London 2012 horses arrive at Greenwich Park
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
July 25 - The first horses have arrived at Greenwich Park ahead of the Olympic equestrian events at London 2012, where they will go through a series of checks to ensure they are in the best possible condition for the Games.
On arrival at the Equine Staging Facility at Greenwich University, horses are unloaded from their transport trucks and taken to temporary stabling, where an initial health check is carried out by a veterinary team to ensure 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.
Olympic horses have to undergo a stricter screening process than the one human athletes go through before entering Games venues.
Simultaneously, the horses' transport trucks are checked inside and out using sniffer dogs.
Sniffer dogs are also used to check the cargo.
The cargo is all unloaded, scanned and checked before being loaded onto separate trucks for delivery direct to the stables.
The truck driver and passengers go through the normal screening processes, all baggage is scanned.
Once the interior of the horse transporter has been screened, which takes around 20 minutes, the horses are reloaded, and the ramps and doors security sealed with tape from the outside.
This is a security measure – the ramp and the doors can be opened in an emergency.
Then it is off to the Olympic stables at Greenwich Park, with an escort vehicle leading the way through the London traffic on a designated Olympic lane.
The eight kilometre journey takes an average of 20 minutes.
Once in their new homes, the horses then have a further more extensive health check which is carried out by the FEI Veterinary Commission.
The horses' passports are also checked.
There are no photographs in equine passports, just a standard line drawing on which the horses unique identifying features, such as white marks, are noted.
The passport also gives an up-to-date listing of all vaccinations administered to the horse.
During the Olympics, horses from 40 countries on six continents will be staying in Greenwich Park for the Olympic equestrian events, with 54 coming in for the dressage and 90 for the jumping after the eventing horses have finished their competition.
A further 78 horses will be on site during the Paralympic Games.
The stables, which are the equine equivalent of the Athletes Village in the Olympic Park, are all raised off the ground to protect the Greenwich Park grassland.
A team of equine veterinary experts is in place at London 2012 to safeguard horse health and provide the best possible care and attention to the equine athletes during the Games.
As well as the London 2012 Veterinary Services team, the horses competing at Greenwich Park will be accompanied throughout the Games by their own personal and team veterinarians.
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