Tim Dutta Grows a Passion Into a Global Business

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Tim Dutta (right) with PSI's Dr. Ulf Möller, dressage judge Natalie Lamping and Shawna Harding on Rigo, 2010 Developing Horse champion. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

As Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival nears an end for 2011, almost 200 horses have their flights home booked through the Dutta Corp., which is working on shipping squads of top American show horses to compete at the premier shows in Europe and North America for the rest of the year.

Like a conductor skilfully synchronizing 100 pieces of an orchestra, Tim Dutta and his Dutta Corp. arranges the travel of the finest horses in the world. From picking up mostly dressage, eventing, jumping and polo horses for the major embarkation points of New York and Miami on the East Coast, flying them to Amsterdam, for example, in Europe, then trucking them to show grounds across the continent to arrive as fit and healthy as when they left home ready to compete against the world’s best. Then, to go through the same process for the return home.

And in this year of the Pan American Games to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, to lend the U.S. company’s expertise gained from a quarter century of shipping horses to nations who only rarely send horses from their homelands to participate in championships.

Passports are issued for the horses by national equestrian federations on behalf of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). A patchwork of rules and regulations to deal with disease that vary in different regions of the world that can require painstaking research and  arrangements to insure hassle-free travel for the horses. Not unlike travel arrangements for humans who require passports pretty much everywhere, visas and, in some areas of the globe, inoculations against disease.

Horses in air shipping container

“Our career highlight was the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky,” said Tim Dutta, who operates in 16 countries. “It was the largest airlift of horses ever. We moved a total of 548 horses from 53 different countries from seven of the World Equestrian Games disciplines.”

“It is a complicated process because we manage everything from stable to stable. We coordinate government regulations and health certificate requirements. We have an extensive network of partners around the world that help us solve any challenge we might encounter. When we work for an organization, individual or a team we take care of all logistic needs. We plan, we execute. We become their logistics partner.”

Carlos Gracida, Tim’s legendary polo playing friend and a client, said: “I’ve been transporting horses for 35 years to England, Argentina and all over the world. Tim is a great friend and spokesman for the equestrian world. His work is very professional. He gives you constant reports and you always know where your horses are at every moment. He has the very best service in the business.”

With offices in Miami, New York and a partner office in Los Angeles, Dutta is transporting horses between Europe and North America on a weekly basis. They serve exotic destinations, like the Middle East and South America.  “We can move a horse anywhere around the world within seven working days, subject to meeting health requirements,” Tim said.

Shipping a horse for an individual in Iowa, for example, is just as important as taking care of Olympic gold medal horses Sapphire or Hickstead, two of the top steeds that qualify as frequent travelers with Dutta Corp.

Dutta is the official transport company for the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival and for U.S. teams competing at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada; the Meydan Nations Cup Tour of eight nations in Europe; World Cup Finals; the Olympics; World Equestrian Games and the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach as well as for the Pan American Games in Mexico.

Quite a success for the son of a cavalry officer in India.

Tim represented India in the 1982 Asian Games, where he won an individual bronze in Show Jumping. He also played polo with a handicap as high as five goals. His wife, Susan, is a top ranked dressage rider, representing the United States at two Pan American Games.

Tim started his business in 1988 in partnership with Guido Klatte who is based in Lastrup, Germany.

Staffed entirely with horse people, the Dutta Corp. focus is the horse’s wellbeing.

Tim credits his team for the success of the business. “Our vice president of Global Operations, Karin Ahlqvistand our Director of Airport Operations, Claire Williamson run and manage operations behind the scenes as well as interacting with our clients worldwide.” The company strives to decrease the stress horses experience during travel. During transport all horses are accompanied by an experienced flight attendant/groom to monitor each horse before, during and after the flight.

When asked about Dutta Corp., Jim Wolf, Executive Director of Sport Programs at the U.S. Equestrian Federation said: “The thing that Tim does very well is he’s very hands-on and detail oriented, but he also finds creative solutions to problems.

“When we went to Rio for the Pan Am Games in 2007,  it was a tricky project because it is not a place we usually go. Tim pulled all the elements together like the health certificates, the import requirements, how we’re getting our veterinary equipment in and out, feed and hay–all the stuff that makes it work. What’s also unique about Tim is that he is personally invested in the success of the team because this is the world he lives in. His wife is a dressage rider. She was on the team that went to Rio. He has a real personal stake in it, beyond just the business. He provides an excellent service.”

Tim Dutta with Gil Merrick, formerly of the USEF Dressage Department, at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Tim also gives back to the sport in which he has enjoyed success.

In partnership with Performance Sales International of Germany, Dutta Corp. sponsors the U.S. Developing Dressage Horse Championships and provides vital sponsorship dollars for several dressage and jumping competitions across the country.