Miami Horse Quarantine Partial Closure Imposing Extra Costs, Horse Travel Time for Wellington Winter Dressage, Jumping, Polo Circuits
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Nov. 19, 2018–A renovation project has closed parts of Miami International Airport’s quarantine center forcing rerouting of hundreds of horses from around the world to import centers in Chicago and New York requiring expensive and lengthy land transport to their destination in Wellington.
Replacement of flooring in horse stalls–about 40 are closed off–at the quarantine center operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has already taken three months and is still not completed.
The work began just as horses were arriving for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September. Renovations were apparently not undertaken in the period May through August when only a handful of horses are routed through Miami.
The pace of imports of about 3,000 horses imported through Miami in November to February is normally already in full swing ahead of the Global Dressage and Winter Equestrian Festivals, International Polo Club and the Palm Beach Masters Series. High goal polo starts at the end of December with the Global and Winter Equestrian Festivals beginning early January.
Tim Dutta, owner of The Dutta Corp. the official international horse shipper for the equestrian events centered about an hour north of Miami, said the lack of enough horse stalls has created “severe congestion.”
“It’s impacting the industry, impacting commerce and certainly impacts the Global Dressage Festival, the Winter Equestrian Festival and International Polo,” he said. “This the largest horse show in the world and USDA certainly knows its importance.
“And it seriously impacts our customers who are spending significant amounts of money making sure their horses arrive on time for the dressage and jumping show season that runs for three months and polo running for almost four months.
“Most of all, it’s an issue of animal welfare, stress on horses, 24 hours of extra miles on the horses.”
A U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesperson told dressage-news.com that about two-thirds of the stalls were now open and the “target” for re-opening the rest was early December.
“We are working hard to reopen all the stalls to ensure our stakeholders have access when they need them,” a spokesperson said. “We thank our stakeholders for their patience while we work to make the improvements to safety and biosecurity.”
The New York and Chicago quarantine centers are both about 1,300 miles (2.100km) from Wellington, adding substantially to the time and costs to ship the horses on to Wellington.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in 30 years in international horse transportation business,” Tim said.
The size of the airlift of 3,000 horses over three months for the Wellington shows compares with a total of 514 horses imported for the Tryon World Games of two weeks.