Will Tryon 2018 be the last WEG?

FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018. Eight equestrian disciplines. Competitors from 70 countries. 1000 horses.  For some there were golden moments. For others it was a debacle and disaster.

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What went wrong?

Grooms accommodation. The first problem occurred when it became apparent there was not nearly enough accommodation for the grooms who need to be near the horses they are looking after. Grooms had to bunk in with cramped quarters that were still a half hour walk from the stabling area. And….the catering was not prepared for the numbers either. Grooms went hungry or had to spend money to buy food at a restaurant. The athletes (the riders) also complained of inadequate catering.

Endurance. The Endurance competition got off to a bad start with many of the competitors being directed onto the wrong course. Once all the horses had been recalled and the race started over it was in the considerable heat and humidity of the day and at the vet inspections horses were found to be struggling to recover. Then came the final blow. Endurance was cancelled  as too many horses were unable to continue in the heat and humidity. Years of preparation, travel from across the globe, hope and dreams all disappeared.  There was justifiable anger and emotion, law enforcement had to be called in to keep order.  Endurance was over.

Florence. This hurricane had been threatening  for over a week. At the end of the first week of competition the weather reports showed how Florence was going to make landfall and where she might go with torrential rains and gale force winds. The final element of the dressage competition, the Freestyle, was to have been on the Sunday. That was when the blast of Florence was scheduled to hit. The  freestyle was cancelled.

What could have been done?

Tryon stepped into the breach when Bromont, Quebec stepped down due to lack of funding by the provincial government.  Tryon had only half the usual amount of time to build and prepare.  The Competition Organizers did their best but they were not ready in time. The arenas were ready, the stables were ready but there were still earth movers, tractors and construction workers everywhere.  By the end of the first week many areas had been improved and better services provided. But nothing could have been done about the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

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What went right?

The competition still went on. Reining, Vaulting, Para-equestrian, Eventing, Dressage, Jumping and Driving all took place. I covered the dressage and the standard of competition was marvelous. The events took place on time and appeared to be well organized. What was disappointing was that there were so many empty seats. I was told that the dressage had sold out. But I found that hard to believe as there were not just a few empty seats but at the ends of the arena a sea of empty seats. Did people stay away due to Florence? Did they think the venue would not be ready?  I don’t know but it was a shame to see so few people there to enjoy watching excellent horses and riders like Sönke Rothenburger and his horse Cosmo.

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The International Media Center was good. The finishing touches may not have been in place and there were still steel girders visible above the work tables but we had air conditioning,  good work spaces, high speed WiFi , easy access to the stadium to take photos and we had breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks provided.  There was always timely communications from the organizers with results, order of go and scheduling readily available. As a member of the media I had no complaints.

Where will the next WEG be held?

As far as I know there is no location that has stepped up to offer to host the 2022 WEG. There are rumors that there will not be another WEG that hosts eight disciplines.  Perhaps World Championships will be held for disciplines that can share competition arenas such as jumping with dressage or vaulting with reining.  It will remain to be seen what the FEI will decide to do and also what locations will come forward and offer to host a smaller scale World Championship.




18 responses to “Will Tryon 2018 be the last WEG?”

  1. Equestrian Jane Avatar

    The Endurance dumpster fire showed the stark differences between the FEI model of Endurance which is flat racing in desert conditions vs the American model which is over natural terrain with the conditions being a part of the ride. The heat and humidity is a factor with Endurance rides in the Southeast but rides are put on in the same conditions without the dismal results seen at WEG.

    The riders that tried to race their horses in conditions the horse has not been conditioned for was the major problem seen. The riders who rode to the conditions, who trained on natural trails in heat/humid conditions were doing well. Spain and France were robbed of a completion, those horses looked amazing, the riders rode them well, and the horses were recovering easily.

    I ride Endurance, and the AERC model of endurance is not what is practiced normally in FEI. The problems with FEI Endurance are long and well documented with the money from Region VII dictating the rules. FEI fell in love with the money and lost their way with horse welfare.

    The debate continues in the endurance circles on whether to continue to sanction FEI races in the US or to say that the FEI does not have the best interest of the sport in mind and we need to stop sanctioning FEI rides and not allowing AERC members to ride in the FEI.

    I believe that would not be in the best interest of the sport, but the FEI has to either say we want flat racing to give the Sheiks of Region VII an advantage, or we can stay true to the roots of the sport with natural trails, varied conditions, and yes, weather also.

    Now, outside of the fiasco of Endurance, WEG had a few bright spots and I do hope that the WEG can continue even if it is at only a handful of places that already has the logistics required to pull this off. We need all sports together or horse sports in general will wane too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Equestrian Jane I was hoping you would bring your knowledge to this subject. I am not familiar with Endurance but I do know there have been problems. I think that the one horse that came from New Zealand where they are in winter had a tough time with the weather and after a couple of days in the equine clinic had to be euthanized. While that is very sad I never like to see horses suffer. As for the money have g beguiled the FEI I was waiting for the shuttle to get down to the media center,the day after the cancellation of Endurance, and spoke with another journalist. He was very outspoken about the influence of money from certain countries on the FEI. I do hope there can be a resolve to this but money is a very persuasive factor
      I think the idea of WEG being held in locations that already have the necessary facilities would be a good solution.i often worry about the inclusion of equestrian sport in the Olympics.


  2. Gayle Jorgenson Avatar

    It’s a shame that things turned out the way they did. 😦
    I’ve heard that not many cities want to host the Olympics, either, and that NFL ratings are down. I could be wrong, but it seems like the future of sports is changing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      It is such a huge expense to host Olympics and also it is a very big expense to host something like WEG unless you already have the arenas and cross country courses built. I was not aware that the NFL is seeing a drop in viewers or audience. I hope there will still be Championships even if not of all 8 disciplines. It is magic to see these top riders in person and goes so far beyond seeing them on video. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Subbashini Meenakshi Sundaram Avatar

    I too missed reading these lovely and informative posts. Thank you for your kind and caring words ma’am

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Irene Avatar

    Makes me sad to think of some the horse having a difficult time. Thanks for the education you and Biasini are bringing through your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      It is hard when the horses are struggling. But do keep in mind that although the Endurance horses were affected by the heat they were monitored by the vets at the mandatory vet inspection stations that are all along the course. So this is what brought the decision to stop the race. In this way the horses were saved from further exertion and difficulty. If the race could have been started as originally planned in the early morning the outcome may well have been different. Thanks for your comment. I am grateful that you are interested in learning about horses.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Irene Avatar

        Very good. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. roamingridersite Avatar

    I went on the second Thursday and was shocked at the amount of empty seats. In fact we were told by the seating attendants to just sit anywhere – seat assignments were being ignored due to the high volume of unassigned seats. I found it sad for the riders. I’m sure the weekends were busier than a weekday. Being a local I can say that the advertising was abundant so it wasn’t a lack of telling people it existed. I think for some the early sale (a year in advance which is hard to prepare for) and not being able to pick your seat at time of purchase was off putting. By the time people wanted to buy tickets TIEC told everyone it was sold out when it very much was not. I don’t know. It was weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      I agree about the year in advance sales. However the WEG in Kentucky did that too and they had a full house. It must have been discouraging for the riders. The footing and arenas were great so it is a shame. As a photographer I was acutely aware of the empty seats. No one wants to take photos with empty seats in the background.


  6. Robert Parker Avatar

    Glad to read the “what went right “ section, and that some events carried on in tough circumstances. I definitely second Cyranny’s comment, thank you for an interesting introduction to a previously unknown “world”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      I think the show organizers did the best they could with a short prep time. It is a beautiful part of the country and I hope there will be other championships held there to make the most of the facility.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nilzeitung Avatar

    Congratulations for your last great article !! (as always)
    And wish for you too. And for your loved ones family. Fantastic weekend! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  8. whisperer Avatar

    Stallions and there looks

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Cyranny Avatar

    I’m sorry to see how complicated that went. But I hope that given the challenges, people were still happy that the event took place anyway… I didn’t know about such large international events, and I am surprised to learn that Bromont was supposed to host this (Chéri’s sister lives there, and though it is a beautiful place, I have trouble imagining that such a small city could accomodate so many people from around the world).

    Thank you, once again, for making me discover more and more about this horse universe of yours 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      I think that Bromont has hosted horse events in the past but nothing of this scale and when it came to it they just didn’t have the finances to build the necessary structures. It is such a big undertaking and so costly. I’m happy to invite you into the horse world. I’m glad you find it interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. scampertotellthestory Avatar

    So sorry to hear all the heart ache at WEG. Money, time are gone and for some horses and riders this was it! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      It is a tough one. But perhaps, in the long run it will be better to have smaller World Championships. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 3 people

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