Worldsport

Flying high: From 'cattle-class to 'horse-class'

Updated 10:07 AM ET, Mon May 5, 2014
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So how did wonder mare Black Caviar travel 17,000 kilometers from Australia to Britain's Royal Ascot? Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images/File
By plane, of course. Champion Australian race horse Black Caviar wore a special compression suit during her 30-hour journey from Melbourne to London. No expense was spared for the celebrity mare traveling in a $50,000 first-class airborne stable. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images/File
Each year thousands of race horses are flown across the world to compete in international competitions. It's a major operation, with horses first loaded into stables on the ground before being put onto the plane via a scissor lift. Courtesy IRT
German Olympic gold medal winning equestrian rider Ludger Beerbraum's horse, Goldfever, is cared for by staff at Frankfurt's international airport. The airport boasts one of Europe's largest animal lounges; around the size of a football pitch. Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images/File
Much like humans, race horses require passports to travel, though instead of a photo they include a silhouette with details of markings, the names of owners, and vaccine records. Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images/File
Each International Racehorse Transport (IRT) flight includes an on board vet. The stables range from $17,000 for three-horse economy, £30,000 for two-horse buisiness class and $50,000 for a single horse to fly first class. Courtesy International Racehorse Transport
IRT flew many of the equestrian horses to London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. "Do they get jetlag? To be honest, we've got no idea because they can't tell us," said Chris Burke, IRT co-owner. Alex Livesey/Getty Images/File
Long before air travel was the norm, horses were transported by ship. However this came to a halt in 1972 when diseases such as African Horse Sickness and the Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis caused both the Suez and Panama Canals to ban horse traffic. Topical Press Agency/Getty Images/File
Before Black Caviar stormed Britain's Royal Ascot, that other great Australian champion race horse, Phar Lap, traveled to the U.S. by ship to compete. It would also be the place of his death, after he was found poisoned. Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/File