All the pretty horses – Equine passengers travel on first Russian train to North Korea since Covid-19

All the pretty horses – Equine passengers travel on first Russian train to North Korea since Covid-19
An undated photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and supreme commander of the armed forces of the DPRK, riding riding a white horse through the first snow of Paektu Mountain, in Ryanggang, North Korea. EPA-EFE/KCNA

LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Russia and North Korea restarted train travel for the first time since railway journeys were cut during the Covid-19 pandemic with an unusually opulent cargo - 30 grey thoroughbred horses.

A freight train carrying the “Orlov Trotter” horses left Russia’s far east through the Khasan-Tumangan crossing, according to Russia’s veterinary service. It posted a picture of several horses in a train wagon.

“The animals, 5 stallions, 25 mares, were quarantined in the city of Suzdal, Vladimir region, and then arrived at the Khasan railway checkpoint in three specially equipped trucks for subsequent shipment to the DPRK,” Russia’s state veterinary service said in a statement.

The “Orlov Trotter” is Russia’s most famous horse and is known, according to the veterinary service, for its “frolicky trot”.

Russia’s RIA state news agency said it was the first train to North Korea since Covid-19 restrictions were imposed in 2020. It said medicines would follow in later cargos.

It was not immediately clear why 30 Orlov Trotter thoroughbreds were needed in North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is a keen horseman.

He was shown in 2019 by North Korean media trekking through mountain snows astride a white stallion. Russian customs data shows North Korea has spent thousands of dollars on thoroughbred horses from Russia in previous years.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Editing by Angus MacSwan)


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