handling and delivery of prized animals, including race horses.

The Ark, that cost £50million, has 48 stalls, a 24-hour reception centre, and a special quarantine facility for export and import horses.

Their goal is to ensure that the horses travel smoothly, without any hiccups, so they can perform at the highest level once they reach their final destination.

From trailers to airport, this horse begins its journey

Once out of their trailers they are put into containers

Many will find themselves at The Ark at New York’s JFK airport

The Ark is a facility that houses animals for transportation overseas

With the help of handlers and trained staff, the horses are loaded into containers to go on a plane from The Ark


When it is time to board, the horses are loaded into special containers.

Owners have an option of sending their prized possessions economy, business or first class.

Normally, it’s the smaller horses who will fly three to a container, otherwise known as economy.

However, larger horses will fly business class – simply so they have more leg room.

Once they are loaded into the containers, they are then taken to the plane’s cargo bay.

Often, it’s a Boeing 747 that’s used because the airplane has lots of space for equine travellers in the lower deck.

But it’s not cheap – with owners often paying four figures per stall for the service.

Horses are placed in containers in the cargo bay located in the lower deck

A horse waits to be lifted into a plane

Some horses will fly economy, others might fly business class and get their own container with more space

A Boeing 747 is the preferred plane for horse transportation


Alongside stable attendants, the airlines have assistants who are trained to coordinate and fly with the equines.

They observe the horses and tend to their needs, whether it’s an in-flight snack, normally carrots that help with equalising ear pressure. Or just to make them feel more comfortable so they can take a nap. Yes, horses nap on flights too!

Because horses doze standing up, their legs are wrapped in material that offers compression.

While halters lined with fluffy wool, instead of the usual leather ones, are worn.

If they fancy a graze, there’s plenty of hay available too and they stay hydrated by drinking water.


Living a jet set lifestyle has its drawbacks.

One being the dreaded feeling of jet lag that only encourages nausea and ill feeling.

In-flight snacks include carrots and hay

The comfortability of the livestock is crucial to their delivery

Once on board, horses may take a nap

However, unlike human beings they don’t get jet lag when they reach their final destination

Do horses suffer from jet lag? The simple answer is no.

The FEI (International Federation of Equestrian Sport) Code of Conduct for the welfare of horses states that horses need a rest period between travel and competition.

But unlike us, they don’t feel grumpy when travelling overseas to farther shores.

An adult horse requires only three hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, and this is usually done by snatching naps.

So there’s no excuse when it comes to race day.


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