A horse’s career may be crowned in a five-minute championship round, but the logistics of reaching that apex is a gargantuan task. Martha Terry talks to those working behind the scenes
When we cheer on an Olympic champion jumping his final clear round, we see the glorious fruition of months and years of training, practice and nurtured talent. What we don’t see is the monumental amount of time, negotiation, effort and the unsung heroes involved in physically getting not just that horse, but every horse in that championships, safely to – and home from – the event.
Just flying hundreds of horses across the world to compete in a global championship is marvellous in itself, but that short plane trip is a tiny crumb of the years spent preparing for that journey. In most cases, it’s far longer than the time the rider has spent training his champion.
Martin Atock is managing director at Peden Bloodstock, the appointed equestrian transporter and logistics provider for the past nine Olympic Games.
“Flying horses isn’t even 2% of our work,” says Martin. “The bulk of it is the preparation. We’ve been working on the health, transport, quarantine and logistics preparations for Tokyo for five years. We’ve been to Tokyo 13 times. The preparation for these championships is ginormous.