— MINERAL WELLS, Texas -- Clark Montgomery is making plans to travel to London where he'll participate in the Olympic games.
But arranging his travel itinerary is much more complicated than other athletes who must only worry that their shorts and shoes are packed.
Montgomery also has to find a way to get his 1,200-pound mount, Loughan Glen, across the Atlantic.
Shipping an Olympic-caliber horse overseas is not a simple task.
Montgomery said he wished it was as easy as wrapping his horse in bubble wrap and calling FedEx.
“At this point it's all coming down to soundness. Everybody crosses their fingers that they ship well to the UK,” he said, adding that some horses can succumb to shipping sickness among other potential problems.
Half of his wish is met -- he will use Fed Ex to get his horse across the pond.
The prized animals will be accompanied by a team of veterinarians and grooms.
Except for a steep, quick takeoff and sudden landing, Montgomery said the experience for the horses isn't much different from riding in a trailer.
The horses are shipped in what amounts to extra-wide stalls, he said.
The equestrian teams get about 10 days in England to adjust to their new surroundings before the preliminary competition begins.
Competition at Barbury International Horse Trials will determine the five final horse-and-rider combinations to represent the U.S. eventing team.
Those that don't make the final five, remain and step must be ready to step in if another horse can't compete.
The sport of eventing has three phases – dressage, cross country and show jumping.
Montgomery said he thinks his horse, Loughan Glen, is ready to compete.
“We got our stuff back together,” he said.
Details for this story were provided by Linda Cluett, a reporter for the Mineral Wells (Texas) Index. Contact her at email@example.com