DIE WELT (Germany)

LONDON - Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes – although different courses for different horses might be more apt as far as the four-legged athletes competing in the Summer Olympics go. What makes the horses happy makes the riders happy, and that includes providing their mounts with the equine equivalent of Michelin-starred cuisine -- British Orchard Grass Hay and American phleum pretense, the perennial grass known as Timothy Grass.

The horses stabled at Greenwich Park will also consume a total of 22 tons of hay and two kilograms of carrots per animal per day.

According to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), “over the next couple of weeks, horses from 40 countries on six continents will be staying in Greenwich Park, with 54 for dressage and 90 for the jumping after eventing horses have finished their competition. The stables, the equine equivalent of the Athletes Village, are all raised off the ground to protect the Greenwich Park grassland. There are 200 stable units, each one measuring 3.5x4 meters.” Each stall has dust-free wood shavings on the floor and individually adjustable temperature.

FEI goes on to report that facilities include wash boxes, “so the horses can have a shower after exercise or post competition. And, if there’s a need for any veterinary assistance, there is a purpose-built, state-of-the-art, 24-hour Veterinary Clinic.”

The FEI report concludes that “the horses are probably the most pampered athletes in the entire Games!”

Read the full article by Alexandra Gross in Die Welt.

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