When Horses Fly – Full Video
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When Horses Fly – Full Video

August 18, 2019


You know it. The world is moving faster and faster. Just a hundred-fifty years ago, it took people heading west in covered wagons months to cross the continent. They traveled at the same speed as the Romans, 4 miles per hour. New York to Japan by sea back then took months, too- and few Americans ever communicated with folks in Europe or Asia. Now we chat online with folks everywhere instantly. Every second of every day someone’s chatting, or Skyping or texting. And today, you can fly from New York to LA in five hours, to Paris in seven and to Tokyo in only thirteen. We live in a globalized instantaneous world that presents amazing opportunities for all of us. We can do things our parents never dreamed of, and we’ll face challenges our parents never had to face. We’ll compete for jobs- not just with other Americans- but with better and better educated people from all over the globe. So, how do we find our place in this crazy world? Well… here’s a story about how two innovative entrepreneurs built a business by dividing their labor, by doing what they did best- and finding someone else to do the rest. And as you’ll see… that someone lives thousands of miles away, in a very unlikely place. They can do it because of the machine that shrank the world… the jumbo jet. NARRATOR: Welcome to a “brain meets brawn” world where almost anything goes. (Air Traffic Controller) NARRATOR: Immense air freighters- weighing three-quarters of a million pounds… (Air Traffic Controller) NARRATOR: Small cities built just to move air cargo… FEDEX EMPLOYEE: GO! NARRATOR: Computers, electronics, fruits and vegetables- and animals of every stripe and color… everything moves by air, and at the heart of all: the jumbo jet. Technological icon for the age of a shrinking planet in almost perpetual motion. NARRATOR: In just a few hours, 47 prize-winning thoroughbreds will begin a 6,200 mile journey to new homes in Hokkaido, Japan. The Considine Farm in Lexington, KY is one of the largest thoroughbred import/export quarantine facilities in the world. Dan Considine is the man in charge here, he understands the health needs of this multi-million dollar group of thoroughbreds, he’ll have his hands full all the way to Japan. GILES INSTONE: When you leave here, we should be absolutely set. NARRATOR: Giles Instone specializes in shipping horses. He’ll provide the crew that will load the horses into custom-designed air stables, and travel on the flight with the animals. Jiro Shimokawa is the shipper. The shipment is his overall responsibility. We specialize in transporting horses from the U.S. to Japan. Our techniques reduce flight times, and help ensure the safety of the horses. NARRATOR: A USDA vet examines each of the 47 thoroughbreds. Fasta is seven years old. She is pregnant with her first foal, and has been sold to Shadai Farm in Hokkaido for $625,000. VET: 202903… CONSIDINE: Quite a few of these horses are world travelers. Some were born in a lot of different countries: England, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Australia. A lot of these have already been on aircraft. It doesn’t really bother them. NARRATOR: It’s now time to move the horses into specially-designed air stables for their 14-hour flight to Japan. INSTONE: Horses are flying every day of the week somewhere in the world and certainly domestically, within within America, we’re flying them five nights a week every week. So you can guarantee that there’s a horse flying somewhere all the time. It’s very big business now. NARRATOR: The air stable floors are covered with dust-free wood shavings. They prevent urine from corroding aircraft parts, and give the horses some extra traction. INSTONE: It’s not dangerous to ship mares that are only six or seven months in foal, and the maximum that any of these is in foal is six or seven months. They will have their foals in Japan, and many of those foals will be shipped back to America as young horses to be sold at the American horse sales. When we put them two to a stall, such as we’re doing on today’s flight, it’s no different from being in a horse van on the road. Air cargo’s changed the business dramatically, because now we can move horses from continent to continent, race them, and bring them back again. The critical part is loading them in the containers, and getting them onto an airplane; that’s the most difficult bit. NARRATOR: For a horse, riding a scissor lift is like a child’s first elevator ride. Since it can be unsettling, every air stable goes up with an attentive groom inside. Within an hour, loading is complete. After almost 20 hours of constant work, the team is finally ready to depart. But the riskiest part of the trip still lies ahead. For the horses, takeoff is critical. CONSIDINE: Let’s go! NARRATOR: The jumbo jet with its precious cargo of horses is about to take off on its 14-hour trip to Japan. After being loaded into air stables, the 47 pregnant mares travelled in 2 long rows of containers. In the very back of the aircraft are the people who will be making the trip with them. For the high-strung horses, take-off is critical. CONSIDINE: Depending on how dramatically we have to crank the plane into the air, the horses kind of have to shift back on their hocks, and quite often, they get nervous. NARRATOR: The wide-body MD11 begins its takeoff roll. The pregnant thoroughbreds can feel the aircraft moving. And for Dan Considine… it’s the most anxious moment of the flight. The takeoff roll is long, smooth and gradual. Moments after liftoff, the team members are out of their seats. They break out the oxygen bottles. Although the entire cabin is pressurized, there are no oxygen masks to descend from the ceiling, as on passenger flights. If the cabin were to lose pressure, the team would have less than a minute before they pass out. They will never be far from a bottle of oxygen while working with the horses. CONSIDINE: Right after takeoff, we check on them, make sure they all handled takeoff okay, and then let them settle for a few hours. NARRATOR: It’s time for the beverage service and a light meal of easy-to-digest timothy hay. Later, in the rear of the plane, meal service is a cold one, self-serve, leftover fast food, sandwiches and cereal. The temperature is kept in the mid-50s. It’s comfortable for the horses, but for the humans, it will be a chilly flight. (Air Traffic Controller) MARK JAMIESON: Well, we’re over the North Pacific, it is quite an inhospitable environment, but we have the best navigation known to man pretty much on board. NARRATOR: Several times through the flight, Dan Considine must treat some animals with medication. He gives them the same medicine that they get at home. CONSIDINE: Kirby Song has a bad ankle, and to keep her comfortable, we’ll give her Bute, which is similar to aspirin, and we’ll give her Gastrogard as well, which is for her stomach. NARRATOR: On the entire flight, only one animal is tranquilized. At last, Dan has a few moments to catch a quick nap. He and his crew have been working for over 36 hours straight. New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido Japan; 6:30pm Hokkaido time: It’s been almost 30 hours since the horses left their stables in Lexington. CONSIDINE: Some horses take it better than others, but as a group, these took it really well; no problems, smooth flight. I mean, most of them drank water; they all ate; couldn’t ask for a better day. I’m ready to get to the hotel, and get a shower and get a hot meal. NARRATOR: Within an hour, all 47 thoroughbreds are transferred to the waiting vans. Some of them can’t wait to get out. Others are a little upset by all the sudden noise and activity. Their new home is at Shadai Farm on the northern island of Hokkaido. Here, they will drop their foals and be bred with other top-level stock. Because of the cargo jet, this secluded place on one of Japan’s most remote islands has become one of the top horse farms in the world. HOST: Pretty amazing, huh? These two American entrepreneurs were innovative enough to seek out their business partners from halfway around the globe; dividing their labor and their costs between their home base in Kentucky and Japan. They can do it because of the jumbo jet. FedEx built the network, and these guys figured out how to use it in new and innovative ways. Airfreight has become a global platform for starting businesses… and that’s good news. Remember it’s been said if goods and services don’t cross borders- armies will. And the converse is true too; good trading partners are not likely to go to war with one another. As for what makes good trading partners; do what you do best and trade for the rest, sounds like a good idea worth discussing…right?

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