Tim Dutta’s Commitment to USA Horse Sports
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
The Festival of Champions to crown the United States champions in dressage is held this week and the first of two national title competitions that Tim Dutta supports as a major sponsor of three Olympic horse sports in America.
A week after the dressage championships in Lexington, Kentucky Tim Dutta’s name will be attached to the eventing championships at Fair Hill, Maryland, another key event in a $1 million, four-year sponsorship program celebrating a quarter century in the horse transportation business that he has grown to be one of the biggest players on the world stage.
The Winter Equestrian Festival and Global Dressage Festival in Florida and other high profile horse shows are also major platforms for sponsorship by Dutta Corp.
Being a show sponsor is only part of the support for the sport. Dutta Corp. also provides grants to cover transatlantic shipping costs, a critical factor for Americans competing in Europe.
Tim Dutta launched the company that bears his name after he came to the United States for three months of vacation before he was scheduled to go home to his native India to follow his father into the army in hopes he could get into the mounted force and stay involved with horses.
“The only way I could do horses was to join the army,” Tim said. “The three months went by very fast. I fell in love with the USA.
“There was no doubt horses had to be part of my life. I competed at jumping and in polo but I lacked the funds and the talent to go into thesport, but not the dedication.
“I realized very quickly that many people involved in horse transport were doing it as freight forwarding and not from the side of those who live, breathe, dream and love horses.
“We have horses ourselves and decided to set up a company that is founded on those principles. We still don’t have a business plan or follow the classic principles of business.
“Our business is to do the right thing for the horse.”
Dutta Corp. was launched in New York’s suburban Westchester County on Sept.13, 1988 as an air freight company with a six-horse van to transport to their destinations the 60 or 70 horses a month being shipped at the time.
The company still has its main office in Westchester County but now has fulltime employees in Wellington, Florida where he, his wife, Susan, a U.S. team dressage rider, and their 12-year-old son, Timmy, a jumper rider, have another home.
The 25-year partnership with Guido Klatte in Lastrup, Germany and the logistics center set up there has flourished beyond the wildest dreams of both of them.
The center is completing an expansion to become the largest of its type in the world with a total of 155 stalls and a full range of facilities from arenas with show quality footing, accommodation for grooms, access to veterinary care and farriers.
Enough to easily handle U.S. dressage, eventing and jumping teams as well as sales horses and individuals that have swelled the number number of horses handled by Tim and Guido to as many as 180 a week.
Dutta Corp. has grown its transportation network throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.
“In the last 10 years we have really grown,” said the 47-year-old Tim. “We have created logistical partnerships around the world that enable us to ship horses to Argentina and Brazil for the Nations Cup, to Spruce Meadows in Canada and to Europe for team competitions which we can can do every day.
“For us it isn’t routine, though. We monitor the horses every step of the way–from picking them up at farms and show grounds, taking them to the airport, making sure medical certificates, vaccination records and other health requirements are in order, making sure there are enough humans to accompany the horses on the flights, getting them through quarantine on arrival then making sure they get to their destination in the best possible condition.
“We work closely with the FEI (International Equestrian Federation) that has made huge steps in getting governments to accept that these horses are incredibly fit and superbly maintained athletes, free of diseases that could threaten livestock.
“On occasion we’ve taken a lead role as we did at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro where we shipped most of the horses based in North America and worked closely with Brazilian authorities. Brazil understands the caliber of the team horses and that makes it a pleasure to ship in and out of there and that obviously will be of great benefit come the Oympics in Rio in 2016.”
Shipping to relatively exotic location such as Pan American Games in 2003 in Santo Domingo, Rio in 2007 and Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 and North American teams to Europe placed Tim in the center of handling horses that came to Kentucky for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
He partnered with Peden Bloodstock based in Germany and the longest established horse transportation company in the world to handle horses from around the globe to compete in dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting as well as para dressage at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010.
“It was very successful for both of us,” Tim said. “Peden has the franchise for the Olympics and major championships. Between the two of us we had the capacity to handle everything.”
Dutta Corp. will ship teams from North America to the WEG in Normandy, France next year as the company does for the teams competing around the world every year. He expects to be involved directly in the World Cup in Las Vegas in April, 2015 as well as the Pan American Games in Toronto later that year.
Tim said he continues to look for ways to grow the business and hopes that one day his son joins him.
“The business is love and passion for the horse,” he said.
“We have a staff that has been with us for more than 10 years and is very dedicated to our mission.”
“My love is high performance,” Tim said, “and sponsorship to the degree we do it is our way to show our clientele we support their passion as much as we make a living off them.
“Dressage is a family affair for us because of Susie, and show jumping because Timmy is involved.
“Susie was an eventer and when Dansko pulled out of Fair Hill after many years supporting it we stepped up to the plate.
“If our commitment for these three years works out we look forward to doing it for another five years.”