Airlift Completed of USA-Based Horses for World Cup Finals in Las Vegas

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Verdades with owner-rider Laura Graves arriving in Las Vegas for the pair's first World Cup Final appearance. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Verdades with owner-rider Laura Graves arriving in Las Vegas for the pair’s first World Cup Final appearance. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

LAS VEGAS, April 12, 2015–An airlift of 14 dressage and jumper horses based in the United States was made Sunday to complete the air transportation of horses from both sides of the Atlantic for the World Cups of Dressage and Jumping this week.

Verdades ridden by Laura Graves and the Florida-based Danish combinations of Mariett and Lars Petersen and My Lady and Mikala Gundersen arrived in Las Vegas along with 10 American and one Brazilian jumpers.

“He traveled well,” said Laura of Geneva, Florida who accompanied her 13-year-old KWPN gelding, on which she is ranked No. 10 in the world. “There were no problems.”

Laura, 27 was one of only two riders to accompany their horses, the other was Russia’s Elema Sidneva who came from Europe with her Romeo Star.

“Everything was smooth,” said Tim Ober, the United States jumper team veterinarian who accompanied the horses on the flight from West Palm Beach to Las Vegas a day after 40 horses came on  a flight from Amsterdam.

Mariett deplaning at Las Vegas. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Mariett deplaning at Las Vegas. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The two airlifts organized by Tim Dutta’s Dutta Corp. were flawless,

All of the horses arrived in good health and no surprises.

“We brought in the very best operations people in the world from Europe and across the United States to work with our team of extraordinary professionals,” Tim said after the arrival of the flight with the American horses.

“We do this every day with our own team and a network that enables us to take care of everything from start to finish.

““We wanted to make sure every contingency was covered because these horses worth millions of dollars are here to compete in a world championship and cannot take time off to recover from anything that goes wrong.

“Our team performed like clockwork to deliver the horses in the finest condition so the riders, grooms and owners can focus on what they are here for–to compete at the highest level of the sport.

“I owe thanks to every one who helped make this such a success.”

Mariett was happy to see a familiar face when she arrived at the Thomas & Mack Center where the World will be staged--Melissa Taylor, wife of rider Lars Petersen, was there to take care of her along with Marcia Pepper the owner who had prepared Martiett's stall. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Mariett was happy to see a familiar face when she arrived at the Thomas & Mack Center where the World Cup will be staged–Melissa Taylor, wife of rider Lars Petersen, was there to lead her off the truck and take care of her with Marcia Pepper the owner who had flown in ahead of time to prepare Mariett’s stall. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The two Danish combinations based in Wellington, Florida are Lars Petersen, 49 and Mariett, 17-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, and Mikala Gundersen, 46 of Wellington and My Lady, 15-year-old Danish Warmmblood mare.

My Lady being led by Emilija Anderson who takes care of the mare. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
My Lady being led by Emilija Anderson who takes care of the mare. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Steffen Peters of San Diego, California on Legolas is the last remaining dressage finalist to arrive in Las Vegas, where he and the now-retired Ravel in 2009 became only the second American pair to win the World Cup. He is scheduled to make the five-hour drive with the 13-year-old Westfalen gelding Monday.

Rothchild and Simon, two of the top American jumper horses, had exit row stalls for the flight from Palm Beach to Las Vegas befitting their star status. Rothchild is ridden by McLain Ward and Simon by Beezie Madden. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Rothchild and Simon, two of the top American jumper horses, had exit row stalls for the flight from Palm Beach to Las Vegas befitting their star status. Rothchild is ridden by McLain Ward and Simon by Beezie Madden. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The European horses that arrived Saturday were in a 48-hour “lockdown,” a sealed off quarantine center required by the United States Department of Agriculture meaning the horses can only be walked around a track set up inside the air sealed tent stables.

Horses such as Valegro traveled from Gloucestershire, England to Amsterdam where they had to report by 11 p.m. Friday night (2 pm US Pacific/Las Vegas time) and after about seven hours waiting made the flight to Las Vegas arriving here at 7:30 am local.

That means by the time the horses are able to be taken out of the locked down quarantine it will be at least 66 hours since exercise for animals that are among the finest athletes in the world and just three days before the start of the world championship.

The quarantine tent at the Thomas & Mack Center, venue for the World Cup Finals of dressage and jumping. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The quarantine tent at the Thomas & Mack Center, venue for the World Cup Finals of dressage and jumping. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com