Behind the scenes at the WEG.

September 17. I woke up with a start. Yipes! 6:15 am already. No wait….where am I?  Oh, I’m back at home. I went back to sleep.  With the impending deluge of Florence’s aftermath I decided late Friday to head for home. So on Saturday morning I went to Tryon and gathered up my camera gear, had breakfast and hit the road choosing a more westerly route so as to avoid  the heavy rain that was forecast.

WEG 2018 was an amazing experience. There were some upsets: the course misdirection for the Endurance riders, the eventual cancellation of the Endurance competition. And then there was Florence. She did not make an appearance as a full fledged hurricane but she was still packing a wallop as she moved inexorably toward the WEG location. The WEG Media sent out regular emails to keep the accredited media  informed.  But as the weather forecast got worse an urgent statement was issued.

Despite the best efforts of the whole Tryon 2018 team and the Officials, who have been working on plans for rescheduling since yesterday evening, including meetings with the Chefs de Mission and Chefs d’Equipe, the logistics of putting all necessary elements into place in time have proved insurmountable. As a result, and very regrettably, the Dressage Freestyle will now be cancelled.

I believe they did explore every option but rescheduling to the Monday and all the European horses having to fly out on the same day was not in the best interest of the horses’ welfare.  I also believe that all the decisions that have been made have been with the horses’ best interest foremost. Also each statement would reference the FEI ruling that would cover any such decisions. 

Now on to lighter topics!

The International Media Center.

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I took this photo on Tuesday morning after I arrived and by the afternoon it had filled in considerably. Tryon had to step into the breach and stage WEG with only 18 months to build facilities and prepare for this huge event. As you can see the decorative elements of the building, which also houses the Broadcast media and VIP Hospitality on the second floor are not completed. But for us, in the media, that was of no consequence.  We had air conditioning. high speed wi-fi, and every table had AC cords with power bars for every 4 seats.  And ….we had catering for breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. Here is my breakfast. Grits! I love grits and they have that stick to your ribs value that gets you through to lunch.

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Lunch had a selection of salads and always one hot dish as well. Lots of choices.

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The only thing missing was a finished washroom. However there were plenty of porta-loos nearby. Which brings me to a question….why is it that women will line up  with 15 -20 other waiting to get into the only permanent women’s washroom when there are 10-15 porta-loos only feet away? The porta-loos were clean and well maintained. So why stand in line for 20 minutes waiting? If you have an answer to this please leave it in comments below.

The Media Center was truly “International”. At the table where I was sitting we had  2 Australians with their flags, the boxing kangaroos, 2 British, 3 French, 2 German ex-pats now living in the US and next to me a woman from New Mexico. Behind me were a group of Brazilians and an English group led by  a young man who should take up a career in modelling or film( tall, handsome etc) and also learn not to talk in such a loud voice. We don’t all need to know he’s going to go and get lunch NOW!

I decided to represent Canada at the table and a group of Canadians from the Endurance team gave me a small flag. I attached it to my car mascot, George, who by the second day was also wearing a gold necklace. I have no idea who donated that!

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It was easy for me to get out the exit at the back of the hall and down the stairs to the arena for taking photos. I could stand in the corner and get good shots or stand  behind the judge’s booth at C and get good shots of the centerline. I preferred the side as I could get the extended trots on the diagonal and also the horse and riders as they turned in front of the judge.

Medal ceremonies.

For the medal presentation ceremonies I was with the other photogs outside the ring at the side. This is a good safety precaution as the riders come in mounted and there is always a high level of excitement for the horses.

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The only media allowed inside the arena are the video guys with the host broadcaster. Here is one filming the medals, which are ready for presentation on a tray, and also having a chat with the young women who were holding the Longines watches that would be presented to the medal winners.

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Rogues Gallery

Finally just for a bit of fun here is my Rogue Gallery photo. Isabell Werth and Bella Rose have just finished the Grand Prix Special and Isabell knows they have aced it!  She is saying :”Yes!” and Bella Rose is saying: “I always like to stretch my neck before I have to go into the medal presentations. Another Gold for me and my human!sept14 (1 of 1)

I have a couple of other rogue gallery photos that I will save for another time. For now…It’s a wrap.  Thanks for joining me and reading along.

24 Comments Add yours

  1. Irene says:

    Glad you made it home safely. Thanks so much for bringing us with you through your stories and photos. Thoroughly enjoyed the trip. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Irene. I’m glad to have you along for the “ride”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lignum Draco says:

    Thanks for the coverage. Loved the photographs and your obvious love for the horses shows through in your writing during this series of posts. Passion!
    The Endurance event ended a disaster. I can only imagine the disappointment those riders experienced. Florence was obviously an unwelcome visitor, but managed appropriately. Safety of all first.

    PS I’m Australian. I’ve heard of but don’t think I’ve ever had grits. It kind of looks like porridge.

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    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes grits is kind of like porridge. It is made of corn and has a consistency similar to Cream of Wheat as the particles are small and much smaller than oatmeal. It is not a strong flavor but I really like it and it is only available in the Southern USA. The Endurance riders were understandably upset. I have heard that the police had to be called. The story goes that one Endurance person from the Middle East got out a gun and shot down a camera drone that was overhead. That was never an official press release however especially as guns of any kind are not allowed on the show grounds.

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      1. Lignum Draco says:

        That would have had the potential to become an international incident, possibly involving the anti-terrorism squad. Best to keep that under wraps.
        Thanks for the information about grits.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Rab says:

    Great pictures….and I totally get that waking up not knowing where you are! And, you have a picture of grits ? by the donut. ? Glad to know you enjoy some southern comfort food, Anne!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I love grits and there was fruit under the donut for the healthy component! 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jeff Rab says:

        Lol…I saw the fruit, but slobbered over the grits and donut!! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          YAY! You are a man after my own heart!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Daphne Haagmans says:

    Thanks for all the lovely photos and updates from WEG Leueen!! You really caught the excitement and emotion from this spectacular event and brought it to those who weren’t able to attend in person!! I followed your stories daily. Good to hear you made it home safely with Florence looming!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome Daphne

      Like

  5. Emma Cownie says:

    The answer to the loo queue question – herd mentality they follow what the other women are doing. Or they have OCD and cant face the perceived germs in the portaloos!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alli Farkas says:

    Re the porta-loo issue: I think a lot of women are genetically porta-loo phobic. I know a few of them. They swear they will never go near one, let alone enter it. They just think the loos are unsanitary. As if a regular washroom is sterile…Yeah…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I suspected as much. I guess these people can never travel to foreign countries.

      Like

  7. dprastka says:

    Before I left your blog I got to staring at Bella Rose stretching her neck and I think you are right as she has to know like her Mom seated on top of her, they did a near perfect ride! Awesomeness!! Such a lovely photo!!

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      Haha yes I think she did know.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. dprastka says:

    So glad you made it home safely! What a whirlwind of a week for you, I think I would have woken up the same way, where am I? So happy that you were able to share with us behind the scenes, REALLY Cool!! Great photos, and you are lucky you had great photo spots! ❤️ Diana

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Diana. It was an amazing week for sure. So interesting to see all the media types especially all the photographers with their huge lenses. Ans the dressage at well!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lys says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experiences at WEG and also for all your other warm and insightful words. I was born with deep love for horses which has helped me through some very difficult times. I’m now in my mid sixties, I have a truly amazing horse who has been my rock for 16 years and I treasure every day that we have together. I ride him most days and feels truly blessed that I’m able to.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Lys for this lovely comment
      I am delighted to know that you have a horse. I am in my late 60s and my horse keeps me going. We are lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Maral Ashdjian says:

    Thanks for all the behind the scenes stories. What a great adventure. It was great seeing you at the event!! Glad you made it home safe and sound.

    Liked by 1 person

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