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  1. #1
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    Default Shipping a horse overseas by airplane

    A group of us were riding this morning and the subject of shipping a horse by airplane came up. Do the horses being transported have a catheter w/ port sewn in, in the event that IV meds (tranqs) must be administered ASAP? Does a vet or vet tech travel on board as an employee of the airline? We had all kinds of questions and are just curious as to how it goes for the 8-10 hour flights for horses. Anyone know about this sort of thing???



  2. #2
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    Feb. 23, 2008
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    I want to know if they have seatbelts in case of turbulence!

    I have a friend who regularly ships horses - in all our discussions of it I don't recall her ever mentioning tranqs or catheters. I think as far as the horse knows it's in a very large horse trailer - and I know there are knowledgeable grooms and attendants with them. Given the price of some of the horses they ship, I'd be surprised if there is no one in attendance able to give a shot or administer other emergency medical attention (in case of colic, etc.)



  3. #3
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    Jul. 13, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    A group of us were riding this morning and the subject of shipping a horse by airplane came up. Do the horses being transported have a catheter w/ port sewn in, in the event that IV meds (tranqs) must be administered ASAP? Does a vet or vet tech travel on board as an employee of the airline? We had all kinds of questions and are just curious as to how it goes for the 8-10 hour flights for horses. Anyone know about this sort of thing???
    Catheters are not sewn in, in fact horses tend to be better fliers then humans. As for who is with the horses, depends on the airline. All the horses I have shipped have only had flight grooms on board, which is not a vet or vet tech. Just somebody experienced with horses that can do IV as needed and check on the horses. When flying team horses and racehorses though having a vet on the plane is not unheard of just because you have to be very aware of what those horses are given. Basically for an 8-10 hour flight they just keep the haynet full and give water periodically.



  4. #4
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    Dec. 8, 2001
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    I shipped my horse to the UK from Canada last year.

    Most horses do not have a catheter sewn in. I am aware of one horse that did not fly well that was catheterized to ease IV administration.

    On KLM airlines horses travel with experienced flight grooms. They have sedation close at hand and can administer it if needed. If they meet certain conditions lay people (owners) can fly as "flight grooms". I was able to fly with my horse and was in the airstable with her during landing and takeoff.

    My experience was very positive. There were two horses traveling in an airstable that could have accommodated three so each horse had a little more room - the partitions are movable. The horses were calm throughout the flight, apart from landing and take off, it is a smother ride that in a trailer. Full haynets kept them both well occupied.

    The horses were unbalanced by the forces of take off and landing but handled it very well. In fact our biggest problem on board was that they were a bit reluctant to drink. We offered bottled water as well as apple juice.



  5. #5
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    Jan. 9, 2010
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    I flew with a load once in the 80's and it was a great experience, with everything from Shires that took up 2 stalls each to weanlings loose together in one large pen. The professional grooms did all the loading and securing and our job as auxilliary grooms (ie. free airfare) was to stand at the heads of one row of 3 horses during and briefly after take-off and the same at landing. My understanding was that the pros and the pilot were in charge of emergencies, of which there were none thankfully.

    We supplied our own food, the grooms played a few hands of poker and then laid their sleeping bags between the rows of stalls and slept.

    Our in-flight safety talk pretty much consisted of pointing to oxygen supply in the back and telling us if we heard a loud noise we had about 20 seconds to get back to the oxygen or we were done. I spent a lot of the flight reading or just visiting with the horses. It went very smoothly and was the best flight I think I ever had, barring the time spent loading and unloading.



  6. #6
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    I read somewhere that Jet Run was a very nervous flier.



  7. #7
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    Default

    Hey, thanks for the flight stories. They are so interesting to read!!!

    How do the horses handle the airport?? We wondered if all the activity from incoming and departing planes caused any problems. Or again, will this will vary by the temperment and travel experience of each horse??



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    Hey, thanks for the flight stories. They are so interesting to read!!!

    How do the horses handle the airport?? We wondered if all the activity from incoming and departing planes caused any problems. Or again, will this will vary by the temperment and travel experience of each horse??
    Depends on the horse really. When my guy flew over from the UK to California he was just 6 years old flying out of Heathrow. Well he happened to have just been off-loaded from the lorry and put on the pallet and they were waiting for the final horse to be dropped off. Just then the freaking Concorde took off on the runway next to him (you know the plane grounded because it was too loud). The guy that dropped him off threw the lorry in park and ran back to him thinking he would freak out, but he could have cared less, and this was not a calm type of horse.

    On the other hand I was dropping the same horse off with his buddy at LAX as they were retiring to Hawaii with some friends and I was the ride to the airport. If you know that airport it is busy! Well had to have the horses there by 11pm for a 1am flight. Horses stayed with me in my trailer at the end of the runway the entire time. My horse couldn't have cared less about the jets taking off and landing, but his friend was non too pleased. Buddy horse also didn't want to walk into the warehouse to load onto the pallet without my guy, and that was the type of horse you would think wouldn't care.



  9. #9
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    May. 22, 2002
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    A few years ago I flew my 3 horses from LA to NY.

    It was the easiest part of a cross country move!
    I used a national service, the horses flew on a DHL courier plane.

    The only bad part was they loaded my oldest guy first. I had repeated several times to load him last. I had even written it in marker on his neck! "Load Me Last". He was a pretty old horse and would follow his buddies anywhere, but was wary of new people handling him.
    He got panicky standing in the pallet alone, while they got the second horse. He reared up and cracked the board above him with his head. They tranq'ed him, loaded the others and the rest of the flight was uneventful.

    A groom did travel with the horses.
    I followed their flight in another plane and was waiting at the cargo terminal when their plane landed.
    Turned out the horse's pallet was the last one loaded so they were immediately behind the cockpit. The pilots had the door open and could see the horses during the flight. They commented as they passed me waiting, that they couldn't believe the one horse was 30 years old.

    Yeah, 30 and with one hell of a headache!



  10. #10
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    Default

    Thanks again. Horses never cease to amaze me at how adaptable they can be to our requests.



  11. #11
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    Apr. 7, 2006
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    I shipped my horse by plane when I moved a few years ago. There was a handler with him at all times - they gave him a mild sedative (oral paste) before take off. I was at the airport to watch him land. It was crazy seeing him come out of the airplane (with bags of fed ex mail!). I wish I'd had a video camera. He was totally unfazed by the whole thing. He had the pallet to himself (it usually takes 3). He was onto the trailer within 20 minutes of landing after a quick check over by the local vet. The handler came over to speak to me and told me he'd been great the whole way. It was definitely an experience but all went smoothly, and it sure beat 3 days on a boat in a standing stall, which was my other alternative.



  12. #12
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    May. 6, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by islndgirl
    it sure beat 3 days on a boat in a standing stall, which was my other alternative.
    Waw, they still do this? I'd worry about the horse colicking from getting motion/sea sick.



  13. #13
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    Jun. 12, 2006
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    Very cool reading about people's experiences! Out of curiosity, approximately how much does it cost to fly a horse? Obviously it depends on how far etc, but I have no idea even a ballpark range... what about, say, Toronto, Ontario to London, England?



  14. #14
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    Apr. 7, 2006
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    Lieslot -
    Yup! they definitely do! The horses are only fed hay and water. I had to do it with a horse before when there was no option to fly them to where I am (15ish yrs ago). It definitely takes its toll on them and they lose a lot of weight and get off the boat with sea legs. I was lucky enough to be able to pay a very experienced and trusted groom to go with mine to keep an eye on him, otherwise they are just at the mercy of the ship's crew who are not exactly horse people. All that being said though, I have never known a horse to not recover from the boat ride. Just wouldn't be my first choice now that they can fly!


    Tuesday's Child - I would guess from Toronto to England you would be in the range of 5-10k, probably closer to the higher end. But haven't shipped that route before so couldn't say for sure!



  15. #15
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    When I flew mine it was approx $3500/horse, about double the ground rate for coast to coast.

    There's an ad in Chronicle for Alex Nichols Agency - "Special Spring/Summer Rate $5400 from Europe through quarantine in NY."



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