Welcome to our first WEG blog from the 2018 Games. I’ll be bringing you daily updates on all that is happening here in North Carolina.

It’s a cooler day today at the Tryon International Equestrian Centre. The beeping of heavy-duty machinery is constant and there are small armies of high viz vests everywhere but otherwise it is business as usual.

Riders are doing their arena familiarisations, out hacking or just boxing on with their preparation for what will undoubtedly be a highlight of their career.

I arrived via Houston – surely one of the best trips I have had on Air New Zealand. Spent the night in Greenville and then on to TIEC. The weather is a real mixture – hot and muggy, rain, thunder and lightning and everything in between.

The surrounds are gorgeous even if they haven’t quite got everything finished. The future TIEC will be incredible.

I have caught up with the dressage, endurance and eventing riders – most only briefly. Everyone is in good spirits and ready to get things underway proper.

We had a BBQ with the endurance team and their incredible local hosts Joe and Nancy Talley last night. Kiwi farrier Rodney King again showed what a dab hand he is at cooking the BBQ.

The remainder of the endurance crew flew in late last night – missing a bit of their luggage but all still smiling. Chef d’equipe Sue Reid found out she actually didn’t know where the lights were on her rental when picking up the rest of her crew from the airport – thankfully the state trooper who pulled her over was able to help.

Warrick Allan and Sarah Dalziell-Clout are being kept very busy ensuring everyone on the team has clean and comfy beds, hot running water and anything else they need.

Hurricane Florence seems to be big news everywhere but here. Don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of planning going on behind the scenes but it will be what it will be and hopefully she calms herself down and peters out.

There’s a real buzz about the grounds – there’s nothing like stopping for a minute and listening to the myriad of languages around. It’s so neat to see all the teams branded in their country’s colours and it goes even further with stables and houses all flagged up too. Speeding golf carts are an extra hazard to watch out for – the good news is that they are all very clearly branded in their country of ‘origin’ and the other good news is that they are generally happy to stop and pick up hitch-hikers.

Tomorrow is the horse inspection for both the endurance and dressage, with the opening ceremony in the evening. Competition proper for the Kiwis starts on Wednesday at 6.30am with the 160km endurance ride where Philip Graham (Canterbury) and Jenny Champion (Masterton) will fly the flag high.

As today draws to a close, the rain is really coming in, and everyone is hoping it’s not the start of Florence.

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison