The friendly skies where the equine athlete's welfare, comfort, and well-being are top priorities.  The friendly skies are where the equine athlete's welfare, comfort, and well-being are top priorities. Photos by FEI/Dirk Caremans; FEI/Tori Repole

550 horses Fly to U.S. for Big Equestrian Competition

23 horse flights underway

Some of the world’s top equine athletes are arriving by air to small-town North Carolina. The FEI calls it the ‘largest commercial airlift of horses’.

The first 67 of 550, which epitomize the most amazing specimens of equine flesh, already touched hoof to Tryon turf. Their arrival is ahead of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

Horse transportation company Peden Bloodstock specializes in the precision of moving equine athletes by air. The Dutta Corporation assisted with the logistics of the horses’ flights.

550 horses are flying to the U.S. for 2018 WEG Tryon
550 horses are flying to the U.S. for 2018 WEG Tryon

Horses from across six continents will arrive on flights into Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) in South Carolina. The horses fly into the U.S. on one of 23 horse flights. The flights originate from cities including Liège (BEL), Dubai (UAE), and others.

Upon their arrival, the horses are transferred from the specially designed Boeing 777 to a horse transporter, without stepping onto South Carolina soil. Then, it’s off to North Carolina. The journey is 50 mi. to the Tryon International Equestrian Center where the competition is live from September 11 to the 23rd.

“These horses are finely-tuned equine athletes and are not only very valuable, but they must arrive in peak competition condition…,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

They will join another 270 horses traveling by land where they will meet their human partners. Competitors from more than 70 countries will compete.

The Games are world championships in the FEI’s eight Olympic disciplines. Likewise, the competition is a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The disciplines include Eventing, Jumping, Dressage, Driving, Endurance, Reining, and Vaulting. Also included is the Paralympic sport of Para-Dressage.