Horses are a beautiful and majestic animal, and they are also a good friend to airlines and the revenue they bring in for transport. The average cost of transporting a horse via airplane is between $25,000 to $40,000 depending on the length of the flight. However, these horses aren’t sitting in First Class and drinking Champagne. Instead, there is a whole process setup for these horses to travel safely and humanely.
The horses who typically travel by air are the top 1% of all horses in the world. These can include race horses, show horses, jumping, and breeding. Chances are, you won’t see the 99:1 long shot horse from your local track hoping on a flight across the world.
When a horse is preparing to travel, there is actually an entire team of people that travel with the horses in these specially outfitted cargo/transport aircraft. Some of the people that typically travel with the horses are grooms, masseurs, chiropractors, doctors, and sometimes even horse-psychologists.
The horses are transported inside stall like containers, however, the horse is not placed in the container and loaded onto the flight like cargo. Instead, the horse would walk on board the aircraft and on to the base of a special collapsible cargo container. The horse will spin around on the pallet, and the container itself would be erected around them. This process is much less stressful to the horse and carries less risk of injuries occurring.
With many horses traveling on older aircraft (for example, Boeing 727), the value of the horses far exceed the value of the aircraft they are flying in. These horses are typically insured for hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. Their worth is not just in the ability to race or jump, but also the studding fees once their career is over.
The world of Equine Flights is rather interesting and we encourage those with more details to share their stories below!