Shipping senior horses internationally is never an easy decision, especially during the recent COVID and EHV outbreaks, we speak to Clare Walsh, about the transportation process for her two senior retirement horses from Bahrain to Southern Ireland…
Jandool (1998) and Ajeeb Butheib (2002) have settled well into life in the sunny South-East of Ireland. Jandool (stable name JJ) is a 23 year-old gelding by Nureyev out of Perfect Isn’t Easy. He is one of the few remaining direct descendants of Nureyev.
Jandool was last in Ireland in 2000 after being shipped from the USA following the Keeneland yearling sales. He raced in the UK, France, Dubai and Bahrain. He has been with me since March 2013. Today, he’s retired and his only job is pony rides for my nieces and nephews, and we have enjoyed many!
Ajeeb (stable name AJ or Pony) has his origins in UAE; his sire is unknown, while his dam is an Arabian. Prior to him joining me, he competed in endurance races in both the UAE and Bahrain. Under my care since August 2013, he’s well named as Ajeeb means “wow” in Arabic. He has a neat jump and beautiful flatwork, however that is only when it suits him… yet I still ride him, and he still has serious attitude for all of his 14.2hh.
The decision to travel and relocate these two was not taken lightly. As senior animals I was conscious of the toll 40- days of quarantine in Bahrain, the extensive road and air travel, as well as the challenges of a completely different climate, which of course was all taking place during the COVID pandemic.
It was really important to me that they moved before the Gulf summer weather took hold and that they would enjoy the best weather Ireland has to offer, giving them the best chance to recover and acclimatise.
Many things fell into place at the right time to aid the decision. After one year of no European equine exports from Bahrain, quarantine opened. Prior to this event I had been liaising with Equitrans regarding the logistics of such a trip, as the regional equine travel experts- Equitrans fully understands the complex regulatory environment of equine export and travel.
Before the horses started their mandatory 40-day Bahrain quarantine, the EHV outbreak in Spain occurred, but luckily this did not have an impact on the subsequent travel arrangements. The actual travel itself was interspersed with long rest breaks. These breaks allowed the horses to recuperate from the travel from Bahrain to Dubai; Dubai to Amsterdam and then onwards to Ireland. The Equitrans team and their logistic partners kept me informed throughout the journey with regular email, photo and video updates. Both horses arrived in good shape; Jandool did lose some weight which was expected. Now he is gaining weight in a managed way.
The best part of this journey was their arrival home. They stepped off the box on a beautiful sunny day. The most rewarding moment was their snorts of contentment on their introduction to a grass paddock, in perhaps what is a first for Ajeeb and a lifetime ago for Jandool. It was truly worth the journey. For the moment, they enjoy days in the paddock, soaking up the Irish summer. Hopefully this will set them up for a good first winter.
The whole Equitrans team wishes the very best of luck and many happy days ahead for Clare, Jandool and Ajeeb.