The number of high-value, insured horses travelling internationally is difficult to quantify, making true “risk assessment” for insurance purposes a problematic exercise.

A record number of 1,003 United Kingdom-based Thoroughbred racehorses competed internationally in 2014. They travelled to France (417), Ireland (249), Dubai (144), Channel Islands (75), the United States (34), Germany (22), Australia (15), Turkey (12), Switzerland (9), Canada (7), Sweden (7), Hong Kong (5), Italy (2), Singapore (2), Czech Republic (1), Japan (1), and Spain (1).

There were 350 Fédération Equestre Internationale international events in 1996 and this number grew progressively to 657 in 1999, 1,530 in 2006, and 3,215 by 2011.

Stallions shuttle between both Northern and Southern hemispheres. Equine transportation data for other equestrian disciplines and horse-related activities are much less well-documented, but long distance transport occurs within national frontiers, as in the United States or within Japan and Australia.

Long-distance travel has its own potential complications for horses. Confinement in a lorry or in an airframe does not provide immunity from all the problems that can occur in the normal day-to-day lives of horses. Possible injury, colic, and disease are ever-present and are arguably increased as hazards when these “creatures of habit” are exposed to unfamiliar circumstances and travelling companions.

Quarantine and isolation, although always advocated, are not observed consistently, unless they are mandatory, as in the case of international travel. However, there are no guarantees. Even measure