The Future Of WEG
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