Some thoroughbred horses travel to Albany, N.Y., first class in a special 727 jet with stables for the Saratoga meet, a horse delivery service says.
Mike Payne, operations manager for H.E. Sutton Forwarding Co., which ships horses in a fully equipped dedicated aircraft, said horse travelers need special flying conditions.
Takeoff and landings last longer; the plane must take off and land more slowly to avoid confusing the horses with G-force -- negative Gs, which contribute to that floating feeling on takeoff, can cause the animals to scramble to find their footing, Payne told the Albany Times Union.
Conversely, the positive Gs on landing can cause the horses to slip and fall.
Otherwise, the flying stables provide the same amenities as stables on the ground -- the horses were fed hay and water, the airplane stable had plenty of legroom and there were many grooms to meet every need.
H.E. Sutton said flying is much easier on horses than highway travel, so the $3,000 ticket from Lexington, Ky., to Albany, N.Y., is well worth the cost.
The horses must know they are special. Upon arrival at the Albany International Airport, a team of four trailers rolled up to the jet's high-walled ramp and like a movie star exiting a private jet, some of the horses paused and looked out over the airfield, giving the local media the opportunity to snap a picture or videotape the celebrity arrival, the Times Union reported.