The Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018 kicked off yesterday evening with the opening celebration at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina. The WEG, which will run over 13 days from September 11 to September 23, will host over 800 athletes and 820 horses from 71 countries competing in eight disciplines: jumping, dressage, eventing, vaulting, reining, para-dressage, endurance, and driving.
There will be a total 83 combinations competing in eventing at the WEG, representing 23 countries.
Sixteen teams will compete in the eventing team competition from the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United States. Of those teams, all but Japan and Switzerland have declared five riders and as such will have both a team of four and one individual representative.
Ecuador will be represented by two individual competitors while China, Finland, Mexico, Norway, Poland, and South Africa each have a single rider competing at the WEG.
Canada will get the competition underway as they were drawn first in the order. The United States is slated to go fifth, directly following Germany.
Germany is the current WEG eventing champions, having won the individual gold and silver and team gold medals at the 2014 WEG in Normandy. Ingrid Klimke and Sandra Auffarth were both members of the 2014 gold medal-winning team and are returning to the WEG this year to defend their title.
New Zealand riders Mark Todd and Blyth Tait were both on the gold medal-winning team at the first WEG in 1990 in Stockholm. Ingrid Klimke (GER), Sandra Auffarth (GER), Andrew Hoy (AUS), Kristina Cook (GBR), Selena O’Hanlon (CAN), Hawley Bennett-Awad (CAN) are also returning WEG medalists.
The United States team is made up of eventing championship veterans; Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Lauren Kieffer, and Will Coleman are all U.S. Olympians and Dutton, Martin, and Lynn Symansky have previously competed at the WEG.
Kieffer and Dutton have both earned the title of CCI4* National Champion at the Kentucky Three-Day Event multiple times, twice for Kieffer and six times for Dutton.
Lauren Kieffer is the youngest member of the United States team at 31 years old.
At 15 years old, Symansky’s mount Donner is the oldest horse on the team and is also the only horse with team experience, having competed previously with Symansky at the 2011 Pan-American Games and in 2014 at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.
Twelve officials are on site this week for the eventing portion of the WEG. Anne-Mette Binder (DEN) is the President of the Ground Jury alongside Ground Jury Members Jane Hamlin (USA) and Andrew Bennie (NZL) and Appeal Committee Member Christina Klingspor (SWE). Martin Plewa (GER) is the Technical Delegate with Ataide Pereira Barcelos (BRA) assisting. Janis Linnan (USA) is serving as Chief Steward with Assistant Stewards Diane Baxter (RSA), Betinna Pedersen (DEN), and Sean Bruss (ZIM). Jennifer Hall (GBR) is the Veterinary Delegate and Emily Sander-Burtness (USA) is Veterinary Commission President.
Captain Mark Phillips' cross-country course will cover 5,700 meters with 26 jumps and 42 efforts. Stay tuned for the USEA's preview of the course!
Irish show jumping course designer Alan Wade will be designing the show jumping course for eventing as well as pure show jumping at the WEG.
With Hurricane Florence looming off the coast of North Carolina, there have been widespread concerns about how the weather will impact the WEG. TIEC COO Sharon Decker assured the media in a press conference that TIEC is well-prepared for the inclement weather and has a plan in place in case of an emergency, weather-related or otherwise. For the most up-to-date information on the weather, please click here or text WEG2018 to 888777.
The USEA Event College will be in session this week at TIEC and we'll be sharing virtual lessons on topics including stewarding, team selection, and officiating events with the WEG Officials.
NBC Sports will be broadcasting over 60 hours with 57 hours of live coverage on NBC, NBCSN, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. For details about the television schedule and different ways to watch, including on your tablet or mobile device, click here.
FEI TV will be live streaming all events at the World Equestrian Games online. A WEG Pass, which will allow you to watch all the WEG coverage aired on FEI TV, is $26.99. Click here for all the package options and additional details.
It’s the turn of the world’s best Eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days as all but one of the horses presented at this morning’s horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.
And they're off! Eventing kicks off today in Tokyo (Thursday, July 29 – 7:30 p.m. ET), with the first of three Olympic dressage sessions. Competitors from 29 nations will go head to head, vying for a spot on the coveted Olympic podium.