IRT celebrates 40 years serving the international horse community

(Image - Sydney Airport, 1973)

Whether it’s flying a champion racehorse, standardbred, Olympian or treasured pet, IRT’s commitment to serving the international horse community has stood the test of time.

As IRT reflects upon four decades in the industry, company founder Quentin Wallace would like to send a message to its supporters across the world.

“What an amazing journey it’s been. On behalf of the global team at IRT I’d like to say a big thank-you to our many valued customers and friends for your trust and continued support,” said Wallace.

“We are extremely proud of our achievements, but it’s how we shape the industry over the next 40 years that will ultimately define our legacy. ”

With over 30 staff globally, dedicated offices in five countries, and a state-of-the-art software system unique to the industry that has enabled IRT to become one of the most trusted names in equine transport.

The IRT journey is a story of persistence and professionalism, endeavoring to deliver a world-class service to the equine industry.

It all began after the UK born Wallace first visited Australia in 1966, working briefly as a Jackaroo in Western Victoria.

Noticing a high demand for horses, Quentin returned to the UK the following year and began shipping horses to Australia by sea with LEP, a large UK based shipping and forwarding agency.

In early 1972, the shipping of horses came to an abrupt halt due to African Horse Sickness and the Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis.

During this period an opportunity presented itself back in Australia to become involved with the flying of horses from Australia and New Zealand to the United States. It was just the break Wallace was looking for and a permanent move to Australia resulted.

With such an intimate knowledge of routes between the UK, Australia and the US, Wallace was able to facilitate horse traffic in both directions by chartering aircraft in the UK to fly horses to Australia, which were then able to return north with horses to the USA.

After a decade in operation Wallace began his quest to build a worldwide network, the first of which was IRT UK, followed by IRT New Zealand and most recently IRT Germany. This provided clients a continuity of care from door to door, a truly turn-key solution and service not previously seen before in the industry.

Since its inception, refining the transportation process has always been at the top of the list for Wallace and the IRT team worldwide.

By working closely with government bodies and key industry stakeholders, IRT has been able to streamline the process, and reduce the travel time and risk associated with flying horses.

Today, IRT utilises regular cargo carriers and uses self-contained travelling stalls specifically designed to safeguard the horses during a flight and to make loading and unloading the plane significantly easier.

These technical advances, combined with safer handling methods by IRT’s professional grooms, enable horses to arrive at their destination at an optimum level in their chosen field.

As an organisation IRT has grown from a one-man show into a multi-national company widely regarded as one of the best in the business.

Through the close partnership between Quentin Wallace and fellow partners, David Cole and Ross Johnson (NZ), Jim Paltridge (UK), Simon Glennie (USA) and Chris Burke (AUS), IRT has steadily built its international coverage.

It now boasts key operational offices in Auckland (NZ), Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami (USA), Newmarket (UK) and most recently in Stadthagen (Germany).

Founder, Quentin Wallace, is still very much hands-on with the business and along with his partners, continues to instill within the team the core values of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation, the key ingredients to IRT’s longevity.

Throughout IRT’s 40 years in operation, there have been many milestones and highlights worth acknowledging. Some of those include:

  • Transporting safely a host of champion thoroughbreds as they conquered the world. Including, Dancing Brave (Breeders Cup), John Henry, Symboli Rudolph, Jupiter Island, Better Loosen Up (Japan Cup), Black Caviar, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti, Choisir (Royal Ascot), Vintage Crop, Delta Blues, Beldale Ball, Makybe Diva, Americain, Dunaden (Melbourne Cup).
  • Flying every Australian Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Team to the Olympic Games.
  • Establishing routes and charter services to Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, South America and new emerging market China.
  • Playing an integral role in the establishment of shuttle stallion shipments for dual hemisphere breeding. Subsequently IRT has transported to and from Australia and New Zealand nearly every dual hemisphere stallion to stand “Down Under”.
  • Appointed official transport agent for global events and races such as the 2013 World Endurance Championships in the UK, the Dubai World Cup, Hong Kong Jockey Club and Singapore Turf Club International Series, and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
  • The global transport of horses performing in large scale productions such as the Moscow Circus and Cavalia.
  • Giving back to the industry with the establishment of sponsorship programs with Racing Welfare UK, Retraining of Racehorses UK, Equestrian Australia, Harness Racing Australia, Singapore Turf Club, Tom Quilty Endurance, Australian Halter Showcase, ANZ Friesian Society, and Donkey All Breeds Australia.
  • Collaborated with the Irish Equine Centre to create a 20-year study into equine travel stress.
  • The globalisation of IRT with the establishment of offices in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.
  • The development of IRT’s exclusive Flight Manager Software Program, connecting global offices, quarantine facilities and customers to their horses whenever and wherever they are in the world.