Tryon, NC USA – September 11, 2018 – The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 were officially opened with a stylish two-hour ceremony at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
Some of equestrian sport’s most famous names took a central role for their countries during the traditional parade of flags that highlighted proceedings at a packed Tryon Stadium before a crowd of athletes, grooms, National Federation staff, and spectators. Rising country musician Joe Lasher opened for Grammy-nominated artist Hunter Hayes, while athlete representatives were welcomed into Tryon Stadium to officially commence the start of competition.
Carrying the American flag was dressage sensation Laura Graves, who said, “Tonight is really special for me. It is September 11, so getting the chance to raise this flag was very emotional.”
“I am looking forward to a really great next few days of competition. It is going to be exciting for us in Dressage and it looks like all the horses have a terrific venue and great facilities. We are ready to get going,” she continued.
Triple Olympic Team Eventing Gold medalist Andrew Hoy had the honor for Australia and he said, “Last time I rode in a World Eventing Championship in America it was in 1978, so it is absolutely wonderful to be back.
“It is a great honor to be a flag-bearer for my country. I’m looking forward to getting out there and the competition starting.”
|Renowned country music artist, Hunter Hayes, played for an enthusiastic crowd in Tryon Stadium.|
Eventing icon Ingrid Klimke (GER), a winner of numerous major championship medals, did the honors for Germany and she commented, “I am really happy to be here with my horse. We are ready for the next adventure. We have a wonderful venue and I am very proud to be here and be a part of it all.”
China’s Alex Hua Tian is also set to be among the field when Eventing gets under way on Thursday.
“I am here in the U.S. for the first time ever, competing in my second FEI World Equestrian Games. It’s the largest equestrian festival in the world, so to fly the flag for China for the first time ever in Eventing is a wonderful thing.”
The discipline of Endurance takes center-stage from before sunrise, beginning at 6:30 a.m. EST, when competitors tackle a course of 100 miles (160 kilometers) that will traverse through the states of both North and South Carolina.
|An impressive 40 countries will be represented during Meydan Endurance competition, which will begin at 6:30 a.m. EST.|
The long-distance competition, viewed as the ultimate test of the partnership between horse and rider, is against the clock and tests speed and stamina of both horse and rider, challenging each combination to ensure an effective use of pace and navigational skills of undulating terrains. Mandatory veterinary inspections are required following each course loop, where horses are cooled, their heart rates monitored, and jogged for soundness in order to further continue. Rest periods are also a key aspect of the competition, ensuring horse and rider welfare throughout the 100-mile test.
The Tryon 2018 track will feature the region’s natural and spectacular terrain, starting and finishing on the main TIEC property.
The horse inspection took place on Tuesday afternoon, with a bumper nominated entry list being highlighted by defending champion HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum from the UAE, who won the world title in Normandy four years ago.
A strong finish is also expected of Spain’s Jaume Punti Dachs, who starred when his country won 2010 Team Endurance Gold and is aiming for a top finish in this year’s competition.
Host Nation Aiming To Rein In Their Rivals At Tryon 2018
It should come as no surprise whatsoever that the United States remains Johnson Controls Reining’s dominant force, which begins competition as one of three disciplines showcased at the venue tomorrow.
Other countries have barely had a look-in since the WEG first welcomed the discipline of Reining during the early 1990s. The United States has won a remarkable seven titles, with only Canada breaking that sequence 12 years ago.
|Cade McCutcheon and Custom Made Gun jog up before Johnson Controls Reining competition begins at 9:00 a.m. EST tomorrow.|
There is also considerable crowd involvement, with the audience clapping and cheering loudly at every turn as competitors go through their paces. Team USA newcomer Cade McCutcheon, a first time WEG competitor, comes from a long lineage of top Reining competitors, and will take center stage at the international event.
Isabell Werth from Germany might add more gold to the already incredible seven WEG medals she already holds. Werth stunned insiders by her decision not to bring her top horse Weihegold OLD, instead opting to bring her favorite mount, Bella Rose, who has recently returned from a long-term illness.
|Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper will take to the U.S. Trust Arena with Team USA in Helgstrand Dressage competition, who are a medal favorite.|
The United States has hopes set on Laura Graves and her ride Verdades, breathing down the current necks of both Werth and Rothenberger since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where they finished fourth, followed by a second place finish at the FEI World Cup™ Finals in early 2018.
Adding to this roster of elite riders, the defending champion from the WEG in Normandy, France, as Charlotte Dujardin and her new partner, Mount St John Freestyle will represent Great Britain. The mare is only nine and the “dark horse” of the competition. “I’m not sure what to expect, but she’s felt brilliant this far and taken everything on board, so we’ll see what the next few days bring,” Dujardin said confidently.
Team Germany won their 11th World Championship Gold medal in Normandy 2014 and brings a strong squad to Tryon, to complete the dozen. Fourteen other teams will attempt to prevent that, with the USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden set to be the most optimistic for a medal.
For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.
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About the Tryon International Equestrian Center
Tryon International Equestrian Center at Tryon Resort, host of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, is one of the world’s premier equestrian lifestyle destinations, with first-class facilities for all eight FEI disciplines. From carousel to competition, the mission of Tryon Resort is to celebrate the magic of the horse, grow equestrian sport, and increase access to this majestic animal. Tryon Resort is a spring, summer and fall haven for equestrian competitors and enthusiasts, and a year-round destination for connoisseurs of diverse cuisine and shopping, lodging getaways, and family entertainment. Learn more at www.Tryon.com.
About the FEI World Equestrian Games™
The FEI World Equestrian Games™, held every four years in the middle of the summer Olympic cycle, is the property of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the world governing body for horse sport organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar, combining World Championships in the Olympic disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, the Paralympic discipline of Para-Equestrian Dressage, as well as Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining.
The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be organized outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Games came back to Europe for the 2014 edition, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA), which attracted more than 500,000 on-site spectators and a worldwide television audience of 350 million, as well as delivering an economic impact of €368 million to the French economy.
The Tryon 2018 Games offer qualifying slots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ History Hub can be viewed here.