The FEI World Equestrian Games, features top riders from around the world, participating in eight extraordinary equestrian disciplines. The games, being held outside Europe for the first time since their inception in 1990, will be hosted stateside at the Kentucky Horse Park, from September 25-October 10, 2010. Given that the WEG comes around every four years, between the summer Olympics, this is a not-to-be-missed event.
Sponsored by Kentucky-based Alltech, a worldwide leader in all-natural animal nutrition, health and performance products the organizational committee is currently promoting the games via volunteers and sponsors, with tickets now, on sale and selling briskly .
World Championships For Equestrian Disciplines
Jump a course of 10-13 jumps within a specific time budget. Riders receive penalties for knocking down rails, refusing a fence, or falling. All riders with clear rounds under the time limit compete in a jump-off with fewer jumps on a more difficult course.
Derived from the French term “training,” dressage is often described as horse ballet. Horses are judged on a series of required movements including piaffe (trotting in place), passage (slow-motion trot), collected and extended gaits, and one and two tempi changes (a skipping motion as the horse changes lead every canter stride or every other canter stride).
The triathalon of equestrian sports, eventing includes a show jumping phase, a dressage phase, and an endurance or cross-country phase. In cross-country, riders compete over a outdoor course in a specific time frame in which they are judged at each obstacle.
Held for teams of four horses, this event includes two days of dressage tests, a marathon, and an intricate course marked by cones. Individual and team winners are determined by fewest faults throughout the events.
A 160-mile race run in the fastest-time possible. Awards are given for individuals and teams as well as a veterinary recognition for best-conditioned horse.
Gymnastic on horseback–moving horseback that is (I call them crazy people). Vaulters are judged on a required moves and a freestyle test and compete as inviduals, pairs, or teams.
This judged event shows off the athleticism and training of a ranch-type horse. They are known for their impressive sliding stops from a dead gallop, and flying turns on the haunches. Contestants perform one of 10 required patterns.
Near and dear to my heart, riders with disabilities compete in dressage. This is the first time this event will be held at the World Equestrian Games.
Kentucky Horse Park Preparations
Currently, the Kentucky Horse Park has 1,084 stalls, 7 warm-up rings, 3 outdoor stadiums, cross-country/marathon course, 3 outdoor show rings, 1 indoor arena, 5 dressage rings, 4 polo fields, a quarter-mile training track, and a steeple-chase track.
There are millions of dollars going into improvements on the Park for the World Equestrian Games, which will also expand the park into more large horse events in the future. Improvements include
- a new 6,000 seat, climate-controlled indoor arena
- a new 8-10,000 seat outdoor stadium (with room for 20,000 temporary seats)
- a resort hotel and conference center
- other park-wide improvements.
Event coordinators are anticipating
- attendance: 600-700,000
- economic impact: $150 million
- participating nations: 60 plus
- athletes: 800 riders and 900 horses
- media attendance: 2,000
- TV viewers: 500 million
- Tradeshow booths: 400 plus
Tickets and Volunteering
Tickets are not yet available for events at the World Equestrian Games. They recently selected a vendor to handle the ticketing. General admission tickets as well as individual event tickets will eventually be made available to the general public.
The organizers are now accepting registrations from those who are interested in volunteering before and at the event. Benefits of volunteering include:
- exclusive 2010 WEG apparrel
- customized credentials for volunteer identification for access to assignment areas
- volunteer hospitality with food and drinks while on duty
- recognition in media forums
- post event volunteer reception
Volunteers must sign a waiver; parent/guardian signature required if under 18. Volunteers also must speak fluent English and are required to attend a volunteer training and orientation. You must provide your own lodging and transportation.
For more information about the event in general, visit the official 2010 FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games website. Visit the following pages for more information on volunteering, to sign-up to receive ticket information as it becomes available and for the e-newsletter, or to view a PDF of the media kit with park, historic, and overview information.
FYI, the Wellington group recently announced their bid for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. Perhaps the U.S. is finally hitting its stride with its many new world class equestrian venues. Stay tuned!