Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Transport Team Ready and Waiting for the Planes to Land

The air is a steamy, humid 32 Centigrade (90 Fahrenheit). The horse transport fleet stands ready: it includes about one dozen air-conditioned vans for horses and grooms, five horse ambulances, a veterinary van and other support vehicles.

The sprawling horse vans are outfitted with the horses' safety and comfort in mind. Each can accommodate nine racehorses. But to provide the equestrian horses more space, each lorry will carry a maximum of six Olympic or Paralympic horses. Rubber lining the trailer's walls, floor and kick board protect the horses from injury, and a waste trough keeps the compartment tidy. Grooms, who sit in the trailer, can comfort and attend to the horses if needed, and have an alarm bell or intercom with which to communicate with the driver.

Today, July 23, the Hong Kong Jockey Club is opening the doors of the Olympic stable complex adjacent to the Sha Tin racecourse. Soon the air will  be electric and the barns will smell of liniment and hay and molasses and...horses.

I look forward to bringing you closer and closer to the equestrian events at the 2008 Olympics. It will seem much more real once the horses have arrived.


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