First Olympic horses arrive at Greenwich

By: Horse Deals

First Olympic horses arrive at Greenwich
<span style="font-size: 9px;">The Team GB lorry arrives at Greenwich Park - Credit Kit Houghton/FEI</span><br><br>

The first horses have arrived at Greenwich Park, venue for the Olympic equestrian events at London 2012.

The first 75 of 219 Olympic horses have been through a specially constructed Equine Staging Facility (ESF) at Greenwich University over the past two days and all are now settled into their temporary new home.

The equine athletes have to undergo an even stricter screening process than the one that the human athletes go through before entering Olympic venues.

On arrival at the ESF, horses are unloaded and taken to temporary stabling, where an initial health check is carried out by a veterinary team to make sure that the horses have no signs of infectious disease or injury.

This is standard bio-security procedure at all international events, and is the first layer of protection for the competition horses, and for the event itself.

Horseboxes are also checked using sniffer dogs and the cargo is then unloaded and scanned before being loaded onto separate trucks for delivery direct to the stables, with the grooms’ luggage being delivered straight to their on-site accommodation.

The driver and passengers go through the normal screening processes, and they are allowed two pieces of hand baggage per person, all of which has to be scanned.

Once the interior of the horsebox has been screened, which takes around 20 minutes, the horses are reloaded, and the ramps and doors are then security sealed with tape from the outside. This is just a security measure, and the ramp and the doors can be opened in an emergency.

After a short eight-kilometre journey, the horses arrive on Greenwich Park and are unloaded straight into their stables.

Once in their new homes, the horses then have a more complete health check which is carried out by the FEI Veterinary Commission