First Paralympic Horses Arrive in Hong Kong

The first horses to travel overseas for the Paralympic Games arrived safely in Hong Kong Aug. 26, slightly more than a week before they will begin dressage competition.

After a 9.5-hour flight from Melbourne, four horses representing Australia were ushered into the Hong Kong Jockey Club horse vans, which whisked them to the Paralympic Equestrian Venue in Sha Tin. There, they settled into spacious, air-conditioned stables.

Horse arrives for Paralympics

A horse with Australia's Paralympic equestrian team arrives in Hong Kong Aug. 26.

Hong Kong is staging the equestrian competitions of the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, and for the first time since equestrianism was introduced to the Paralympics in 1996, riders are allowed to bring and partner with their own horses. In previous years, the human athletes performed with horses provided by the host city.

The rest of the Paralympic horses are due to fly in from England, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and New York during the next couple of days. A total of 72 horses and 73 riders from 28 nations--all Paralympic record numbers--are entered to compete in Hong Kong Sept. 7-11. Gold, silver, and bronze medals for team dressage, individual dressage tests, and individual freestyle dressage are up for grabs.

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