New Zealand is looking to send perhaps one of its biggest ever teams to the FEI World Equestrian Games in the United States this year.
Potentially there will be representatives in eventing, showjumping, endurance, dressage – perhaps more exciting is that there could be teams in each of the disciplines.
There is much excitement about the games, which are being held at the Tryon International Equestrian Centre in Mill Spring, North Carolina. The venue was awarded the games late after Canada withdrew, however, those who have visited the site are full of praise with all they have seen. It’s a top class venue already, and plays host to a lot of shows – in 2015 they held 14, last year there were 30 and this year estimates sit around 40. More than 100 million cubic metres of dirt has been moved as the necessary infrastructure is put in place for WEG.
WEG was started in 1990 in Stockholm where New Zealand got off to a hiss and a roar with a team gold in eventing. The nation has been represented at every games since. WEG are held every four years at different locations, with competition across all FEI disciplines – jumping, dressage, para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining. The 2010 games in Kentucky marked the first time it had been on US soil, so to return in 2018 is a real feather in their caps.
The 2014 games in Normandy attracted 984 athletes on 1234 horses from 74 nations. There were 1900 accredited media from 52 countries and 575,000 spectators.
The 2018 games have the potential to be the largest sporting event in North Carolina’s history with more than $US400 million dollars of projected economic impact and 500,000 spectators over the 14 days of competition.
New Zealand has a proud history at WEG, having won – two team gold (eventing 1990 and 1998), three individual golds (eventers Blyth Tait on Messiah 1990, Vaughn Jefferis on Bounce 1994 and Blyth Tait on Ready Teddy 1998), one individual silver (eventer Sir Mark Todd on Broadcast News 19980, one team bronze (eventing 2010), one individual bronze (eventer Andrew Nicholson on Nereo 2010).
Eventer Jonelle Price was only just off the podium at the 2014 games with her fourth place individual finish.
WHAT: FEI World Equestrian Games
WHERE: Tryon International Equestrian Centre, Mill Spring in North Carolina, United States
WHEN: September 12-23, 2018
MORE INFO: www.tryon2018.com
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By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison