A Horse’s Road To Rio – The Venue

Equestrian Olympic CenterHorses will begin arriving for the Rio Olympics the first of August.  Horses for the Paralympic games will arrive the first of September.  As with all the previous travel, Peden Bloodstock will coordinate the horse’s arrival and stabling at the game.   FEI developed the Customs & Freight Manual Appendix EQUESTRIAN FREIGHT to assist them in a smooth operation.  Their goal is to have all formalities and procedures completed as swiftly and smoothly as possible to settle the horses, attendants and equipment at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center quickly. Located west of Rio in the Deodoro area, the trip to the stabling area should take approximately 45 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic.

The unloading and transportation are outlined as follows:

  • Horses are briefly inspected before unloading from the aircraft and relevant documents are collected by officers.
  • The horses and their attendants will be transferred from the aircraft, which will be parked at the freighter terminal, via the apron and a transfer ramp onto the horse trucks.
  • Every vehicle, all of which are of EU origin, can accommodate up to 10 horses, in 1.12m wide stalls in a forward, backward or sideward travelling configuration. It is anticipated that the 10 horse configuration, with 2 horses travelling sideward will only be utilized for the Jumping flights ex Europe where the maximum trucking capacity will be required.
  • Once the horses are securely transferred to the horse trucks, customs and immigration formalities will be completed.
  • Simultaneously all pallets with horse equipment, vet medicines and feed will be broken down. The authorities will inspect the consignment prior to it being loaded onto vehicles for transfer to the secure Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center.
  • Once all formalities are completed at the airport the horses accompanied by their attendants, equipment, vet medicines & feed will be transferred to the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center;
  • Horses will be inspected and relevant documents will be checked after arriving at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center

As the Official Stable Management Provider for the Rio 2016 Games, two Peden stable managers will be on site prior to horse arrival until the last horse has departed. Rio 2016 Volunteers will form the rest of the stable management team under the direction of the Peden Stable Managers. Peden will be responsible for formulating the stable plan – it has been agreed that horses will be stabled by National Federation (NF), National Olympic (NOC) and National Paralympics Committees (NPC) and not by discipline, i.e. all the U.S.A. horses will be stabled together.

Strict biosecurity measures have been implemented at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center to ensure that the status of this area is fully maintained. They include:

  • Vectors Control (ticks, rodents, pigeons, etc.) being run by experienced professionals from local universities hired by the government. It is been in place since 2007 but has been reinforced since January 2014. Reports are delivered every six months.
  • To complement the measures designed to control animal movement, the entire competition area will be fenced in order to prohibit the entry of animals that are not participating in the event.
  • The venue is completely horse free since April 2015 and will remain till the Games.
  • Foot mats with disinfectant and hand gels must be utilized on entry and exit from the horse area.

vet clinic layoutFor additional biosecurity protection, horses should not leave the venue once admitted. Therefore, Rio2016 has constructed an equine hospital for on-site emergency surgery, and the clinic will be fully equipped to deliver high quality veterinary services for the horses competing in the Games. The Veterinary Clinic will provide a 24-hour operation and provide a complement of treatment options the entire time that horses are on site at Deodoro.

The import of feed, supplements, medicines and hay will all be monitored by the Brazilian authorities.

  • No wood is allowed to be imported into Brazil.  Horses will be bedded on shavings.
  • Import of feed is permitted subject to it containing no animal origin protein and no active/inactive biological agents.
  • Rio2016 has a contract with Kentucky Equine Research (KER) who will identify potential suppliers of local products (hay and shavings), contact associations to assess needs, and work with Peden to coordinate shipment of feed
  • Hay is not permitted to be imported, with the exception of haylage

Finally, farrier services will also be available, but regulated at the Olympics. It’s no surprise that there is also a Veterinary and Farrier Services Guide. The “forge” for use team farriers, is located adjacent to the Veterinary Clinic and close to the stables area. The forge will be staffed daily and contain the following facilities:

  • Two individual shoeing bays
  • Two double-burner gas forges
  • Two work benches
  • Various forging tools and supplies

Rio 2016 farriers will be available to provide general and specialist farrier services at the forge as requested. All services may be booked at the forge or at the Veterinary Clinic’s reception and will be charged at commercial rates. Team farriers are welcome to use the forge by appointment. Times may be booked at the forge or at the Veterinary Clinic. Stock will be supplied to farriers for a nominal fee, and farrier tools may be loaned to team farriers depending on availability. For each discipline a stock of shoes, nails and other materials will be made available for teams to use.  However, it is recommended that teams bring their own stock, such as spare sets of shoes.

With the horses safely in their stalls and all supplies approved and delivered, there’s nothing left but to wait for the competition to begin.

Photo credit: Rio2016

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