Flying feed to: Kentucky 2010 | Rio 2016 | WEG 2018 | Tokyo 2020

We caught-up with Dodson & Horrell Veterinary and Technical Nutrition Manager, Dr Courtney Miller and World Class Programme Head of Operations Sarah Armstrong to learn more about the shipping of feed, out to an overseas championship, ahead of this summer’s World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

The World Class Programme:

When an athlete has been selected, they are asked to send all the feed that they require for their horse for the duration of the championships to Dodson & Horrell HQ. All athletes who are on the nominated entries list have to submit their feed requirements to us beforehand, so that we know what feed will be arriving and the quantities, and so that the necessary licenses can be applied for.

We work closely with Dodson & Horrell to ensure all the feed is packed and listed correctly, and we also have to work closely with the official feed supplier for WEG, KER, who apply for the licenses on our behalf, so that we are able to bring our UK feed into the USA. In total we have applied for around 450 feed and supplement licenses across the British team for WEG.

Once all the feed from the selected athletes has arrived at D&H, it is logged and labelled before being palletised. We only take full, sealed and correctly labelled bags, so anything that is split in transit arriving to D&H then has to be re-sent. The labelling process is very important; this enables us to make sure that we know which athlete and horse the feed belongs to, and makes it much easier at the other end when we are unloading it.

On average, each athlete will take around eight bags of feed for their horse for WEG, so when you think that we will have 25 horses out in Tryon for Great Britain this summer that equates to an awful lot of feed!

The World Class Programme team are really lucky to have the support of D&H throughout this process; Sophie Thomas (Performance Operations Manager), Lucy Phillips (Operations Assistant) and I will spend the day with the team in Kettering, to work through the process and the shipment requirements. We must give particular thanks to Natalie and Jenny for their support! D&H provide a space which we know is safe, clean and secure, and after all the feed has been labelled, they assist us with the palletising of the product, which is a massive task. 

All of our horsehage, provided by Marksway Horsehage, also travels by air freight, and is palletised along with our feed, by the team at D&H. For WEG, we will take about 200 bales. Some horses will be fed hay rather than haylage but we can’t ship our own hay to the USA. Hay will be available on-venue for us to purchase so we have imported some USA hay via Robert Durrant in Newmarket (which is quite different to UK hay) so that our horses can make the transition ahead of time.

When the feed and forage has been palletised, it is collected by the official equine shipper for the Games; for WEG 2018 this is Peden Bloodstock, and is taken to be prepared for flying. All of our feed travels by air; for WEG 2018, we have booked ten tonnes of air freight across our delegation – this includes all of the horses kit and equipment, and also all of our feed.

Earlier this month, Dr Courtney Miller shared with us an insight into what goes into feed production. From the look, to the smell and to the feel, there is a lot to consider when formulating a feed recipe.