A luxury, airside hotel for horses – The ARK at JFK Airport

Photo via www.arkjfk.com



Sable Giesler, writer at Eventing Connect, feeds her ‘Munchkins’ bales from Eastern Hay. She highly recommends the quality and service Eastern Hay provides. Eventing Connect makes it a policy to only invite sponsors on our website who provide products and services that our writers and staff proudly use.

This post is sponsored by Eastern Hay, the premier source of hay bales in Eastern USA.

A luxury, airside hotel for horses – The ARK at JFK Airport

“Like a luxury, airside hotel for creatures great and small” greets you as you open the website for The ARK. And that’s exactly what it is. The only full-service privately owned animal reception and quarantine facility in the U.S., open 24 hours a day, The ARK balances bio-security requirements with the care and compassion that animals on the road require: no easy task. But that’s the mission of the new facility which recently opened at JFK Airport.

The ARK serves many functions. Imported horses can step out of their jet stalls from the plane and right into The ARK, as airliners can taxi up to the building. The necessary USDA bloodwork required for the horse to be released from quarantine can be done quickly after arrival. The horses will spend approximately three to seven days (or possibly more if they are from a country that requires a longer quarantine period) in secure quarters before being allowed to leave for their new home (as long as the bloodwork is all good). In addition, they are preventatively treated for any external parasites, ticks, or bugs that could bring foreign insects or diseases to the U.S. horse industry.

Horses that come down with a fever will be held past the quarantine period until the fever is gone. Most of the time all of the horses that come in on one plane will be treated as a group. If one horse has a fever all the horses in that group are held until the horse with the fever returns to a normal temperature. Horses from countries where Contagious Equine Metritis is found will undergo additional testing for the disease after being released from the routine quarantine. CEM testing is done at private USDA approved facilities, of which there are two in New York state.

Forty-eight quarantine stalls with separate air filtration, temperature and pressure controls, along with individual waterers, are available for incoming horses. These separate systems prevent illnesses passing from one horse to another. Everything fed to horses at The ARK must be USDA approved, and all waste is incinerated. Hay must be free of any ticks or insects.

Photo via www.arkjfk.com

Photo via www.arkjfk.com

Bio-security regulations for Equine Export Center, for horses leaving for homes abroad, are less strict. The ARK has stringent cleaning and disinfecting footbaths, and stalls are cleaned and disinfected after each use. The export area contains 24 12 x 12 stalls, with larger ones available for mares, stallions and foals. Horses leaving for another country travel with a health certificate that the USDA receives, reviews, and endorses. In addition, the horses are given an exam by the USDA APHIS-VS port veterinarian to make sure those horses are fit to travel.

Horses in Export Center are given ample hay and water while they rest in bedded stalls. A four-hour rest period before being loaded into jet stalls and flying is required, but many spend the night before catching their flight. An office on the premises is maintained for the USDA APHIS-VS use.



To demonstrate the bio-security of these import stalls, imagine for a moment that you are working at The ARK. To go into the quarantine in one of the horse’s stalls, you must remove your clothes, take a shower, and then don a biosecure coverall. Once you have finished with that horse, you need to “shower out” before proceeding to the next horse. This is to ensure that nothing gets carried from one horse to another. Each stall has an anteroom where each horse’s supplies, equipment, etc. is kept. When horses are hand walked on the non-slip rubber footing in the import aisles, the floors are then cleaned and disinfected before the next horse is walked.

As many horses coming in for export have their own grooms, there is a lounge area and showers available for them. The ARK makes sure to provide the same level of comfort for the humans that it does for the horses!

Director of Administration for The ARK is Kristen McGowan, who has been riding since she was nine. Attending LIU Post College, she graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and Management. While attending school she captained the Post Equestrian team and began her 11-year long equine career at North Shore Equestrian Center. Kristen joins The ARK Team with a wealth of knowledge in stable management and equine welfare.

Photo via www.arkjfk.com

Photo via www.arkjfk.com

As Kristen notes, “The goal is to set the gold standard in transporting and handling animals.” Kristen and the rest of The ARK’s staff know how important it is for people to be able to trust someone else with their animal. The whole team at The ARK is dedicated to providing the best possible experience for both the animals and those who love them.

Eastern Hay is proud to provide hay and shavings for this unique, top-flight facility.


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