THE world’s top equine athletes have arrived in the spectacular destination of Miami Beach, USA, after a first class flight from Europe.
Two specially-chartered flights with Emirates Airlines carried a total of 75 horses from Liege in Belgium to Miami International Airport over the course of the weekend ahead of the launch event of the Longines Global Champions Tour and the new Global Champions League team competition.
Among the 57 equine VIPs were Bertram Allen's young stallionHector Van d'Abdijhoeve, who was pictured enjoying the view at the seaside venue.
Saturday, April 9th, will see the highly anticipated LGCT Grand Prix of Miami Beach take place on the stunning white sands at 15:15 local time, and history will be made as the inaugural Global Champions League makes its debut at the unique destination on Sunday 10th April at 11:30.
With horse welfare a top priority, there was close co-operation with the United States Department of Agriculture for the arrival and the settling in of the horses.
The horses travelled ‘first class’, with premium conditions to ensure ease, comfort and an exceptional level of welfare. Experienced grooms accompanied the stars of show jumping to look after their every need throughout the flight, and were joined by vets and Peden Bloodstock who supervised the operation with the help of Lachs in Leige (Belgium) and Cas in Miami, who handled the arrangements.
As per humans, the horses travel with their own passports which include all the key details and information allowing a smooth and organised process. In the same way that humans benefit from premium conditions, the travel arrangements had been carefully planned to run like clock-work, maximising efficiency and ensuring the most comfortable travelling set up for the equine athletes.
Once the flight had landed at Miami International Airport, the horses were transferred to special waiting transportation trucks where they were given a police escort to the venue. The unloading process from the aircraft was fast and efficient to minimise time, and after landing all the horses were settled comfortably in their stables at the show ground by the beach in under three hours.
SDA Supervisory Veterinarian Medical Officer Dr Laura Moya praised the planning and smooth running of the operation and said: "We have established a wonderful working relationship which we look forward to continuing. It is a privilege to be involved in this where welfare is a priority. We have over 60 years experience in handling and dealing with the welfare of horses. The horses arrived in fabulous condition and we did extensive checks. This is a unique setting here in Miami Beach for the event."
Martin Atock, the Managing Director of Peden Bloodstock said: "The transport was exceptional and it was perfect for the horses in terms of the conditions and their welfare. They had a super flight.”
The horses were then settled comfortably into their purpose built temporary stables, just a short walk from the warm Atlantic ocean, where they were monitored and kept under US quarantine conditions. Sunday morning saw the horses from Europe released and take to the beach to stretch their legs in the beautiful and expansive competition arena. Passers-by watched from the shoreline, keen to catch a glimpse of the stunning animals as they took in their impressive surroundings ahead of this week’s event. Tomorrow the European horses will be joined by those from the US, who will begin to arrive by truck to Miami Beach, bringing the total number of horses to the venue to over 240.
The action kicks off on Thursday 7th April, with a feast of show jumping sport running throughout the event and will be broadcast on international TV and online via the GCT and GCL TV live streaming.