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Guido Klatte on international horse transport during the Covid-19 pandemic: “What is a fact today might not be valid tomorrow”

Wednesday, 01 April 2020


Text © World of Showjumping 



For 35 years, Guido Klatte International Horse Transport has offered full-service international horse transport by air – to nearly any destination worldwide. Along the way, there have been challenges – but none of them come close to the Covid-19 pandemic. Guido Klatte tells World of Showjumping how the coronavirus outbreak keeps affecting international equine travel, in a continuously changing landscape. 

“The Covid-19 outbreak has changed, and will continue to change, how we can transport horses. What is a fact today might not be valid tomorrow,” Klatte explains about the difficult situation. “The last couple of weeks we have been very busy bringing horses back from the US to Europe. We have recently flown home around 150 horses and a few are still to come in within the next days.”

“Cargo planes are still flying, but sometimes the routes are changed quickly depending on where something is needed. The cargos are also quite busy, so for some destinations the prices to fly horses have increased.”

At the moment, Klatte is still flying to US destinations such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, as well as to Mexico. Until Monday this week, Klatte was also flying to Miami, but as all the freight capacity now is needed for medical goods Klatte has to refrain from shipping horses – at least for now. “Additionally, we can no longer fly to Australia as the grooms can’t make the required transit in Hong Kong – then they would have to stay there for a 14-days quarantine. Normally we also fly to Calgary, Canada, every week, but that can’t be done anymore either since Cargolux – the company we fly with – doesn’t allow anyone but the pilots on their planes. Then there are companies like Lufthansa that has stopped all travel for animals. Flying the horses isn’t the real problem though, it is the humans – the grooms – taking care of the horses during the flights that are an issue,” Klatte explains. “We are in a lucky position though, as we have a business partner that provides us with grooms that have crew status. The crew status means that they have special rules, seeing that they can’t be in quarantine every time they arrive at the destination.”

Another problem for those travelling with horses at the moment is that several European countries no longer issue export papers. “The Netherlands, Spain and Portugal are some examples of countries that at the moment won’t export horses. However, this is changing all the time; tomorrow there might be other countries added to the list. For now, you can still export horses from Belgium and Germany for example,” Klatte tells. 

Despite the challenges, Klatte is still positive and will continue to transport as long as it is possible – doing what he can to get the horses to the right destinations. “However, we are very careful and we do everything we can to protect our drivers, grooms and other employees. In the long run, I do think we all can learn something from this – at a human level with being nicer and more understanding towards each other, and also environmentally.”


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