The Fu­ture Of WEG

Practical Horseman - - Inside Your Ride -

There are a lot of un­knowns about the fu­ture of the World Equestrian Games. No en­tity has made a bid to hold the 2022 WEG—Samorin in Slo­vakia de­cided not to go for it, though the Tryon In­ter­na­tional Equestrian Cen­ter’s in­ter­est shouldn’t be ruled out once 2018 is his­tory. The sec­ond time likely would be eas­ier with the ex­tra in­fra­struc­ture al­ready in place. But would the Euro­pean fed­er­a­tions want to re­turn to the U.S. for a WEG twice in a row?

“I think fol­low­ing this, the FEI needs to re­view the whole Games con­cept,” said Michael Stone, the Tryon WEG’s pres­i­dent and sports di­rec­tor, who says bring­ing in needed in­fra­struc­ture for many sites is a chal­lenge.

Ask the folks who were in­volved with the orig­i­nal win­ning bid­der for 2018, Bromont in Que­bec. When the en­ter­prise was un­able to get suf­fi­cient fi­nan­cial back­ing, the plug got pulled in 2016. Luck­ily, Tryon stepped in even though Equestrian Sport Pro­duc­tions, LLC CEO Mark Bel­lis­simo orig­i­nally thought it was more likely that 2022 or 2026 would be the WEG tar­get for TIEC, which opened only four years ago. Host­ing 2018 ac­cel­er­ated de­vel­op­ment at TIEC, where about 4 mil­lion cu­bic yards of earth have been moved in the process.

The first WEG, held in 1990, was sup­posed to be a one-time con­cept fea­tur­ing six dis­ci­plines (para and rein­ing were not in­cluded). But it went so well in Stock­holm, Swe­den, that it be­came a qua­dren­nial event, pre­sented in the mid­dle of the four-year Olympic cy­cle.

There are those who long for the re­turn of in­di­vid­ual dis­ci­pline cham­pi­onships in a va­ri­ety of coun­tries, the way it was be­fore 1990 be­cause WEG has had its prob­lems. The 1994 and 1998 WEGs, for in­stance, had to move when the orig­i­nal hosts, Paris and Ire­land, re­spec­tively, found they weren’t able to carry on.

The ’94 WEG went to The Hague in the Nether­lands and suf­fered se­ri­ous no­tice, though it didn't fi­nan­cial in­clude para, en­durance or rein­ing. The 2002 WEG in Jerez, Spain, had a Span­ish fla­vor and rein­ing was pre­sented for the woes. first time. It also ran at a deficit, as did the 2010 Ken­tucky WEG, where para-dres­sage Rome made its first ap­pear­ance. Although Stock­holm was spe­cial, it's gen­er­ally thought was that the best WEG was Aachen in 2006 be­cause the Ger­man show able crew puts on a big multi-dis-cipline com­pe­ti­tion ev­ery year and the to Games weren't that much of a stretch pull for this well-or­ga­nized op­er­a­tion. The 2014 WEG in off Nor­mandy, on the other hand, with dis­ci­plines the scat­tered around the main host city of Caen 1998 and beyond, en­dured traf­fic jams, poor plan­ning in terms of cater­ing and other hitches WEG that cast a shadow on the ex­pe­ri­ence for many in at­ten­dance. "There's al­ways a huge with fi­nan­cial hur­dle when you put all the dis­ci­plines to­gether," style said John Mad­den, a for­mer first vice pres­i­dent of the FEI who also on served as chair­man of that or­ga­ni­za­tion's short show-jump­ing com­mit­tee, but he noted, "At the end of the day, it comes down to what hap­pens in the com­peti-tion arena."

The 2014 WEG bronze-medal showjump­ing team in Nor­mandy, France (from left): Amer­i­cans McLain Ward, Beezie Mad­den, Lucy Davis, Kent Far­ring­ton and Coach Robert Rid­land

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