Do horses have passports? Do horses fly on planes or travel by boat? What's the cost of sending a horse around the world?
The equestrian events at the Olympics are likely the only time you think about international horse travel, but these are all valid questions. Let's explore the various points of horse travel so you can be better informed about how our equine friends traverse the globe for competitions.
Do horses have to have passports to travel internationally?
Oh yes, horses have passports, even to travel domestically. They detail specific physical markings on the horse to help differentiate them from other horse travelers, include vaccination details and must be obtained through the horse's home nation's equestrian federation. In the United States, that would be the USEF and a horse passport will cost you $300 for international travel and $50 to travel in the States.
However, you better make sure you like your horse's name because a name change will run you $1,000.
There's also a really depressing section on the passport that details whether the horse can be used for food after it dies, which, I guess is like an extreme organ donor. I'm uncomfortable with this, but apparently that's a thing.
What kind of plane do horses fly on?
The horses fly on planes modified to house horse stalls-- one such company, H.E. Sutton, that only flies domestically in the U.S. uses a modified Boeing 727-200. The planes can house around 40 horses if flying three to a stall, but horse owners can pay for more space on the planes to allow the horse to fly first class with only two to a stall.
The planes also ascend and descend at a slower, more gradual rate than a normal flight to keep the horses comfortable.
You can read more on the horse planes here. Here are some very good horses about to get on a flight:
Are horses put to sleep on flights?
Only on special occasions when the horse is a danger to itself or other horses, according to Equiflight, a horse travel company.
Do horses get jet lag?
Yes. I don't have much more to say on this, but, yeah, horses do get tired on long flights and are affected by time changes like people.
Are there horse flight attendants?
You better believe it. Horse owners do not fly with their horses, but there are flight attendants on the horse planes that feed them hay and give them water. This is from Equiflight website's frequently asked questions:
EQUIFLIGHT will send hay with the horses for the flight. All horses travelling with EQUIFLIGHT are supervised by an airline animal air attendant and an additional number of grooms provided by EQUIFLIGHT. The grooms travel with the horses to ensure that they have hay and water and are comfortable through the entire flight.
Horse airlines sound pretty good, to be honest.
How much does it cost to fly your horse?
So, this is a bit tricky. Horse airlines don't exactly advertise their pricing publicly. It varies for the destination and situation for each horse, I guess, so international pricing is not made easily available. However, as of 2013, H.E. Sutton flights within the U.S. would run you between $3,250 and $4,950 depending on the length of the flight, according to The New York Times.