It started today. And if you add up the numbers, it's the largest airlift of horses to a single event in history. An estimated 500 of the horses who will be performing and competing at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will land at Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport in the next two weeks.
Isn?t that great? And then what happens?
If you watched the video, and listened to Rusty Ford, you know what happens. Those horses aren?t going anywhere--not for 42 hours, anyway. They'll stay right on the grounds of the airport, in temporary stabling under tents. To them, it will be just another horse show, without the show.
They'll be attended by veteinarians and grooms who will be watching their vital signs and attitude and eating and drinking behaviors for the slightest evidence of illness. Blood samples will be shipped via UPS to a testing lab in Iowa. And they?ll wait: Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, Andalusians, Lipizanners, Friesians, Arabians all camped out together. A tapestry of languages will be heard through those tent walls.
Horses coming from Asia and Australia are going through a similar quarantine in Los Angeles, while horses coming from South America are processed through Miami. Whatever their port of entry, they must pass through the rigors of U.S. importation requirements. Before these horses ever left their home countries, there were vaccinations and USDA health certificates to complete.
I felt a chill today when Anky Van Grunsven, at 3:18 p.m., posted in English on Twitter, ?Horses arrived safe and sound. I can sleep well :-)? She was referring, of course, to the Dutch shipment and to her reining horse, in particular, since the defending WEG champion in dressage will be riding on the Dutch reining team this year! Dressage rider Edward Gal, too, posted to let everyone know that his champion horse, Moorlands Totilas, had landed.
The arrival of the horses is an exciting time. The grooms and vets and farriers are making their way through customs as I write this. When they arrive in Lexington, they have to unpack and build little stable villages for their nations at the Horse Park. They'll zoom around in golf carts and on bikes and get fork lifts to help them.
When they?re all done next week, when all the countries are in place and all the horses are here, the little stable villages will have melded into the World, right there on the back side of the Kentucky Horse Park.
Welcome to America! Welcome to the World!
Video courtesy WCPO-TV.