The FEI world equestrian games will affect North Carolina

Mary-Ella Sember, Staff writer

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The FEI world equestrian games will affect North Carolina


The largest ever equine event in NC history is on its way to North Carolina. From Sept. 13 to 23, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Equestrian Games (WEG) with be held in Tryon, North Carolina. It will be the largest sports event in North Carolina history and in the U.S. this year. 800 riders and 820 horses attending will be attending. 500,000 spectators are also expected.

“I had no idea that this event was happening, even though there are so many people are attending from the around the world the horse community is so under publicized that no one heard of it,” said Jelle Vanderveken, junior at KA Geraardsbergen High School in Belgium.  

WEG will have up to a 400 million dollar economic impact. However, these expectations have been changed due to the incoming hurricane Florence. With around half a million people predicted to attend the entire small town will change. 106,834,823 dollars alone are spent by spectators at FEI during the 13 day event in October of 2014.  

Typically locations for this event have six years to prepare, but Tryon only had two due to Bromont, Canada pulling out of the games. Now the games are in Polk county. Tryon is a small town with only about 1,646 inhabitants in 1.8 square miles. This means during The World Equestrian Games (WEG) the population will quincentuple (x500).

This year WEG will be held inside Polk County’s Tryon International Equestrian Center. The equestrian center is a 1,600 acre site with 1,200 permanent stables. It has a 12,000 seat stadium in the main ring plus seats for other rings. On site there are also restaurants and hotels.   

Tryon is the most organized showground I’ve ever seen. Everything was considered – barn design, navigation, future expansion, etc. Future expansion was what got me; as an engineer, I have to think a lot about how structures will impact future development, and Tryon is spot on with that.” said Sara Brown, former groom. Grooms are people who work at shows to help get horses ready for competitors.

 The games consist of six different categories, jumping, dressage and para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining. Qualifying for this event is not easy, qualifications for WEG are individual to each team or federation. To qualify riders must compete in events that are designated for observation or qualifying competitions.

“I’m excited to see how Tryon meets the needs for WEG,” said Brown.


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