First of all I want to address the issue of the large hurricane named Florence that is grinding inexorably toward the east coast of the USA with her sights set on Virginia and the Carolinas. She is set to make landfall on Thursday evening. I have had messages and emails asking what the word is here in Tryon North Carolina about how Florence might disrupt the events at the World Equestrian Games. Will the horses be safe? Will the competition have to be cancelled? At 5 pm this afternoon there was a press conference in the International Media Center that answered all of those questions and worries.
The Tryon International Equestrian Center where WEG is being held is 525 kilometers inland from the coast. The geography of the surrounding area has made it a “safe harbor’ during previous weather hazards. For this reason Facebook has its largest data center only 12 miles away. There is a local weather station monitoring and reporting on weather conditions every six hours and as well the National weather service is consulted frequently. The show organizers with the approval of the FEI (International Equestrian Federation) have an emergency plan developed in coordination with local law enforcement and the US Department of Agriculture. Everything is in place for the horses who can be housed in 1300 permanent stalls, and there are safe places for the spectators and personnel to take shelter if necessary. All of these can withstand 90 mph winds. They have numerous generators and deep water wells also on generators so they will have water for the horses and humans as well as electricity. The emergency plan is written down and ready to be put into action if necessary.
I felt that every effort has been made to ensure the safety of horses and humans. And there is a good chance that Florence may not make it 525 kilometers inland. She may also change her mind about exactly where she is going to land. Hurricanes are like that!
So now…on with the show. Today was a set up day and it was a flurry of activity with workers still scrambling to finish some of the decorative work.
The International Media Center has everything it should have and I got a table to sit and work at and also a secure locker so I don’t have to lug all of my camera equipment back and forth everyday.
The riders have said the arena footing is excellent, the stabling is good and all is as it should be. The facility is spectacular. The dressage starts tomorrow and today horses and riders could ride in the arena for acclimatization. Here are some photos.
This area is where the horses and riders will warm up before entering the ring.
This restaurant overlooks another arena, the Tryon arena, and here the media are provided with breakfast and lunch. Much appreciated as bloggers, photographers and journalists need to keep their strength up at a such a big championship!
I’ll be back tomorrow to report on the first day of the dressage. From what I saw today of the horses practicing it is going to be very exciting.